Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Changes...Again.



As you can see from this photo, Ethan had a great time over spring break. We drove down to Virginia to see my family and spent the night in a hotel along the way. Ethan was pretty excited about the whole affair and was generally really well behaved and manageable.

We've been planning his transition to kindergarten next year and it has sure been a roller coaster ride. His school for the deaf (the one we moved here for) basically announced in a meeting that they don't feel equipped to manage his needs next year. They will take him back, but they encouraged us to look at the public school option.

This sort of took my breath away. It seems like a huge paradigm shift for them, since I remember being told that they never turn a deaf child away. They aren't exactly turning him away, but gently nudging him through the door.

I applaud their honesty actually. I agree; they aren't equipped to deal with him or his behavior. They don't have expertise or experience in bringing methodology that works for autistic children into their classrooms.

So we have been looking into the public early childhood school and as it turns out, they practically have a tailor made program for him to walk into. The only thing that this program is lacking is sign language. We'll have to ask for an interpreter/aide for him, but the class is focused on social communication skills and is staffed by a teacher, SLP, and OT who all have become experienced and well versed in reaching and teaching autistic children. Ethan is doing really well academically, he tested at a 1st grade level at age 4, so we're not worried about the focus going towards the social communication stuff since that's where he is severely lacking.

The school is only a 4 minute drive and the staff that I've been meeting with are all tremendously professional and compassionate. I had a particularly tough time in one meeting recently and one of them stayed afterwards and gave me a huge hug with tears in her eyes. They get it and they care and that's more than I could ever ask for.

We're excited about the change! I did have a really weird dream yesterday about his teachers turning into shape-shifters, but I think it's normal for me to have some level of subconscious uncertainty. But even with some underlying anxiety, this just feels right.

14 comments:

Kristina said...

It sounds like you moved to an area where there are some really great school options for Ethan. I think that is just amazing! I'm glad that the public option seems to be a possible good fit and that St. Rita's will continue with Ethan until all is worked out with the public school.

I love Ethan's shirt! I know you are exhausted, so it's really true!, but what makes the photo even more adorable is it seems like he isn't even the tiniest bit tired!

Kyla said...

His shirt cracked me up!!

This new program sounds great! I hope he really thrives in it!

Anonymous said...

You may have already stumbled upon this, but in case you haven't there is an older issue of Gallaudet University's Odyssey journal out there discussing deafness and autism. You can download the issue here...

http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu/Clerc_Center/Information_and_Resources/Publications_and_Products/Odyssey/Vol_9_Issue_1.html

tammy said...

Love his shirt! So funny! Glad to hear that you have found a good fit for Ethan next year and teacher's already showing they care. First grade level at age 4! That's amazing! : )

I am Trish Marie said...

Sometimes change is exactly what is needed. I loved Emmi's school for PPCD, but it just wasn't a good fit for kinder. I was terrified of switching the girls' school, but it turned out so well. I hope you have the same experience.

Hetha said...

Thanks Anonymous!

Kel said...

Wow Heather! I'm sorry to hear about the deaf school but am glad they're being honest about everything. That's so wonderful that there's such a solid public option available for Ethan, I Can't wait to hear how he does in it!

R@T said...

Nice shirt. Probably what I am heading for at the end of summer.

Beck said...

It's funny what unexpected blessings can happen although I'm sorry that the deaf school didn't work out - but his new program sounds WONDERFUL.

Cheryl said...

If your gut tells you it feels right, it it most likely is. It sounds like you have a group of caring teachers and support staff around you who truly care about Ethan and see his positives, as well as areas he needs to work on. That is a HUGE plus. You need to feel supported, and from your post, it sounds like you do, and that made me feel good. I always told you he was one smart little boy. I know he will thrive and adapt in his program, especially as he matures with age. You are such a great mother Heather.

I love that picture of him, and the shirt is perfect. Do they come in teen sizes?

Love you.
Cheryl

Lisa said...

Ok, first things first, I LOVE that shirt! I need 4 of them :)
Second, I truly think moving here was a terrific choice. What a blessing that you have some options! I'm so glad that you moved to a district that already has a program in place that will benefit Ethan. He so lucky to have the parents that he does. Remember to take time for yourself!

Anonymous said...

have you ask for an oral interpreter for the deaf school? they may feel more comfortable having him there that way.

Aliki2006 said...

Sometimes change is good! And you're right, although it hurts, it IS better for the school to be honest, rather than muddle through next year.

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