The first day of Kindergarten. We had been anticipating this day the moment Brandon was born. When the doctor gave us her initial diagnosis of a 99,99% chance of Brandon having Down syndrome, we jumped to recreate and tweak his life and education path. But over time, we were pretty hopeful Brandon could mirror as “normal” of an educational experience as his typical peers. We also knew it was going to take a lot of work. We were up for it because we live by no regrets motto, and knew that one of us had to give up our jobs and stay home to ensure his success.
In the beginning, we knew nothing about inclusion. We just knew we didn’t like the word exclusion. We began reading, networking and attending conferences and workshops to soak in everything. Our goal was to understand the different components for a successful school path regardless of the outcome. We were hoping to create a “combo plate” where we could mix and match for the best environment. Kindergarten wasn’t anything what we had hoped for. Brandon wasn’t given an aide, and we no internal support for his success. He was suspended 3 times and so we moved. The commute was long, but Brandon spent the next several years with lifelong teacher, staff and Principal(s) who are still cheering him on.