First ditch the guilt and fear
If you’re anything like me, you have some guilt and fear about uprooting your special needs child and replanting them.
My oldest son has high-functioning autism. Translated this means change is incredibly difficult for him. It can be almost paralyzing. Jay can shut down for months until he processes his new environment and becomes comfortable with it. Typically his shutdown behavior manifests itself the strongest at school.
My guilt revolved around forcing change onto Jay. I knew how it could affect him and spent many nights mentally obsessing over potential calamities instead of sleeping. My husband, Jimmy, and I wrote and re-wrote the pros and cons list of moving many, many times. We changed our minds again and again. We planned and re-planned for various outcomes.
I was also fearful of change. We were leaving a student team that held my hand through the process of Jay’s diagnoses and special education enrollment. It took 11 years for Jimmy and me to find that kind of support and knowledge.
We had taken Jay to the doctors for years searching for an answer. We’ve heard everything from ‘nothings wrong’ to ‘he’s extra sensitive’ and ‘spoiled’ to ‘bad parenting.’ Now we were leaving the people who helped us find the real answers and were moving into unknown territory.
I’ll admit I made myself sick with worry. A blood pressure test at the doctor’s office confirmed that I was stressing myself into illness.
In the end it came down to what was best for our family as a whole. It was the most difficult parenting decision we’ve ever had to make.
Of course, there is no guarantee we made the right choice. Even if it was the right one, we probably won’t get that ‘light bulb’ moment that confirms it.
So know this, even after you ditch the guilt and fear, don’t expect a moment of utter relief that you have made the right decision. The future really is a gray messy undefined area.
I know that’s not very comforting. Listen don’t panic and go right back to fear and guilt. You’re a good parent and you’re making the best decision with what you know.
Even if you don’t have much choice in the ‘why’ you’re moving its okay. You’re still going to make the best of it and find the services and support you need for your child.
Really, you will.
So take that fear and convert it into energy. Trust me –You’re going to need a lot of energy to make this move happen.
After you do that, it’s time to get to work.
Find more in this series in the ‘Special Education’ category.