Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Only Constant

I haven't posted in a while — a sign not of quiet but that there has been a LOT going on. So much to post about and no time to do it. A full plate of ups and downs, searches, interesting observations and thankfully a quick escape from the snow to warmer weather, if only for a weekend.

Topping the list of major events was that before we left for Miami, before yet another snow storm set in, my husband and I visited a school that was highly recommended by a number of the parents we have met in the waiting room at our childrens' social skills group.

It is a private school housed in a former public school building. And though it is now called "Country Day" which sounds so typical of the many affluent private schools around here, it was formerly known as "Phoenix Academy" which sounds to me more appropriate to some sort of rehab facility. And so faced with such intriguing duality in its outward appearances, it was hard to exactly what to expect — elitism or outreaching tolerance?

What my husband and I discovered was an absolutely quirky school displaying remarkable understanding of each individual student and a program designed to encourage individualism. We were so impressed and honestly moved, especially by the work they had done with some of their students on the spectrum. I will return to this topic, I can't wait to share more about their program — but for now, we're scrambling to get our children admitted and complete the application process!

Also going on, with all the snow days, any semblance of a routine is out the window. C.S.'s 2-day weeks are absolutely unpredictable, Monday was great, Friday was awful. I got a phone call from the school social worker. We're scrambling on a strategy. But thankfully, we've decided to write an addendum to his IEP to allow him an alternative setting for the upcoming national standardized testing.

On the plus side, we've spent a great deal of time together if not under a blanket of snow then traveling and, when with family, he's been absolutely elated. We visited the Everglades, we saw a concert and he displayed a sincere joy of learning and experiencing new things. Thankfully, the New World Symphony in Miami has a wallcast. My husband and I sat inside, dressed up feeling every bit like we were on a date while at the same time, my children watched the same concert simultaneously, but outside surrounded by state-of-the-art sound with plenty of room to run around. As it happens, if you saw the article in the NY Times, they printed a photo of people watching the wallcast and the orange blur in the lower left hand corner is my C.S. — always moving — but who wouldn't be inspired to soar when listening to the Flying Dutchman?

I've got a lot to sum up and figure out. But one thing is certain, raising these kids, whether high-functioning or non-verbal, it takes a lot of work. The only constant seems to be, parents are kept on their toes, we are busy at what ever it is and where ever we are.

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