Deciding to Change Schools
I had long considered putting Katie in another school, but the public-school system kept reassuring me that they could handle her needs.
“Have you had kids like Katie?” I asked more than once.
“And have they gone on to college?”
“Our goal here is to ensure that Katie will lead a productive and independent life.”
I felt a knot in my stomach. Did they think Katie should be bagging groceries for the rest of her life? What if Katie wanted more? I didn’t want her to suffer one more day in public school.
My neighbor, Jane, a public school teacher for 20 years, asked me one day, “Why don’t you put Katie in another school? Every day that she’s in that school, she’s reminded that she’s different, and that she’ll never be as good as the other kids. What do you think that does to her self-esteem?”
Beginning the Search for an ADD/ADHD-Friendly School
I began looking at alternatives to public school. I discovered Willow Hill School -- a small private school for kids with learning disabilities, a few miles from our house. It had everything I wanted -- a low student-to-teacher ratio, a new gym, a computer lab, a drama program, and, most important, other students with disabilities.
Katie was reluctant to go and see the school (“I don’t want to leave my friends”), and I had to bribe her to go by promising to buy her a Tamagotchi. After spending a day at Willow Hill, meeting students, and sitting in on a class, she remarked, “Mom, if you want me to go there, I will. It’s pretty cool.”