Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm Good, What They Tell Ya.

Sometimes when you expect the best of people, they don't disappoint you. That hasn't always been the case on our journey navigating the Canadian healthcare and education systems to get Max the therapy and support he needs.

After a frustrating start to getting Max into a JK program where he could attend every morning (instead of the all day/alternating day schedule), I finally got some help. And by help, I mean the suggestion that I call to discuss Max's situation with the Superintendent of our area, Stuart Miller. While I wish I had been tipped off to the fact that I would need to escalate our case to Mr.Miller months ago, we won't go there because I'm busy being positive. I played telephone tag with Mr.Miller for a week. We finally connected and I once again told Max's story (let's start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start...). I figured that most people are probably so irritated by the time they get to the point of needing to talk with the Superintendent about their concerns that they aren't very polite. It would be easy to get on the phone with this person and jump down his throat, but that's no way to get someone to help you, so I put on my "join Team Maxwell and be a part of his incredible success" hat and went from there.

Mr.Miller certainly gave me a lot of reasons on why he may not be able to do what I was asking. Having had a week of waiting to speak with him, I'd had some time to think up all of the logical responses to his potential roadblocks. And the whole time, I stayed calm, positive and friendly. I did suggest that the school board is legally obligated to go above and beyond for children with Autism, that they were required to come to the table with programming designed to meet Max's needs. Up to this point in trying to find a JK program for Max I had basically been told "this is how we do things, so either fit into or don't, but we aren't going to meet you half way". Mr.Miller told me he would explore what he could do to help and call me back in a few days. He even gave me his cell phone number so that we didn't have to continue playing phone tag.

When he called me back (yes, HE called me back as promised), he had a solution - Max could be transferred to a school in the area that was running full day JK programming which would mean he could attend every morning and then go to blueballoon for his IBI therapy in the afternoons. Max would be able to have a JK experience that would be consistent and really give him the social outlet he needs and really enjoys. I spoke with the Principal of the school yesterday (he's super friendly and was very interested in hearing about Max). I attended an open house tonight where I met the JK teachers. The school is small (perfect for Max) and the teachers didn't cringe when I told them about Max. That's a good start. Now more meetings, the Special Education Resource Teacher from THIS school observing Max at daycare, another case conference, and then hopefully a plan will be put in place well in advance of September. I'm trying not to count my chickens, but "peep peep".

Oh yeah...we're participating in the Walk For Autism in Toronto on Sunday. If you'd like to donate your coffee money to a great cause, we'd love for you to sponsor us!

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