Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Time to "Be Prepared"

I thought that was a fun title for this post as Big Brother is a Tiger Scout and one of their den rules is "Be Prepared" (in preparation for becoming a boy scout in several years). But now it's my turn. We are approaching a major change in our child-raising experience when it comes to autism. And, because of the timing of various things, the time has now come to start preparing myself.

I am speaking, of course, about Ballerina's and Music Man's imminent entry into kindergarten. It's coming in September, whether we are ready for it or not. That's 8 months away. And decisions need to be made. We need to figure out what programs are best for them. We need to determine what areas we need to focus on to allow them to be successful as their school careers advance. And that decision-making process begins this week.

Yup.....on Thursday, Dad and I are going to visit the first of the recommended programs. We will visit another next week. This one is the one that I'm hoping will be the best fit for Ballerina. It's a special education program in our home school. The teacher's reputation for working with her students cannot be questioned (although parents often seem to fear her). The students are blended with their typical peers for specials and they share lunch/recess together as well. There are further mainstreaming opportunities if it is appropriate for each student. And this program has been my target, initially for both of my kids (Music Man's ideal placement is not in this program, however, per his teachers).

However, this is a HUGE step for my Ballerina. One of the benefits / detriments to her current program is that the teacher:student ratio is 1:1. She is used to having a teacher or para-educator beside her every moment of the day to help her, even though they have been trying to encourage her to do things independently. This will NOT be true in kindergarten, regardless of which program she is to enter. This is going to be hard for her to take.

I also have been hearing things that are happening in the school that makes me nervous. I have concerns about bullying, in particular. I'm not too concerned about this at the kindergarten level -- everything I hear affects children in the older grades. But I have to figure out how this is handled and how I can be on the look-out for my children to be sure they aren't victimized. I don't want to see all of their progress fade away because I have this dream of them to be just like all of the other children.

I also have to, once again (just as I did 2 years ago), remind myself that Ballerina and Music Man are two very different children. They are both smart and lovable. They are both autistic. They are both my children. And they are twins. That's about it for their similarities. Their needs are very different and what I need to consider for each will have to also be very different. It's still possible that the same program may suit each of them, but I have to be prepared that I will not have all 3 of my children in the same school as I was hoping to see this past September.

Either way, a placement decision for Ballerina is currently scheduled for February 27. This is why we need to consider these programs now. And, since we are considering them for her, we need to consider them for her brother as well. Time will tell what we choose to do. Let's just hope that I can make my own decision, that Dad and I agree, and that their respective teams will also support that decision. But I know to listen to what they have to say and to keep an open mind.

Here we go again!!!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment