Born into an abusive & neglectful biological family, was placed in a neglectful foster care home
Moved into current placement a few years ago, his new family is going through the adoption process
Overview of Family
Parents are Pat & Holly who have been married for 20+ years
Holly had brothers who had cognitive disabilities
The couple has one biological daughter and granddaughter who do not live in the home
They are currently foster parents for Chris and his brother Cody, and are going through the adoption process
They live in Central Indiana outside of Indianapolis, but have a property in Rockville, Indiana that they visit on the weekends
The family enjoys spending time together especially outdoors!
Chris attends a township school outside of Indianapolis
The school follows an inclusion model, however during the 2009-2010 school year, Chris has been pulled into a resource classroom to receive services
When Chris was initially placed with the family his Psychological Evaluation & IEP stated that he had a Mild Cognitive Disability. A new Psychological Evaluation was done in 2009 and it found that Chris had a Moderate Cognitive Disability. The IEP Committee determined that Chris would be moved off of a diploma track and onto a life skills track. This is what his family wanted, so that he could focus on skills to help him in life. When he goes to the middle school he will be in a split placement of life skills and resource classes.
The life skills he needs to acquire are: self-identifying information like address, phone number, days in a week/month/year, self-care
Chris wants to become an official member of his current family
He wants to finish High School
He wants to obtain a job
He wants to be a great boy scout
Family Property- is full of woods, streams & wildlife
The family admits that they are not as involved in the community as they wish to be. They are still getting to know each other.
What I learned from the Family
First and foremost I learned how incredible people can be. This family who had already successfully raised one daughter, in a sense started over by adopting two boys with disabilities. They have shown these boys a life they never dreamed of, loving them and supporting them through all of their struggles. The boys made me realize that often times children have gone through more in their short lives than I have in mine. Yet these boys, like most children, are resilient showing signs of tremendous growth since they moved into their new home. I learned that we (educators) will never truly know what a family has/is/will go through until we have walked a mile in their shoes, and even then we won’t truly understand. I learned that communication is key to the success of a relationship among families and schools. Finally, I learned that when you love children and believe in them you really can make a difference.
What the Family Learned From Me
I learned so much from the family and it is my hope that I was able to leave something behind for them. I believe I was able to teach them about the Special Education System. Specifically about IEP’s, how they are developed and what they mean. I believe I taught them about their rights as a parent, discussing procedural safeguards and best practices. I also believe I left them with several community resources such as Easter Seals program to watch kids while their parents can go on a date. I think I was able to shed light into the stresses of being an educator and offer suggestions on how to best build a relationship with the school.
Personal Connections to the Text
I was especially touched by the various Case Studies that the book featured. I found myself laughing and crying at the struggles and triumphs of the families. I was able to relate to some of the experiences on a personal and professional level, having a nephew with disabilities and working with families and children with disabilities. I thought the main text offered relevant and important information in an easy to read format. They highlighted what was important and were able to explain how it related to servicing kids with disabilities. Specifically, I liked the legal information they provided. I’ve often encountered books and information on Article 7 and IDEA’s, but this book helped me to truly understand it in a way that I could explain it to families.