Last year saw some incredible changes in our life and through them all I have found that I personally have developed a far better understanding of how my kids tick and what it is like to be in their world.
Now I will never pretend or claim to know exactly what it is like, every child is different and I can and will never I believe fully understand them all the time, there are many days when I want to throw up my hands and go what the literal beep beep beep, my family knows when I swear I have reached breaking point or am extremely passionate about the current topic or situation but in any case, over the last year I have begun to understand and put myself in their shoes when it comes to circumstances occurring at the time.
For instance it took me this long to notice that Loghan stims when he is agitated, I didn't even know what stimming was until a fellow autism mum pointed it out, but I now know that he does it and can preempt certain situations and meltdowns, Loghan's overall body language and the intensity and volume of his voice are also very indicative of when he is starting to become over stimulated or has even reached over stimulation.
Gabriel on the other hand is a completely different kettle of fish all together, when he becomes over loaded or over stimulated he will rock, suck his thumb, curl up into a feotal position or hide making himself as small and unnoticeable as possible, that or he will fall asleep, I am not even kidding yesterday he fell asleep whilst doing homework and he has also fallen asleep in class and he goes to bed before 8 and sleeps like a angelic baby (well one who cuccoons themselves or hangs half way off the bed in a precarious position with his mouth open).
Brothers and yet so completely different and this is one of the cornerstone factors for us when we chose to move Loghan, it is the fact that every child whether neuro typical or not is different, they learn differently, behave differently, different things over or under stimulant them and their senses but that is not how the schooling system treats children, every child is put in the same box, wears the same uniform, must conform and behave in the same manner, must all complete their work within the same time frame being taught in the same way when some children are visual and others verbal or prefer repetition and written work.
The subject choices stay the same and yet not everyone is good at or enjoys math or science or even art, some kids would excel in architectural drawing or different languages or even hospitality or consumer sciences. So why are children still being taught the same things in the same manner, it clearly isn't working for so many children, so many children on anxiety meds before 10 years old among other medications and many of them misdiagnosed, and as one teacher said to me: as a teacher you are left with an incredibly difficult decision- do you help the kids who are clearly struggling and will likely not pass or excel or do you focus your attention the stellar students the one who will bring the school a great name and reputation if they are given a bit of extra attention.... Sadly the fact is that one teacher can simply not give attention to all 35 students.
So with this we have officially decided and will be removing Gabriel from mainstream as well, he will be attending a cottage school and I cannot wait for him to start this journey, I never actually realised how large the homeschooling community is in our area and I think that is is only going to grow as the conditions in schools continue to worsen, the social groups and events are great and allow for far more socialisation and outings outside of the child's peer group which I think is fantastic, and the smaller numbers also allow for more attention to your child and also allow the tutor to cater your child's education and learning to their needs.
Gabriel is incredibly excited and I am really looking forward to moving forward and seeing where this journey will take us.