I am so Proud to call Andy my Friend

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IMG_3720   Andy's mom sent me this pic and said "I'm so proud of him. What a difference it makes when your kid is in the right placement! Even if it's not the "inclusion" that everyone seems to think is best". I met Andy's mom when Andy was just entering the school system.  She showed up to a coffee talk I was hosting at Panera to help parents figure out special education.  She asked a lot of questions and those questions weren't easy. There's just no way that we can predict the future and that's tough.  Andy went to public school for many years.  He made progress in public school, but then the progress stopped. This wasn't because his team wasn't trying.  He wasn't in a bad situation that was scary, but he just wasn't in the right placement.  His team of teachers couldn't teach him the way he needed to be taught, even though they were trying. Andy's mom had some tough decisions to make. A few years later, after changing placements to a school that was more focused on learners like Andy, he is THRIVING! He is growing leaps and bounds.  His language has exploded. His sense of humor will give you belly laughs.  His mom is proud of him, but most of all Andy is proud of himself. Andy is included in his community, with his family, and with his friends every day outside of school walls, but inside of school walls it is all about him and what he needs to become stronger in all areas of his life. I am so proud to call Andy my friend.  I can't wait to tell him that I got to brag about him and all of his hard work to all of you.  I can't wait to hear about his science fair, social club and how he is counting down to his next vacation with Mickey Mouse. Moms and Dads.... Andy's story is not about inclusion being good or bad.  I shared Andy's story with you today because you need to know that decisions will be tough and they may go against what your friends, family and fellow special needs moms and dads are wishing for, but you need to do what's best for your child... and watch them shine brighter than you ever thought possible. With Hope & Determination, Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed www.catherinewhitcher.com/specialeducationhelp

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