June 16, 2012

June 14, 2012

Another New Chapter

It has been a tough year all around. The loss of my brother Arnie has had an effect on Hart, Jeff and me that continues to pervade our lives. "Do you think about him a little?" Hart recently asked me. "I think about him a lot. He was my brother for forty-two years." So now I am the oldest sibling, of two, not three. That was the prelude to a bumpy senior year.

Too bad the IEP process doesn't call for a transition plan for parents, as it does for special needs students. That got a bit of a laugh at a breakfast I hosted with another parent of a Cove senior for our kids' teachers and "specials." But I was really serious. Jeff has been at Cove School for eleven years, since second grade. So I have been at Cove School for that duration, too. The parents and teachers have been my community, my safe haven, for a very long time. Jeff was apprehensive about finishing his senior year. Occasionally, he was tearful: "What am I going to do without Cove?" Although I would tell him about the next step planned for him--participation in our school district's Transition House program, which combines independent living skills with job training--I was secretly thinking, "What am I going to do without Cove?!"

Hart, too, has a big move coming up. Although he will stay at the same facility, he is shortly to move off-campus into a young adult group home. The pre-transition is taking place slowly, thankfully, with day visits to get used to the peers and staff there.

The upshot is that the boys' academic careers are over. I wish this was not so because Hart's school career has been so disjointed and spotty. Now that he is in a comfortable place, perhaps he could have made more progress, but now it is too late. Jeff became a devoted student at long last, in high school. He worked hard on math, and suddenly, last year, became an avid reader. Again, it occurred to me to wish that he had a bit more time for academics, but now he must focus on independent living skills.

My peers are seeing their 12th graders off to college this fall, but I will start a new job, too. After years of advocating for school services, now I must chase down available resources for developmentally disabled adults. A new challenge.