Three years later. The month of March is always a month of gratitude and thankfulness. I look at our youngest daughter and remember that it could have gone another way. That she could have left this earth and stayed gone. Instead, thanks to God and quick thinking from my husband, our daughter is happy enough to run all over the house, leaving a trail of Cheerios down the hall.
Many people want to forget that awful day in March. But I can’t forget it. Instead, I press forward and bug my friends and family all month to come and be CPR trained. So, why should our readers be treated any differently?
I ask, if you were faced with a medical emergency, would you know what to do?
Don’t leave it to chance! Join us for CPR training at Greater Ecclesia Temple on Saturday, March 24, 2018 beginning promptly at 10am. For $25, you are provided with a healthy lunch and enough information to be a lifesaver. Vendors are on hand with products to encourage you and your family to have a safe and healthy life. And you get a special card at the end to remind you that you are prepared.
We hope to see you there! Remember….life is precious.
Greater Ecclesia Temple is located at 9611 Iris Street in Detroit, MI 48227.
The summer has arrived and this year, I have no intention of spending it how I usually do…working. (says the “Recovering Workaholic”). Like most working Moms, the only way I know that it’s summer is the increased cost of the grocery bill. Other than that, it’s more proposals, presentations, and other marketing tasks for me.
This year, my eldest daughter is having none of it. “Can we do something fun this summer, Mommy?” So, here we are, scouring the Internet for events. Luckily, I don’t think the kiddos will disappointed. There are tons of events happening around Metro Detroit and I am determined that the family to going to have fun!
Here are a few spots that our family will visit over the summer:
- Head to the Park-There are many great parks in the metro Detroit area that have plenty of things to do for the kiddos. Our favorite parks are:
- Go Zoo Crazy! The Detroit Zoo is perfect for our family, if only we could ride the train throughout the whole park! The best event offered at the Zoo during the summer is the Wild Summer Nights, which offers concerts and activities on Wednesday nights during July and August from 6:30pm to 8pm.
- Take a Trip to the Library – A visit to the library during the summer is perfect for the kids because it encourages them to continue to use those thinking-caps! Southfield Public Library has the Ticket to Read program, which includes activities and a reading program for all ages — from the smallest readers to adults!
- Visit the Festival of Hope! Every year Hope United Methodist Church hosts the Festival of Hope. The event, which returns to the metro Detroit area July 13-16, 2017, is free and provides carnival style food and games and live entertainment. Visit this link to learn more about how to save money on all-day ride wristbands and ride tickets!
- Venture to the Outdoors – The Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit, offers to educate families about the great outdoors through insightful exhibits and air conditioning. Events of interest to my family include the WOW – Wild Over Wednesday , which occurs the last Wednesday of each month. For a whopping $0, from 6 to 8 p.m., visitors can take part in the special programs, fun and games around a specific topic each month, plus enjoy all the exhibits. In addition, the Center offers story time for the kiddos, hands-on experiences, games and informational sessions for interested visitors.
- Get Cooking! The Eastern Market is one of the oldest and coolest marketplaces in the country. During the summer, they offer Kids Summer Cooking Classes. According to their site, these lessons are targeted at ages 6 – 12, and each class is $10. Classes will be held in the Eastern Market Community Kitchen in Shed 5 from 9:00am – 10:30am.
Enjoy the summer and don’t work too hard!
Last school year was a complete disaster. My husband and I fought most of the year to get our eldest an IEP to help her get the assistance she desperately needed. It was arduous work, fighting to get her professionally evaluated, emailing teachers and errant social workers, researching methods and acquiring help from the Michigan Alliance for Families and an advocate.
After fighting so vigorously to get her into the Extended School Year program, my husband had enough. We had investigated a private school that focuses on students with learning disabilities, but it is expensive and I felt that since we worked so hard to get the IEP we should try to stay with the public school system. Besides, the program had a three-part admission process and we were not sure she would get in.
But the Lord was on our side and they approved her. Today, she attends school in a class of only seven students that has a teacher and a certified teacher’s assistant. In addition, she gets one-on-one assistance at least once a week, doesn’t have a ton of homework every day, AND has recess TWICE a day (once in the morning to adjust to school and the other around lunch time). If my daughter were writing this post, she would also want you to know that she happily uses the microwave to heat her lunch (she hates cold food).
Needless to say she loves this school! And yet…I was still nervous. What if this new school doesn’t help her at all?
