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.