What about school for next year? We had an awesome day at Kildonan, home to Camp Dunnabeck. What’s not to like? The curriculum is structured around intense Orton-Gillingham tutoring, they have a state-of-the art assistive technology lab, strong academics, wonderful arts options, a great sports program, and the kids seem to be thriving. All of the teachers are trained to teach kids with reading and learning differences. Matter of fact, all kids with intense reading differences who need more than multi-sensory tutoring should have access to a school like this; an end goal of solving one of the major issues of reading differences as it makes all the difference and can be a lifesaver-really!
ATTENDING A SPECIALIZED SCHOOL FOR KIDS WITH SIGNIFICANT READING DIFFERENCES CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THRIVING AND NOT GETTING THROUGH SCHOOL AT ALL
So why isn’t Kildonan our definite choice at this point? It simply comes down to the fact that it’s not around the corner and it’s not free. We have never given up hope that there must be a way to make it work for us here, and as it turned out, we had the infamous IEP (individualized education program) meeting shortly after our visit to Kildonan. The IEP meetings are when you set goals for the following school year and learn what services your kid can receive through the school district. There are blogs, webinars, and workshops on preparing for IEP meetings and those of us in this complicated world know that IEP meetings are usually the pinnacle of our many stressors. These are the meetings that when we’re through, we go home, have a drink or two, or in my case go for a run, and then have a drink. Fortunately, our IEP meeting went really well because the district surprised us with an option of a reading program called Read 180 at the public middle school and then bussing our daughter back to her regular Montessori school for the rest of her day. This is definitely the most comfortable or least disruptive route for us, but is there one-on-one self-paced tutoring? Probably not. Do we think she will succeed or progress with this type of program with a sprinkling of tutoring? Sigh. I want to be optimistic. I really do.
Let’s just figure out what to do this summer. We were on information overload. Our options for the school year seemed so overwhelming, but then there was the summer. What if we tried Camp Dunnabeck at The Kildonan School for the summer? Previously, when we had researched sending our daughter there it seemed scary expensive, but after looking at private school tuitions it no longer phased us. Besides, this was a way to test the waters and see if Kildonan’s approach was a fit for her.
• What would it be like for our daughter being around other kids with similar learning profiles?
• Would she finally progress with intense, one-on-one Orton-Gillingham tutoring?
• Could she finally have a real summer instead of an occasional camp workshop scheduled around reading services?
We’re going to Camp Dunnabeck. We completed the paperwork, received the acceptance letter with a small grant to boot, and off we went to the where the states of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts meet. Someone asked me if I was going to camp too. The short answer is no, but I was there, which gave me a taste of what life would be like if it were just my daughter, dog and I living by ourselves in a rural area where she could get an education that fits her learning style, but where we would otherwise be separated as a family.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Our daughter is off to Camp Dunnabeck where we have high hopes for her academic and emotional growth. Stay tuned to see how she likes camp, and how the parents, notably me, survived six weeks in a lonely paradise.