It’s been over a month since I loaded just a fraction of our belongings and Cameron and I did our trek across country to our new home in Ohio. To say there have been some bumps in the road, is a complete understatement. Yet, somehow, we are still making it through.
Surprisingly, Cameron handled the trip north fairly well. Armed with his own personal DVD player and a stockpile of snacks, he actually enjoyed the trip.
We were able to stop in Tennessee and visit both my grandmother and great-grandmother. For the most part, it was a good day. Cameron was fairly well behaved. Though he insisted on having ice cream for lunch/dinner.
When we first arrived, Cameron was attending a very nice public school. The only problem was… he was fully integrated into a regular classroom. Now, I can see how this can be beneficial. Heck, this is what I wanted all along for Cameron. But I’m not a fool. He’s not yet ready to be in a normal classroom.
His classroom in Louisiana was 2/3 children to one teacher and at Worley, he was 1 of 20-something children to one teacher. Even with a one-on-one aide, it wasn’t right for him, yet.
His one-on-one would change every few days. For anyone who knows anything about autistic children, change in a day-to-day schedule is hard for them. Heck, change for any child is hard when it comes to adjusting. Now, Cameron had done surprisingly well, considering we had just moved cross country, away from the only life he remembers. But I always knew when he had a new one-on-one.
How did I know?
His behavior would change. I’d get complaints from the school about him not listening, trying to run off… etc.
The worst day, was my first full day off during a weekday. Everything about that morning was off. I didn’t have to work, so I didn’t have to rush off right after dropping him off. In fact, I had planned on checking to see how he was holding up. The secretary had been absent that day and there was a temp there. There was no aide to meet us in the principal’s office and normally, the principal would escort Cameron to breakfast and no one came to find him for almost 30 minutes. Thus making him late for breakfast and class. His new aide and I escorted him to breakfast and then I said goodbye and headed back home to get ready for some job interviews. After the first interview, I received a call that Cameron had tried to run away from the school. He had done this once before last year.
As much as I liked Worley (or “the rocket school” as Cam calls it), I knew they just weren’t able to handle him. So I insisted that he be returned to a more traditional special needs classroom. I’m not sure how I feel about this new school.
Allen (or “the eagle school” as Cam calls it), is across town. It takes 20 minutes for me to get there from my apartment and more than 30 from my new job. Also, it’s not in the nicest part of town. I know that sounds bad for me to say that, but it’s the truth. I live in a very middle class neighborhood and frankly, I feel uneasy driving through some of the neighborhoods I have to go through to get to the school.
His teacher seems nice enough and I’ve been told that he has a very steady one-on-one aide. But I am currently looking into possibly moving Cameron into a private program that will be more geared towards helping those who are on the autism spectrum. For what this state lacks in options for public schools providing the correct avenues for special needs children, they make up with an autism scholarship. So, if at the end of the year, Cameron is not getting the proper attention and educational support, I will be looking into trying to get him into one of these private programs.
I don’t want to pull Cameron out of the public school system. Quite the opposite, actually. I want him to continue to improve. He’s so smart and it amazes me just how much he knows. So despite him lacking the proper or “normal” verbal skills that other six year olds possess, he is improving. I truly wish for him to be able to be integrated into a normal classroom. I think it will help him with his social skills and I think he needs to learn to socialize with the other children.
On top of the school issues we have had, we have recently had several daycare incidents. Cameron is generally a loving child. But in light of all the changes he’s been experiencing, he began to act out. Sometimes it was just needing to have his hands on everything. But sometimes, he would bother the children by refusing to respect their personal space. Or he’d even push the children around, or even dropping his pants to show off his underwear. I know this is a normal kid thing.
But the problem with daycares are… the second they hear he’s autistic, they just automatically get uptight and even scared. They fail to realize, children do this.
They bump or pull their pants down and when the other children laugh…it encourages the child to do it again… and again.
Well, clearly they were concerned that they couldn’t handle him, because on Tuesday… they informed me they were dismissing him for trying to climb the fence.
So it seems Cameron is in for another change and I fear how he will handle it. He loved his daycare, just as he loved “the rocket school”.
The new daycare is geared towards special needs children and I won’t lie. I was already in awe of the place when I arrived and found a True Blood billboard in the back of the parking lot. But in all honesty, I do hope this will be a smooth transition for Cameron. For his ability to adjust or lack of, can greatly impact our lives. In fact, it can turn our whole world upside down. Something I can’t afford to happen again, as I need to be able to retain employment in order for us to live.