Monday, March 04, 2013

Schooling Jude

Watching Jude play with her sisters is miraculous to me. Maybe it's because I thought this would be hard for her. I wasn't sure what her capabilities would be. It seems silly but after reading about low muscle tone, exhaustion from heart problems (all very real problems) I wasn't sure she'd be able to kick her sister. Much to our joy, she is pretty awesome at playing. 

Watching her interact with Piper or R during floor times, does have my mind wandering in directions I had not imagine. Lately, I've been reading some blogs about parents who don't go overboard with therapies. They have many good reasons but the one that resonates with me is the case for unschooling. Of course.

Honestly it's a problem I had been mulling over ever since we found out about Jude. I know, I know schooling is a long ways off but I can't help but ponder the implications of various schooling options. And in some ways it's not that far off. Jude is eligible for early head start at three. I've read and heard varying voices from people who home school their other kids to those who do a pretty rigid school at home for their child with Down syndrome. Neither option feels really comfortable to me. And I wonder what I'm scared of. Because clearly I am scared if I am thinking of sending Jude to school...while I home school the other kids.

I am thinking about these things as well because we are about to have Babies Can't Wait come to do therapy with Jude. They're really not sure what to do with her as she's developmentally on track for now. Part of me wonders if she should can it until she's not. But then I worry....wonder if by saying "Why don't we wait" I end up setting her back? Maybe she's going to lose out somehow if I don't push for everything. Now. 

This worry, this fear, what I'm scared of: that Jude will be left behind. That she'll never learn to walk or talk. This is what scares me. Wonder if she could read but because I suck at teaching reading (and trust me I do) she never learns? I find myself scared that the things that did come to my children through exposure and guiding as opposed to out right teaching will not come to Jude. I'm not sure yet where unschooling comes into a play with a child who has an intellectual disability. (argh I HATE that term). I don't even KNOW at this point if her cognitive ability will be mild or severe.

What I do know is that I don't have any desire for Jude to be the same as other kids. I don't want this for my other child why would I want this for her? I want her to have the best life possible for her not the best life possible as imagined by me or any one else. I am proud of what unschooling as done for my children. They are confident, curious and adventuresome. I have to admit that I worry Jude will lose these qualities if we push too hard.

Luckily I have a few years to ponder these things and learn more. There has to be others out there who are unschooling their kids with Down syndrome. Therapy right now is just play, and the therapists here are awesome so I figure some extra play time is always good. I hope that we find our balance as this journey winds on.

But for now I'll bask in the joy Jude finds in kicking her sister. 


Diane Hill said...

Jude is super adorable! I never get tired of seeing her pics! ;) I have been thinking about the whole schooling thing a lot lately. We live in a small town and the school district doesn't have a great reputation. It is stressing me out! Like you said...we have a few years to worry about it!

jisun said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this, I feel EXACTLY the same way. Have you ever read Disability is Natural? I haven't read the actual thing, but have gone on the website. It really rings true for me. But more than other non-mainstream decisions we have made, I find myself more scared to go off the beaten track with LP, for very similar reasons to your worries with Jude. Sigh. So. Many. Decisions.

Ginger Stickney said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only thinking about these things! I always feel like I'm borrowing trouble as my Grams used to say:P

and love looking at your little one too Diane.

Jisun, I've never heard of this book or site. I'll be checking them both out.

Crystal Rhew Staley said...

I, too have such mixed feelings about Early Intervention. I just want my kid to be kid and be so wrapped up in trying to make sure we do the things we are 'supposed' to do. Tough for sure.