Decisions and Change!

Emotions surge through me. Questions fill my mind.
Is this what I want for my baby?
Is this what he wants?
Does he understand what challenges he will face?
Will the other kids be nice to him?
Will he be getting a quality education?
Will the interpreter be qualified? 
For the last two months, my son had been at home with me. Field trips, nature observations, projects, sensory activities, sibling teaching sessions, planning, reading, filming, viewing, etc etc.
Not that it was all fun and games and went just the way I wanted it to. Quite the opposite. But, it became clear to me that what my boy needed was a period of time to heal, to discover himself again, to gain confidence once more; to discover learning again. 
Then one day, he decided that that  time had come to an end. After a particularly hard day, I looked at him and signed, “You’re not happy. You miss school, don’t you?” 
We then launched into a conversation of what options he had for school: a local deaf program with part mainstreaming and part resource classroom with a teacher of the deaf, home, or the local elementary school where his brother goes
Perfect, I thought, it’s time to teach him how to make good decisions in his life. If he can learn this now, it will benefit him greatly in his future!
Being a faithful Christian family, I brought in the scriptures. In the Doctrine and Covenants (scriptures from the LDS faith), these verses are found. They guide anyone seeking answer to finding a decision based on answers from the Holy Ghost:
“Study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong” (D&C 9:8-9)
We sat down, Mom, Dad, son, and brother for support. We listed and discussed all pros and con’s to each decision. We asked others who may know more. We talked to deaf adults who went to school in their local schools (mainstreamed) growing up, including Dad. 
He made a decision.
Then he prayed. And our whole family prayed with him. 
He felt he had an answer… Attend the local school with his brother. He was excited. 
And here’s the condition we discussed, “Since this is your decision, and your Father in Heaven has said it is a good choice, whatever happens, we face it together. There will be challenges. You may find you hate it. You may love it. No matter what, you stick it out until the end of the year. Then we’ll reevaluate and see what to do.”
It’s been 4 weeks now. Not without challenges, but with motivation to learn, to grow, and to do his best. He has made friends and figured out ways to communicate with them. He has come home sad, frustrated, excited, concerned, happy, calm, and angry. There have been bullies and really great friends. In other words, he’s having a normal experience. 
Is this what I want for my baby?
     I want him to be happy, engaged, leaning and growing… All of that is happening. Could there be a better place for him out there? Maybe, but for now…he’s doing ok.
Is this what he wants?
    Yes…he explored all the options. He decided this for himself. For him, that was really important.
Does he understand what challenges he will face? He does now, and is facing them bravely! 
Will the other kids be nice to him?
Some will, some won’t…isn’t that true for most kids? We’ve dealt with that before (Dealing with Bullying) and I love how this little guy responded to the bullies! Stay tuned for my next post for that!
Will he be getting a quality education?
    With 20% of content lost through interpretation even with the best interpreters, some educational value is sacrificed. However, this local school and teacher are using many of the effective strategies that I talked about earlier, and they are challenging and engaging my boy, pushing him on. For 3rd grade, with added support of reading and writing at home, he’ll be alright for now. The best answer for every deaf child? I would say, emphatically, no! Those arguments will make this post too long, I’ll add it to my list! 
And what of next year? And the year after? I don’t know those answers. I guess we have more decisions yet to make. Thank goodness we know the steps to do so.

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