E was having some trouble at school. Tantrums and some slight aggression were on the rise again and the school was not adequately prepared despite his teams’ efforts. Lindsey and I planned an emergency Skype call to discuss a plan moving forward. She, luckily, was able to get a therapist into the school to act as an aide. We mentioned the idea of me flying there to talk to the therapists and meet with the school as the team began collecting behavior data for me to analyze. Lindsey, always thoughtful and respectful of my time, said “Think about it and just let me know what may work for you.” She found a good flight in her searches one evening and had asked if I thought anymore. It did not take me long at all– I said just “book it. Let’s do this”! I knew it would be so much more effective in person, seeing E face to face, seeing him in this new world. I was so excited; I would get to meet the therapists I had only spoken to over somewhat blurred video calls. I imagined working side by side with them all, getting to see E’s bright eyes, and help him (and all of his team) see his potential again.
Not too long after Lindsey met with the school team, she messaged me saying, “FYI we have to pull him from school. It’s the best thing for him right now and the school said they don’t think they have the experience to support him.” She trusted her instinct; she knew what he was capable of. Now, I suddenly felt the urgency to be there even more!
We discussed in the following weeks before my trip: curriculum, goals, setting up a room for his “school”. Theses were additional goals on top of my ABA training and supervision of the home program already in place consisting of social skills and executive functioning skills. On our own sides of the world, we searched the internet and all of our resources for a suitable home school educational curricula. I collaborated with colleagues, special education and elementary education teachers and finally began preparing what I could actually bring with me for this journey. There were so many great books, games, teaching materials– but I would have to ship them prior to leaving or risk overweight luggage. I had to be prepared to give E the resources he needed and deserved but in a simple enough format. I started compiling a binder of tools and assessments so I could gather his academic baseline the first day there (he no longer had an IEP where he was). I felt more secure about E’s program once I had my plan and schedule in my mind. On the other hand, I was slowly becoming more nervous about the trip–actual logistics of the long flight, not sleeping, being away from my daughters and loved ones, missed sessions with other families and children I worked with, and my business. I knew I wanted to be there. I even felt perhaps I was really needed there. It was just a matter of how was I going to make this all work?