This morning, my daughter walks up to me while I am finishing packing up her lunch. Holding up her iPad (also required for this school) so that I can see the date, she sweetly says, “Mommy, today is Friday, October 7.”
It might not seem like much, but I literally almost bawled in front of her.
Maybe I can power down the helicopter Mommy and stop harassing her teacher so much…we are finally on the right track.
I always knew that my first born was different. From the moment she entered this world, she exuded a unique energy. Her cries were so loud that I remember hearing the nurse say, “Let’s hurry up and get her back to her Mom!” As she grew, I noticed that she had more than her fair share of anxieties and struggled in preschool and Pre-K. She hated loud noises and profoundly avoided certain activities during school. We were told to get her into a school where the class size was smaller (where can you find that these days…no where).
Her Kindergarten teacher expressed concern and attempted to suggest ways to help her along throughout the school year. Comprehension and focus issues were the main talking points. My husband and I buckled down and really worked with her and by the end of the school year she was able to pass into the first grade.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought perhaps this small hurdle was over and that our daughter would be able to progress even better in the first grade. I was wrong.
Not even a month into the school year, her teacher pulled me aside at dismissal. She informed me that our daughter was struggling and that she was concerned. The teacher spoke to me about my daughter’s polite and kind spirit, but expressed serious concerns on passing our daughter into the second grade. Those previous fears returned and I immediately began to research. How would my daughter be successful if she could not understand what she was being taught?
I asked the teacher what the next steps were and she referred me to the school counselor. Little did I know, I had entered the proverbial merry-go-round. This is where school personnel will assure that work is happening – when it really isn’t. I had requested changes for her regarding her spelling tests, only to be told that special favors for students weren’t allowed. I requested reports regarding what she was learning during Title I time – no response. I emailed the principal – to no avail. In the meantime, our daughter was coming home in tears and frustrated.
Disgusted that I wasn’t getting anywhere, I headed back to the Internet. The Michigan Alliance for Families and WrightsLaw have a plethora of information available for parents in similar situations. Having learned what to do, I began to push and push and push. I was ready to go to the Federal Department of Education if I had to (and I almost did). Nasty phone calls between the school psychologist and I were had, causing me to go over everyone’s head to get my name out there. I knew my daughter needed assistance and I wasn’t afraid to fight for it.
FIGHT PARENTS. FIGHT PROFESSIONAL AND FIGHT HARD.
My efforts proved to be successful and my daughter is improving. I realize that the battle is not over, but we are progressing. After getting advice for numerous resources including two advocates, mediators, friends that are Special Education teachers and family, I offer the following nuggets:
- You know your child. A friend of mine told me this when my eldest was born and I put it aside at the time. Over the years, I recalled it when I got poor advice from busybodies, but it is also true in this instance. I was told because my child was sweet and polite that they didn’t think it was necessary for my child to be evaluated. They only want the kids with the “behavior issues” to be evaluated. Press past bad advice and remember that you know your child better than anyone else on this planet.
- Put it in writing. You will read several articles that tell you to put your requests in writing to have your child participate in a full-comprehensive evaluation. DO IT!!! Verbal requests mean nothing to this process. Also, every verbal conversation you have, whether it is with the teacher, principal or school psychologist, should have a follow-up email. This will give you something to show and help you keep your notes honest. I took notes at every meeting; even the parent-teacher conferences.
- Know your rights. As the parent, you have a right to know when your child is being discussed and what strategies are being used on your child during the school day. My child was discussed during support meetings during kindergarten and I had no idea this was happening. However, when I learned about it in the following school year, I demanded to hear more information and if the strategies suggested were working.
- Take a deep breath, this is tough. During the initial IEP meeting, we learned where our daughter was struggling academically. This was tough to hear. It’s one thing to know deep in your spirit that your child is having a tough time, it’s totally different to see charts and graphs describing just how tough a time she is having. I had to leave the room for a few minutes just to get my bearings. If you can, take a support person who understands the process with you. In our case, we took my Mother-in-Law who has a background in early childhood development and mediators from the Oakland Mediation Center.
- Stay the course. You may feel relief when you are assured that your child will receive the necessary services in order for them to be successful academically. But just wait, the struggle continues. Now you must make sure that the IEP is being enforced and that goals are being met. Make sure that you get separate progress reports and keep up with the resource teacher and other specialists.