I'm about to embark on something that scares me. Something I feel very ill-equipped to deal with.
School for Nava.
In so many aspects of raising Nava I feel so comforted by the experiences, insight and examples of other DS mamas--on blogs, on facebook forums...there's a ton of us and we've got each other's backs.
But on this, I feel alone (no doubt unnecessarily so but fear is seldom rational right?)
Nava doesn't have an IFSP (or whatever the acronym is for an IEP for under-3s). There is no government option here. Special needs is not a 'thing'; it's not visible. Lao schools don't take kids like Nava. Do preschools for the foreign community accept children with intellectual disabilities?
I'm about to find out.
Actually, I'm cheating a bit. There's one school that I know will take a child with Down syndrome because I know the kid and his parents and they told me. Shouldn't surprise you to hear that school is #1 on my list. It was even on my list when it was a French language school. We visited at an open day and they were lovely and offered to learn to sign so they could communicate. But Nava wasn't a walker and that plus a ton of other things made me think it would be better to wait still.
Because? Because simply, I fear rejection. We face so little prejudice (like none) against Nava. I love my little bubble of existence where I don't deal with jerk comments. Where I don't hear "not allowed". Where we are not rebuked. And I know the bubble has a finite life. It's just I want to have it for as long as I can and I deeply suspect finding a pre-school for Nava will be a gaurunteed way of bursting my bubble.
I'd love her to go to a montessori school. I suspect they'll say no. I roundaboutly inquired about the most well known one with parents, school board members, teachers and pretty much they all agreed they doubted they'd take Nava. Yes, I haven't actually come out and formally asked. Cause I like my bubble.
I started thinking about preschool almost a year ago as it came up in our playgroup. I managed to find reasons to not put her in school since then (many of which were good and valid reasons not excuses but the Bubble fear definitnely contributed to my reluctance.
But I resolved to suck it up now. Nava is walking confidently. She's starting to talk. She is intensely social. She needs to learn to play with others. She craves more experiences outside of our living room playroom. We are so lucky to have a full time nanny option so I've never dealt with daycare. We don't have to put her in school at all of course. But it feels like its time. If she doesn't like it we can drop it but I suspect she'll love it (eventually. I expect tears at first of course).
So this morning I called another Montessori school and asked if they have places. They said yes. I made an appointment to visit with Nava on Monday. I didn't tell them she has Down syndrome. I debated it but I know that it's mcuh better to meet Nava in person. If they meet her and say No then ok. But at least it will be a decision made after actually having met Nava and not a stereotype.
And now I've gotta run. I'm off to the school I know will take a child with DS to meet the new management and see it's new location. I've been told its English speaking now too so one more reason to like it. We'll see.
I feel like I should see some other schools too and I've told people we will. But part of me wants to chicken out.
I like my bubble damnit.
Wish me luck.