One year ago today, I performed the Heimlich on Noah to save him from choking on a fruit bar, because he liked shoving too much food in his mouth, a common trait of SPD kids.
One year ago, he ran away from us in public and threw multiple tantrums a day. We were preparing for his first evaluation from the school district. We were arguing with our insurance company's denial of coverage for speech therapy. He couldn't pronounce "green" correctly. Or ride a bike, or color a picture, or make friends, or do anything that wasn't part of his rigid, inflexible routine. We lost a deposit to a Montessori school that he would not attend, because in just a few weeks he'd have an IEP through our school district and be officially placed in special education.
Less than a year ago, I received a report from a psychological evaluation that took place at his preschool. It shook me to my core, because my son was slowly, steadily disappearing into himself and his rituals. He was withdrawing from a world that overwhelmed him. I remember putting the papers down, then folding my arms over them, and sobbing. We had to stop it. We had to fix it.
We enrolled him in an occupational therapy summer camp, which would later lead to placing him in a terrifyingly expensive (at the time, anyway) private preschool. Both of these decisions turned out to be -- just as hundreds of commenters promised -- the very best things we've EVER done for Noah.
Everything started changing from that point on -- we got a diagnosis, insurance approval, a plan, hope, results, success and a kid who is finally enjoying life as a kid in the world he's in.
Noah's next IEP meeting is coming up in a few weeks, and we plan to ask that he be placed in the less restrictive immersion preschool classroom next fall -- a class of half special education kids, half typical peers, the next baby step in the path back to mainstream.
But we're also sending him back to the private school in the afternoon. And to the camp this summer. We don't even think about the money anymore. How could we? LOOK AT HIM NOW.
Still, though. It does cost money, so when CafeMom asked if I was interested in taking on another blogging gig, I jumped at it. (CafeMom, as ClubMom, was actually the company that offered me my very very first paid writing job. I'm happy that my newbie bumblings from back then didn't turn them off forever.) So now, in addition to the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back and Mamapop, I'll be writing a column every Thursday called Isn't That Special, about (shocker!) special needs parenting. I know. I'm tired of listening to myself talk too.
But seriously. LOOK AT HIM NOW.
Music: Hey, Won't Somebody Come And Play by The Little Ones