Jemelene Wilson

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Prepping our special needs child for high school | Moms

Today was my daughter's last IEP meeting before heading to high school.

The special needs world is full of abbreviations and acronyms. IEP stands for Individualized Education Program.

The IEP, Individualized Education Program, is a written document that's developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education.

In short, my husband and I just sat in a classroom with my daughter's current teacher, her future teacher and several professionals to discuss the plan for moving her to high school.

Sending a child to secondary education is a huge milestone in every young person's life. Experiencing this with a special needs child is a leap of faith that would make an Evil Knievel stunt look tame.

Allison stayed in the same school from kindergarten to eighth grade for several reasons involving her development and medical needs.

She has been a part of the Fir Grove community for nine years and it is as hard as you would imagine.

She's also had the same Occupational Therapist for most of the past fourteen years. Saying goodbye to him today just gutted me.

When parents step into the world of special needs, there is a numbing fog that comes with us in the beginning.

As we begin to navigate through the daily normal-for-us activities, the fog only returns on occasions like a winter morning in Roseburg.

I've been in denial of this milestone for a long time. I was spoiled by skipping middle school.

Now reality is settling in and although she won't be asking for dates or car keys or sleepovers, it's a huge change and I've decided I'm not ready.

The beautiful flip side is this – she is well enough to go to high school.

Next year Allison will be with her peers she went to kindergarten through fifth grade with, and a whole campus of students her age.

Some will remember her, others will be new and every day with Allison is an adventure.

For Russ and myself, we are already getting to know the staff she'll spend her days around.

It's comforting to be in a small town where we already know so many people and so many friends who know her.

As parents, we all take milestones with our own experience as a filter.

While Allison moves into this next stage, our family will change with her, we'll move forward and grow with her, just like we always do.

it\'s a huge change and I\'ve decided I\'m not ready.

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The News-Review Updated May 30, 2014 09:36AM Published May 30, 2014 09:37AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.