Welcome to the wonderful world of specialists!

So we got a call from Henry Ford's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. They got the paperwork! (Well, that was actually a separate call earlier this week, letting me know they got it and didn't forget about us…) And they were happy to let me know that they were wanting to set Billy up for the next available appointment date.

I of course asked when that was.

"October 16th! We have an opening at 9am and noon!"

"… what? That's your earliest date?"

"Yes. We can add him to the cancellation list too, something might come up earlier, it happens from time to time"

"ok. Well, he'll be in school for a few months by then, so let's schedule it after class so it's less disruptive to his schedule. noon sounds great."

sigh.

Could be worse, a parent on MyAutismTeam commented on my post there saying U of M is scheduling appointments 2 YEARS OUT. TWO WHOLE YEARS. Good lord.

Anyway, we also ordered this today. Celluar based GPS tracker should be good for when we're camping this summer. Last summer we had a minor incident where he wandered 3 rows of tents down to play with someone else's dog. Back then he was essentially nonverbal so it was extra scary. Now, he'll have GPS tracking, be trained how to swim (which he gets better at every day, 18 weeks of formal 1:1 training and swimming 3 times a week will do that, I guess!), and be equipped with a PECS to help him communicate where words fail him.

We still plan on using the teddy bear beacon/tracker for times when we expect him to try to wander off (like at Eastern Market, or at the fireworks, both of which he loves, but also loves to try to seek his own path, which obviously is unacceptable!), but the GPS will give us peace of mind if he disappears at times we don't expect him to. The GPS duty cycle and battery is supposedly good for 3 days. If we're good about keeping it plugged in at night, this should be perfect for essentially 24/7 monitoring. Not sure where we'll attach it yet, I may have to make it a waterproof shoe case. I wish I could just strap it to his ankle like a criminal's tether, but i can see him trying to focus every bit of energy on getting that off him posthaste, damaging it if necessary. (if he's one thing, it's clever and determined!).

Progress updates – swimming/iep/fbi

Swimming:

Today, I saw Billy swim roughly 10 feet while treading water and keeping his head dry. I'm super excited about that.

Last week he was playing around near the edge of the pool at the YMCA and fell in. He swam back to safety and pulled himself out of the water. I'm also super excited about that.

IEP:

Survived it. It wasn't earth shattering. I made a reasonable size deal of pushing for a outreach to the local first responders to have a meet and greet where the students can practice their social scripts, and the law enforcement/EMS/Fire can learn how to deal with various special needs first hand. They were all very interested in this idea. Let's see if that dog hunts.

Got the autism paperwork submitted to Henry Ford, let's see what happens there.

FBI:

Got a batch of intact computers back from the FBI. Excitedly awaiting the rest.

Advocacy:

Just wanted to call attention to this page as well: stophurtingkids.com

My school used physical restraint in situations where there was no risk of harm, and often secluded me well into middle elementary. I spent entire afternoons in hallways or locked/unlocked rooms off the library in school, without adult supervision, because the adults lacked proper training on how to deal with children who had disabilities that caused them to be disruptive, or to 'not fit in in the classroom environment'. As my mom said "if we hadn't fought for your rights and for inclusion, you'd have spent most of your educational career hiding curled up under the principal's desk, locked in a hallway somewhere, or god knows what".

It's always in the back of my mind when dealing with schools. I mean, having giant custodians manhandle you and do prone takedowns to keep you in your hallway seat has an effect on a 1st-2nd grader. I have recollections of them experimenting with mechanical restraints too, but I'm pretty sure that didn't last long.

Anyway, these practices need to end in the United States. Children are being seriously injured or killed from improper restraints, or improper supervision. And it has no educational or therapeutic benefit.