In Iowa, when a child is born with Down Syndrome, they can receive services through our local AEA agency. They started coming for Mayson when she was 4 weeks old doing physical therapy. Eventually, we added a education therapy and speech. They came to our house and we became great friends:)
It all changes when your child turns 3. You lose those services and you are to get them from the AEA within your school district. When Mayson turned 3 in Februaury, they wanted her to start that week--4 days a week and ALL DAY. Oh, and they wanted us to put our 20 lbs--3 year old on a bus with strangers. Yeah, None of that happened.
That August, we placed Mayson in preschool within our school district, 2 days a week, and just for half days. She seemed to love it. She was already a very social child but knew she could benefit from more interactive play. Preschool there was for socializing and interacting with other kids, following directions, singing songs, coloring and having fun! It was a full inclusion program which was great for Mayson. But since Mayson wasn't in the program full time she did not get full time services. She only got speech in a group setting once a week and that was all they offered her at the time. We also were told by the head teacher that Mayson would probably never follow a routine or directions. That really STUNG. We already knew our girl could follow directions and she was huge on routine! Obviously, this teacher wasn't giving her the benefit of the doubt nor did she truly knew what our girl was capable of.
So, after Christmas break we moved her to a new preschool in a different elementary building, but within our school district. We loved our school district and they were known for inclusion and their resources. Mayson adapted right away to her new environment. And her new teacher embraced her and worked with her. She did what all teachers should do.
Now that Mayson is going into first grade, we are so thankful for that teacher that embraced her, let her be and individual, a friend to others. Mayson is now at reading level with her peers, is in her class room all day except for pull outs for math, reading and speech. She is learning Spanish, Art, Music and goes to P.E. with the rest of her class...all because that teacher GOT IT!
That's where this poster falls into place. I sent Mayson's picture into the IDSC picture campaign. And WOW.... it went viral. I took a chance knowing there maybe some upset teachers in the background. But to me, it was more important to get the message out there. Especially to the new parents that are just beginning their education journey. Don't be afraid to advocate for your child and remember to love those teachers... Most will love your child right back...they are a gift and your child will do amazing things because of them!
You can now buy Mayson's poster HERE Get it and spread the message!!!