Parenting is challenging, even on a good day. When your child has special needs, it becomes really really challenging.
Our son Sam is classified in an IEP as "developmentally delayed." He qualified for special education services through the school district here, and has been going to his special needs classroom for the better part of this year. The teachers in these classrooms are worth their weight in gold, and I am thankful everyday that Sam gets to be a part of the classroom.
Next year, life gets complicated. Sam will be four, and can go to preschool. The special needs preschool at Kennedy is wonderful, but Sam is too highly functioning to be a good fit there. It would be inhibiting to keep him in that classroom, because he is not "special needs enough," says his teachers. The other problem is that Sam is not "fully functioning enough" to go to a classroom with typically behaving children his age.
So what the hell is a parent to do?
It is like I am setting him up to fail regardless of the choice I make. Stifle him by keeping him with kids and teachers that "get" him, or make him the trouble making, inattentive child by putting him in with typically developing kids his age. He'll be stressed out because he isn't good at social relationships, and will probably be reprimanded often because he has zero impulse control.
I have toured countless preschools. None of them so far feel like a good fit for my son. School will be good for him, I keep repeating to myself. Maybe he'll surprise me, and be really happy and excited and love it and get along great with everyone. I just hate that nothing screams out "PICK ME. I am great for your autistic kid." Parenting is hard, and this is absolutely breaking my heart. I'm told by other parents with Sam's issues that it is just getting me prepped for teachers and life in the school system. Yay for encouragement.
I just feel like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.