Nov 4     32 min read

Challenges of Finding the Perfect School for an Autistic Student

Updated: Dec 1

Dina, a mother of a non-verbal teenager on the Autism spectrum, discusses the obstacles of finding the perfect school for her son.  Dina shares her experiences with her son growing up with Autism.  After researching a number of schools, Dina found the Westmoreland Academy in Pasadena, CA. 

Host Speaker  0:31 

Thank you for joining us for another episode of I am Able. The goal of our podcast is to bring acceptance and awareness to our communities when working with educating and living with people of all abilities.

Jamie:  0:43 

Hello, everyone. With me today is Deena, how are you, Dana? How are you? I’m pretty good. Thank you. So, Deena, I wanted you to tell our listeners how, what is your connection to the autism community.

Dina:  1:05 

This time, he is now 16 and a half and he is diagnosed with autism. So I guess I’ve been a member of this community for 16 and a half years.

Jamie:  1:19 

Oh, wow. So what were the signs in your son that you did you first notice that led you to seek some help?

Dina:  1:30 

And stuff, so my son Josh, was always from birth, very happy, easygoing, loving kid, but never made great eye contact from day one, he would look at you wouldn’t really respond to His name, if you call him from another room who kind of ignore you. Um, when he was about nine months, we started noticing, you know, the babbling and stuff, but it never kind of progressed to sounds. And I can say this now, because I have a total of four kids. He’s my oldest. And I didn’t really you know, as a first time parent, he kind of don’t always understand what they mean when they say like, they’re gonna babble and then jargon and all of these names for different sounds. He kind of just made the same sounds, and he would make them and look at you and talk to you. But we all sounded the same. And it wasn’t until he was about 12 months old. When he started and I started noticing that he wasn’t progressing to saying Mum and Dad, dad, it wasn’t coming. And there wasn’t really any other language coming. There wasn’t random little words or approximations of words. It was kind of just this mumbled. babble. And, and then when he was about 13 months old, and we were visiting my parents here in LA, we lived on the east coast at that time, and he had a letter, he was playing with these block letters, and it happened to be the letter W. And he loved watching Sesame Street, and there was a little blurb on the letter W, and all of a sudden, he starts going, Whoa, whoa, whoa, F. And we’re like, Ah, here’s this kid who doesn’t add Roa. So we’re like, wow, Josh, what is this look, and start saying, boo. And we’re like bamboo. And we realize who sang w. And then we realized he knew and could receptively and expressively in his own way, identify all the letters and numbers. Wow. So we realized here’s like 14 months. By 15 months, there was no question he was hyperelastic. And diagnosed, we took him to a developmental pediatrician at 19 months, because at this point, aside from letters saying his letters, there was no other words. He was really had hyper focus on anything that has to do with letters and numbers. And it was it was actually was about 18 months, we went to a developmental pediatrician and she’s like, look, you know, I think he’s on the spectrum. I think he would be diagnosed PDD and unless I want you to go start immediately with speech therapy and start with OT, and at 19 months we started and with everyday speech therapy, ot he had intensive I mean three times a week ot he had, at that time, twice a week speech therapy. And we realized he was also hyperlexia IQ, and at two he was fully reading spelling words. Filling out, like if you would put out on a piece of paper, which is your address, he would pick his address, if you gave him words with missing letters, he would pick the letters and put them in to fill up the rest of the words, but still really not making great eye contact, not following simple directions. And really no additional language. And it was very clear at that point that he also had, like severe apraxia. And so that was kind of like the beginning. It was never like one huge, you know, all of a sudden, a loss of a skill, it was just a progressive. Notice that these developmental steps didn’t come.

Jamie:  5:42 

Oh, okay. So luckily, you were noticed this a little early, and you were able to have your pediatrician, kind of diagnose and lead you in the right direction.

