Today one of Buddy’s classmates aged out of the autism therapy program that Buddy is in. While Buddy still has a year and two months before he ages out, it woke me up to the fact that I have about a year to figure out where do we go from here. And considering the dearth of autism support in my area, it’s a scary question I’d better started researching.
Buddy has been making amazing progress. People who haven’t seen him in a few months have come up to me and gushed about how they can see a real change with him. Getting him out of public school and into this program was extremely beneficial to him. Of course, the tricky thing is that I don’t know where he will be next year, which makes planning difficult.
My long term goal is for Buddy to eventually be able to go to school. Realistically, though, I’m not sure this will happen until he’s high school aged. For me, I outgrew a lot of my more severe autistic tendencies as a pre-teen. At an age when most girls were experiencing difficulties, I started to blossom. Elementary school was hell for me. Junior high was a wondrous experience, though. I started to love school then and went from being in special education to honors/advance placement classes.
Will Buddy go through something similar?
It’s hard to say. I had more language skills than Buddy at his age and was able to socialize more. That said, his receptive language seems to be stronger than mine were at his age. Even when two people are closely related, autism is unpredictable.
But I do know that how damaging elementary school was for me has left scars that have lasted a lifetime. Learning at such a young age how I would not be accepted and would be scorned for being difficult has made many attempts to socialize even as an adult as fraught and scary experience for me (unless I’m at an anime convention, then I’m good, lol). And it’s something I want to protect him from. And it also leaves me leery of the thought of sending him to school again before he can tell me what is happening there.
And I’m sure that when the time comes there will be meetings to figure out referrals for further therapy. Overall, though, when you’re a planner like me, not knowing at what level your child will be functioning at in a year creates a lot of uncertainty in planning that is difficult for someone like me to cope with. And the best thing I know to do is hope for the best, prepare for the worst, which would mean the best course of action is to assume that he’ll no progress from where he is today (not likely to happen, but I have a baseline). Which would likely mean lining up an ABA therapist, speech therapist and OT therapist and homeschool.
I’d best start checking out what is near me and hope my van stays in good shape.