When raising a child with special needs you kinda get used to all of the ups and downs that fall into your lap and over time; you hope that you can learn to roll with the punches more. For me, I have had a few very poignant moments where I have truly felt like "wow, things are really going to be different" for me and for our family. Of course the day of diagnosis is probably the most significant one that has occurred but it's definitely not the only one. I think because all of the children were so young, the diagnosis was extremely difficult for me but my son's siblings had been living with the chaos for most of their young lives that they didn't know anything different. So, when I was told that my son was not thriving in an Academic Resource Program in a mainstream school any more and that he needed more one on one care I felt numb.
You go through life thinking "okay I got this", "I will rise to the challenges", and some days are definitely easier than others but all in all you roll with it and embrace all of it. I have known for some time that my son had become stagnate academically and had even taken a downward turn socially and emotionally but I was still optimistic that it was just another phase and we would "get through this too". We made some med changes and I kept my fingers crossed. Unfortunately, the more we asked of him the more he regressed and shut down. With starting to show signs of mental health concerns along with his ASD, we continued to evaluate his meds, work with his team (consisting of psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, OT, PT, and speech), as well as his teacher at school to try and provide him with the most appropriate, safe, and least restrictive academic environment for learning.
Prior to the holidays, it was apparent that we were going to have to explore other options and this was my second most poignant moment that made me stop and think "here we go again, things are really going to change". I went through the mourning process all over again as I did when we received his diagnosis. I was sad, angry, and very nervous for the unknown. I was hoping that once I did the tour of the "new" school I would feel relieved. Well, that didn't really happen. Yes, it is the best place for him right now, yes the staff is amazing and has an incredible amount of experience, but UGH! I can't believe we are here, I can't believe it has come to this! How are we all going to get through this. My other 2 kids are sad too. We have had a lot of tears and anger over the past few weeks but I must say that because of the other kids I have had to put my game face on and rally to be positive and show them that yes this is a change and yes this will be hard on everyone but it is our new norm and is what is in the very best interest of their brother.
Reality is a double-edged sword. It comes with positivity and with darkness. It is how we choose to handle our reality and how we choose to embrace the change. We are choosing to celebrate the difference and embrace the change.