<![CDATA[RAIN (Riverside Area Inclusion Network) - Blog]]>Sun, 31 Jan 2016 06:34:44 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Inclusion]]>Sun, 14 Jun 2015 18:35:44 GMThttp://rainetwork.weebly.com/blog/inclusionI have a t-shirt that I bought while at the 2014's Illinois Includes conference (http://www.illinoisincludes.org).  The t-shirt says "I stand up for Inclusion" from www.justadaddyo.com.  When I wear it people ask me "what does that mean?".  I sometimes have a hard time explaining what inclusion means in a meaningful manner.  I can tell them what inclusion is not, especially when it comes to my school district.  I can tell them it is educating all students in a manner in which is effective for each student.  It is not all students in the same room being taught in the same manner.  It helps all students, not just students who have IEP (individual educational plan).  
This morning I read this article http://www.thinkinclusive.us/your-school-might-be-the-biggest-barrier-to-inclusive-education/#sthash.G2SfRx5N.dpuf.  This article really summarized my thoughts on inclusion in such a great way, I want to share this article with everyone!  When your school uses deficit lens to describe students, your school is not inclusive.  When schools use strength based lens, your school is probably inclusive or closer to being inclusive.  What is the deficit lens?  Using negative language.  Using a students deficit as the first part of your language.  Strength based language uses a more positive language.  Here is an example of deficit lens from our school. _
Here is an more strength based example.  __  Both are saying the same thing, one is using more positive language.  Which would you prefer to hear in a job review?  Which would you rather have your child listen to?  
I know from experience that I prefer the strength based lens.  
Inclusion is where all students are welcomed, they are taught to their strengths and helped with their weaknesses.  Not everyone has to be at the same place at the same time as everyone else in their learning process and that is OK.  Inclusion is for all of us, not just special education students.  We all want our strengths to shine.  ]]>
<![CDATA[Defining moments]]>Sat, 09 May 2015 17:51:14 GMThttp://rainetwork.weebly.com/blog/defining-momentsDefining moments.  We all have them.  They are a rich part of our history. We decide something BIG based on these moments.  Sometimes it is a sad moment, sometimes relief comes at that moment, sometimes pleasure.  I have had many Defining Moments in my life.  When you have a Special needs child, these moments are your whole life.  When you fin]]><![CDATA[My letter to my Son's teacher]]>Sun, 09 Sep 2012 20:12:41 GMThttp://rainetwork.weebly.com/blog/my-letter-to-my-sons-teacherhttp://rainetwork.weebly.com/uploads/8/7/0/7/8707200/share_back_to_school_letter.pdf
<![CDATA["How can you mend a broken heart"]]>Fri, 18 Nov 2011 20:30:04 GMThttp://rainetwork.weebly.com/blog/how-can-you-mend-a-broken-heartI have no idea why I ever thought I could blog.  I have so many ideas, but little time to sit and write.  I guess everyday we juggle with our priorities.  
Last month I was standing at the Starbucks, getting my pumpkin latte (fat free) and I heard Al Green's song "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart".  It just stuck in my head.  I downloaded a version on my itunes.  Al Green is one of my favorites and this song is so beautiful.  It struck me in so many ways.  I know that many of us as parents of different ability children go through mourning.  We experience all the stages of grief, sometimes at the same time. There is anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  We experience these emotions at different times, come to acceptance only to have another crisis and resume the cycle again.  So I was wondering, how do you mend a broken hearted parent?  I always thought this group would help with the process.  I really hoped that strength in number would erase the pain many parents have in regards to their child's education and how difficult the special education process can be for many of us.  Of course I know their pain can NEVER be taken away.  Each of us goes through this cycle in our own way, in our own time.  Being the nurse who wants to "FIX" everything, this still was one of my hopes.  Then our group suffered several set backs.  I was in the melancholy mood when I heard this song, which is why it probably struck me so profoundly that day.  
One line in the song states, "no one told us about the sorrow".  Which I think is true of many parents dealing with these issues.  
Then I think of my cardiology (heart) background.  Once you have a heart attack, your heart muscle starts to repair itself.  With modern medicine and medication, the heart becomes strong again. Without the medicine, without treatment, the heart repairs itself in a way that weakens the muscle, stretches the heart, and causes heart failure.  This is well studied, well researched, well documented.  Of course, it is not so simple, but that is the basis.  I of course want that simple formula for my son.  I want that formula for his education.  I want that formula for parenting some times.  It is not there.  It is not that simple.  I have spent the last few years building my community of support not only for my son, but for myself and my family.  The kind of community I want RAIN to be for people who need it.  The community that will help fix a broken education system.  The community that will educate parents to be advocates, support parents so their children can mend in a way that is healthy, so parents can help each other mend in a healthy manner.  We don't need to mend in an unhealthy manner, we don't need to mend on our own, we don't need to deny our broken hearts.   We have the resources, we have the support to help each other mend our broken hearts and heal the sorrow, which is part of parenting.  We can come together like last night with positive energy and help each other out, empower each other and support each other.  "How can we mend a broken heart?"  Build a community.  ]]>
<![CDATA[Building Community]]>Mon, 05 Sep 2011 22:45:59 GMThttp://rainetwork.weebly.com/blog/building-communityOn August 29th, 2011 RAIN had our first back to school picnic.  It was well attended and it was fun.  It was a potluck, with tons of food!  I was able to meet some parents who had children in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program.  I was also excited to meet parents from some of the other schools.  
It felt like the ECE parents were  much more acquainted with each other.  It is nice to have that support early in the education process.  As the parent of a fourth grader now, I wish I had known more parents in my shoes to help explain IEP (Individual Education Plan, another Blog in of  itself), inclusion, fully supported, special education, sensory issues, and the list of initials is endless.  Once your child is placed in the school system there is little in the way of knowing who has an IEP, 504, RTI (more special education language).  
The hopes of RAIN was to provide families with the needed resources and support for their child in an environment of accepting parents.  Some of us have 'been there, done that', some of us have great knowledge of resources in the community, some of us just need an adult outlet with people who know exactly how tough it is to have special needs children, some want to learn parenting techniques, some want to understand the public school system.  We all come with different backgrounds, different needs, at different places in our lives.  We can all learn from each other if we want.  My hopes is we can learn from the ECE parents how to come together as parents and those of us with experiences can help others through the process.  As the year gets off the ground, I hope to meet more parents this year.  I am hoping the web site will be a wealth of knowledge and resource.  The web site is not a substitute for contact with each other.  Reach out and let's help each other make this year a good year for our children, teachers, and ourselves.   ]]>
<![CDATA[First Post!]]>Wed, 31 Aug 2011 23:05:33 GMThttp://rainetwork.weebly.com/blog/first-postThe Web page is up and running.  It is still under construction so please pardon the new site.  We will be posting our meetings and minutes.  Soon we should have our organizational structure up as well.  I hope to blog on occasion about being a parent with a special needs child as well as our organization and the growing pains associated with starting a new group.  Please visit us on the contact page if you have thoughts, questions, need us to contact you. This is all the screen time I can stand for one night.   ]]>