I knew this wasn't going to be a good meeting. We just had the IEP 2 months ago, and it's very obvious that we're not going to be able to keep up with it. I'm sitting here with enrollment papers, that I don't know if I should waste my time filling out.
Second time in a row, the Director of the School confirms she'll be there, and she doesn't show. That pisses me off. She does this a lot.
So there's the 5 of us. We're literally writing up a tally sheet of pros and cons to each of the options. So here is what they are.
Option 1- Autism Scholarship. The school will put together the IEP for me. That's it. They carry no responsibility other than keeping the IEP's scheduled. For that, I would get $20,000 to educate Tommy on my own. I would be in charge of FINDING people, interviewing them, over-seeing them. If I have an issue, its all on me. The district solely assists in writing the IEP only.
Option 2- Home school. My district will give me -IN WRITING- consistent personnel to come in and do what needs to be done.
Option 3- DD will home school, provide the personnel as well as transition him into their program (as slow as necessary. Starting at 1 hour a week and working our way up).
Option 4- Residential. The school Tommy attends, has a Boarding Academy. Everyone is recommending Tommy be placed residential.
I've thought about residential so much. Especially lately. Because I can NOT emphasize just how TIRED I really am. Its been me. Around the clock. Non stop. Every waking minute. And, a few middle of the night minutes to check for medication side effects. Burnout best describes me. And that's with help from my husband AFTER he gets home from work.
I sat there listening to all of them tell me how I can't do this forever. How Brianna deserves a better life than this. "imagine being able to go out as a family..." I fell apart. I AM tired. I'm freaking EXHAUSTED!
I came home, and tried to open the topic with my husband. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I couldn't finish the sentence. It was on! After 30 minutes of going back and forth, I decided it would just be best to shut down completely. And so, I did.
Shut the phone off, left the computer, and went into lock down. I always have said, residential would be for when EVERYTHING else hasn't worked. WORSE CASE SCENARIO Are we REALLY there now? Is this it?? Have we explored EVERY avenue??
Today, around 3pm, it hit me. We have NOT! I was sitting in the closet of a bathroom, on the floor, head on the toilet, sobbing. I needed an answer. And there it was.
Monarch is fantastic. I have a ton of issues with them, but only because I EXPECT perfection from the staff. It really is a great school. But, they're not so great with Tommy's complexities. Tommy is a master manipulator. He knows what buttons to push to get out of a situation. He's the WORSE kind of Autistic. High functioning with severe Behaviors. You can NEVER ever EVER drop your guard. They do. And he knows it. 5 years, and we've overcome nothing. The problems have only gotten worse. The hours drive EACH WAY is very difficult on him AND me.
----------------------------Decision time -------------------------
"I will take option 2 and 3 please"
He's not going to residential. (these are still the same people that called Job and Family services on us not 6 months ago!) Not yet. We're not there yet. My plan is to start with Home schooling. We'll do that for a month, 2 if needed. The district will provide the (CONSISTENT) personnel, while DD will provide the Aid. That Aid will be the person that will eventually transition him over to their day program which we'll start 1 hour at a time 2 times a week and work our way up. Fortunately, Tommy has a lot of credits. He COULD graduate at the end of this upcoming school year (technically he's going to be a JR in high school.) All of the extra tutoring paid off. However, if I graduate, he will not be eligible for services through DD until AFTER he turns 22. He needs to be in a program. He NEEDS the social learning. His academics are almost done. That was supposed to be the hard part. But for Tommy its backwards. Academics was EASY for him. He's terrified of the social stuff. He hates it. More than 10 minutes and his anxiety is through the roof. He NEEDS to develop. I can't teach him this with trips to the grocery stores.
My first idea was, to explain to him that, this is whats going to happen. If you don't abide by these rules, you will have to go have sleepovers at Monarch and come home on the weekends. (in essence, using monarch as his punishment.. threat.. something along those lines. The repercussions of not following the rules. I decided not to go with that. Tommy, without knowing it, gave me a better idea.
He was getting out of the shower, and randomly started to talk about California. He loves it there. Particularly South Lake Tahoe, where my parents live. There's casinos there.. lots of hotels. Its MECCA for Tommy. The past 2 years, he had FABULOUS school years and was treated with trips to CA. This past year, was horribly awful. I was too afraid (scared to death) to put him on a plane. And he knows it. "you have too much angry happening for me to put you on a plane". It hit me. You want to go to California??? Oh Buddy, lets sit down and have a talk. I explained the "school at home" and "going to a new school". His replay "no more Monarch?" Nope, we're all done there. He says "ok" and walks off. (there's MUCH more talking to be had.. this was a GREAT beginning however)
Its going to work. It has to. He has no choice at this point. Now he's got to decide, to make it easy, or very hard.
Nobody else knows this plan outside of this house yet..lol I still have to get this all approved (which im sure i will have no problem getting it done). I'm excited. I get to be LOCAL. A LOCAL parent. No more commuting 100 miles a day!!!
I really need this to work. It WILL work.
Most importantly, I HAVE A PLAN!!!!!!