Monday, April 12, 2010

Changing course.

This morning I missed an appointment because I was too busy dreaming about teachers in my son's classroom turning into shape-shifters who made me take part in some sort of stage production.

The stress of our son's school situation is invading my sleep time, which already falls pathetically short of what could be considered a normal sleeping schedule. Plus, it's my only ME TIME! 

We uprooted our lives and moved to this city nearly 2 years ago for the amazing children's hospital, but more specifically for their school for the deaf. They have an incredible program for kids with apraxia (hearing kids!) and since our little guy is both deaf and apraxic, this place just seemed too good to be true. Turned out, it was - is. 

He did beautifully there his first year and his teacher noted that after a few months he seemed like a "different kid" - and she meant that in a good way. 

This year the "different kid" status has taken on somewhat negative connotations as he has been treating his classmates like opponents in a WWF wrestling match. There are other problems as well and they all coincide with yet another diagnosis - autism. 

So here we are, unbelievably being told by our deaf school that they can't really successfully educate a deaf kid. I agree. They have no expertise or experience bringing methods that work for autistic children into their classrooms. I applaud their honesty, yet I admit that it feels pretty bad on so many levels to be in this situation. 

As it turns out, our public early childhood school has a program specifically for kids Ethan's age and the focus is on social communication, which is exactly what he needs at this time. We're not sure how we'll get the need for ASL addressed, but I am confident that it will be done as this is one of the most compassionate and professional group of teacher's and administrators I've ever met. 

So he'll transition to a new school that is only 3 minutes from our home and that is staffed with wonderfully caring people who know how to reach kids like Ethan. What at once seemed like really tough news turned into something that I'm very optimistic about. My dreams lately seem to say otherwise, but I think that for the most part I trust that he's in great hands and I feel profoundly grateful for it. 



  1. We go Wed to see a developmental classroom - 10 kids, one teacher, 3 EA's. Ironically little boys reading is too high to get in but with the autism, comprehension and communication issues we can go. He's too smart - yet technically non-verbal etc - for a PDD classroom and since they are high behavioural - I don't want him in one anyways.
    They left him without support Fri. OT squealed... just wish she had during the day not at 8pm. It's just one of many problems we've had.
    I swore I'd never take him out of the regular classroom... but it's no longer safe and this class comes with high praise so we'll give it a try.

  2. It's starting to seem like we need to accept the fact that we'll never be able to get comfortable with the school situation. The dynamics of our son's diagnosis combined with the many changes in personnel and resources in the public schools make me feel like it will just be another roller coaster ride - like everything else. I'm holding out hope that it's a good ride though.
    We had a similar problem at the deaf school. The only classroom that came close to being able to accommodate the behavioral issues is also a classroom for kids who are cognitively impaired. He is definitely that....but he could also read at age 3. These little people are nothing if not complex!