Sunday, September 4, 2011
2 days from now, my little superstar Owen will be starting full day Junior Kindergarten. If you asked Ryan and I a year ago where we were on this issue, I can tell you right now, it was not sending him and holding him back. At that time, Owen was still classified as non-verbal, screaming all the time, pointing for things, and not toilet trained - just not at the point that we were comfortable sending him. Yes, I have met TONS of families, where there children stay at that level, and we were ready for that. Remember, the only ASD people Ryan and I saw in our lives were our clients at our place of employment, who most of the time, are the same as described above, only severely behavioural.
So, when Owen was diagnosed with ASD, we were ready for the ups and downs, and we believed that all children and people with ASD, were lower functioning, we were ready. We then found Brick By Brick, took a leap of faith, and wanted to try the IBI and see if Owen would respond to the therapy. As I have said before, we learned at a Bethesda seminar that not ALL children with respond to the therapy, some children may even be worse with the therapy. So, we saved and forked out a good chunk of money to have Owen in private therapy, and we re praying it would help him, and bring him out of his own world. When it did work, and we saw great improvements, we waited 6 months, then held a fundraiser to help with the costs, and it did! for a whole year!
Ryan then tossed around the idea of keeping Owen back another year, and sending him with Maddie. There were 2 reactions I had to this -
1) Maddie will always be there to help Owen, watch out for him, be with him, she can protect him... that's a good thing.
2) Its not Maddie's responsibility to do that. Maddie needs her own life, her own friends, her own things in school to be involved in - without her brother... and that's not a bad thing for Owen either. He needs the same thing, independence, friends, his own life. Think about it - our kids are a year apart, Owen will be in JK alone, Maddie will be in his school next year, when she enters JK.
Ultimately, choice number 2 won - Ryan wasn't thrilled. He was worried we were moving too fast, Owen may not do well - remember, he is our first entering school, full day, and has ASD which brings a whole new meaning to over-protective worried parents. For Ryan, it took one of Owens therapists from Brick By Brick, Camille - the director, and his therapist from Bethesda to tell us Owen will do amazing, he needs to be in a regular class... and Owen just developing so rapidly with his intellect helped a lot.
So, I have been labeling his clothes, lunch pail, bag and shoes...making up a communication book for his teachers and I to exchange info daily back and forth, and I also made up info sheet for his bus driver.. with our picture and Owens picture on it, as we are the only ones to pick Owen up from the bus. So much to do, but so worth it.
I think Owen and I are both ready for him to start rockin' JK, and I am excited to keep you all updated as we start another trail on Owens Journey Through Autism.