Yesterday I went to Tyler's Treatment Plan Meeting at his school - The Carmen Pingree School for Autism. We meet with his teachers a few times during the year to discuss his progress and to write his goals and determine which programs he will do. We were talking about how well Tyler is doing and how much progress he has made in the last year. They asked me what our plans are for Tyler for next year as far as school goes. I said that we are hopeful that he will be able to mainstraim into a public school and attend a regular Kindergarten but that we have thought about holding him back a year because he has a summer birthday. We would rather have him be a little older and even possibly ahead of his classmates rather than behind.
His teachers said that they were having a meeting discussing his case recently with the directors of the school and they were asked to name the autistic behaviors that Tyler still exhibits. They said that they had a hard time even thinking of any! They said that they all are thinking that if Tyler continues to make the same type of progress this year, that the Pingree School would be too restrictive of an environment for him next year. They feel that he should be on track to enter a regular Kindergarten or that he should go to a regular preschool for a year if we decide to hold him back.
The Pingree School has a regular preschool that is filled mostly with typically developing children. Then they integrate the students with autism into that class if/when they are ready. This helps to transition them into a regular school. Tyler will be attending this preschool - Expanding Horizons - twice a week in the afternoons this year. This will help us to get a feel for how Tyler will do in a regular classroom and it should also help him to make some social gains. At this point, the biggest difference between Tyler and other children his age is his social skills and he is also somewhat behind in his language skills.
I came out of the meeting feeling so happy, so proud of him and ultimately so grateful! He is truly a little miracle and we can't even believe how much progress he has made in the last year! We are so thankful that we discovered and put him on the Gluten and Casein free diet. I know that many people are skeptical that it helps and it is said that there is "no scientific evidence" that it helps, but we have living proof that it does work and can help! We know for a fact that it plays a role in Tyler's situation! When he has eaten something by accident that he shouldn't, it is amazing how it changes his personality and affects the way his brain functions.
We are also overwhelmingly grateful for the Pingree School, for the amazing people that run it and for the talented people that work there. We cannot even express how thankful we are for Tyler's teachers and for the countless hours they have spent with him - working with him, helping him and loving him! They truly have a gift - so much heart, so much patience and an ability to change lives. We will forever be indebted to them for all they have done and have no way to express our thanks in a way that will do it justice.
We love our little Tyler. We are so proud of him and so amazed at the progress that he has made.
All I can say is that we are blessed and we are grateful....