I gained enough material for blogging this week to last at least a month. This week one of the boys’ school placements fell apart and came to an end. It collapsed in dramatic fashion, with lots of trips to school, lots of emotion, and more than a little heartbreak.
The drama was intensified by the effort the entire team put forth trying to hold the program together for him. There have been so many positive moments, so many signs of growth, that we all probably held on too long. The warnings were there for a while, and everyone kept making adjustments up until the end. While we all did this with the best of intentions, it put my son in the difficult place of having to work that much harder to let us know that it wasn’t working.
Watching the emotional struggle that he went through the past few weeks was the heartbreaking part. He struggled with a program that was very familiar to him, and he struggled again when he knew it was time for a change. We know it will work out, but there’s no shortcut to working through the challenges that come with the change. We will work with the school to minimize the impact but we can’t eliminate the change. We tried to avoid it for the past few weeks and we know it didn’t work.
It’s only been about 36 hours, but we’re starting to move forward. We all expect him to flourish in his new placement and will meet next week to formalize it. His resistance to the change is melting away, and signs of enthusiasm are beginning to show.
There’s no cause here for placing blame. I hold high expectations for the school district. I let them know when I think they fall short of those expectations and give credit and thanks when they meet them. I recognize that educational placement for kids on the spectrum is complex. There’s no magic formula to determine what placement will work for each child, how long it will work, and how we’ll know it exactly when it’s time to change. I know I can live with the ambiguity. However, none of this knowledge reduces the heartbreak that comes from seeing my son struggle.