Dina:  5:54 

So it’s interesting, our pediatrician actually was an older gentleman who was very much in the wait and see mind. He would have been very happy to at three years old have sent us for a diagnosis or for we in the oldest of siblings, cousins, I have a large family. I knew something was off. So you know, it’s this moment in states that I always talk about. But the truth is, there was something off, I also at the time, had a very close friend who had two daughters. I know, girls, boys different developmentally. But at the same time, there was very clear signs that something was off, we thought maybe it was his hearing, because he wasn’t paying attention when you would call his name. So we went for the whole slew of hearing tests, all the different, you know, there’s behavioral, we did, you know, under sedation, a whole thing. And it really our development, our pediatrician, I think, thought I was crazy. Okay, so very much so. So I, you know, changed pediatricians, but, um, for you. And then even with regional center, here, it’s regional center on the East Coast, it has a different name, but the same kind of agency we went through. And I contacted them when he was 18 months old. And they themselves didn’t pick up on autism, they just thought he had a delay, he was developmentally delayed, and they refused to give us behavioral therapy was a whole thing. So when he was two years old, we took them to a different developmental pediatrician. And she is very renowned on the East Coast. And I had her report after you know, it’s like a three day evaluation with him this whole big thing. I brought them in the report. And they gave us about 30 hours of ABA and daily other services, because they realized they had really dropped the ball for a month before.

Jamie:  8:16 


Dina:  8:17 

So we were very lucky. But again,

Jamie:  8:21 

your assistant, which was really good, if you had not been persistent things could be very different now.

Dina:  8:28 

That’s kind of the story of our life is persistence.

Jamie:  8:31 

Yeah. Oh, wow. So going back, just for people who might not know what being hyperlexia is, or a proxy, can you explain those, those two terms for us?

Dina:  8:47 

Sure. So hyperlexia IQ is the ability for kids and like little kids, they can read it often. It’s, it’s crazy. It’s they’re able to read, but they don’t often process what they’re reading. So it’s not that they’re all of a sudden picking up the newspaper and reading the articles and then can have a conversation with you about what they’re reading. Often times they can repeat back, but they really don’t understand what they’re saying. So it’s often hyperlexia is often accompanied by very strange language patterns. You have kids who literally will repeat things back to you and then you ask them their name, and they can’t say it’s, but Josh was a nonverbal hyperlexia, which is very rare. We actually went to a couple different speech therapists who specialized he was sick, we were able to actually use the hyperlexia to our benefit, because we realized that hand in hand goes this lack of receptive ability. So they can expressively oftentimes say what they’re reading but they’re not processing it. So we use the written word on every thing, I labeled my entire house. So the window had a label that said window because I knew he would read the word and then see the picture. And I also accompany that. We used pecs, I used to make a textbook. So I had the Meyer Johnson disc. And I used to print out all the little symbols, and then write our own words underneath your print pictures of things, and I labeled my entire house. So we Heavy D, and this was at like, you know, 1819 months old, my house is pretty much stickied with labels everywhere. But we were able to use it and he loved letters, and he loved words. So I’m very lucky in the sense that it was an easy thing to do. And we were able to build his receptive language. So while he still had a practice, yeah, which is a motor delay it basically the simplest explanation is that the message from his brain to his mouth gets lost. So he wants to say the word, but his mouth isn’t able to move in the way that he wants to move it to make the sound. So he can literally say, Mommy 10 times, and it can come out different every single time. And it’s really hard. So it took a lot of practice. And it’s a lot of muscle memory. And it was a lot of repetition. There’s a lot of speech therapists who specialize. We were very lucky that we found one who lived right near us, and she just adored Josh. So there were random times she would stop by your house on the way home from work. And be like, I just wanted to pop in and say hello and see how he’s doing, you know, work with him for 15 minutes. And she was great. Wow. Yeah, we were very, very lucky. And so we use these cards again, because Josh loved letters and things. And it was pictures. And then on the back were the words and it was approximations. And even now, I mean, he’s 16. And he still uses approximation, some sounds, he cannot say the poor kid j is one of those sounds you can’t say and his name is Josh and his brothers all their means start with Jay Leno name. It’s like, heartbreaking. But he still everything is is pretty much an approximation. And so we because of this dyspraxia, and his is pretty severe. And we actually found and thank God, we always say thank God for Apple. And there is a program that moved from DynaVox to Apple, when the iPad came out. It’s called Proloquo to go. And we are able to program it with his it’s basically symbols and it’s a push to talk. So you can use icons for different words and navigate through build sentences, and it speaks for you. So he uses it really well. It’s been years and 1000s of hours of work, but he’s able to use it because his own voice is just not as accurate as a lot of people’s Yeah.

