This post is in response to a comment I received on yesterday’s post, and in response to all the silent lurkers asking the same question:
If Jonah is so much better, why not bring him home?
First of all, Jonah does not live in an institution. He lives in a house with 7 other kids and round the clock caregivers who love him. He has a regular schedule & routine. He goes to school on campus with wonderful teachers who nurture and educate him in a way that no one else could. These people live and breathe autism. Boo would never, ever have come as far as he has without being at the Anderson Center for Autism for the past three years.
Anderson also has pre-vocational and independence training, with mock apartments and mock work situations depending on each child’s ability. The children learn to make beds, do laundry, help cook, etc. The caregivers take Jonah out in the community and teach him how to behave appropriately in the grocery store, at the movies, bowling, etc. They have a huge pool on campus and Boo loves to swim.
Jonah is not “fixed.” They have not cured him of autism. I called it a “mini” major milestone for a damn good reason.
In fact, just last night Andy called and told me he’d taken him all day (which he does often, whenever he can, because Andy moved just 5 minutes away just to be close to his son)… and that Jonah was “squirrely” — he’d had an aggression just that morning because another kid came in his room and Jonah didn’t want him there.
Jonah ended up attacking a caregiver and pulling some of her hair out. Now, that’s not a “two-person take-down” – the stuff I’ve been speaking of that has been mitigated to once a month or so — but it is aggression and he still needs to work on that.
I am still afraid to be alone with my son, Andy suggested I add once he read this. I don’t like to type it but it is true. Jonah cycles through his behaviors (what I’ve called the pendulum) and at any time he could really hurt someone during an aggression.
Andy also suggested I not answer flamers, so I took a lot of other stuff out.