I am so thankful that we found South Florida School of Excellence

 I am so thankful that we found South Florida School of Excellence

I am a mother of an exceptional young man who also has Autism. Before I even knew what autism really was, I was automatically directed to the IDEA and told to fight, fight, fight.

Before I could even fully comprehended what perseveration was and what stimming was and what near senses were, I was in IEP meetings in the Miami Dade County Public school system with a huge binder in hand, the IDEA printed and 3-hole punched and highlighted. I had advocates and lawyers and I was a warrior. I fought the public school system for my child EVERY DAY from Pre-K until 6th grade. Fighting for my child’s right to an education somehow became my norm. I spent more time at my sons school then I spent at work or with my other three children.

Year after year of IEP meetings which consisted of Seven or eight people from the school system going around the table and telling me all the ways that my son was lacking. Everyone would tell me all of the negative things about my child. One teacher even called my son disrespectful because he had fleeting eye contact.
I knew the public school, teachers and staff just didn’t get autism and they certainly didn’t understand my child but I fought because my high functioning gifted child had a legal right to an education even if he stemmed, walked out of class and hid when his sensory issues caused him to go into overload.

I dreaded every new school year and new teachers because that meant I was going to have to teach the new teacher how to understand my child.
I walked out of EVERY single IEP meeting in the public school system year after year in tears and feeling defeated—which is honestly the last thing a parent with a special needs child needs help feeling.
Finally, in 6th grade after my child’s meeting left me feeling angry and exhausted I realized that had enough fighting . They would never understand my child’s autism. Immediately when I left the IEP meeting I started googling private schools.

I write this because I am so thankful that we found South Florida School of Excellence. This school changed our lives.
When you decide it’s time to leave public school it’s scary. As a parent you feel like a failure. I called and scheduled a tour and met the principal. I was still uncertain until I got there.

To my surprise the principal sat me down in her office and talked to me. She really listened to my very long story of failed education as tears poured down my face. By the end of the meeting we were in agreement that the public school system was failing my child but she promised she wouldn’t.

So I gave it a try.. I enrolled my child at SFSE and as of today he has now been enrolled happily for two years.
My child has completely flourished and for the FIRST time he is happy about school. He is accepted, loved, understood, learning, challenged academically & has even made FRIENDS!

If you are a parent reading this please, please, please... go see and meet the people and students at SFSE. Your child does not have to be misunderstood. The public school system is ill equipped for our children. The warrior mode that we parents turn on as we learn to fight constantly for our children can be turned off if you give this school a try. School doesn’t have to be a constant battle for your child to get an education.

Thank you SFSE for giving me my peace back. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I only wish I had found you sooner.

Gina Nicole Vlasek - 02/09/2021