Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hope for the future

This week’s blog is shared by Madonna Parent Jayne Klein

Lane hasn’t always gone to the Madonna School. He had great teachers and experiences in his elementary school. When it became time to transition into middle school I worried because academics become more important and classes get harder. But sixth grade went well, again with a good school with good teachers. There were still “Lane meltdowns” but he learned the ropes pretty quickly.

Seventh grade turned not so good. Lane had a harder time fitting in and disrupted classes more often. My sister-in-law is a special-ed consultant in Omaha so I called her when nearing my wits end, very stressed out and looking for advice, ideas I could bring to the school, new things to try for Lane, etc. She set up a couple appointments for me to observe classrooms to get ideas.

My first appointment was at Madonna School but still a week away. On a very stressful Thursday because Lane had another meltdown at school, I called Madonna and asked if I could visit the next day.

When I first arrived and met with Dr. Bill, I felt overwhelmed. We walked through the school and he showed me around. Students in the hallway stopped, introduced themselves and shook my hand. This meeting changed our lives. I left the school feeling such a sense of relief.

We brought Lane in on Monday and Tuesday for a “trial visit”. Again, I worried, but he loved it! He started school immediately after and has been there since.

Now in our second year at Madonna, we are so proud of Lane and so thankful for all the staff! In two years, a few big accomplishments academically are: writing his first and last name, trying to read, and copying words from the board or from other papers. Lane is a very smart kid. He enjoys learning and loves to go to Madonna School. When he first started, one morning he woke us up at 5:30 a.m. and said “School”!

Madonna teachers and the paraprofessionals are very special. They are so good with the students and have so much experience. In his first couple of weeks, he still had meltdowns, throwing himself on the ground. Early on in Mrs. Griffel’s room, she calmly let the other students get up and head to the gym. Lane got up from his fit, likely thinking, “Cool…we are going to go play and I get my way”.

Mrs. Griffel told him, “Oh, no Mister…you get to stay with me.” She turned down the lights and worked quietly at her desk. She said Lane was not happy with her.

That day at the end of school my husband watched him go to his speaking device and put together the sentence , “I’m outta here!”

Mrs. Griffel chuckled and commented that one thing about Lane is he does have a sense of humor! Ever since that day, Lane continues to learn the rules and has had a lot less meltdowns.

People always ask me, “What will Lane do when he graduates?” I used to comment, “He will probably live at home forever” and “I would like to get him to work somewhere,” although I never imagined where that may be.

After being at Madonna, I have new hopes for the future. I imagine him living in an apartment, away from home, with other special needs adults. I see Lane working a job and being somewhat independent. He will continue participating in Special Olympics, which he started the first year at Madonna School.

The Madonna School saved our lives! Lane expresses himself more, he is more independent, and has a lot more confidence. We thank God daily for all that Madonna School has done for our family.

                                                                                                                                   © Jayne Klein

Lane and Christopher in music class

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