Ava is aging out soon. For those of you not in the special needs world, it means that she will be turning three and transitioning from early intervention into the school district. The district will be responsible for her services - and hopefully providing her what she needs.
It is no easy task to get your child an appropriate education. And it is more than that. Ava is still young. Her brain is still forming. She still has the potential to recover from autism - at least, to be functional in normal society and have the necessary life skills to be independent. Her education IS her treatment. I can give her so much at home. But I am not a professional. Neither is my husband. Autism requires skilled practitioners.
Can you imagine having a child with a horrible disorder - and his/her chance for a normal, functioning life hinges on the quality of the education he/she will get? And I don't just mean being able to read or write -- I mean being able to walk down the street and not wander into traffic. I mean being able to go to the toilet unassisted. I mean having the basic skills to take care of oneself. Her placement into the most appropriate program is critical. Her livelihood depends on it.
So now we enter the arena of the Individualized Education Plan, the document which will outline Ava's goals in her education. Her goals have to address her needs, in order to prepare her to mainstream into a classroom with typical peers. Hopefully, that transition will transpire.
But it all comes down to dollars and cents. School districts do not want to spend the money to education an autistic child in a specialized program. They want to generalize. All the special needs children in one classroom, with a few special sessions thrown in.
I can't gamble with Ava's livelihood. I need to get her what she needs to become a functioning adult. And I will.