It's human nature to have hopes and dreams for your child. I love Brad unconditionally, but I can't turn off that part of my brain that hits the fast forward button and imagines the future.
And like so many parents, Brad's diagnosis initally shattered those dreams. Then I learned about autism, recalibrated my expectations and came up a with a new vision for Brad's future. He would be different, in a good way.
The rosy outlook culminated when Brad was evaluated by his school. His teacher made an observation in his written report: "superior attention and eye contact during the 50 minute evaluation." When we met in person, he went on to tell us that Brad isn't what he expects for the PDD diagnosis.
Superior, I thought. Not "good", not "sufficient", but "superior". There it was, in black and white. He's going to be okay in school. He might not even need special education for long. My expectations crept up.
Flashforward to Wednesday of this week. I met with the school district to check in and see how Brad's doing now. The verdict: not well. There's a massive delta between his one on one performance (i.e., when he was evaluated) and his performance in a group setting.
Bam! Serves me right for having high expectations and getting ahead of myself.
He's withdrawn. Socially, he's an island, off on his own. Cognitively, he's having difficulty following instructions. He goes for the playdoh by himself when the other kids are monkeying around with each other. He doesn't attend, which is his shining strength in a one on one setting. Bottom line: he's barely keeping up. And keep in mind, this is a special ed class. His peers are, for the most part, not socially advanced.
I've blogged before that Brad doesn't melt down. And from this I've concluded that he doesn't overstimulate. I think I'm wrong on that point. I suspect that he does overstimulate, only instead of melting down or expressing upset, he withdraws and blocks the world out.
I pressed for one on one "pull outs" for OT to fill the soon-to-be void, assuming we have to stop private OT. As I predicted, the school shut me down. Something about the law requiring services "in the least restrictive environment." They're going to add Brad to the OT's informal rounds. This means she'll visit him in the classroom and facilitate in a group setting. Not what I wished for but it is something.
The physical therapist will do something similar, visiting Brad when he's on the playground with the group to facilitate his physical play. He'll also get ad hoc one on one as needed during regular class to help him keep up. His IEP is being revised to reflect these new accomodations.
So, once again, I am recalibrating expectations, hopefully to something realistic this time. As for Brad, I'm grateful that he has a great educational team that really understands and appreciates him. Onward, with realistic expectations and a realistic IEP.