Saturday, May 4, 2013

Thoughts On the Village

This has been an emotionally draining week.  Big decisions needed to be made.  Decisions I didn't think would be so hard to make.  We went on Wednesday to visit the preschool recommended as Leo's next placement.  If we agreed, he would go there 4 days a week for 3 hours a day.  I will be totally honest and admit that this sounded delightful to me.  Three hours of time in which to home school the four other boys without interruption.  Jeremy and I both embarked on this visit with high hopes.

The preschool building itself was nice.  The staff was very friendly, helpful and accommodating.  They went out of their way to answer our questions and help us feel comfortable.  Leo enjoyed the classroom, playing with toys and even participating in circle time.

We left.  Both unsure what to do but feeling like maybe we should give it a try at least.  There was one thing that bothered both of us.  One thing that in the end we wouldn't be able to get over. The classroom consisted of ten children all of whom were special needs to varying degrees. So we left feeling torn, not sure what to do.
Here's the thing- I have known in my head that Leo is not your typical kid. I know he is developmentally really behind his peers. I think for the first time this week, my heart saw what my head has known. I saw the kids in the classroom Leo would be in. I am sure they are wonderful children, but they are special needs kids. They need to be there! My heart was crying out- saying your son is different. He doesn't belong here, but my head is slowly realizing that it may just be an appropriate placement.  

So my heart was torn- I was left wondering- Am I in denial about the level of my child's special needs? or was it my gut trying to tell me something
We actually thought we had made the decision to send him.  Thinking we would give it a try.  We even told some people we were sending him.  But peace did not follow.  Questions still remained.  Uneasiness ruled.  
So we talked some more.  Realizing that maybe just maybe Leo was not ready for that environment.  Maybe it wasn't the best place for him.  I realized sending Leo to the preschool would be all about me.  It would give me a break.  It would make my life easier.  But as the saying goes.  It isn't about me.  We really could not come up with any positives for Leo in going.  We both believed he would go further and faster if he stayed home and received  one on one therapy in our home.    Once we decided to keep him home. Peace followed.
This week we realized we have entered the great debate of special education and inclusion.  We are not going to debate that here as we realized it really is a personal decision.  For us, we are not ready to put Leo in a classroom of kids all with special needs.  He needs to be around typical children and mimic their behaviors.  He needs to see other children progressing and advancing.  And for the at least the next year, he needs to be home surrounded by his family, who loves him very much.
 Physical therapy with his brothers at the playground.
 Leo is quite popular when he has his ipad.
 I found Leo in the laundry room putting dirty clothes
in the washing machine.  So, I guess we will need
to add laundry to his list of chores.

Leo will receive therapy in our home.  He will
be visited by five different therapists each week. 
 Climbing through the tunnel to find Ben.

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