This is the final entry in my Educating Alex series. I do not believe that educating Alex will ever cease, she will learn and grow for her entire lifetime, just like everyone else.
Alex will be eligible for a transition program provided by the public school district after high school graduation and until she is 21. I do not think the program that exists today is suitable for Alex. I am working to change this; I do not know if I will successful in the next two years.
Alex may go to college. There are more and more programs for disabled students, and especially down syndrome. If Alex wants to go away (which currently she does) I will do my best to find the right place for her. However this does not fulfill all the future needs of Alex. She will need a place to live and a career that is fulfilling and appropriate for her. I am very confident in her skills and her intelligence, but I also want her to feel included. I want her to be a part of a community of acceptance and support.
To that end, I wrote the following in February. I have gotten a group of like minded individuals together and we going to create a place for Alex and her peers, a haven and heaven for her. I feel energized and optimistic. Everyone should have a bright and promising future, and if we need to make it happen we will.
The Journey to WindWalkers Ranch
In July I will conclude my year long journal of Alex’s life, The Ordinary Life of an Extraordinary Girl. Writing has helped me realize what an incredible honor it is to raise a child with disabilities. But it has also helped me refine and realize my dreams of a future for Alex. She will not leave our home at 18 and go to college like her brother and sister. Her future will be different and we will need to help create it.
We dream of a life for Alex where she is independent, but that may or may not exist in the way I imagine. I envision a place where Alex is safe and protected from danger. I hope for a place where Alex is surrounded by friends and people that care about her success. Whether this is in a rural or urban environment is not important to me. It is important that Alex can work, be responsible for herself and feel fulfilled.
Recently, Molly, the Executive Director of WindWalkers, the therapeutic riding center where Alex rides shared a dream with me. She dreams that we have enough money to buy some land, to start our own WindWalkers Ranch. This ranch will be a place where disabled children come to ride and feel safe. I love this dream.
In my vision we take this model of WindWalkers, and we incorporate living and life skills. What if we could buy some land, build residential units, invite disabled adults to live there, and build this around therapeutic riding. We would also be providing a home for people likes Alex. People that can be fulfilled by working on the ranch, or even working in the local towns, but have a safe place to live.
To be clear, I have a dream that Alex lives on WindWalkers Ranch and we use all the resources and talented people of WindWalkers to start this huge project. I do not know whether this can ever come to pass, but with enough hard work and dreaming I believe we have a chance.
Thus I begin this journey.
One more thing....donations happily accepted!