Dani’s Story

That is what I told myself when I made the decision to enroll Danielle, my daughter, in Rising Star. “One year is enough to see if conductive education could help my daughter.”
We came to Rising Star completely by accident. My daughter met a teacher her first day of Sunday school that had experience working with children with cerebral palsy. Within the first couple classes this teacher began to make observations that got my attention, things like how smart Danielle was and how creative she could be, how fun she was to play with and how intricate a sense of humor she had. Observations I had made myself but had been told were impossible because of her brain injury. Then this new teacher began to speak about a school that she had seen “work miracles” for one of the children in her school who had cerebral palsy. This school, Rising Star, seemed like an answer to a prayer.

Truthfully, I was very skeptical. I had prayed for a miracle for four years and I was tired. I had spent countless hours searching the internet looking for help. I had given up life outside of work in order to drive Dani to therapy sessions and specialty appointments. I had recently had another disagreement with the city school system regarding Danielle having an aide in her preschool class and her eligibility for summer therapy services. I had done everything that the experts suggested to help Danielle, with no substantial results. Honestly, I almost didn’t make the phone call. I did not think I could handle another evaluation where Danielle’s difficulties and challenges were listed over and over and the evaluators could not summon a single solid strength that Danielle possessed other than her beautiful smile and her mostly happy disposition. I had begun considering attempting home schooling Danielle because I knew there was more inside my little girl then she could express in the public education environment, but I also realized I had no idea how to work with her.

I knew the day I took Dani out of her preschool that I would place her back in public education. I was terrified to make this change but I choose to try Rising Star for one year.
It only took 4 months.

Within 4 months the severe asthma symptoms Dani struggled with were gone. She was stronger, healthier more interactive, vocal and finding and perfecting ways to communicate. I began to see my daughter blossom in ways I never could have hoped for and was told were impossible. One year later Danielle does not sit in a wheelchair anymore; she sits independently, uses her left side more and is learning to stand up. Balance and coordination are both improving steadily. She is constantly experiencing new things and is showing an ever increasing ability learn. She has already surpassed many of the limits her former teachers predicted for her. At Rising Star I have never had to have a conversation regarding what Danielle cannot do. Conversations with the instructors focus on identifying new goals for Danielle and the steps to achieve them as she is consistently improving. They believe that Danielle is much more than the sum of her disability. They are able to look past her diagnosis and see the beautiful, smart little girl that she is.

I drive Danielle 55 minutes one way, on a good traffic day, to school 4 days a week. My youngest child and I have explored the city of Mentor and the surrounding areas, we know it better then we know our hometown. Every minute is worth it. Rising Star is helping my daughter in more ways than I can count.