SCEIC Graduate Updates – A Letter from Mom
Joseph and Laura came to SCEIC just shy of their 2nd birthday. At this time they were undiagnosed. Six months later their primary diagnosis was Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) as their birth mother drank throughout the pregnancy. My first reaction was “At least it’s not a dreaded disease. We will fix it!” Little did I know at that time that prenatal alcohol damage is permanent and the number one cause of mental retardation.
During our four years at SCEIC, Joseph and Laura received loving help for every “symptom” of their alphabet soup of diagnosises. Together we dealt with sensory issues(SI), mild cerebral palsy(CP), ADHD, Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Gravitational Insecurities, Pseudo-Intestinal Blockage and whatever other issues I have forgotten Joseph was basically non-verbal until he was 4 and banged his head out of frustration, so as a family, we took sign language. To this day, our family symbol is the “I love you” shorthand.
Throughout the 4 years [at SCEIC] , I was much of a student as the children were. I was prepared for the “real world” and learned to advocate for my children to get them the services they need. Graduation day in 2000 was a tearful, scary event. We all had to graduate.
During the past 10 years, JoeJoe and Wissy as they were called received modifications and accommodations that would be considered unheard of. They were never retained for their fcat scores, yet remained in the regular program. Joe studied English and Reading with students 3 grades lower that he was as a “helper”. They participated in every organized activity that time would allow.
Joe and Laura are now Juniors at Palm Bay High School. Starting their career there, I was devastated when Joe was enrolled for a Special Ed Diploma. This summer, due to the increase in FCAT scores, THEY ARE BOTH ENROLLED FOR REGULAR DIPLOMAS. It may take an extra year in high school, but our forever goal has been a regular diploma. In the world of FAS, this is unheard of.
Athletically, Joe and Laura are 2 year VARSITY LETTER WINNERS in Tennis. Laura plays Libero for JV which is the most challenging volleyball position. Joe is in his 3rd year as administrative assistant for the volleyball program. If you come to a game, under the players names on the gym wall, you will see “Joseph”.
My children still have a long way to go. Joseph in particular is one of the most loved children in the school. We have been working on getting him to shake hands instead of hugging his teachers. As he walks through the halls it is a constant “high 5”. After years of medical issues, including daily injections for what seemed like forever, both children are doing well physically.
When Joe and Laura graduated from 8th grade, I was moved to tears when they both received a Presidential Award. The criteria was “the child would have received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence if not for something beyond their control.” You have never met two children who have tried so hard, for so long.
Laura will have a career working with animals. Joe no longer wants to be a spider or an ice cream truck. He is now talking about being a policeman.
In comparing notes with other FAS parents worldwide, I have to give credit where credit is due, to Space Coast Early Intervention Center. Without this strong basis for my children and myself, we would not be where we are today.
With all my heart, I thank you.