For the last year I've been having this internal struggling between keeping my children's lives as normal as possible and at the same time keeping them safe. I am particularly struggling as my children move into their pre-teen years and their hidden disabilities become more evident.
I have a daughter who for those looking from the outside see a typically developing 11 year old. However, if you get to know her a little more you will discover that her social and play skills are that of a 6-7 year old. Her cognitive skills are at the same level but her decision making skills are even further behind.
Last year it was easy to hold her back a year in the children's program at church. Our church also has a great program for individuals with developmental disabilities. Here is where I struggle. Do I place her in the group for individuals with disabilities or send her to the middle school group with peers her age?
We have always taught our children to treat their siblings and others with respect and dignity. Our children are taught to help those that need help. They are taught that God created all people and each one has gifts and talents to share. (sometimes I need to listen to my own lesson)
Here is what I LOVE about my children. They really do care about each other and want to see each other succeed. My 12 year old daughter knows that my 11 year old really wants to do what everyone else is doing. She overheard a conversation between my husband and I and she volunteered to help her sister out if she goes up to middle school.
So in the fall I will take a big leap of faith and send her to the middle school group knowing she will have the wonderful church staff and a watchful big sister looking after her.