Gifted and Hopeful for College

February 3, 2016

Shanti’s mother’s rights were terminated when Shanti was two years old. She was adopted by the foster family with whom she’d been placed upon removal, the family that had cared for her most of her short life. For several years, she was flourishing in school, and generally a happy little girl.

This all changed shortly after Shanti started fourth grade. She began acting out, her emotions were erratic, and her report cards plummeted. The adoptive parents made a few attempts to seek outside support to help make their family work, but ultimately decided that this girl they’d taken into their home and adopted was no longer worth the hassle. They dropped her off at the hospital and never picked her back up.

Through counseling, it was discovered that she had been sexually assaulted by a teenaged neighbor. The combined trauma of the abuse and her abandonment by two sets of parents, understandably left 9-year-old Shanti with some challenging and unhealthy emotional responses. Her behaviors were unpredictable, as she searched for any type of attention she could get. She was placed in a residential treatment facility to help her work through her feelings and learn how to develop positive relationships with her peers.

Shanti was given an IEP that instructed she receive interpersonal support, but Shanti was the only girl her age at the group home, and so was the only child in her class. This made it impossible for the facility’s school to follow her Interpersonal IEP, and she was making no progress toward intellectual and emotional growth and recovery. Rather than seeking alternative solutions to get Shanti the interaction she so desperately needed, the group home kept her on-grounds, in a class by herself, which violated Special Education laws.

KidsVoice fought for and won the right for Shanti to go to public school, where she could be given the chance to be in a normal class setting with other children her own age on a daily basis and where her IEP would be honored. KidsVoice felt that Shanti’s intellect was being overlooked because of her emotional instabilities, and further requested that she be tested for the gifted program. Shanti scored high on the tests and she was accepted into the program.

Shanti is 15 now and at her new public high school she loves her teachers. Her grades have returned to the high marks of her early years and she’s finally getting the education for which her brain had so long been starved. She’s the stage manager for the school’s theater program and is involved in the mock trial program. Her new friends and her gifted teacher help support Shanti as she pursues her dream of graduating college.