Nothing worries me more than making tough decisions. I’m generally indecisive, just ask my husband. But when I’m faced with making decisions about Aden and Alex’s future, indecisive is an understatement. These decisions are the toughest ones to make because I’m responsible. I’m responsible if it ends up being the wrong decision.
When my students are choosing topics for their papers, I tell them there is no such thing as a perfect topic but instead how you develop it. Some students spend so much time agonizing over their topic that they waste time that could be better spent. Does this same theory apply to making decisions? Is there no such thing as a perfect decision?
With only four months remaining in the school year, decisions are starting to be made regarding fall placement for Aden and Alex. At my first parent-teacher conference, it was recommended that Alex begin typical kindergarten whereas Aden would attend a special-needs kindergarten. At the time, I was on board. Since Aden is still struggling with sensory and behavior issues, he would have trouble adapting into a typical kindergarten class with upwards of 20 kids.
However, recently Aden had an appointment with his developmental pediatrician. After spending an hour with her, she asked about Aden’s placement for next year and was quite surprised when I told her he would be attending a special-needs kindergarten. Her words exactly: “I see no reason for Aden to attend a special-needs kindergarten, Aden needs to be around typical peers for modeling purposes”. I remember the words clearly because I repeated them over and over in my head on the way home. Was I making the wrong decision?
When I arrived home, I wrote an email to Aden’s teacher at CARD asking for her opinion. She has been working with Aden for quite some time. I was hoping for a tie-breaker and someone who would ultimately make the decision for me. Instead, she could see benefits to each option. She recommended something called a “split”. A split is when a child spends time in a special-needs classroom for individualized attention and also spends time with typical peers for social interaction. PERFECT! But does this type of program exist?
Since our home school doesn’t have a program to meet Aden’s needs, he will be attending a school nearby. My plan was to get permission for Alex to also attend the same school but in a typical kindergarten class. Even before autism, I knew I wanted them in separate classes throughout their school years. They are twins but they are also individuals and therefore need to learn to thrive on their own. However, I would like them at the same school for obvious reasons.
My plan was to have both boys start at the same school in different classes and stay there. Consistency and stability is important for any kid but especially kids on the spectrum. However, due to the county’s latest initiative to send special-needs kids back to their home schools, this doesn’t look to be an option. Aden is expected to attend a special-needs kindergarten nearby and return to his home school for 1st grade. At this point, I am unsure whether or not to seek permission for Alex to attend the same school as Aden if he’s only to return for 1st grade. Why make them both endure transitions?
When I first heard that Aden and Alex would be attending different schools, it was a tough pill to swallow. It’s still sort of lodged in my throat. Not to make this about me, but I like to be involved at school; I like to volunteer and participate in fundraisers. I don’t like the idea of dividing myself between two schools, dealing with two buses, etc…I keep telling myself it’s only for one year but I still feel unsettled and I don’t feel like it’s the perfect decision.