I am terrified of what the next school year holds
The last few writings have been about the success of therapy, but there’s more to it. Kyson has been in public school all along and has been blessed with an amazing Special Education Teacher. As a parent with a child in school who have special needs, we have an Individualized Education Program, IEP. An IEP is a document that is developed for each child’s needs, goals are placed and it is created by the parent and education team.
He is a quick learner, but still emerging. We’ve been fortunate to have such a great teacher and paraprofessionals who spends their time meeting his needs in the classroom. His Special Education Teacher, I wish I had half the energy that woman carries every day. I’m so proud to have my son in her class. I am sad and terrified of what next year will hold.
Next year Kyson will head off to kindergarten. Meaning 3 hours will go up to 7 hours spent in a school facility. In the last two weeks, I’ve been invited to visit two schools. Both schools are of the same district, but just different structures. It felt like a do or die moment, I just want Kyson to start off next year where he would be comfortable. The thing is, I’m not even sure since how he is at school is different than how he is at home. Different environments, different interactions, and different people in each setting.
After the visits, a last-minute request to revisit the IEP to ensure his placement was made. It went great, there was a lot of communication and connection. I love hearing the stories of Kyson because I can’t witness all the moments when something amazing happens. (he let his friend hug him and he hugged back). I had the Senior Staff from our ABA therapy team come to the meeting to make sure everything is transparent and we meet Kyson’s needs.
The decision was made for him to start next year not at his homeschool, but with a program the school district provides for children who have Autism. I went in thinking we are going to do it this way and came out with an even better plan. It’s all so new to me still, but the support of everyone in the room assured that decision was not permanent. It really was my own fear that I was unable to let go of. I couldn’t let go of what was currently working for Kyson. I forget that it’s “him” we are teaching and letting him grow in the best setting possible.
Why this decision? Connection was made! The excitement and not being able to wait to meet my son from the New School’s Staff, check! The positive stories of seeing my son emerging and wishing she could keep him for another 6 months from his Special Education Teacher, check! The assurance that the new program provides similar tasks and learning styles to our home therapy by Senior Staff, check!
Mainstream is Changing
I recently read a blog about choosing between school and therapy for your young child. The blog geared towards having your child in therapy before the transition to mainstream school. Having an opinion on how mainstream school isn’t the right choice until your child is ready. In reality, well this is reality! Not everyone is able to make the decision to keep their child home. Not all schools are the mainstream. Public Schools are growing. They are adapting and learning how to reach all student needs.
We are fortunate that our school district, and I believe out of the entire state, offer this program specifically to children on the spectrum. The school district and staff that are involved with our IEP has been nothing, but focused on my son. They can teach him the way he learns. I hope that more school districts open programs like this to all who need it.
- Anna MV