Tuesday, July 26, 2011

School update

Big Guy is going for an observation day at the high school we visited last week. That's neither a good sign nor a bad one: the school liked him, but is concerned about certain behaviors he described. So they've invited him to come for four hours of class time to see what he's like.I've no doubt that he can hold it together for that long.

What concerns me is whether the school can handle Big Guy when he's not holding it together. It's hard to tell from where we are now.

The school's student body consists mainly of residential students, but they have about 25 day students. Big Guy would be a commuter. We are grateful that the school has a residential component, because the one thing worse than having him in crisis would be having to search for a new school in the midst of a crisis.

The admissions officer told us that the kids at this school are primarily a danger to themselves, not others. Believe it or not, if you're the mom of a mentally ill child that's good news. It means the school doesn't mix kids who have behavioral disorders in with kids who have emotional problems. Think of it this way: if your child has a severe anxiety disorder, would being in a class with large, rage-filled teens help?

(Many schools mix kids anyway, because budget cuts have forced districts to triage who gets the coveted special ed placements. As one principal explained to me, "If your kid is falling apart quietly, they'll let him sink in the regular classroom. It's the ones with anger issues they absolutely have to move out.")

So am I hoping that Big Guy will get in? I dunno. I'm not hoping he won't get in, but I certainly don't want him placed in a school if the fit isn't right.

We'll wait. We'll see. And we'll hope that somehow things work out in a way that helps Big Guy get better.