Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat, Fortasse
Having been told that we were to meet with the director of the big autism center on Wednesday at 10am, and wanting to get the transition process started, I cancelled my Wednesday 9am Elementary Latin class (and provided them with some extra homework to practice the imperfect tense of verbs).
After Monday's class was over, I checked my email as I stepped into the hallway and found out that the meeting with the director was cancelled.
Some part of my brain said, make something useful of this, so it's not one more chapter in the Annals of Education Frustration. I called Charlie's case manager and (mirabile dictu) she was on the line. Jim of course must be at the meeting with the director and I explained about needing to consult with him about a time. And then I asked if I might meet with her (Charlie's case manager) to talk about "some concerns." She said yes and we set up a 9am Wednesday meeting.
After which I found out that I have to be at work for a meeting at noon on Wednesday—good thing I put together a longer-than-usual homework assignment—-
In the afternoon, after a walk with Charlie through a field where some guys around his age were tossing a football (he was drawn to walk in their direction and kept his head down and forward-facing) and after watching Charlie go down the curvy slide at a playground (yes, when he stretched his legs out, he was almost halfway down the slide), the nurse at Charlei's neurologist's clinic called. I had left her a message earlier in the day, in view of the "neurological storm activity" that wrent itself through Charlie on Wednesday. I mentioned how Charlie had visited the big autism center the day before and had a delayed reaction on realizing that a major change is happening in his life.
"Are they transitioning him gradually?" asked the nurse. "Having him visit his classroom and his new teacher? Teaching him the names of the other children in the class? He's been in the same school for awhile, hasn't he—this is a huge change!"
I said "no" to her questions and that the plan (such as it was) seemed to be to start Charlie "cold turkey."
"No, no, NO," responded the nurse. "They can't just do that. You can't just do that. You need to have him visit, meet his new teacher, emphasize that it'll be fun and that it's going to a great new school and how much he'll like it. You cannot just have him be at his old school one day and the new one the next."
Simple advice, sure. But I took it more to heart than ever. The nurse's own daughter–she has passed on—was developmentally delayed. The nurse had told us this on our third appointment to the neurologist this summer, after Charlie had—when we mentioned that the school district had been talking about placing him at Bancroft—lunged at the nurse. Jim grabbed Charlie and held onto a weeping boy while the nurse directed me to go to another room. "Don't worry, it's all right," was the first thing she said to me. "Charlie thinks you're going to leave him here; he thinks I'm the person who's taking him away from you." And then she started to talk about respite and care workers and different schools, some with, as she said, "a loving atmosphere."
The nurse's words from that earlier visit resonated in my ears this afternoon as Charlie carried in a bag of groceries and pulled out the big hunk of watermelon he'd selected and placed it on a cutting board. Looking at me, he said "watermelon" and dug in. I cleaned up the pink juice and wiped down the now-sticky drawers and handles and the counter while Jim took Charlie on a fast-paced bike ride, just before sunset.
Do I have some things I need to talk to Charlie's case manager about on Wednesday.
Fortes Fortuna adiuvat, fortasse? Yesterday, it wasn't perhaps. It was yes.
Make that ita vero.