One thing I know for sure is that parents of children with disabilities worry more than most. When I try to cope, I like to plan for things ahead of time, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. When it came to approaching my daughter’s second semester of college at a new campus I tried to ease my worries as well as my daughter’s.

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Sara started her second college class last month with Successful Learning, a program for students with intellectual disabilities. Prior to the start of class we took a road trip up to the new campus.  Though it was beneficial for Sara to see the campus, it benefitted me in more ways. If she had a seizure at school I already would know how to get there, where to park, and then only have to worry about how Sara is doing. In 2011 my daughter Sara received an implanted device that helps with her own seizures. Though it doesn’t mean she’ll be 100% after a seizure or be able to completely stop one, she knows how the device works and what it does.

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Sara really enjoyed the first semester at college and showed enthusiasm in trying a different class the following semester. Her new class also meant a new teacher, and though the staff at her day program has been trained to use the Vagus Nerve Stimulator, it meant Sara would have to be comfortable in her knowledge of her device. The day program director had told the parents that staff would drive the students to campus and accompany the students to the program.  I asked Sara if she knew what to do if the staff wasn’t in her class. She assured me she would alert the teacher and give a short training on how to use the device if she were to have a seizure.

Sara came home from her new class, excited about the new material, and willing to answer my questions about the first day. When I asked her about the staff from the day program she informed me that, no, the staff never went into the classroom and never spoke to the teacher. I had nothing to worry about because Sara assured me the teacher was fine with the explanation she gave about the device and how it operates.

I called the program director of Successful Learning Center. Sherry, the director, was very pleased to see Sara’s independent streak and she assured me she would check with the teacher on whether she had more questions. The director was sure Sara did a fine job explaining the device. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I think it’s time for this mom to give her daughter a little more room to advocate for herself about her health care needs. However, I will be here if she needs me.

Learn more about Sara’s classes at www.successfullearning.com  . Lisa Bock

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