Sunday, April 17, 2011

Maybe I'm Over-Thinking It

I tend to like to think things through, probably to an extreme extent in some cases.  But some things do deserve that thought time, such as Evan's transition to kindergarten next year.
Yes, my little boy is going to kindergarten.  I know, it's the cry of most parents, but I still have to say it, How did he get so old so fast!?
We had the conference last week, and I thought I knew what I wanted heading in.  We have two elementary schools in town; I work at one of them, and he goes to preschool at the other.  The one I work at is the one that he should attend for kindergarten based on where we live.  But, the other school has more special ed. options.  So, a couple of weeks ago, I visited the classroom at the other school that I was fairly certain was the one for Evan.  I observed for about an hour, and my eyes watered up as I sat there thinking, yep, this is the right place for my son.  Low number of students, mainstreaming, swing in classroom, sweet sweet teacher, etc.  Yep, the right place.
Day of conference, I'm sitting around a table with the people I work with now and people I've worked with in the past.  I'm really not sure if that is better or worse;  I'm thinking it's just different.
Lots of positive things said about Evan's recent progress which we're seeing at home as well...good stuff.   
 So in a nutshell, there were 3 choices presented.  The most restricted class was eliminated from the get-go; we all agreed that wouldn't be the appropriate place (although I LOVE that teacher!!!).  So it was a choice of the classroom I visited at the other school and the developmental kindergarten class at our school.  And there seemed to be some leaning towards the latter.
 I hadn't given that second option much consideration before the conference.  Hmm.  Maybe not such a bad idea.  When it was talked about, I  started to believe that maybe it could aide, small group, a great male teacher.  Then the mother in me started thinking about, well, maybe it will work this year, but what about next?  And maybe there won't be enough support.  And maybe it's not such a good idea for him to be in the same building as me.  And and and.
So, as of today, I haven't signed yet, but I'm 99% sure that's the direction we're heading.  Yeah, 99.1% sure.
What's holding me back?  Among other things, I think the biggy is my desire to protect him...have him in an environment where he is a little more sheltered.  Have him somewhere where I don't see everything. 
Ugh ugh ugh.  
Yes, 99.2% sure.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Hope You Get This

Dear Costumer at Local Restaurant,

Where do I begin? How about a little background. My 3 boys, 19, 17, and 4 have Fragile X Syndrome. Never heard of it, huh? Well, I understand; we hadn't heard of it either until our oldest son got his diagnosis 16 years ago.
Yes, raising ANY child is challenging. I totally agree! Like you said, we all have our problems.
You see, I think the reason I so quickly got within inches of your face to explain our situation after you offered your "advice" is because it's been building up inside me for 16 years! Crazy, right? I also had to get kind of close because it was loud in there. How ironic that I say that, isn't it, because yeah, my son was greatly contributing to the volume in the there.
Let me try to explain. Our 4 year old son sometimes has trouble diverting from the routines he is used to. We had to wait for our table, and he was a bit confused by that. Just going into a restaurant is very difficult for him right now (the noise, the odors, the people, etc); having to wait for our table was more than he could handle tonight. Like I told you, he was adjusting. You probably noticed he was doing much better after we got a table. (I'm sure you noticed; we had such a great view of each other.)
Back to the "building up inside me for 16 years." You see, you're not the first person to offer "advice" that's been clear enough for me to hear.
You are the second.
Yep, 16 years, and you're only the second person that has given "advice" to our family. Have others said things over the years? I'm going to guess, yes, but they made the decision to give their "advice" under their breathe, or maybe they just kept it in their head, so that I couldn't hear it. I respect that, but would appreciate it even more if people could find more constructive things to do with their time than to judge the situations of others.
And, believe it or not, we've had people give us compliments about our kids.
I know, you're in awe.
That first piece of "advice" I overheard? I was in line at large store, the kids were approximately 5, 3, and 1 (we also have a daughter, she was the 5 year old). As we were going through the check-out, both of the boys were in the throws of a complete meltdown. How I even heard the "advice" the woman behind me in the check-out said to the other woman, I'll never know; my kids were so loud! I'm guessing she wanted me to hear it, so she said it in a manner that would put her voice over that of my boys. Her words have stuck with me all these years:
"I hope she doesn't have any more kids; she can't handle the ones she has!"
Yes, I remember it verbatim. And I think the reason for that is that back then, I was weak.
And I agreed with her.
Well, not least not always, but in that moment I did. So instead of saying anything to her, I brought my screaming kids to the van and cried along with them.
And to this day, I wish I could chat with that woman, face to face...
Ok, so tonight. Yes, he was loud. I agree. Yes, I needed to bring him "out those doors." I was planning on heading that way. Having to chat with you ending up delaying that happening.
Oh hey, guess what, Ms. Customer!?
It's Autism Awareness Month. Many children with Fragile X have autistic characteristics. Some have autism.
Consider yourself a little more aware about hidden disabilities now than you were before you walked into that restaurant.
You're Welcome!