I know that this is a post that I have to write so that I can begin to deal with reality. I am hoping that by putting my emotions on paper that I can get past the grieving stage and enter the action phase.
Matthew needs to go to a different program for 6th grade- I don't want him to go. I feel so many different emotions over this.
1. We moved to Bethlehem for the school district- When Matthew was entering Kindergarten I didn't like the program that Niskayuna was offering Matthew so I sent him to the Hebrew Academy knowing that would only work for 1 year. Then, as we negotiated for 1st grade for Matthew, Niskayuna wanted Matthew mainstreamed and I again felt passionately that this wasn't appropriate for him, so in February I put our house on the market. In August, I purchased a house in Delmar, and we moved the last week of August even before my house in Niskayuna had sold because I felt passionately that Matthew needed to be in the Bethlehem school district. In Bethlehem they had a self contained class where Matthew would be with 12 children who were similar to him. I felt that in a self contained class Matthew would have areas where he would succeed and areas where he would struggle. I never wanted him to be the child in a mainstream class who would be the lowest functioning socially and academically and I knew if he was mainstreamed that is what would happen, so I packed up the 3 boys, and we moved to Delmar with a purpose and a plan.
2. While it hasn't always been perfect, I have felt a connection to Glenmont school and the staff who have worked with Matthew. They supported me when he was first hospitalized at 4 Winds, they trusted me as Matthew's mom, they understand what it is to be Matthew's mom, and each staff member has found a piece of Matthew to love. With Matthew being a child in the district, there is always someone with eyes and ears on Matthew- he is a child that is seen when the CSE chairs spend time in the classroom. He has the opportunity to connect with children and then see them at the YMCA or at the town pool.
3. He is an "Eagle", the mascot of Bethlehem Central Schools. They sang a song tonight at his concert about Eagles, and I had tears streaming down my face. If Matthew goes elsewhere, he won't be an Eagle, he won't actually be an anything......Who will he belong to? I am looking at a BOCES program for Matthew that is housed in a Niskayuna school- a total ridiculous reality that could only happen in my life- move from Niskayuna, and in 6th grade my child goes physically back to Niskayuna as a BOCES student- where will he be part of a district? Would he attend the school halloween party in Niskayuna? the middle school programs in Delmar? He wouldnt really fit anywhere.
4. I feel like we are in free fall. I think that we will land in a safe place, but the in between time is making me so anxious, and my head is spinning. I want him to stay at Glenmont another year. I want him to go back to 3rd grade and have these last 2 years back so that I could enjoy them and live more in the moment while he had a class to be part of. Should I have had more playdates? Should he have gone to an out of district placement sooner so that in Middle school he could return back to district?
5. I feel a little insane to even have these feelings- in December I was looking at residential programs for Matthew, in the past 4 months, he has done so much better that it seems hard to believe that a residential program was truly a reality not so long ago. He spent from October-December living in the hospital and then at a respite program for 3 weeks because he was so unsafe at home, so looking at a school BOCES program is still a step up from where we were earlier this year, I should be thankful. And yet, I don't feel thankful, I feel heartbroken.
I want to kick and scream and beg Bethlehem to keep us, to keep Matthew, to make it work. I am still not sure that I can give up on this idea, but for now, I am planning to visit a BOCES class next week and I am hoping to fall in love with it and maybe if it feels right, then I can move forward more easily. Today I am stuck with a heavy heart and again just wishing it was easier.
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!