Friday, September 7, 2012

Life on the Other Side

So how’s life on the other side of Intensive Early Intervention?

Well, who knows, we’re only a few weeks into it. It’s NICE not driving 2 hours a day back and forth between his ABA school and home. He misses his friends, and I may have to arrange a few play dates in the future. I still haven’t written out a proper thank you to the staff, although in person, on his last day, I couldn’t get it out without bursting into tears. Not all loose ends are even tied up, yet.

He’s attending a preschool and we haven’t disclosed his diagnosis. While I cannot say for sure if this is the right decision, it’s really something I want to try. It’s not a light decision at all. I think there is a chance Wylie could benefit from some support, and this is a private school with a professional staff, eager to please their clients. At the same time, I feel very strongly about Wylie being held to the same expectations as his peers, and that we’ll all take a behavioral approach to any problems that arise. I don’t want issues dismissed because of a teacher’s preconceived ideas about the limitations of autism. I’d love to educate some people, but I don’t think it is that simple. People have unconscious biases, and right now, I think those unconscious biases could negatively impact my kid.

And, so far, it seems, so good. When I drop him off, his teacher greets him and expects a greeting in return. She tells him what activity is going on and gives him clear instructions to join. I have heard the children yell out to greet him upon his arrival.

The other day, I brought him in, and I had to prompt him to look up and greet every person we came into contact with on our walk to class. Frustrated, I asked the teacher about his behavior. Oh wait. Rather, I blurted out, “Does he ever talk?

She laughed. “Wylie? Yeah… he talks.” Like it was a ridiculous question. Like, “of course he talks!”

“Okay,” I said, a little reassured. “Okay. And is he getting along with the other kids?” Wylie hasn’t told me much about his classmates. He has only mentioned one by name.

“Everybody loves him! He’s a bit of a class clown.”

Heh. And her answer still makes me nervous, because Wylie can be a little smart ass. I try very, very hard to be a good parent and curb his back talk, but he’s so damn funny sometimes. Both sets of grandparents just outright reinforce his sass with howling laughter.

I was with my mother the other day, and he had been bossy and selfish earlier, and I was cross with him. I was telling her about his bad behavior, right in front of him. Wylie interrupted me rather abruptly. “MOM! Don’t say that. You shouldn’t say that.”

I actually stopped, thinking maybe I dropped a curse word. “What’s wrong? Did Mommy say a bad word?”

“No… you’re just loud. And boring.” My mother thought it was hilarious. Thanks, Mom. Way to help out. Heh.

Ah well. He’s a cool cat. And I am having some fun spending more time with him, although I do not regret ANY of the time spent driving all over town, from ABA to speech to school, over and over again. The fall semester will start soon, and he will be in preschool full time. It’s crazy to think about how grown up he is. He’s not really a small child anymore.

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