I hate saying goodbye. It is clearly a social skill that I have never really mastered. There will probably be many blog posts about our “new adventure” over the next who knows how long but I first need to discuss a very difficult part for me.
I apologize for any redundancy I am still working on processing this past week. As soon as I realized he wasn’t going back I contacted the school because I didn’t want any truancy issues. This did not all happen over night and had been discussed previously as an alternative. When previously discussed with the case manager he always discouraged it because he wanted my son to have the social interactions. I agree with him that this is important but school was really upsetting him.
When I went to the school the guidance office had me sign paper work and go around to all of the teachers. I am not sure if my son was supposed to do this but I did it for him. The one common thread was that every teacher told me that they were sad he was leaving. This made me feel really good and sad all at the same time.
Other than the sadness I received mixed reactions from teachers and others I spoke to. On one side there were some teachers that wished he was staying and we discussed posibility of him coming back in the future. They discussed with me that they are piloting an online program there and they would completely work with him about taking some classes at school, some online, and some flexible credit options. They said I should apply for next year when the applications become available and if he decides not to attend then it is not a big deal.
In particular his math teacher told me she teaches the math class in this program and she would love to have him back as a student. It was all I could do to not cry right then and there.
I have not discussed this option with my son at this point because we need to get to the next step. I am not a linear thinker but he is in a lot of ways I think. So I try not to get ahead of the current step. But it is really good to know that a) there is an option to go back in a modified way next year and b) they want him to come back.
When we left the private school (that I WROTE A CHECK TO EVERY MONTH) they practically threw us out. They told me he belonged in a group home and that I couldn’t possibly take him to a public school. Here we are 4 years later and the public school not only took him but is asking for him to stay.
His case manager really wanted him to stay and was completely willing to work with getting him back to class. It is kind of a blur but he seemed sad and made a comment about not being successful with him. He seemed apologetic. Although I really liked the case manager & truly believe he tried it just wasn’t working out.
I keep trying to remember that this could have ended worse. This summer I had tried to discuss alternative options with my son but he became upset with me for not thinking he could do it. Sigh I couldn’t win. I was so afraid to send him to the school but yet couldn’t hurt his feelings.
I was soooo scared he would have a major meltdown and that he would injure himself or someone else. This was not an unrealistic fear based on past experiences. In the past he has flipped over desks and beat his head on the floor. It has been a long time but that high school is full of sensory overload and chaos. Now that he is so big I was really worried. I know he would never hurt anyone intentionally but during a meltdown he just loses all control. Which is why we always work on self advocating to get out of situation that could cause that. I wonder if that is why he was avoiding school so much.
Anyways the other side of the messages received were about how they were very proud of me for finding him another option.
Some of the most supportive and understanding were actually my co-workers (again they are awesome!). In particular one of my co-workers I spoke to has a history of anxiety and really commended me for not making him continue what is the “standard”. She told me that this was very prevalent in New York City and in particular in the LGBT community. We discussed how any one that is different is terrorized in school.
That evening I went to a work party and she was their with her partner. They both discussed with me how they thought it was really wonderful how supportive I was being with my son. We discussed the concerns about social aspects we had a really good discussion about how high school may not be teaching him anything about real life.
My co-worker became kind of sad and told me that she wonders if her confidence would have been better if she hadn’t been forced to stay in school. I can relate to that! I always hated school but college was fine for me. It was just different.
We discussed how in school when people don’t like you or make fun of you it feels like the end of the world. My co-worker commented that she can still remember every single detail of every time she was made fun of. That is really sad but I know what she means because I can too!
We discussed that as we get older we become confident in ourselves and it isn’t as upsetting when we are made fun of or not liked. We are all hopeful that this will be a great change for my son and that he will be just fine when he gets older.
I wish I had a crystal ball but unfortunately I don’t. All I can do is try to do the best for him. If this doesn’t work we will try the next thing.