Monday, November 28, 2011

Where are we headed?

Time to go back in time. We go to see the developmental pediatrician for the first time. It's March 12, 2009. The twins are exactly 26 months old. I'm struggling with both of them in both the waiting room and then the exam room. No one comes with us. We have no idea where we are. We just know that there's a speech delay. At the end of the (approximately) hour-long appointment, I'm walking out in shock because this doctor told me that both of my twins were "clearly on the spectrum". And then, she followed that statement with, "That means they are autistic."

The next 2 days have vanished from my memory. I can only assume I went through them in a complete and total fog. But on March 14, 2009, we climb into our fully-loaded SUV for the 14 hour drive to Orlando, FL to spend a week in the world of Mickey -- a previously planned vacation from reality where we can just be a family.

When we returned on March 23, our new lives were about to begin. Services began shortly after that. And we were thrown into the "Autism World". Therapies were being described to me and I would allow the information to sink into my brain. Options for programs were discussed. Causes were debated. But it felt like it was happening to someone else.

Now fast forward to present day.

(this picture was uploaded from the Facebook Page "Recovery and Hope")

I'm not really sure how or when it happened, but some time ago, I reached this point. I embraced this reality. I still struggle with the reality of everything. From the beginning I had a personal goal of both Ballerina and Music Man entering a typical kindergarten classroom -- that's what this was all about -- working with them so by the time they were ready to enter kindergarten, they would be like everyone else. Well, that was proof that I didn't understand what we were dealing with. But I did have hope that they would be able to succeed in a typical classroom setting. And I have maintained this goal for both of them.

That is, until about 8 months ago, when I spoke to the kindergarten teacher at "The Learning Center" at our local elementary school. I had been watching a typical kindergarten classroom all school year by volunteering in Big Brother's class. I saw what was expected of them -- the independent nature of their work and how they were expected to, in many ways, teach themselves. I still hoped that, at least Ballerina, would be ready for this setting, just with a little bit of help with speech and OT. But I couldn't see Music Man getting there in just over a school year. So, I spoke with this teacher. That was yet another wake-up call. At the end of this conversation, I quickly realized (even though I wasn't really ready to say it) that this special education class was appropriate for Ballerina, not a typical classroom. And I saw how far Music Man had to go to be ready for even this setting.

Music Man's Annual IEP Meeting was earlier this month. I had discussed with his program that I wanted him to attend this kindergarten classroom next year. And we developed his goals with that objective in mind. But at the end of the meeting, the administrator started laying the seeds for me to recognize that this may not be the ideal placement for him. He has several of the skills that he needs, but not others.

So, once again, I'm needing to remind myself to take that moment and think about what is best for my son. It's the same question that I've been asking for nearly 3 years. I need to remember to see the truth and not my own picture of what's going on. My hopes for my kids cannot be what decides their future. The truth must be the first thing we consider. Once again, I need to remind myself of that picture above....."Dear Destiny, I am ready now."

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