Special needs child works hard to keep up with classmates in integrated classroom

Davey Bosze has to work especially hard to keep up with his kindergarten classmates.

"Someone once said, 'Don't expect much of him," said Davey's mother Cyndi Bosze.

"That was the wrong thing to say to me."

Things like tying shoes or climbing steps - activities that come more naturally to other children in the integrated classroom at Hualapai Elementary School - are a little more difficult for the six-year-old special needs child.

"It takes longer to go up the steps to the slide.

He gets frustrated and sometimes quits," Bosze said.

"All I ask is that he try.

Sometimes, to convince himself, he repeats over and over again, 'Just try, just try.' He is a little trooper."

Bosze and her husband, Dave, started noticing something "wasn't right" with Davey" when he was about three months of age.

"I remember hearing (the pediatrician's) concerns and his recommendations - 'Let's do some testing,'" she said.

"Thus, began our long and exhausting journey."

The diagnoses was mild mental retardation, but the difficult part of that journey had less to do with problems the family faced then the label society places on such a child, Bosze said.

"My son could receive no additional help until an 'expert' had determined that he fit the qualifications someone had established," she explained.

"If he did not fit someone's particular brand of disability, he could not receive any special services."

While living in Ohio the family complied with all the requisite testing to qualify for the early intervention program for birth-to-3-year-olds for developmentally delayed children.

However, by the time Davey was finally eligible to receive assistance the family had moved to Kingman and no longer qualified.

"When Davey was three and a half years we moved to the state of Arizona.

They said it was up to the school district to provide services," Cyndi said.

The Bosze family opened Donut Depot May 2001 on Stockton Hill Road, and a year later expanded to a second location on Northern Avenue.

But the donut business is not a big money maker, Dave Bosze said, and he recently went back to his job as a truck-driver while Cyndi makes and sells the donuts.

"If we closed our doors and stopped working our child would benefit from the services like speech therapy and special programs the state offers," he said.

"But our income is above what the state guidelines specify."

Working within the school system, the couple placed Davey in a special needs classroom last year, but Cyndi Bosze said the move was not a good one.

"He was in an isolated classroom for "at risk" students last year, but he wasn't learning anything.

I don't want to have my child babysat," she said.

"I want him to learn."

She ended up taking Davey out of the class and home-schooling him for the rest of the year.

"Children with delays, no matter how mild or severe...need to learn," she said.

"They can advance if they get special services while they are young.

Then they won't be so much of a drain on society when they are 30.

"Teach them now, so they can have some self respect and dignity instead of having people say (when they are older), 'Oh that poor man.'"

This year the Boszes put Davey in an integrated kindergarten classroom at another school.

Cyndi said he attends group therapy once a week and she works with Davey about two hours a day at home to keep him up with his classmates.

"I notice the difference," Cyndi said.

"The teacher said he is learning.

Even so, it is difficult for Davey because he is a slow learner and gross motor skills to play games such as kickball, are lacking.

"This is a regular integrated classroom," said Hualapai Elementary School principal Jill Russ of the class Davey attends.

"Fortunately the teacher has a dual certification to also teach special education.

Each child has his or her own special needs."

Cyndi added when she isn't working at the donut shop she takes Davy camping or swimming to improve his motor skills, or she helps him with computer games.

"But sometimes I feel like crying.

I feel so isolated and alone.

But then I think, 'we can do this,'" she said.

"I know there are other parents out there who are going through what we are."

The Boszes want to start a support group for parents of special needs children.

"We are hoping people in a similar situation can get together to help each other help our children," Dave Bosze said.

"There is a lot of information out there that could be shared, especially for children with special needs.

Something as minor as a recommendation to a good dentist for a special needs child can help."

For more information contact Cyndi Bosze at the donut shop between 9 a.m.

and 2 p.m., or E-mail Bosze@ctaz.com.