Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Autism Meeting

There are so many things going on here that I am not sure where to start!  Maybe if I had been here yesterday, there wouldn't be as much that I have to say.  But, that was beyond my control.  The Boy was sick yesterday.  He seems to be feeling better today.  Hopefully that will last, since he has finals on Friday and Monday.

By the way....a final, worth 20% of his grade....on a Monday?!  C'mon!  I am sure he will do fine, as long as he is there to hear what is being discussed, but there are plenty of others who won't do as well since nobody studies over the weekend!

Moving on to talk about what happened in the meeting with those who work with Autism Spectrum folks.

Where we are from, (or at least in the closest big town) they have just built a brand new autism center.  Housed inside of that is another group which was started because a local orthodontist (who The Boy sees) has a son who is on the spectrum.  Growing up, there was not really anyone around who could help get him ready for what he would need to accomplish in his life.  This group is now available to help gear these kids up to help them fit into the world around them. (His son has gone on to attend an out of state college and is an amazing artist.)

When we met with these folks the other day, they decided that The Boy would fit well into a group that they were going to begin.  This group would be broke up into smaller groups of kids/young adults who seemed to be on the same level of "Social Thinking".  The way I understand it, these groups would help teach how to deal with the public....the way things are said, reading body language, etc.

I was told that the group that they felt would work the best for The Boy would be meeting on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 until 6:30.  Each child/parent would have to sign a contract saying that they would attend all (or as many as reasonably possible) of the meetings.  Also, each participant would need to eat supper before they arrived so that hunger would not be an issue. She went on to say that each meeting would cost $25 and they did not send it in to any type of insurance, nor were they sure if any insurance would cover it.

I felt like this would be a wonderful thing for The Boy.  But, I have a few problems with it all.  First of all, we live 30 minutes away from where the meeting would take place.  That would mean that we would spend an hour of travel time and an hour of group time.  And, we wouldn't get home until after 7pm if we were able to walk out the door at exactly 6:30. (And how many meetings do you attend where you leave the exact minute they say everything is going to end?)

Another issue would be that I would have to get us home from school/work, get homework done and supper fixed and eaten before 5pm.  That gives me an hour.  I don't know that I could make that happen.

The travel issue is still a problem when you consider the fact that I try to make only one, possibly two, trips into town each week.  Especially considering the fact that gas ain't cheap!  Granted, there are some weeks when I make considerably more trips into town.  Doesn't make me happy though.

Another factor is the cost.  Yeah, she said that $25 "is really cheap therapy". And it doesn't sound like very much per week when you say it out loud.  But when you actually look at it added into your budget, I would have to come up with an extra $125 for March.  And it all averages out to an extra $100 a month.  I don't have that much extra.  We live paycheck to paycheck with every dime accounted for.

I kind of felt like they were thinking that if I really wanted to help my son, then I would do anything it took to do so.  And maybe anyone who reads this will think the same thing.  If that is the case, then think how you wish.  The fact remains that I don't have the extra, no matter what is on the wish list for things we want/need.  So, unfortunately at this point in time, The Boy will not be attending these meetings.

Another thing that was discussed was trying to get him into a Vo-Tech program through the school.  The one they were all looking at is a pre-engineering program.  They were hoping that he would be able to start going to it during his sophomore year (next year).  That isn't going to be able to happen though since he has to have certain math and science courses completed that are not offered until next year.

We are going to try to get him to get some of the classes done so that he can attend during his junior year though.  The counselor told me that if he does go to the Vo-Tech, he could possibly lose out on being either Valedictorian or Salutatorian of his class.  She said that the Vo-Tech classes are not considered to be "weighted" courses and if someone stayed and took weighted classes at the high school, it could push him out of the running.  I have discovered that I can appeal to the school board to get the pre-engineering classes designated as weighted if I make a good enough argument for it.

That is what we will do.  The Boy would love to be one of the top in his class, but he also would like to attend this Vo-Tech class.  I don't think that it would be fair for him to go to a pre-engineering class and be penalized for attending and doing well.  Therefore, we will appeal to the board should the need arise.

And that is what happened during our meeting.  It sure seemed like a lot more rattling around in my head before I typed it all out!

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