Friday, August 10, 2007

Done with it!

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.

9 comments:

  1. That last paragraph says it all. You are ready to move on. I can remember feeling the same about something ending--worried that we wouldn't make it without the service/support/therapist/etc.--but I can't think of a time where the change hasn't been for the better.

    Congrats! And here's to moving forward...

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  2. Congrats! Onward and upward! :-)

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  3. Congratulations on the graduation, so to speak. I have my own post to write about this since today was our official last day of EI services. I know what you mean about the ABA, I have mixed feelings about all the hours that John gets. Anyways, onward and upwards to the next best thing!

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  4. Congratulations on this milestone!

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  5. I'll drink to that! Here is to the unknown.

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  6. Christine, let's hold hands and venture forth into the unknown together in this homeschooling, less-is-more new world we are setting out to discover! I am raising my glass to both you and Oliver!

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  7. It's a good feeling to move on---it sounds like you've found a learning program that fits in with Oliver's needs and the rhythms of your family. (The ABA program he's in sounds too rigid, which need not always be the case---we're trying to train a therapist who has been in such a program before and it's not been easy.) Keep on going with the good learning----

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  8. Hooray! Hooray! I will be looking to you for advice next year when we, too, homeschool Conor. He just turned 5, and we're giving him a "year off". Pre-K was disaster. The ABA center provides socialization but is $35 an hour, so we have to watch our pennies. Once this year is over, we'll be homeschooling. So happy to read your peace about this. :-)

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  9. Yes, change is afoot! We are also entering uncharted waters. Change can be good!

    We essentially are fading back a lot of JP's therapies to fit into t a full day Kindergarten. We didn't do ABA but he was WAY OVER SCHEDULED. However, in JP's world this did good things for him. Nevertheless, I am excited to have time to breath between activities!

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