Alex has not had a full educational evaluation since kindergarten. There have been a few smaller evaluations for other reasons, and one to change his educational diagnosis from Mental Retardation to Autism, but not a comprehensive educational evaluation. In order for Alex to stay at Mapaville, he has to be evaluated. A full evaluation that will result in a 7-10 page report. Then there will be an eligibility meeting and a new IEP will be written. Before that happens, I have some things I need to tell you so that you can remind me.
Alex has come so far.
In the past month, he has done so many things that have just wowed me. I'm not sure what the difference is, but I can tell something good is going on.
When we first moved, we visited his mommy pretty regularly because he was out of school for way to fricking long. Leaving mommy's, I'd tell him we were going home now. Every single time, without fail, he'd start crying when we turned south on 21. I couldn't understand why he was crying until it hit me that his "home" was in the other direction. I didn't know he knew how to get "home" from mommy's.
Walking out the front door, I ask Alex to please wait for me while I lock the door. With it being the two of us, I didn't have a choice but to send up a prayer that he wouldn't make it to the stairs first and be ready to bolt after him. The first several times, my full attention was on him as I half-assed the door, ready to run. He stood there and watched my hands. When the door was locked, we could walk to the steps.
Our trailer isn't in the best of shape, there are minor repairs needed here and there from regular living. One of the things that could use some attention is the door knob lock. It's tricky. and wiggly. My boyfriend asked me one day why I didn't just lock the deadbolt- duh. So, I started locking the deadbolt instead of the knob. Alex stood there, watching me lock the door. I locked it and turned away to the stairs. "Ok, it's locked. Here we go." He refused to budge. he walked over to the door and started poking at the lock. I asked him again to come on, and may have gotten a little exasperated. He refused and kept vocalizing at me, turning the door handle, poking the lock, and knocking. He was mad that I locked the wrong lock! I had to explain the broken lock and the deadbolt and show him that the door wouldn't open before we could leave.
Alex fell off of the stairs. The bottom step, but still. He fell directly onto his elbow in the concrete driveway. He was hysterical. I told him that I was taking him to the hospital. He hugged me and calmed down a little, but was still crying. I didn't even look. uh-uh. I don't do broken bones or open wounds. I saw how he fell, I heard the cry, it was good enough for me. By the time we got to the hospital, I was questioning. "Do you even need to see a doctor?" He nodded. Ok. Not sure I should trust it, but ok. I took him in. Taking his shirt off to show people...yeah. He needed to be there. The doctor looked at his arm and ordered x-rays. As she was walking out of the room, Alex started vocalizing at her and reaching for his knee. I tried to stop her, she didn't seem eager, but she stopped. I pulled down his pants, and sure enough, he hurt his knee. Not broken or anything, but scrapes. She wasn't worried, but I was beyond excited- he told the person he needed to tell that he hurt and where!
I've become pretty desperate in toning down the Goofy One in the evenings. It's been more than out of control. He has a new interest that works in my favor- money. He's figured out that money buys video games and Minecraft toys and $20 bills and he wants it. Walter gets paid for babysitting, the Goofy One gets paid for not driving me to drink (much) and we're happy. Sitting at the kitchen table on payday, I handed Walter his money and handed Goofy his money, Alex starts smacking the table, snapping at me, and making the "gimme" sign. I looked at him and said, "did you earn money?" He looked sad and slumped in his chair. I felt bad so I asked, "were you a good boy this week?" He smiled and nodded so I put the $5 in front of his plate and let him know that it was his. The look on his face was so very worth it. We went to Walmart today and he picked out Hoodwinked. Not so sure that was the movie he wanted, I think I gave him too many choices, but it's the one he ended up with. He fell asleep watching it at bedtime. Did you catch that one? Hoodwinked. He's watching Frozen and Despicable Me 2 and Hoodwinked. He still loves Dora and Blues Clues and Elmo, but he's choosing longer movies with and actual story line!
Progress is progress. Alex is impressive in ways that I never expected and I never thought I could be so proud of the little things or be so certain that it's the little things that matter most. This report will be useful in helping him get the educational placement and program that he needs, it will help him with services after transitioning, it may help with some things at home, but it will not change who he is or take away the progress that he's made.