I have been experiencing a combination of feelings... typically mom stuff - WOW, I can't believe my baby is all "grown up" now, time goes so fast and so on...
It just feels incredibly magnified because for a long time I wasn't sure we'd get here. I wasn't sure we'd find a place for Will. I just wasn't sure. I could never envision Will in a public school, going down the hall to the bathroom and tripping and never making it back. I'm not a public school snob. I plan on sending Quinn to public schools. I just couldn't envision making public school work for Will.
About two years ago I attended a program on what the government provides in a public school setting and how requirements are met and discussed for special kids. I still remember I left feeling very heavy. I tried to get teachers to talk about their experiences without asking too much - I wanted to hear their REAL answers. Frankly, it seemed like some teachers were irritated with the process, not necessarily the kids or parents, but the extra work and processes they dealt with. There was simply no way that this was going to be an option for him - at least not one we wanted for him.
My Top Two Reasons Why I'm Sure Now:
1. This Little Guy. He has more determination, strength and willpower than a small army of highly trained soldiers. He is going to make it happen.
2. WOW - Talk About Accommodating!
I knew The Parish School would be amazing, but I really had no idea how far they will go to make it work and to prepare an individualized plan. The director of admissions asked us to come in last week before school started to go over, in detail, Will's medical needs and how they planned to meet them. Everyone from the head of school, his teachers, the nurse and even the nature program director were in the room. (I'm glad I had prepared some notes!).
Neil and I were able to work with them to find solutions to things such as how to deal with his heat intolerance while they are outside, finding ways to save energy so he can enjoy doing the fun stuff, toting and fetching medicine that is light and temperature sensitive.
We left that 1.5 hour meeting feeling relief and happiness, but mostly relief.
We did meet the teacher on Tuesday. He's in the "Zebra" class.
The teacher runs a blog and they seem to do a lot of sharing. I'm excited about that part. I have my first PTO meeting tomorrow morning then I am going to observe his classroom. After talking with his teacher, she asked if I would come watch Will and see if his physical movements are "normal" for him. I think she's prepared but maybe slightly nervous about making sure he stays safe. I'm looking forward to this observation time.
It's really hard to go from our old school where we knew everyone to knowing no one. Will brought special snack on Tuesday for his last day and enjoyed handing it out. He wasn't in the mood to take photos, but whatever!
Side note, Quinn was loving this visit. She had an audience full of kids which kept her very entertained!
Yes, I'm proud, worried, anxious and concerned. I'm relieved, nervous and happy.
But mostly, I am enjoying a bittersweet moment of my son growing up.
They close at noon on Friday's, so I'm looking forward to a weekly lunch date with my special guy.