Tonight I attended a planning or zoning type meeting as the plans for Sam's new school are in the works to be passed. They are hoping to break ground on March 1st and that is so exciting! This school is truly one of a kind and one of the greatest blessing in our lives. It has made all the difference for Sam, which in turn is life changing for all of us. I don't want to say that the mainstream way is not a good way or that the public schools don't have plenty to offer, they just weren't what we needed and what Sam needed. I think that I've always liked looking for answers outside the box, liked learning ways that are different and not mainstream. I'm the parent that has homeschooled and now has all her kids, except Sam, in a charter school. I like alternatives! In every way! So, when I first began learning about the DIR approach and the Floortime Method, I was intrigued. I read and studied all I could. It meshed with my belief system and the behavioral methods they were using at school, just weren't working. I was literally watching my son slip away from me-more and more each day. He began hating to be touched. He wouldn't look at us. He was angry all the time. He would have violent outbursts. If we put him in his room for timeout, he would destroy everything in there. It felt impossible. I had already dealt with knowing he may never have full speech. I had come to terms with the fact that he had a white brain matter abnormality. I was ready to deal with an unknown future that may entail me caring for him for the rest of my life. I wasn't prepared for the anger, the messes, the fights. I was overwhelmed beyond belief and there were many times that I would just sit and cry-amongst the mess. One day last spring, he got mad at me and threw a glass across the room. It shattered at my feet. I was horrified. He showed no remorse. There was no reaction at all. How do you reach in and pull emotion out of a child that seems to feel absolutely nothing. Up to that point, I had never had him say I Love You or show any sign of affection in that way. When I told him I loved him, he would pull away. That is a hard thing to deal with as a parent. That was harder than just about anything else we had been through.
Then I met our angels. It started with a friend from highschool. She knew my world because she also has a sweet boy with similar challenges. She told me of this school-a school she had relocated her family from several states away to attend. I knew it was an impossible dream. We didn't have money for a private school. The school was at least 30 minutes away from our house, etc. And then I met the headmistress of the school, at a class she was teaching. She was amazing! And I wanted so much for her to work with my Sam! She has a passion for these children and this method of teaching that was contagious! Through several other meetings and circumstances, this past Fall, Sam started school at Clear Horizons Academy.
I won't go through all the details of the past 5 months, but I will tell you the little boy who is so different. I almost feel like I am finally really meeting him! He still has a few meltdowns here and there, but compared to a year ago, it's nowhere even close. Sometimes, he just sits and talks to me. His language is still tough to understand, but I know it just about better than anyone, and I love his words! Tonight, as I was tucking him into bed, he said, "you and daddy love me". Those words brought tears to my eyes and sum up what we have gained from this method of teaching. He is happy and loves his teachers and friends at school. For the first time in his life, he has a best friend and as a parent of a special needs child-that is a pretty awesome thing to experience!
Tonight, at the planning meeting, I met the man who made this all possible. He hasn't been alone, but through his efforts and his vision my life has been changed. He is an angel on earth and I'm so grateful he has spent the time and money to make this dream a reality! Each teacher and admin and therapist and aid are angels to me! They work each day to make my little boy happy!
I hope I didn't bore anyone with my post tonight! I just felt so much gratitude and have so much hope for my son's future thanks to these amazing angels!