It's hard for me to think and talk about that program without getting upset. To say the least, it was an extremely unsafe environment. Budget cuts, lack of the proper training, burnt out staff....I don't know. I think it's a combination of all of those things and more.
After multiple meetings, phone calls and emails things were not getting better. Too many dangerous situations were happening at that school for us to continue to trust them. We couldn't even give them the benefit of the doubt, which makes it more awful. Sam was there less than a week when we pulled him out.
After that, Sam was homeschooled by Tyler (I started making the lesson plans) while I was searching for a better solution with multiple district employees.
Tyler and I have always loved and supported the teachers, therapists and aides on Sam's teams. We've spent a lot of time communicating and working together with all of them. Thankfully, it seems only the first school is toxic. Sam really does have sooooo many people that care, so many that are trying to do the very best for him, so many amazing people (with the proper training) helping us get back on the right track.
I know it's hard.
He has advanced intelligence, combined with the social-emotional issues of a 6 year old on the autism spectrum.
Which is where we are now.
After many more meetings, phone calls and emails, he started attending the 2nd grade class in a very restrictive special-ed school, for children with emotional disabilities.
"The staff is dedicated to the academic, emotional and social enrichment of our students. We are committed to providing individually designed programs with quality instruction and a focus on social skills." - from the school
At first I felt offended for Sam.
He's not emotionally disabled, he's on the autism spectrum.
That's who he is, that's his normal.
Well, that's my problem.
I'm wrong. Why, in my head, did I see the words "emotionally disabled" as a negative? Disabled = unable to. Why was that a bad thing to me? I've been emotionally disabled many times in my life, as has most of the people I know.
After seeing the classrooms and speaking further with some of Sam's incredible school psychologists, I took my foot out of my mouth and kicked my own ass.
It's pretty common knowledge that many people on the spectrum have difficulties with social-emotional issues. I believe this special school would be appropriate for anyone on the spectrum with social-emotional stuff; they are being taught in a sensory supportive (if needed), structured, safe and caring environment.
This past Monday, Sam switched classes again and I really think (please, please, please) this is the right fit. He's in the 1st grade class, right on par socially/emotionally with the other two students in his class. He's getting all his class and homework from the 2nd grade teacher.
His whole team has found a way to make sure Sam gets the intellectual stimulation he craves, his sensory needs fulfilled, as well as work with him at his social/emotional level.
It feels like a big family again.
Just as it did in preschool and kindergarten.
This is a two minute conversation with Sam before bedtime from last month. He keeps us on our toes and Googling all the time!
Quick breakdown- Tuatara is a reptile from New Zealand.
Ceratosaurus is the "horned lizard" dinosaur.
Palaeobatrachus is an amphibian who is actually from the Cretaceous Period, 135 million years ago.
Sicilians ARE people from Sicily, Italy.
Caecilians ARE snake like amphibians.
I love his "really mom" look when I ask about toads.
Sorry it's dark. Nightlight + iPhone = grain.
Now that things are truly settling in, I'll be back tomorrow with a photo blast of what we've been up to lately...that was the plan for today but I guess I had to get this out first.