Special needs

Finding the right school imperative for kids with special needs

When it comes to education, finding the right school is essential to the development of kids with special needs.

1Anchel

Syona says goodbye to her teachers. Photo: Anchel Krishna

This past September, Syona started a new nursery school. I was pretty anxious since the school she went to the year before left a lot to be desired.

But a few short weeks after starting, Syona settled nicely into her routine and built strong relationships with her classmates and her teachers. It also helped that the school was designed for kids with special needs, and they ensured they had the right supports in place so that kids—regardless of ability—were set up to succeed, interact with one another and have fun. It’s evident that when these supports are in place, kids can’t help but learn. Her teachers and school administrators took Syona’s cerebral palsy in stride and intuitively knew that her special needs were simply just one part of who she is as a whole person.

The past year was our transition year. And we knew that saying goodbye in June would be tough. But I don’t think I expected how emotional it would be…for me.

Syona had some great teachers and school administrators who ensured that we were all well-equipped enough to handle Syona’s next three years of education. She’ll be attending a school that has a specially designed program that integrates the standardized curriculum with therapy and support to help set students like Syona up for success. Under their watch, we’ve witnessed Syona blossom into an independent, confident kid who loves singing their circle time songs to anyone who will listen.

But I’m also going to miss the kids and families who were at our school. Because I work, I didn’t get a chance to interact with the families at the school as much as I would have liked. But the fact of the matter is that when I did get the chance to see them everyone felt like a big, giant family. We all came from diverse backgrounds and had kids with a wide variety of needs. But everyone just cared so much. The few times I did drop Syona off or pick her up, some of the moms would comment on how far along she had come or what she did that day. On Syona’s very last day, one of her friends (OK, OK, it was the boy’s mom and dad) even sent home a graduation card. When I opened it up I started to cry—I thought it was so sweet that they had cared enough about my little one to do that. It meant so much.

I’m ready for Syona to start kindergarten in the fall. I think she’s ready, too. And I think once she finds her rhythm she will excel and enjoy her days at school. But I truly believe one of the reasons we are so ready is because her school has given us a solid foundation on which to build both her future and our future with the education system.

Nursery school graduation is the first of many goodbyes to come. I’m sure it’s also the first of many tears I will shed over the next bittersweet moments.

What milestones has your family celebrated lately? How do they make you feel?

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy. Read all of Anchel’s Special-needs parenting posts and follow her on Twitter @AnchelK.