10/20/09

Week Full of Changes

It’s only Tuesday and I think I’m emotionally finished for the week ;).  This has been a huge week for Eli…today being the beginning of his “real” kindergarten year, and we are so ecstatic. 

I met with the team for the IEP development  meeting yesterday.  For those of you who have followed this IEP saga, you know it has taken extraordinary effort and time to FORCE the school to do what they’re supposed to do.  We started this process back in June I think?  This should have been finished well before school started on September 8th, but it has dragged on until yesterday, October 19th.  To those of you who don’t know what that process involves, count yourself blessed, and to those who do know how hard that road is, you totally understand.  I’m not sure if Fairfax County drags its feet in hopes that you will give up?  And the snide remark made by a major special education person yesterday about how they “really didn’t take this long to make our lives miserable, they just needed this time to get to know Eli”.  BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.  That was nice.  I bit my tongue so hard it was nearly bleeding.  But the bottom line is that Eli’s meds are working so well, and he is behaving so wonderfully in class that the adjustments (his Individualized Education Plan) are very minor, and they have approved to move him from being based out of the autism classroom, to moving full time into the regular kindergarten with all the “normal” kids.  When needed, they will allow him time to finish up a project, because he has a hard time putting something away if it’s not finished.  It’s very frustrating for him, and they will allow him to finish.  They also will give him some warnings of an upcoming change in activity so that he can mentally prepare for it.  Autistic kids have a hard time moving from one activity to the next without a lot of warning, so adjustments like these are minor to us, but major to Eli…and this makes all the difference. 

So today Chase and I accompanied Eli to the autism classroom to say goodbye to his friends and pick up the rest of his supplies to take over to the new classroom.  I wasn’t prepared to nearly burst into tears watching that goodbye.  I was proud, relieved, and overwhelmed at what it has taken to get to this point.  We have not gotten here easily.  Thinking about the past year reminds me of some of the worst memories I’ve ever had, but some of the most  joyous as well.  I think his classmates were confused as to why he was leaving, and his teacher assured him that they would see him in the halls.  My heart was saddened to break up that small little group of 8 kids.  8 kids and 3 teachers…that has been a blessing and I have known every day when I drop him off that he is in the best hands with those teachers.  The administration of Fort Belvoir has been a nightmare, but the teachers are so wonderful and have exceeded every single expectation I’ve had. 

And then we left that classroom to go to his new class…where he was welcomed with open arms. I do know that we haven’t “overcome” this THING.  Autism.  I know that we have many hurdles and many battles to fight, and probably some to fight really soon with our impending move.  But for me…today… everything was okay.  HE is okay.  WE are okay.  And regardless of all of the fears and questions we’ve asked ourselves over the years, we have done the best we could…and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. 

7 comments:

Mrs. G said...

Aww..I hope your little man does great in his new class with his new teacher! Sounds like your doing a great job mama!!

Kelly said...

Hang in there! I can't imagine what you are going thru but it seems like you are handling it all very well! Love the song- we all have days when we need to hear it.

Stacey said...

I'm glad he is doing well, and I hope everything works out in his new class!

And...you have brown hair! I love it!

Stacey said...

Thank you all so much!!! We'll see how it goes! Eli loves his new classroom!

C said...

I just want to say, Stacey, that I love you and your family very much, and that right now, I am soooo proud of you and Eli and the rest of your family, as well!!!!

I feel like we've all gotten the chance to watch Eli grow up right before our very eyes!!!! :)))

I know what it feels like when you just wanna say "I am emotionally finished for the week"... I'm just so glad and thankful that my week this week isn't looking like that... :)

Norman J. Cannon said...

It's all due to you, babe... your hard work, patience, uncanny instincts, and sheer fabulous mommyhood. I love you baby...

samskat said...

Yea! I am so happy for all of you! There is an article on mainstreaming autistic kids in the Nov issue of Parents. I tried to find it online so I could send you the link, but alas, I couldn't. ;) Thought you might find it interesting!! :)