Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Graduation excitement

At Limefreckle Jr's new school, graduation celebrations are a really big deal for EVERYONE! As it's a very small school, with a small number of students, graduation is for EVERYONE, not just the kids that are actually leaving the school.

Limefreckle Jr's grad was last week, and we had a fantastic time! I've never seen Limefreckle Jr. so happy, so in his element, so "himself". I've never sat down at a meal at a public event without worrying what he was up to.....but here, it didn't matter, he was off having fun with his friends, there are no judgements about behaviour, I knew he was loved and cared for by everyone in the room. The kids ran around, danced, laughed, had fun, they were KIDS, not KIDS WITH AUTISM. It was wonderful.

This school is a very special place. In the few short months we have been there Limefreckle Jr. has become a different boy. His bad behaviours are decreasing, he is learning, he is thriving!! His report card this year was so markedly different from anything we had ever received in the past. He never was given any grades before, his report card was called an "anectdotal" report in the public system -- it would contain remarks about his behaviour mostly, nothing about it would make you understand what, if anything, he had actually learned! This time around we have real, quantifiable evidence of the actual work that he has completed, we know what grade level he is working at, we know what skills he has developed, and where he needs improvement! It's a different world at this private school.

For a long time after we switched schools, I was still very angry at the public system. Angry that they didn't provide Limefreckle Jr. with the proper environment to learn. Angry that instead of working to help him through any issues that he had, they would take the easy way out, and call me to come and get him, which, as you can imagine, only worked to reinforce the bad behaviours. He played the staff like a violin, he knew exactly what he needed to do to get out of work, out of anything he didn't want to do. And he did it -- and it worked. If he decided that he wasn't going to do something, he didn't do it.

Now don't get me wrong, I feel sorry for the people in the public system. Good people that want to help, but are not equipped to do so. As angry as I was in the beginning that we had to seek out private schooling in order to educate our son, now I am so very thankful. Had the public school not failed so miserably for us, I never would have investigated private learning, and never would have found this magical place. In 5 short months, my daily stresses are gone.....I won't have to fight tooth and nail anymore to get my son the support he needs -- the support he DESERVES -- I no longer will have to justify his behaviours, I'm in a place now that truly understands autism, and how to deal with it. Our future is bright, I have a life back, I haven't been this relaxed and happy in years. Yes, it's private, so that comes with a price -- but the price Limefreckle Jr. would have paid if we had kept trying to trudge through the public system would have been far greater!