School – Not Just For Him

I’m a little shocked, but I think it’s actually going to happen.  Owen is going to start school two mornings a week starting the week of June 10.  He will be placed in a typical needs classroom (at the same school that Kellen attends) and have a respite (sometimes called para) teacher specifically dedicated to his needs.

This is a trial.  Owen has to prove that he can be part of the germ factory without needing prednisone or hospitalization.  I’m really anxious.  But I also can’t wait.  He loves going to the school and playing on the playground.  Yesterday he visited Kellen for Kellen’s year-end program in the classroom and checked out the big playground.  Owen will spend his time on the “Little playground” where the equipment is geared towards toddlers, but that didn’t stop him from exploring.

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I’ve been really excited about Owen going to school since applying in January.  I think it’ll be great for him to interact with his peers and to be part of group activities.  I expect it’ll help his development all around.

I knew the program was called Respite.  But, do you know what I never considered?  This program is great for Owen…but really it’s for me.  The county has reviewed our case and deemed that I deserve a break on occasion.  After two years of mostly me being Owen’s care taker, the county is going to help pay for most of the costs for Owen to go to school because they think mom needs it…that’s what respite means.

I do know what the word means, and don’t mean to suggest you don’t either.  It’s just that it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’m going to have 6 hours a week to take care of me.  I can shower and shave my legs without worrying about Owen have a panic attack (he has a sensory issue with the shower).  Workout.  Run the errands without towing a kid or two along.  OMG!  I can clean the way I like to clean where I make a huge mess and then put it all back together again and I don’t have to worry about stopping for a feeding or accident protection.  For 3 hours twice a week, I won’t have to be feeling guilty about what therapy I should be working on with Owen.  I might even be able to reply to emails and voice mails (no guarantees, it’s only six hours a week:-)).

To be honest, these last two years, I’ve just been going through the motions without thinking much about what I need.  The blog was my main outlet.  There was nothing altruistic about me not thinking about me.  That’s just what happens in life sometimes, you get so focused on what has to be done that you miss that there might be help if you just stop for a minute to find out.

Are you wondering about programs in your area?  Every state is different on what/if is offered for respite care.  Pediatricians, Social Workers, Early Intervention and Schools that offer care for special needs children are all good places to start.  If I learned anything it’s to not assume you won’t qualify.  It’s worth asking.  For us, it was Owen’s level of need and our lack of family in our surrounding area that was most considered.  Also, the fact that we still pay for Kellen to go to school and that I’ve been unexpectedly out of work for two years contributed for the decision to give us a sliding fee rate.

Speaking of respite…Kyle is off work this week, so I’m heading to the coffee shop to visit a friend.  Happy Friday, everyone!

© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

8 thoughts on “School – Not Just For Him

  1. We obviously come from a different set of circumstances. Owen certainly requires more hands on attention than Jayden does. But in a lot of ways I can relate to what you are saying. Jayden qualified for the extended school year program, which starts June 12th. Four days a week for 2 hours and 45 minutes. A setting where he will interact, grow, and learn with his peers. I cannot begin to express my excitement for how this will impact him in regards to speech and developmental delays, as well as social interactions. But it will benefit me as well. Time to get a break and accomplish things with no distractions, to rest, to focus more on the blog, etc. I am smack dab in the middle of daddy daycare burnout. This regualr break will help me refocus my parenting dedication just as much as anything. I hope everything goes as smoothly as possible for both you and Owen. Good luck!

    • I’m happy to hear that you’re getting some Daddy time too, Joel. I can’t wait to see what Jayden and Owen learn from their peers! I bet they have all the teachers drooling over their curly hair. Preemie, parent bloggers with curly hair kids gettin’ a break!

  2. This program sounds awesome for Owen and for you! I really hope he will be fine there with all the germs flying around and that you will get your much-needed breaks!

    • Thanks, Joy! I hope your latest respite help is continuing to work out too. I know you’ve struggled to find some time for yourself too.

  3. NO ONE deserves some “me” time more than you Tatum. You probably won’t know what to do first! Just don’t try to clean and shave at the same time, you will cut yourself!

  4. Oh, Tatum, with the coolest name. So. While I did not seek respite care, I remember the agony of switching from at-home therapies to school-based therapy and the guilt, the relief that somebody would DO SOMETHING already and the guilt and the (did I mention the guilt?) and the worry the worry the worry. I hope so very much that your experience with this is as wonderful and as positive as mine has been. While Tucker is a bit older than Owen, my decisions to not go back to work were focused on him and his needs. I did not even begin blogging until he’d entered “school.” Now? I can honestly say that I am so so so so so glad and relieved that he spends some time away from me with people who make him try to be more in a way that it is impossible for moms to.

    • Guilt? Did you mention guilt? Thank you for mentioning guilt. I wish there was a way to zap it from our brains, but the more we talk about it the less damage it does…at least that’s my hope. You bring up such a good point about the right time being different for each of us. I’m glad to hear you’re not regretting your decision. I’m definitely take the toe dipping approach, but I hope it feels as positive as a decision as you have found, Kristi.

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