"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.