I know it's not Thanksgiving quite yet, but I just have the urge to share my thankfulness with you all. So I'm gonna. I'm so very thankful for my home, my family, my friends. I'm so thankful that I have the philosophy that "everything happens for a reason" because it really makes hard times easier to bear, and it gives me good ammunition later to be able to say, "See? I told you everything happens for a reason!"
Not sure if I ever shared this pic, but I love this one of Trev from Missy's house this past Summer:
OK, so anyway, I happened to stumble across an old keychain from 2004, a school picture of Trevor - beaming with a big, gorgeous smile. In 2004 at picture time, Trevor would have been 11, in the 6th grade. This was when times were really starting to get tough for him - kids picked on him relentlessly, they didn't like the way he talked, the things he talked about, etc. We had already had a couple of rough years by then, but the smile in that picture - it's genuine. Although he's 16 now and can sometimes be a typical sullen teenager, he still has that beaming, bright smile. You cannot keep this kid down, and I am so proud to be his mother. He has struggled to find his identity, we have had lots of heartache and tears, we've had arguments like any teens and their parents. But through it all, his spirit remains strong and sure. Whatever he ends up doing in life, I have no doubt that he will give it his all and be successful at it. Within a year, he went from refusing to speak about his future because "I'm only FIFTEEN - I'm too young to worry about that!" to having an almost completely mapped-out version of the next 20 years of his life by the time he was starting his junior year of high school, 16 years old. LOL Because he has Asperger's, this doesn't surprise me. I have to reassure him that small deviations to that plan are OK, so he doesn't feel locked into this plan simply because the plan exists. But he exudes confidence and intelligence and self-esteem, and I am just so proud of him.
One of my biggest fears was always that he would let "them" get to him, that he'd give up and become depressed and/or suicidal, that he'd start to believe the things the jerks said to him. Getting Trev into the school he attends now has made all the difference in the world, I believe. Although it is really a public school, it is not an available option to students/parents right up front - your child basically has to go through hell first in order to be told this school for teenagers with "social and emotional problems" even exists, never mind to have a chance to attend it.
The staff here are different. I understand that the sheer volume of students in the public schools sorely undermines a teacher's ability to give one-on-one attention to her pupils. However, I have to tell you after spending 11 years as a parent of a child in those schools, I almost NEVER felt like there was anyone who really and truly cared. There were a few, don't get me wrong - but I can count them on one hand. This is over an ELEVEN YEAR period! In less than ONE year at this new school, I can tell you that the it's the complete opposite. I can count on one hand the number of people who aren't completely devoted to my child's well-being. It's such a wonderful feeling to be able to go to work every day knowing that my child is at school being given the education he deserves, but also having his social and emotional needs addressed when necessary instead of being sent to the office or suspended.
At this great school, they work on "levels". The students on the lowest levels have constant supervision and very little independence. They have to earn these privileges. Students on the highest level are given much more independence, freedom, and are treated more like adults. In less than a year, Trevor has made the highest level and has consistently maintained his position there. I had a meeting at his school the other day and heard nothing but praise - about how much he's matured, how hard he works, what an all-around great kid he is. When I got home, I cried tears of joy. There was a time, a little over a year ago, when I could barely get through a day without crying in worry or sadness over something bad that happened to Trevor. 90% of it involved the school - moving him to this new school and seeing his success has reaffirmed that for me. Trevor and I, along with Jeremy and Cassidy, attended counseling sessions for about a year with a wonderful therapist. By the time Summer came around this year, I felt confident enough in Trevor's progress to take a break from those sessions. Trevor has a clinician at school who he can speak to anytime he has any issues, and this has just worked out so wonderfully. So that's what is up with my boy - things are going really well, and it is so great to be able to say that! So I can actually look back now and say that if we had not gone through those awful times in public school, Trev wouldn't have ended up at this wonderful school. So again, everything happens for a reason. Peace.