It's kind of funny what choosing a perspective will do for you. Yesterday was the official last day of Early Intervention services for Oliver. It was the last day that a therapist and babysitter both came to our house while I headed out to work with that nagging, guilty feeling. It also marked the last time I will ever have to hear the dreaded sentences: "Oliver, I have candy!" and, "First work, then play!" After almost two years we were so ready to be done with it!
When we first learned that Oliver was aging out of his eligibility for services, I can't deny that I felt a worrisome, sinking feeling for a few days. But the truth is that I had been struggling for some time to reconcile ABA with my parenting and philosophical views. I mean, why reward him with candy for touching his shoulder when he did it for me for nothing? With RDI I found a framework that fit our family better. But even so, it was difficult for me to think about abandoning ABA completely. How do you say no to $75,000 worth of in-home services a year that families in the next county would kill for? I found it very hard.
So in a way I look at Oliver's early birthday as a blessing in disguise. I didn't have to make the decision to stop ABA, it was made for me. But I embrace it. Preparing for the transition we gradually reduced the number of hours of service from 21 to 9. During that time we started to establish our own rhythms and rituals. I became less stressed. I could suddenly afford to wait the few extra minutes that Oliver needs to respond to my requests without growing impatient. It didn't matter if he got dressed now or an hour from now.
Choosing the RDI and homeschool approach is not something I ever would have predicted. In the beginning I wanted 40 hours of ABA plus OT plus whatever else we could lay on. Now I believe that sometimes less is more.
So we're celebrating in my house today. At lunch time we will crack open a bottle of our finest sparkling apple cider and drink a toast. It is the first day of something different. We've moved on from one phase to the next. In the past when I thought of this day it was with apprehension. But now I only look forward with anticipation.