"Be steadfast and courageous. Be brave and true. Believe in yourselves and carry on." ~Dr. David W. Smouse~
For those that don't know, I have an eight year old son with autism. He is non verbal. He is delightful and beautiful. Over the winter he suffered some severe depression. We had a rough winter here in Iowa and he started acting out at school. He was too depressed to continue to keep trying to learn in a way that was not relevant to him in particular.
So it came down to him transferring to a special needs school called Smouse Opportunity School and out of his autism classroom he is in now. I love his teacher and I know she loves all of us as well however she is not well supported as far as the district goes. The autism classroom keeps getting pushed aside more and more. She really is a fantastic teacher and her heart is in the right place too.
On wednessday I was crammed into a very small room at Smouse with 11 other ladies to start the process of writing Jupiter's new IEP (Individual Education Program, his goals and how to implement them) and what I thought was going to be a tough time for me. I thought I was going to have to put on my supper advocate hat and kick some bureaucratic arse.
I had planned to take Jaymon with me and the rest of the kids but Jupiter was sick and so I was on my own. I feel more confident when Jaymon is there knowing that he is on my team backing me up.
Its so hard to stay calm and graceful and not go all protective mommy right from the start. I wanted to stay calm and listen and think wisely before I spoke.
I prepared by running before the meeting! Oh running how I love you! You truly make me a better person.
I was stressed and felt like I was brimming with emotion and not a logiccal thought in my head. When the moment presented itself I was out the door and busted out 4 fast miles. When I was done I felt pretty and toned and detoxified, calm and I could think straight again. I felt strong both inside and out. Not just strong but capable.
It is so wonderful that I know I need to run. That I believe that even though I might feel desperate and wound so tight I might snap, that if I go run for a while, I will feel better. I believe this and it keeps proving to be true time and time again.
I walked into the gorgeous building and was met with camaraderie and kindness. They seemed to revere the leader of the other program that Jupiter is going to be starting which gave me some wonderful leverage. I came in with a presence of being a reasonable and calm person that was willing to work together as a team member and not a raging lunatic thanks to running!! I burned the craziness right out!!
This school is gorgeous! It has an atrium that you can see in the photo to the right. Real gargoyles for water spouts, decorative tiles and a therapy pool!! The child teacher ratio is excellent and the rooms are huge. The budget cuts seem to have passed by Smouse's door this year and they are getting new technology equipment in his classroom.
The history of this school is amazing. It was an innovative venture by Dr. Smouse in a time when people with disabilities were all too often written of as not worth the help, especially not in such a gorgeous setting.
I think this will be a wonderful change for all of us. The school encourages family participation which will be wonderful since I love to work with Jupiter as well.
Although running in the morning is still not my favorite time to go, it does help with the unexpected stressors that happen throughout any day. It certainly does wonders on those days that I have been anxious about for weeks. I think that the autism coordinator for the building might be a runner too. Wouldn't that be cool.
I'm so happy that you found such a wonderful-sounding school! And I love that running gave you the peace you needed when you headed in. Sounds like the winning combination!
I totally agree that running helps us to clear our heads and keeps us focused! I am so glad to hear that you are happy with your son's school and that he will have a beautiful, safe and stimulating place to learn:)
Angie, I hope that you have a fantastic weekend!
Running in the morning is so hard to get motivated to do, but definitely helps with the stuff life throws at you. Sounds like your son is going to be going to a really awesome school now.
Have a great weekend!
I always try to go for a good hard run before an expected difficult time. I know 10 miles for me will make me euphoric enough to not be as concerned about the stress, but, yes, even a 4 miler is great, to push and get it out before taking it out on innocent bystanders. Its great to have the outlet, isnt it? Glad your son is in such a great place! It is pictureseque
Running is the BEST stress-reliever. Amazing how much better you can feel after putting in a few miles.
So happy the meeting went well and things are looking good with the new school.
Finding the right spot for your son must be such a relief. I work with a few autistic children (in Canada. Remember that the IEP is a good thing, not a stressor; it helps the child achieve and gives the parents and teachers a guide and structure so that this can happen.
Running is a wonderful outlet for you.
That school sounds perfect. It is so great to see a mother that supports her child as much as you do.
That school sounds awesome!! Glad you are finding a good option for your son. My parents are raising my 16 year old non-verbal autistic nephew. I know the hardest years for them were the tweens. Hope your son does well at the new school.
Glad that running helped you to go calmly into the meeting!
I'm not a morning runner either but there are days that it's a good start to a day
I am so glad you get that clarity from running (I feel that way too). You are an amazing person. I can not begin to understand what to do to be an advocate for your son. It looks like a beautiful school.
So happy for you. The school sounds wonderful! Running for me is my therapy time and time to work out any issues I might be having.
You are such an awesome mom!
I feel so much better after reading your post. My goodness, all I've been hearing lately is about program cuts in schools all around us - it is very depressing. It is so fantastic there are some programs that survive and in such a wonderful environment too. I wish all kids could learn in places that send the message that learning matters. This school seems to be doing that. I am glad for you and your son.
Isn't that great how running helps us deal with things? I know that when I run in the morning my entire day looks better. (Guess what my days look like now that I am not running much).
Have a great rest of the weekend.
I have a nephew with autism. B-Man is 17 now and we still fight every single year with getting his needs met. The whole family is in on it as my sister needs a cheering squad to push her to get what is needed.
I wish there had been and option like Smouse for B-Man. He probably would have excelled way more than he has. Still, he's an awesome guy and I love him to bits.
I'm using running right now to help with stress - you're right, it really does help!
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