I'm breaking my "I won't talk about school" rule. I mean, we all knew it was bound to happen. It's just impossible to share our life without talking about the place my kids spend 6 hours a day.
And it's nothing bad.
The week after Christmas break, K started in our district's self-contained autism class. Things had not been going well in her general ed class. Even with a 1:1, and tons of support, the bad days had just gotten too bad. Our team has been great, and it's not for lack of trying, but sometimes you just have to admit when something isn't working, and K being mainstreamed just wasn't.
I wasn't sure what to expect when the husband and I toured the class. I figured it would probably be similar to her regular class, just less kids. That assumptions is also what made me nervous, because I knew class-size wasn't the only difference we needed.
Thankfully, the class was nothing like I thought. Mainly, it's is very sectioned off. There could not be more places to take a break, or do work silently. They have it set up so that there should be no reason for K to bolt. She would never be standing there, deer-in-headlights, with no place to "hide". If she had an issue, there wouldn't be 20 sets of eye staring her down. There are cubicles, and a walled off space with bean bags, and only a few kids in one area at a time. There are sensory tables (K is a big fan of the rice table), and an iPad (though K has been bringing her iPod Touch to school), and just every opportunity to be calm, and stay calm.
In other words, it's made for kids on the spectrum.
Her class also goes to specials alone, which I am very happy about. I was worried they would be mixed with the general ed classes, and it would be too much. The only integrated time K has right now is lunch. Thus far, she has chosen to have quiet recesses inside, too, and I am so grateful they allow that.
I didn't think I'd see a change so quickly, but I really have. K is happy getting off the van at the end of the day. She has been playing with B a ton, as opposed to sitting alone in her room, needing mountains of space. She has been so much more engaged, and talkative, and present. School had been a huge source of anxiety for K. With most of it gone, everything is better.
Hopefully now we can move away from behavior management, and she can really take in what she is being taught at social group, or speech, or counseling. It's always just been trying to mitigate behaviors and anxiety and stress and aggression. For the first time, I see hope. I see her being able to focus on the coping skills, and the school work, and the social side of things. Really being able to get down to the nitty gritty and make progress. It's amazing what happens when a child finally feels safe, and relaxed.
Obviously, we might still be in the honeymoon period, but I am really hoping the good times continue. Everything in this class is so individualized (it is definitely not one size fits all), and I think they will tweak when they need to, and keep her on a positive path. Fingers crossed! I wish it hadn't taken this long to get her to a good place, but all I can do is look forward, and for the first time the future doesn't scare me to death.