Our daughter, Kelsey, is often described as someone who is always happy, always has a smile and appears to never have a bad day. That is a pretty accurate description of her, but there was a time during her freshman year at Houston High School when that was not the case. Kelsey, having suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury as a baby, spent years with every type of therapist imaginable and various special education programs, working toward a goal of being mainstreamed in an education environment with “typical” kids.
While at Houston H.S., like many students with learning disabilities, Kelsey quickly fell behind her peers in this highly competitive, educational setting. Two hours of homework for a typical kid was the equivalent four hours of homework for Kelsey. The stress of trying to keep up with her fellow students and the inability to learn simple, everyday tasks that others master with ease, soon led to a great deal of frustration and a constant stream of tears on a nightly basis. This happy go lucky kid, who always had a smile for whomever she met, was unhappy and miserable. In addition, while all the kids at school were very friendly with Kelsey, she was not your typical teenager, and therefore, had no real friends of her own. She did not go on any social outings, with the exception of when she joined her sisters.
Laurie and I knew we had to do something different, and after a long search, we found Concord Academy. Kelsey attended Concord Academy from her sophomore to her senior year in high school, graduating in May 2012. Concord’s program allowed Kelsey to achieve both scholastic and social success at a pace and in an environment that helped her finish her secondary academic life joyfully.
Post high school, Kelsey attended the Brain Injury Program at the Vocational Rehab in Smyrna, TN. After five months in this residential setting, Kelsey came home to Memphis where she worked several part-time jobs awaiting the start of her 2-3 year program at The Horizons School in Birmingham, AL.
The Horizons School provides both classroom and real life teaching settings that challenge Kelsey to master the necessary skills needed to live and work independently. Kelsey is set to graduate Horizons in May 2015.