Update to a post first written 2 years ago!
So, I gave some damn good advice there! And I even followed my own advice! In two years, we have completed the diagnosis process as well as the early intervention process to enter into an IEP and public schools. Now, we are fine tuning therapy and deciding to use the McKay or Gardiner Scholarship to do ABA full-time. We have found money, grants and Medicaid! We have done whatever it takes to get the access to resources for our son with autism.
I had a nice conversation today with a co-worker and friend about how to acquire services and money to give our children the best opportunity at success in school.
We are both employees in public school settings but don’t believe that putting our boys in public school is the best choice for them. So, what’s a mom to do? What’s the teacher to do? You battle this regularly as a teacher and a mom. Is that the mom in me or the teacher? Do I tell my students one thing but my children something different? How can I pay for my child’s education and college with the amount of money that I earn as a teacher?
I have been working and working on getting my son services for a language delay. My son talks but he really doesn’t communicate his needs or emotions. He has really done a great job at learning how not to use verbal communication. He’s such a cutie he just gets what he wants and I’m so guilty of just understanding his needs. We are pretty connected and when I don’t understand him he has a big tantrum.
So, now as I move through the evaluation process, we as a family have to make choices. Do we take him out of the preschool we love? Do we have one on one services a couple of times a week? We are deciding to keep him at his school and do additional services to see how his speech and language improves. Then, we will go from there.
I can’t help but think about long-term. How can I keep him at this private school? It has been such a huge difference that why would I want to leave. So, now you have to play the game. What do I have to do to get this label or that label so that I can have the language and speech services and qualify for scholarship money?
I decided that as a teacher I can not and will not beat myself up about being in the system but not putting my child in that system. You have to make an individual plan for each of your children and if keeping my son at his private preschool is what is best for him then, whatever services or paperwork is necessary will have to be done. Or if I need a new job or another job, what’s best for my child is what he will have.
My advice to all parents is do what’s best for your child, do whatever it takes.
The other issue is educate yourself! This is huge. You have to educate yourself on how things work and how to get your child the environment, services and support that he or she needs.
Things I have learned taking my own advice:
- ask a LOT of questions
- make a long term plan for your child
- identify what skills your child needs for the long term plan
- celebrate the “quirks”
- teach how to take the “quirks” or negative behaviors into an advantage for your child
- find access to a good therapist
- laugh and give high fives with your child everyday
- be an organized paperwork queen
- and a phone call champ
- most importantly; NEVER, EVER give up on your child