What a difference a few weeks make.
On Monday this week, the public schools in Baltimore went back into session. The Monster, mind you, went back to school last week, when the Gateway School resumed after its August break, so he’s already most of the way through his second week at school…
And he’s thriving.
I’m not going to say that just being at Gateway is making a huge difference… or that it’s a genuine difference in terms of his IEP goals. Those are going to take a good long time to show up, and we’re only two weeks into the school year anyway. We’ll be meeting with the teaching staff in a few weeks to discuss where he is, how he’s making progress, and if the IEP needs to be tweaked at all.
I’m not going to say that it’s due to Gateway having a better staff than Mount Washington, where the Monster was last year. The staff at Mount Washington were absolutely, positively dedicated to doing what they could to help the Monster, and went above and beyond in every imaginable way. One could easily argue that the lower teacher-to-student ratio is definitely a major factor, but… it’s comparing apples and oranges.
But the effects are absolutely shockingly visible.
The Monster is being more verbal with us, at home, than he’s been in a year. It’s nothing earth-shattering or the like, but… he’s talking again. He’s using verbal constructions in interesting ways, and he’s not just riffing with his echolalia. Okay, so I am still getting the “Abba, are you a frog?” that I get from him on a regular basis. But we had a fantastic-for-him conversation this morning about the things on his breakfast plate and about the t-shirt he was wearing, and we were getting situation-appropriate yes-and-no answers. For anyone who knows the Monster, a solid ‘no’ isn’t a problem, but ‘yes’ can sometimes mean no too. This morning, there was no confusion.
He’s happy, he’s thriving, and he’s verbal (for him). And this is exactly what we wanted out of a placement for him.
Now, we’ll see what his teacher says to the wife tonight at back-to-school night…