Jamie:  13:12 

So he he uses his communication device to, to speak in sentences, basically. Correct. And then he’s able to, to do some short answers with his own voice. But he relies more on his communicate communication device.

Dina:  13:31 

Because of his approximate. He could speak he speaks in full sentences. You can it’s just it’s hard. It’s hard for him. And as anybody knows, anything that’s hard for you is not preferred. So right, I’m going to you know, it’s just nature, human nature, we’re not going to go and seek the long path. We’re going to try to find the shortcut. So rather than have him for the rest of his lakes, life speaking one word answers, he’s able to use this device and give us his full opinion on something, use adjectives and adverbs and describe things and speak his mind. And it’s a process. It’s not that it’s been something easy. And that’s come easy to him. This has been a long it’s a long road and we’re only at the very beginning of getting his voice out. But he’s doing a great job. Oh, wow.

Jamie:  14:29 

Yes, he is doing a great job. I work with Josh and so I have to say that that he is doing really great and it’s it is really nice to hear that he’s able to give his opinion on things like what what movie he prefers to watch and why or what type of food he likes to eat and why which is which is really very cool. So what do you think has been your biggest challenge bringing him up so far being a child with autism?

Dina:  15:02 

You know, it’s a really sad thing to say, and I’m sure a lot of parents will agree. But the challenge oftentimes is, in general, with any kid, I think is the lack of belief in abilities, that often comes from, let’s say, school district, or, you know, because their bottom, the only thing they care about is their bottom line, let’s be real. It’s all about the money. And we have time and time again, thought, and had to fight just for the most basic things for Josh. You know, he’s viewed as this kid who’s nonverbal? And because he may pause, longer than another person to answer a question. They see it as a lack of ability and a lack of intelligence rather than his disability and his need to take a moment to answer a question. And because he’s nonverbal, um, a lot of these standardized tests don’t, and really won’t get a good measure of what his abilities are. And so it’s been kind of sad that over the years, they’ve looked at him and seen, again, kid who has tremendous potential. And I mean, we’ve seen in this past year, this massive growth, but you have this, this view that because he can’t talk the way that we all can talk, and he can’t communicate his wants and needs or his opinions the way that we do. It means that he doesn’t have them. And I’ve been since day one, fighting to just get people to understand that it’s all locked in there. And he’s able to communicate, just it’s going to be communicated a little differently. So we’ve it’s this it’s been a long this is this has been a tough fight. I mean, we’re still fighting it right now. But I think that that’s the biggest challenge is having people understand that his inability to perform the way that we’ve figured out, and the way that we’ve set up performance standards doesn’t mean that he’s not capable. Just maybe we have to shift what our expectation is.

Jamie:  17:50 

Right? Right. So we, we have this expectation that everybody is going to do things the same, and that if you can’t, that you’re not whole able and complete, which as, as we learned that everyone is whole able and complete just the way that they are. It’s just a matter of being able to communicate with with each person in the way that they’re able to communicate.

