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Parent Assist Day

Posted by on Sep. 23, 2013 at 3:32 PM
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Today was my first day assisting in my sons classroom, and it was also the first time I've ever had the oppurtunity to really observe him in a setting with typical peers (3/4 of his class are typically developing children). 

The experience was both shocking and validating for me. It was shocking because I did not realize how different he really is. I didn't expect his peers to have conversations with me and to follow directions in the way that they did. I don't think I saw one of them throw a tantrum, and I cannot believe that. I was initially surprised to learn that my son was assigned a 1:1 aide, and I thought that they were going a little overboard with it, but today I saw that he wouldn't be able to attend school without one. Often times he even had more than one adult assisting him. I don't think I was in denial, I just don't think I had enough exposure to typical children to have any idea. 

On the other hand, the experience was very vailidating because I had been blaming myself for not being able to handle my son without respite care. I honestly thought it was because of my own limitations, and that other children were also nearly as difficult to care for. But, watching his teacher and an aide on the playground with printed PECS pics and an ipad, signing and trying to make him understand that the rest of the class was walking inside and that recess was over, and he was just sitting there, ready to have a meltdown if anyone touched him, I realized that it's NOT ME! 

It is nice to know that he is, in fact, extremely difficult, and to realize that I'm actually very patient with him, and that I'm actually doing really well with his behavior. But on the other hand, I actually feel sad about his diagnosis now. I think that I really felt the weight of it for the first time today, and I really wasn't prepared for that. 

The good news is...I'm going to my first autism support group meeting tonight! I finally found out where all of the autism parents are hiding :) Good timing! 

by on Sep. 23, 2013 at 3:32 PM
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by on Sep. 23, 2013 at 8:28 PM
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 Yay on the support group!

Dillon has a 1:1 aide who I swear has made all the difference. His first one retired (and at that point I thought I would DIE! I swear I cried EVERY DAY when she left!) and his current one is wonderful. If nothing else, it makes my heart feel so good to know someone is by his side looking out for him. Hopefully, she is successful in other areas, but I also know he would be completely lost and possibly bullied if no one were with him. So think of this as a good thing!

I was a room mom until he got to middle school and I also would be in shock over how different he was like I KNEW he had to be, but didn't believe it until I saw it for myself. He's in 6th grade now and I still see it, and I swear it's something you never get used to. No matter how much progress we know they make or how funny or smart we think they are...they are still "different". But then I'll see him around the boys and at moments he's just like one of them...makes me so happy! Even if they're just walking into the school

Big, big hugs! I know today couldn't have been easy but I think you're doing such a great thing by volunteering!

by Jan on Sep. 23, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Pat yourself on the back!  You deserve it.  To be able to really realize that you're a good parent, doing a good job, being patient, etc. is awesome.  I hope that takes away your self-doubt and some of your stress.

I remember going to my son's preschool.  It was sad and disheartening to see how all of the other kids seemed to be interacting, fluorishing (sp?) and so full of excitement and interaction with the teachers and the other kids, and my guy was off by himself in his own world.  He is 12 now and has come such a long way, but I still feel twinges when I see him shying away from social interactions and I can feel his sense of awkwardness.  But, like I said, he has come such a long way, he's such a happy kid and I am overjoyed by all of the wonderful things he can and does do!
by Janine on Sep. 23, 2013 at 9:41 PM
I totally understand...the older my son gets the more it hits me how different he is. Watching him play at the playground around nuerotypical kids is a real eye opener. But it also makes me realize I'm good mom my son is a challenge & I get up everyday & do it. I feel like Brady (my son) & I have a special bond. I'm glad you had the chance to see your son in action.
by Emma on Sep. 23, 2013 at 9:58 PM
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that's how I felt when I had a typical developing toddler... really made me understand my son's differences.

by Cathleen on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:01 AM

It is very eye opening when you are able to observe your child in a different environment. It sounds like he's got a great support system at school.

Big hugs to you momma for getting involved in your sons classroom!

by Hadley on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:15 AM

Such an eye opening experience. They are painful, but help give us a better perspective on our lives.

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