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Staying Put

  • Posted on June 11, 2011 at 12:39 AM

So, I’ve been working with an individual over the last few months that made some big promises and failed to follow through. (I knew it was a risk going in, and I was willing to take that risk.) Suffice it to say, we won’t be moving out east, even if he comes through with the promised payments (which will probably require a court order). While I’m very disappointed in this individual’s unethical behavior, I find I’m surprisingly not disappointed with staying put. As much as I’d like a better house, I’d prefer that house to be in the same area with the same schools. I’d prefer to stay by our friends and sort of close to much of our family. Travel one direction, and in a few hours or less we can reach one batch of family. Travel in the opposite direction, and in a few hours or less we can reach another batch of family. Travel in another direction, and in a few more hours we can reach even more family.

Of course, we rarely travel and we have family that is even further away, but that’s not the point. The point is that relocating to the East Coast would put us further from all of our family.

Besides, for all the occasional complaints I have about my little park-filled city—which has a serious drought of some of the big-city restaurant and shopping choices, but also doesn’t have the big-city crime and inconvenience—I like it here.

So, we’re not moving, at least not far. And that’s good.

Speaking of staying put, though, there’s this other thing. The thing where Willy is behind in his reading skills, the thing where they wanted him to go to summer school, the thing where, when I filled out the paperwork and turned it in, I was told he would not be getting the supports he needs. Hm. So, basically we’re going to make Willy go to his most difficult class over the summer and not give him the support he had throughout the school year, the support with which he made insufficient progress to keep up? Maybe it’s just me, but that sounded a lot like a recipe for failure—which would not improve Willy’s attitude towards reading.

Turns out it’s not just me. His speech and language pathologist, who is also his case manager, agreed that it was cause for concern and that a home-based strategy might be better. So, instead of summer school, Willy and I will be reading books together, talking and writing about what we’ve read, and working on comprehension skills. Instead of the “punishment” of summer school, he’s rewarded with extra-focused Mommy-time, the flexibility to use alternative approaches, and a whole summer of skill-building that is wholly individualized. Now, that sounds like a recipe worth following!


Big Changes

  • Posted on April 5, 2011 at 6:42 AM

There are some “big” changes underway in our household.  Mostly, at least from my point of view, these changes revolve around me working a lot more.  This is good, because it means my business is succeeding.  This is bad, because it means I’m spending more time away from my family.  It’s all an adjustment, and Alex is having the hardest time with it.  Just about every time he sees me, he grabs at me, often lovingly but sometimes out of frustration.  As much as he’s used to me working so much, he’s not used to me working so much!  He wants more mommy time, and I’m trying to give it to him, but I also have to do the work I’ve agreed to do.  On the plus side, he’s also connecting a bit better with daddy (Mark), so that’s helping him to adjust to my new schedule.

Along with this, something unexpected has “happened.”  I’m putting “happened” in quotes, because it hasn’t actually happened yet.  It might though, and it’s looking promising.  This something isn’t “big,” it’s HUGE.  Basically, if it happens, it involves moving.  Not just to a new neighborhood, but to a new state—across the country.  It means a new house—a nicer house.  It means, eventually, rebuilding this house.  It means having more money and more “toys,” like an iPad and/or a laptop for each child.  It means more space and separate bedrooms (instead of Willy and Brandon sharing the living room, because Alex and Ben CANNOT share a room and neither of the big boys want to share a room with either of the little boys).

Like I said:  HUGE.  A kind of success I wasn’t even planning on, didn’t even consider until it was (tentatively) dropped in my lap.

So, how does a family with three autistic boys deal with such big changes?

A lot of foreshadowing, even though it’s only tentative, is the biggest thing.  We talk about it.  We think about it.  And we talk some more.

Planning is a really big thing, too.  Not only would we be up-rooting our three boys; we’d also be leaving my step-son behind, except for the summers.  Leaving him physically behind.  Painful.  Hard.  And that by itself requires a lot of planning, making sure we have enough safeguards and stuff in place that he’ll be okay and won’t feel left behind, even though he’s choosing to stay here.  Plus, of course, trying to make the whole thing as easy on the three boys as possible.  I haven’t even come close to figuring that one out yet.

But what else?  It’s too soon to act.  We can’t make any picture for the little boys and it seems too soon, too tentative to make a social story for Willy.  So we talk and we plan and we worry and we hope.

Changes are hard.  Dealing with the relatively small change of my new work schedule is a challenge.  Preparing, even tentatively, for the big change…huge change...that’s something else.