The Waiting Is (Almost) Over

Patton_Cynthia_COVLast Friday turned out to be a RED LETTER DAY in my crazy, unplanned life.

First, my poetry collection, Across An Aqueous Moon: Travels in Autism, was finalized and sent to the printer. It should be ready to ship in a few weeks. (And yes, that means YOU, all my wonderful pre-sale order people.)

It’s been almost a year since its acceptance by Finishing Line Press, but my first book is ready to be born. That alone would have been grounds to celebrate.

But on top of that, I finally heard back from Open Mind School (OMS). After ten long, anxiety-filled days, I received the answer I’d been waiting for. An answer that I hope will make a tremendous difference in the life of my daughter, Katie.

250228_465261366867616_1625140658_nFor those of you who don’t remember, OMS is the only full-inclusion school in California and the only school that uses the rapid prompting method (RPM) to help autistic children access an age-appropriate education. We have used RPM with my daughter Katie since the beginning of July and it has made a tremendous difference in her ability to communicate what she knows and understands.

“It was wonderful having Katie onsite at OMS [last week],” the director wrote. “She seemed very comfortable in the setting, and we felt positive about the support we have in place.” The director went on, but suffice it to say, Katie rocked her visit/assessment!

It turns out all my hoping, praying, and waiting for a better placement for my daughter finally paid off. Open Mind School is willing to accept Katie as soon as her hand-picked support professional is hired and in place. So Katie will start part-time in roughly four weeks.

back-to-schoolI am over the moon and filled with relief. This has been a long, arduous process but I believe I have finally found a placement that can truly meet Katie’s unique needs. Hopefully here she can make up some of the academic ground she lost in the past. Hopefully here she will feel safe and accepted. Hopefully here she will thrive.

Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?

Of course, there is still a great deal of work to be done. I need to set up an interim program, which is fortunately already underway. I must negotiate a new contract with my district, and work out logistics with OMS. Because this is a part-time placement (at least for now), I need to figure out what services will be provided at school and what I must provide at home.

Plus we need to arrange transportation, and I have to brainstorm ideas for keeping Katie occupied during the long commute. Mom suggested an iPod, which is brilliant and age-appropriate. Plus it will keep Katie from incessantly asking the driver for “different.” Meaning music. Nate taught Katie how to use Pandora, and Katie now thinks all music players provide an unlimited number of skips until you land upon the perfect song. She has been driving us both crazy at home and in the car, requesting a switch in music every minute or two. So an iPod will save our sanity as well the driver’s. This of course means I have to load the iPod with music….

But for now, I plan to bask in the success of my efforts, grateful beyond words.


What are you grateful for this week? Leave a comment below.

Until next time,

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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