Dina:  18:17 

We started with Josh, when we lived in New Jersey, there wasn’t a good program for him. So he started his preschool years, actually in a home program, because the school district didn’t have anything and we moved here. And we put him in our local program. And then when it was time for him to move to kindergarten, the program we wanted to put them in was a their, what they called, at the time the severely handicapped program. And it really I have to say it was babysitting. And that’s just been a lot of what the program is. And I fought very hard because I was a big proponent of full inclusion. And you would think that a small school district where they have the resources and the finances, they should be able to provide and they couldn’t. And so we thought and what started off the year was that he was the agreement was that he was going to be in gen ed for a minimum of minutes, not a max it was that he was going to be in that program for a minimum of and came time for our first parent teacher conference. And mid I guess, first semester, and the gen ed teachers like you know, it’d be really nice to see Josh in my class, like what are you talking about? She’s like, well, you know, he comes in like for just a little bit and then he leaves and I would love to see him in here all day. It would be lovely to have him in here. Yeah. So come to find out and this is a And I’m sure a lot of parents who have kids who are nonverbal can understand. Um, turns out, they were lying to me. And they weren’t actually doing what they were supposed to do. But I don’t have a kid who can tell me, mommy, I was in this class all day, sitting on the carpet and doing nothing and playing with playdough. So I called them on it. Thankfully, it was early enough in a year where I was able to do something, and Josh spent the entire rest of the year in the gen ed class. And he continued in Gen Ed with a pull up to resource because they very quickly realized I had that special ed teacher in kindergarten. And towards the end of the year, say to me to know that Josh knows all his letters and numbers. And I looked at him and this is in our IEP. And I looked at him and I was like, I’m really sorry, I guess you didn’t actually read his IEP. And he goes, What do you mean, and I suppose if you actually read his IEP, you would have seen that it’s noted that he said, relax the keys known as letters and numbers since he was 1315 months old, like, come on, oh, wow, you didn’t actually even pick up the thing. And I know that he is this, this gentleman was an anomaly. Most of the special ed teachers that I’ve met over the year are really a rare breed. These are people who deserve anybody who works in this field really deserves honors and salaries that unfortunately don’t exist in our society. But that aside, we Josh was in full inclusion and I fought and we it was a fight. I was constantly in I had a teacher who basically the next year told me I should sue the school district because they don’t know what they’re doing, and they can’t provide and that’s the only way I’m gonna get it. So we did. This has been a contentious battle, we are constantly blocked with them in a battle. But you inclusion, that was you mentioned inclusion. Yeah, right. Inclusion. Yeah. Right. Really, right. But But I will say this, we tried until it didn’t work for him anymore. And I think that that’s also an important thing parents have to realize, and to anybody that’s listening that has younger kids, what’s working for you one year, doesn’t mean it’s going to work the next year, and there’s nothing wrong. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, we tried this, it’s not working. So if I put my kid in a more restrictive program, it’s going to mean that we failed. That’s not how you have to look at it. At the end of the day, the only person that matters is your kid. So if it means that they’re going to have more attention, and be able to focus on the skills that they need to build, so that they can do more with their life later, by being in a more restrictive program and a restrictive setting. And that’s the right program. It’s it, you know, there’s nothing to say that my kid was in inclusion and is in gen ed, and so therefore, they’re better. I nobody cares. You know, what you do what you have to do for your kid, that’s the most important thing. I I can’t stress that enough, is the only person that matters is your kid.

Dina:  23:07 

So true. Now I are true. I had tons of parents who complained to me that my kid was taking too much attention from a teacher in Gen Ed, or that my kid was too loud. And I have to tell you, like, he always had his own aid. So he was never taking attention from a teacher, he had his own aid. Like I, you know, you it doesn’t matter what you do, you do too little you do too much, somebody somewhere is going to get upset with you and tell you that your your, your child is getting something that their child deserves. And my response always is, well, you can go to the school district and requested aid, have an IEP See, have them evaluated, maybe there’s something that’s Sexually there, or talk to the school principal and tell them that you think that there needs to be more assistance in the classroom or go volunteer.

Jamie:   23:54 

Oh, wow. Those are all good suggestions. Oh, very good suggestions. So do you have any other advice for parents, especially parents that are new to having autism diagnosis?

