Their family has a 4 year old Labrador Retriever named Sophie.
They live in a suburb on the Northeast side of Indianapolis.
Their family is very active; and they love to be outdoors.
For fun they like to ride bikes, play games, go to the park or take in a movie.
Emily’s grandparents are involved in her life.</li></li></ul><li>School Program<br /><ul><li>Emily had a positive elementary school experience.
She began to struggle, both academically and socially, when she transitioned to the 5th grade.
Emily’s parents removed her from the public school system in the 5th grade, and signed off on her IEP.
She attended a Montessori school for a while, and then was home-schooled for a year.
Emily is currently attending a small private school that specializes in working with students with varying disabilities.
Emily has shown marked academic improvements since beginning at her current school.
She has adjusted well and has made some new friends.
Emily’s parents are concerned that her social opportunities will be too limited at her current school; they want her to have the type of opportunities and experiences any average teenager would have.
Emily will be attending a parochial high school.
Her parents have met with her new teachers to develop a plan for accommodations and special services.
Emily and her parents will develop an IEP with a transition plan in the fall.</li></li></ul><li>Goals for the Future<br /><ul><li> Emily would like to attend college, after graduating from high school, and is currently on a diploma track.
She would one day like to be a teacher, helping other kids with disabilities; or to own a restaurant .
She would like to live in and maintain her own home.
She looks forward to being responsible for herself and to making her own decisions.
She would like to someday have a family of her own.
Emily’s family wants her to achieve her fullest potential.</li></li></ul><li>Favorite Activities and Interests<br /><ul><li>Running
Hanging out with friends</li></li></ul><li>What I Learned from My Family<br />I have known Emily’s family for approximately 10 years. I first met her mother, in a bible study group at my church. Since then, as our families have grown, so has our friendship. Their family and ours’ still attend the same church, we live in the same community, and we see each other frequently.<br />I have learned so much from Emily and her family through the years, that it would be impossible to give consideration to everything here. Perhaps the most important lessons they have taught me are resilience, perseverance, and faith. Emily’s mother had to overcome a difficult childhood; and not only did she persevere, but she became one of the best mothers I know. She and her husband have done a fantastic job of raising four children of their own; which includes a child with a disability. They have definitely experienced a roller-coaster ride of emotions; including the highs and lows of working with a school system, and with professionals, who were supposed to be working in their daughter’s best interest, but often were not. At times they have had to fight for their daughter to get the supports she needs. They have always believed in Emily and have done everything in their power to provide her with every opportunity to succeed, and to reach her goals and dreams. They have had faith when things seemed hopeless, and have persevered through the most difficult times. In Emily they see hope and possibility. <br />I have learned, from Emily’s family, how important it is to make parents feel welcome and heard. Frequent, open communication is an absolute must. Educators must partner with parents when planning for their child’s future. <br />
What My Family Learned From Me<br />Emily’s family learned about transition IEPs , and the importance of setting goals to plan for Emily’s transition to a post-secondary setting. Emily just turned 14, so I feel like I have really been able to help them in this area of planning. Emily has not had an IEP for almost 4 years. Her parents have made the decision to develop a new IEP, with a transition plan, as she enters high school this fall. Emily will take an active role in developing this plan. I have had her complete several activities and interest inventories, to get her thinking now, about what she would like to do after graduation. I have also given her information about a great website for future planning: www.youthhood.org. This site is designed for kids, to help them develop self-determination skills, and to plan for independent living after high school.<br />Emily’s family did not realize that accommodations were available to college students with disabilities. I have been able to talk with them about this, as well as to provide them with some helpful resources; such as: a guide offered through the IN*SOURCE website, that summarizes the academic accommodations, special services, and supports offered through the Disability Services Offices of over 60 colleges in Indiana. <br />
Connections to Our Class Readings<br />Much of our class discussions and readings has been based on communication between families and schools. Emily’s family has experienced both the best and the worst in their interactions with the school system. Listening to their experiences, I have been able to see how negative of an impact that a school, and their lack of willingness to include parents, as part of the team, can have on a family . It is crucial that educatorsreach out to families, to make sure they feel their concerns are being heard, that they value their input, and that they actively seek out their participation throughout the educational process.<br />Emily’s family has certainly been on an emotional roller coaster ride as they have had to make decisions throughout her life. They have encountered many ups and downs. This was an experience that many parents recounted in the book I read for my review, “You Will Dream New Dreams: Inspiring Personal Stories By Parents Of Children With Disabilities”. I now have a better understanding of what many parents of children with disabilities experience as they traverse through their daily lives.<br />