Archive for January 11th, 2011

St. Colman’s

Andy and I toured St. Colman’s on Friday.  I tried to keep it together but ended up crying several times as the very kind staff took us through the building, showing us the classrooms, living spaces, a huge domed gym, some of the special sensory rooms, and a nice cafeteria with a beautiful Christmas display that Sister Sr. Mary Louise constructs every year for the children.

The place looks like a huge old high school with wide, echoing hallways and a maze-like enormous feel to it.  The children all seemed happy and well taken care of, but I knew Andy and I were thinking the same thing: can they handle Jonah?  He’s so aggressive these days that I’m afraid he would hurt someone there – one of the other children, or a staff member.

The people giving us the tour assured us that they accept children who are violent and those kids do very well with their structured schedule, individualized for each child.  But they send the children home every school vacation (except for a 6-week summer program; they have two pools, which is really nice) so we don’t know what we would do during those times.

Sister is going to visit Jonah at school this week to observe him and make a determination about whether or not he would be a good fit for the program.  Then, if we decided to go ahead with the application process, we would have another school district meeting to make the final arrangements.

I think there must be some other way we could fill in the vacation times, like the Western Avenue Respite Program we applied to, but I didn’t go on that tour – it was during school vacation so Andy brought Jonah – and once again, I don’t think Andy believes they could handle him.

I don’t know what’s going to happen or what we’re going to do.  The residential schools that have 365 days-a-year care are out of the area.  We may have to tour them as well to compare them to St. Colman’s and see what’s the best placement for Jonah.

Yesterday Jonah had a very good day at school, his log book told us.  He laughed and sang and played and had no aggressions at all.  They are trying a new program with him where he gets 3 minutes of an activity and then earns a gold star and a “special choices” reward – he usually chooses a scooter ride.

I want to believe that he can have more and more of these days, that the next time we take him to the psychiatrist we can adjust his meds perfectly, that combined with Wildwood’s new behavior plan he can just stay home with Andy, where I can see him as much as I want.  I want to believe that we can fix things, that we can keep all this from happening.  I want to still have hope, even as we investigate the residential placements.

I want to still have hope.

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