Dina:  24:14 

The world has opened up so much since Josh was diagnosed and you know, every child, adult teenager, every person who has a diagnosis on the spectrum is different. No two people are alike. So two, no two people with this diagnosis are the same. I’m just because I’m saying that Josh has a practice yet and he’s you know, nonverbal. You may be thinking, Oh, my son is the same or my daughter is the same. I can tell you right now they may share characteristics, but everybody is different. And you know, Josh is in a he’s in a non public school right now. And I wish that there was a program that would be appropriate that was closer to home. We drive 45 minutes each way to go to school every day. And I will say this, it is worth, it is worth it for him. But, you know, there’s other schools that I’m sure you know, if we lived in a different school district would have had a closer program. And there’s nothing to say. You need to be your child’s advocate. And I know everybody says this. And I can’t stress this enough that if you think something is wrong, if you think that your child’s not getting what they need, you need to speak up. Nobody, they can’t read your mind, right. And what they see in school is often different than what we see at home. And I mean, in a way COVID and quarantine, and this year of homeschool and zoom school was kind of a blessing in disguise for us. But I can tell you for a fact that I was able to notice things with my child’s program that I would have never known otherwise. I’m he is in an amazing school. And I cannot say enough and stress enough that the program he’s in the teachers he has the support he’s getting is the best that he can get. And I would sell a kidney to keep them there. If that’s a Wow. But because I really think that he’s getting what he needs. But with that said, he really wasn’t getting what he needs what he needed. Because we realized he was bored. He wasn’t paying attention. He wasn’t answering questions. He was bored. And so at last year, this time, when I saw the work that was being sent home for him to do, I was like, This is really easy. Like, I think he can do more. And the responses were no, no, that doesn’t. I don’t think so. And so I said, well, um, let’s try it. Because what happens if we try it and it fails? Like, then, you know, try something else? We’ll just go back to what he was doing. But I think he’s bored. And guess what? He was bored. He was really bored. He went from reading two lines to read a two pages anyone to run? Oh, yeah, he went to reading and answering questions about a simple picture of like, Bart and Lisa are going to the mall. And where are they going? Who’s going to now reading about, you know, Jupiter and its moons or reading about marsupial’s and reading about, you know, Mars rocket, and he’s reading comp, much more complex things and much more age appropriate things. And he’s memory, like remembering everything. And he’s loving it. And he’s engaged. And yeah, awesome. Sometimes the questions, you know, and again, you got to know your kid, like, and work with them and talk to the teachers. And I was, as I said, very lucky that they were receptive. And we’re like, yeah, absolutely. I know that a lot of people think you know, IEPs, you really do need to participate, you really need to speak your mind, you really need to tell them your fears, your concerns, reach out to the teachers. Yes, they’re the ones working with him on a daily basis. But you know what? So are you, right? You have a sense of your kid that they don’t, you’re able to oftentimes push your kids in ways that they wouldn’t even think of because they’re not their parent. Right? And so you know, he can get mad at me, that’s okay. I’m if Mom, it’s my job, like, my kids can get mad at me. I don’t need to be their best friend. But my teachers, there is like a boundary. So I didn’t it was one thing for me to say, let’s get him a little frustrated. So we could work a little harder and see if it pushed him. Right. I don’t know that I would have maybe thought to do that or ask about that in school, and I wouldn’t have seen the work. Right. So as I said, it was really a blessing in disguise this whole like zoom school?

Jamie:  29:16 

Yes, yes. I have to agree. I mean, Josh really has excelled in this format, which has been really good and, and now that he’s back in school, and he’s only been back in school a few days, but we can see that that is transferring back to, you know, his abilities that at school that he’s able to focus and, and everything, which is really awesome. Really awesome. So, what does the future look like for you and your family in regards to, you know, Josh and his education and the future?

