Friday, December 31, 2010


So we've finally decided to homeschool Austin, the triplets, and Hannah. We're still praying about what to do with Aidan. I feel strongly that we are called to homeschool him also but have some lingering mixed feelings, so we're praying over it.

Austin has had a lot of difficulties in school (if you wish to read any of my rants - and they are rants - you can view  his blog at and we have vehemently disagreed with much of the curriculum for a LONG time, plus this year has been almost torture for him. So we are pulling him for the rest of this year on February 17. This will give me time to get our curriculum figured out, let him finish the trimester at school (this is his super easy trimester), and get all paperwork in order.

According to Iowa law, we only have to notify the school within 14 days of pulling him, but I was unsure what to really do because of his IEP. When I called his school social worker, she told me how to do it but wanted to make sure about other issues with her supervisor. When she called back, she made it very complicated (but thankfully had already spelled out how to do it easily) and now they want an IEP meeting to convince us to dual enroll him for special ed services. Ummm, no. We'll go to their little meeting, to personally deliver all our paperwork, but that's it. His IEP has never been followed and they don't do anything for him in his class, so why bother stressing him out and leaving him there an hour a day. Kinda defeats the purpose.

The triplets will finish preschool to get in as many therapy hours as possible, then they probably will dual enroll for services because theirs are speech-related. So they have one year left in school then will come home. By then, Hannah will be ready for preschool and will not step foot in a school.

For now, we are taking it one trimester at a time. For Austin especially we will see if he'll be respectful and do what I ask of him before committing to next year. For the triplets, Hannah, and Aidan, we will homeschool hopefully at least through middle school and possibly high school but we will follow God's leading through all of it. He has made it very clear that this is what is His will right now for us, and I have tried for three years to ignore that - I no longer will.

This is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done and I know there will be times when I just want to give up, but I did not have children to leave them to others to raise 8+ hours a day and to teach them a cultural worldview. I strive to raise them for the Lord and I know the older they get in the public school system, the harder that is. And when you try to buck the system (as in pulling them from things you don't agree with), they have made it almost impossible, have made snide comments in front of my children, have gotten very upset with me (I've been called many names), and generally highly dislike me. I have also never been one of the parents that dreads breaks....I dread my children going back to school and look as forward to breaks as they do! That has to be a sign. Sending them to school has never been easy for me, I have always questioned it, and I believe that has been God urging me to do differently for their lives.

Please pray for us as we begin this journey and continue throughout our journey of homeschooling. I'm anxious in myself, but completely at peace with this decision. And am extremely realistic knowing full well that this is not going to be a cakewalk, but with God's guidance and the support of others, we can and will succeed!

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 
~Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Autism Testing

So once again life is crazy and I am not keeping up. So much is happening I almost don't know how far I should go back, so for now, I'm not.

We finally were able to have Nathanial and Ethan tested at the Mercy Autism Center a month ago. The good news is that niether one of them was found to have autism. Ethan was iffy anyway and we weren't sure on him, so that was understandable. Nathanial was surprising - and still is. He met criteria for the diagnosis in all areas, except social. When the examiner was speaking with him, he supposedly asked what her children were for Halloween. That showed an interest in her and her family AND him trying to continue the conversation. Otherwise, even socially he met it. Since then we still worry about Nathanial and just have no idea what is going on with him, really. Because although much of it is explained through the other "issues," much of it is not. I suppose time will tell. The three watching the evaluation said they never saw any hand flapping (which is what I reported) and when the examiner came in, they said that to her. She said, oh, no, he did it....he was probably out of range for the window, but it would be on the video. And, sure enough, it was. He also has the very odd speech, high, high pitched voice, echolalia, etc, but he asked that one question.

That, however, does not mean that they do not have a whole host of other issues to work through. They both have a sensory integration disorder. Ethan is incredibly sensory defensive (meaning he seeks sensory input) while Nathanial is more sensory sensitive (he avoids it) most of the time, while others being sensory defensive. I had no idea you could be both, so that was good to know. They also have an auditory processing disorder which is affecting a lot. They both have a "severe and significant" language delay. Finally, they also both have motor delays.

We were told that their issues are being caused by a combination of being preemies (even if they were near term), multiplicity, pregnancy complications and high risk pregnancy, labor/delivery complications, low birth weight (more for Nathanial), severe preeclampsia - and well, you get the idea. All of those things are known factors for many of the things we are dealing with and when you combine them, you rather get an almost perfect storm. But that is also very positive - because it means that much of this, with intensive therapy, they may outgrow.

An auditory processing disorder is that when they are hearing things spoken to them, it gets jumbled and they can't decifer it quickly enough to respond. By the time they do get it, it's too late, the conversation has moved along. They then also have difficulty even expressing what they need or want so all of that adds to the frustration.

Most of Ethan's aggression and anger and extreme OCD tendency's are coming from not understanding and not being understood. He's trying to control whatever part of his world that he can. Ethan's language skills are at a 2 year, 4 month old level and he is only understood by unfamiliar listeners 50% of the time which puts him in the 2nd percentile. No wonder he's frustrated!

Nathanial is understood by an unfamiliar listener 75% of the time, but his overall language skills are much more severe than Ethan. He is only at a 1 year, 5 month level and is lower than the 2nd percentile of his same age peers. They did immediately see and recognize the giggly, out of control behavior as being a stress response and not just something "cute." This has been hard for us because noone else really has and it breaks our hearts when he gets all giggly and squirrely. And he is a very happy little boy, so it can be hard for others to recognize the difference between stressed out giddy and happy. The examiner said she was glad I had warned her, because then she knew to watch for it. When he was trying to do things he couldn't do, he would get a split second panicked look and then just go into his giddy, hyper, running all around response. If you aren't looking at his face for the panic look, you are going to completely miss it.

 Now we move forward. We've been making and putting up story boards all over the house to help them see their schedules and understand the familiar. They need lots of visuals to get through their day. Their teacher is working hard on also doing many visuals at school - more than she already has. We will work hard on them understanding their schedules through visuals until after the holidays and then we will start to change it up a bit (by putting in a "change" card also so they see that). This way, eventually, they will learn to tolerate change a little better. Then we also change the direction of their speech therapy - which is what I have been trying desperately to do for a while. They also have access to the occupational therapist at school and she will be working with their teacher to make things even easier in the classroom.

The best news was that I can homeschool them and this may actually be an excellent option for them. We've prayed about it and are still praying about it. I have been very convicted that I should be homeschooling my children (and am going to be starting Austin in January), so this is positive for me. We are still praying over it and will continue to pray diligently so that we are within the Lord's will and not our own.