September 17, 2012

And Back Again

When Moe was two, he had 25 hours a week of in-home early intervention. At the end of that difficult year, I said I would never do that again.

This summer, we had Moe in a 30 hour a week in-home ABA program. I agreed because it seemed like a way to jump start his learning after two years of being enrolled in a preschool program with very little progress. And it was only ten weeks. At the end, I said I would never do that again.

And now, just three weeks later, I am doing it again.

It has been a hard three weeks that has affected all of us. Moe had a rough transition back to school. Behaviors that I had hoped would taper off after returning to a regular schedule escalated. We drove 50 miles a day to school and back, and each day on pickup, the report was the same: "Moe had a rough day." We added a dedicated aide. We adjusted Moe's daily schedule. We hoped it was just a transition period.

And this weekend, we made a decision. We took Moe out of school.

Of course, we consulted with a few people first. Jeff and I observed the class. And we could see that despite some really positive aspects, it was not going to suit his needs. They weren't set up for him. He was unhappy, in Moe's perfect storm of both bored and over-stimulated. And Jeff and I, through our research on schools last year, through the ups and downs and assessments and evaluations and so very many therapies (and therapists) have gotten good at knowing what is working for Moe and what isn't. Moe may simply not be ready for a classroom environment.

Moe had a good summer with his in-home ABA program. So for now, we are going to continue with this. As the end of summer approached, we considered whether we wanted to continue on or send Moe back to school. We thought the program would be a good complement to an afternoon ABA program. And even though Moe wasn't able to weigh in on the decision beforehand, his behavior told us he wasn't happy there. And we decided to listen to him.

I am nervous. It means I am, for the third time, going to be with Moe almost all of the time. He can be challenging, and I get the brunt of his frustration and aggression. Part of me thinks that if he is not ready for a classroom environment, isn't that exactly where he needs to be? How else will he get ready? But he really learns better at home in that one on one environment. He does great with repetition, and discreet trial type learning (though I know this isn't for everyone). And Jelly is the perfect typical peer for him, willing and eager to participate.

This time, it is different. There is no end time, no number of weeks or birthday that will mean back to school. But that also means no deadline. We will do this as long as it is working for Moe and go back to the drawing board researching schools for when he's ready.

This is the Right Thing, even if it is also the Hard Thing. But once again, I am left wondering if there will ever be a place in this world for Moe.



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