Dina:  29:52 

So, I mean, I wish I had a crystal ball. I think that it’s the biggest fear of any parents in general. We’re all caught, like just parents to make sure that you give your kids what they need so that they can succeed in life, you know, whether it’s the basic skills so that they can function as adults that they can live independently. With a special needs kid. I just don’t know, I really I don’t know, no, um, you know, I know that he’s in a non diploma program, so he’ll be educated by the school district till he’s 22. So we still have time. You know, we’re currently locked in a, the beginning of a legal battle with him to keep them in the program he’s in. As I said, Before, they want to put him in, they want to put him in a program that’s going to teach him to wipe down tables, after typical kids, because the belief is that that’s pretty much all he’s good for, because he’s nonverbal. Um, ya know, it’s kind of sad. And again, the program is a lovely program that they have here. But the program he’s in and he’s excelling in, is a much more academically rigorous program, and they don’t have an equivalent. So it’s a fight. Um, you know, I, we have a lot on our side, he’s staying, I should say, He’s saying he’s not staying. Um, but after that, he’ll probably come back to our district for that adult program, the post high school program, um, and hopefully, you know, we’ll learn some jobs skills and find something within the community, some sort of community based program. And we’re Orthodox Jews. And there are a lot of support programs that exist in the community. Not a lot. I’m saying a lot, but it’s really not, there are a few that are very popular and heavily supported and funded. And I keep hearing about more, and I just keep hoping, and I wish I had money to support all of them. And if because it’s just such a, there’s such a need. And but you know, my hope is that one day, maybe he would be independent enough to go live in a group home or something, but I, I don’t know. I don’t know. I think that’s too far down the line. Even Right. Like,

Jamie:  32:35 

almost six years before you really have to, yeah.

Dina:  32:39 

You know, it’s just knowing that like, those are the things on that I have a friend who has a 17 year old son, he is like a year older than Josh. And so we often talk to joke that we’re going to build, you know, a garage apartment behind her house because she has more space, and then our boys will be roommates behind her house. Oh, sounds like a good person. Also, he’s nonverbal. Praxic. Like, really? Okay, your diagnoses? hugely different children. Really. We? We? Yeah, so we always joke that, like, they’ll just be roommates. Together, but um, it’s, it’s just, it’s, it’s hard. It’s scary. You know, COVID everything, it was pretty scary. Thinking, you know, it was that wake up of God forbid, what happens if, if I’m not here, and if my husband’s not here, and who’s gonna take care and what’s gonna be and as I said, I have three other children. And it’s always a terrible thing to think about. But we’ve kind of been raising our kids with, you know, one day, we won’t be here. And one day, you are going to have to step up and except that he’s your brother, and you’re going to have a responsibility. And I have to say, I’m very blessed, because my children already have always, one of my kids was like, well, whatever I do in life, I have to remember that I’m gonna have to be able to support my own family, and have a job, but then also maybe save money so that I can help Josh. It’s really sweet. I mean, he’s, he’s eight years old. So here’s an eight year old. I’m like, Okay, I guess, like, in a way, oh, my god, what am I doing? It’s my kids, how terrible for him to carry this on his shoulders, but at the same time, what you get in life, like, you know, right, but he is part

Jamie:  34:25 

of Yeah, it’s part of being in a family is that everybody has to take care of everybody else. That’s, that’s really, really great that at eight years old, he’s already thinking that that’s it. That’s just my responsibility as a brother, to take care of my family.

Dina:   34:41 

And the truth is, I think he would think of that with any of his siblings. You know, I, if anybody needs help, that’s kind of just how we’re trying to raise all our kids. You see somebody in need in our community and anywhere, you know, you gotta help.

