DSM: Seeking CT mavericks and info re:" developmental disabilities"

Holly L McHaelen (whoopskaboom@juno.com)
Sat, 30 Sep 2000 01:15:47 -0400

Hello All!

I've fallen madly in love with the SVS model (via the fabulous Greenwood
Sudbury School in Hampton CT) and am hoping to get some guidance around a
couple of matters.

First, I've been thinking about the possibility of starting a SV school
in central CT (ah, the crazy things we do when we're in love, huh?)--
Greenwood really is an extraordinary environment, but it is a 40 minute
drive each way in good weather/traffic conditions. If I need to do that
drive for a dozen or more years, I will, but I'd rather not have to. And
also, I would love to be a part of making this kind of education
available to more young people, there's such a need for it. My question
is about how to find other folks who might be interested in (and able to
commit to) doing the work of getting a school off the ground. I've been
talking with a number of other parents about it, but can only picture one
or two of them (at most) being in it for the long haul. Can anyone
suggest any avenues for connecting with others in my area?

Second, two of my friends who've expressed interest in the SV model have
children with developmental issues (both are 4 year old boys, one was
born very premature and has significant speech/cognitive delays, the
other is mildly autistic]. The parents are concerned that their
children's "special needs" might not be met within a SV environment. I
loved Daniel Greenberg's article *Why Sudbury Valley School Doesn't Work
for Everyone: Real Learning Disabilities* because it helped me see these
boys as the pristine, as-yet-undamaged, full-of-wonder gifts that they
are-- and I really fear for them if they go into the conventional school
system, which would probably crush them with labels and "services".
So far, I haven't found anything in the SV literature which speaks to the
issue of children with "developmental disabilities" (I'm not talking
about so-called "learning disabilities" like dyslexia or ADHD, but rather
instances where there are significant *developmental* delays) within SV
environments. As I've considered this situation, I realize that, in
the same way I (and SV) question/eschew age-segregation, I'm disinclined
to think there's any benefit in segregating children by perceived
intelligence or ability. I guess my bottom line is that they're both
great, sparkly, sweet kids, and I don't want my daughter to miss out on
knowing them as peers. What do others think? Can anyone direct me to
any literature or offer any anecdotal experience in this area? I'd
appreciate it so much!

Many thanks!

Holly McHaelen
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