OK, it wasn't that long ago that I wrote a post explaining how we had decided to homeschool and honestly, at that point, I was feeling pretty good about it. This is in direct relationship to how compromising on what I thought was right for Oliver had made me feel so bad.
But then we had the pre-IEP meeting where we told the school district that no, we didn't want to send Oliver to school this Fall. I didn't even mention homeschooling, only that we wanted to delay school for another year. And we wanted his in-home services to continue and we wanted funding for our RDI program. To make a long, long story short, they came back and said no twice. If we didn't send Oliver to school we would get nothing. I felt really worried and scared about it for exactly one day. My gut -- and what I know about Oliver -- tells me that we are making the right decision.
But then there is this little voice in my head making itself heard that says: "So, you think you can meet all of Oliver's needs ON YOUR OWN?" I Do, I Do! I keep replying. But even I recognize that the voice in reply doesn't have the strong sound of confidence. So I review the things I know:
1) I know and understand Oliver better than any professional or therapist ever could.
2) Oliver has made more strides in the last six months with RDI than in the past 18 months with ABA.
3) I am buildng a strong support network: I've got friends who are there for me; I've got a virtual cheerleading squad via blogland; I'm finding other local RDI moms who also fit in that first category but bring an extra-special understanding with them; and of course Nik, who makes me feel as though there is nothing I can't accomplish.
And then there is this: I sit on the advisory panel for Special Education in our city and when we met last week the Director presented the proposed budget for the next school year. During this presentation she discussed their plan to put a greater emphasis on the needs of children with autism at the middle school level. She told us how it had been common practice for the district to recommend placement in residential facilities for children with certain behaviors. Now they will try to address those behaviors in other ways. There was actually more to it than that but honestly I stopped listening after she got that far. Seated to the Director's right was the mother of a 17 year old child who was placed in a facility at age 11. Listening to her comments about that experience in repsonse to the Director's plans were wrenching. I almost had to leave the room. "Not my child," I kept thinking. That will not happen to my child.
I can't know what the future holds but I DO know that every day we take steps towards our future. I feel pretty unsure of myself at the moment. I don't know if I'm making the right decisions but I do know that sending Oliver into a school environment at this point would be the wrong decision.
Still, I sure wish there were a "Parenting an ASD Child Decision Making Manual" out there!