Jamie:  34:59 

That’s great. So is there anything else that you would like people in the community to know about autism

Dina:  35:14 

This is not a life ending diagnosis. This is not, you know, this death sentence that hangs over your head that says, life is over, I can never do things anymore. I, you know, my family life is never going to be the same, you’re right, it’s never going to be the same. But your child today is not different than your child was yesterday, they’re the same kid, you are the same person, the only thing that you have open to you are more avenues and more possibilities for assistance. There are tons and tons of resources out there for people who have autism diagnoses and families who have autism diagnoses. And it’s an amazing thing. Um, and I really hope that people take advantage of these resources. And know that there are so many people, so many communities available to support, both financially but also emotionally. And that’s an important thing. Yeah, gotta find people who can talk, you can talk to that, understand what you’re going through. And know that you don’t discount the people in your life that don’t understand. Just know that like, they’re, they’re well, meaning it’s, I’ve had many people over the years tell me, you know, like, oh, we get it. It’s so hard. No, you don’t get it, you know, I am not going to and that’s okay. And that’s okay. And I appreciate that you’re trying. If there were times when I was upset about it, there were times when I just wanted to write people off. And and it’s true, there’s people that I just can’t be around anymore, that I used to be very close with that don’t get it. And not only do they not get it, they so very blatantly don’t get it and they think they do that they wind up doing more harm than good. And that’s okay to say, You know what, I’m going to take a step back. Like I think that we don’t do that often enough as adults. But if somebody wants to lend a hand cook you dinner once, watch your kids offer to be there for you let them

Jamie:  37:26 

okay. Good advice. Okay, so you talked about people wanting to help and and allowing them to do that. One thing we didn’t really talk about is a typical day in the life of living with Josh, can you give us a kind of an example of like a typical school day is like.

Dina:  37:55 

So, as I said, he goes to school about 45 minutes away, so we usually leave an hour for travel. So typical day is waking him up at 630. Taking his meds, and it’s like pulling Josh out of bed. I mean, the kid, he’s a teenager, so he would sleep till noon and lead them. So it’s literally pulling him out of bed, getting him dressed, having him brush his teeth coming downstairs, giving him his meds and trying to get him to eat something. And before we leave the house, the meantime also getting all my other kids up and ready for school, everybody making sure they all have their things and all of their backpacks and everybody’s homework. And then I’ve been driving Josh so we get out to go in the car and go on a ride and I dropped them off. You know, life has been a little different now that he’s back in school. So he’s in school now from eight to 1230. So now it’s just picking him up and driving home and trying to convince him to eat something for lunch. His the medicine he’s on just has some side effects and he’s not eating. So that’s a challenge lately. Um, he usually has a little bit of time to relax after school. He watches his new favorite show, not new but his favorite show is the Simpsons so he’ll sit on the couch and watch The Simpsons for a little bit color play on his iPad. And he has ABA therapy and home starting about 330 I’m so depending on the day, I’m either I’m here with him when he has therapy. Sometimes I have somebody else who’s here helping to watch him while I go pick up my other kids from school, or my husband comes home from work early to stay home, be home with him while I go get them from school or help. It’s a challenge. And this is something that like people don’t realize is that when you have a kid with special needs, you always have to have somebody around that can help and be be there. Because therapies usually require an adult’s present. Okay. So either you’re taking them somewhere and they’re having therapy, or you’re going it’s it’s pretty challenging to do other things. So like one of my kids wanted to do baseball after school, but I just don’t have the time to be transporting back and forth to like, 50 different baseball games, and then the other one and to do soccer, it just, I feel bad, but I told them this spring, nothing. Oh, we’re doing nothing. We’re gonna be good. No play in the backyard. Not doing any sports. So it’s, um, my kids come home from school. Dinners need, Josh finishes therapy anytime between five and six. Again, fight to get him to eat dinner. Um, and then it’s just relaxing, trying to help everybody with their homework. Seeing if Josh wants to play ping pong sometimes play on the Wii with his brothers. It’s always you know, every night is different, um, usually goes upstairs around eight and then sometime around 830 Get them in the shower, and get all the other kids showered, ready for bed? make lunches for the next day. And then that’s it. And then it starts again.


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