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The Road Less Taken Indeed, For Me At Least

Yesterday I had a meeting with all of the school officials that are helping determine the best path to take with the boy and his Aspergers. It was a long meeting, a lot of information to take in and in the end, so worth it. There were many ideas tossed around, books recommended (one of which we have already, yay us!) and the notification that, officially, he qualifies for school district programs for Autism Spectrum Disorder students What that means is that my boy will be getting some of the best help from this panel of educators. Next week we meet for an IEP meeting with his teacher to lay out a plan specific to him. Right before the winter break this year, it will be reviewed and new one written up for him. I also found out that we don't have to pay for the last 3 months of preschool. When he qualified for these programs through the school district, it meant his preschool tuition was absorbed by the district. I'm not sure how that all works but really, I'm not complaining. I've been worried about paying for Kindergarten Plus (that's what they call full day kindergarten here) and preschool for the girl. That brings us to the other decision that we made.

Full day kindergarten vs 1/2day. In talking with his teacher, and each other at home, we decided that full day would be best for him. It's all day structured learning, the transition from kindergarten to 1st grade would be less of a problem, he would be used to the routine of all day at school. Towards the end of the meeting yesterday, I asked the women what they thought of 1/2 day vs full day. All of them said they would recommend 1/2 day program. The thinking there is that if he does full day, that's 9am - 3pm. That's a lot for a "regular" child. It would be so overwhelming for an Aspergers child. I never thought of it that way. He's so anxious and borderline outburst all the time that I really don't want him to feel that he's expected to do all the things the other kids are doing. I don't want to put that pressure on him. Lord knows there will be plenty of that later in school. After talking with the husband last night, we've decided to do 1/2 day with Adventure Club Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It's a program that runs in the school day as well as after school. This way, he gets the schooling he needs but also, he gets the full day experience for part of the week without the pressure of learning. It should be fun for him. So 1/2 day Kindergarten is free to all students (full day is $2700/year). Adventure Club is not free but for three 1/2 days a week, it's not as expensive. Plus, when he's in Adv Club, he will still see his specialists so they won't have to pull him out of class all the time. All in all, we're happy with the plan we have right now.

I only knew about Autism through various news stories and little blips on the internet. I never really had an interest in it until, of course, it hit too close to home. Right smack in our living room, if you will. I have so much information in my head now that I truly have no idea what to do with it all. I'm sure there's one out there but for the sake of my sanity, I'm going to vent about something. Roll with me ok?

I wish that someone out there would write a book for us parents of the 4' and under variety. A book that tells us (recommends, if you will) the steps you need to take right after a diagnosis of Aspergers. I know I'm an intelligent woman, really I am!, but sometimes I just need a straightforward "This is what you should do now" smack upside the head. Diagnosis? Check. Now you need to talk to the school. Check. Get him on a plan at school. Check. What the hell else do we do? This is where I lose my mind. Do I wait and see how the plan at school works? Do I get an outside Occupational Therapist for him to work with in addition to the one at school? Do I seek out other Asperger kids and have him play with them? Do I make another drink for myself? I know you see what I mean people. You have to. The confusion and GAH! factor is overwhelming for me. I guess we'll take our lumps as they come and modify things when needed.

One thing we are avoiding with this entire process is medicating the boy. I know there are parents out there who swear by it, that it has changed their child for the better. I just don't think it's for us right now. We will try every avenue, just about every idea before we think about it. At the meeting yesterday, I told them, " I will not consider putting him on medication unless this gets so out of control that I need medication." That's no lie. If it gets so bad that my anxiety and depression and hopelessness makes it impossible to deal with, then I'll think about medicine for him. And me.


Les Becker said…
I SO admire you for not going full tilt with pills for him. I always wonder how smart that is, but not having to deal with the types of things I read about some people having to deal with, I always stay out of the "meds conversations".

I hope it works out that you all manage to cope in other ways. I think you'll be doing The Boy a favour in the long run.
Anonymous said…
you are doing all the right things. You are talking to the school, you are talking to the teacher, you are talking to the experts. SO many people that I have seen have 'ignored' the issues, hoping that they will just go away on thier own, and then complain about how they had no help when they had it right there all along. There is nothing that you could be doing 'better'. YOU write the book! Write it for those folks that will go through the things that you are dealing with. You write in a very approachable way, it will be a must read :-)
And yes, make yourself that drink too :-)

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