One of our prayer requests this month was finding the best school option for Sarah. Currently, she is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Middle School class at a local middle school. This is a wonderful program and we have one of the most experienced teachers in this field as her teacher. Sarah, if cooperating, swims, cooks, does her laundry and other life skills jobs. When she started this program when she was in the 6th grade, I teased she would never want to come home! We realized this was the best placement for Sarah as she would lose the social interaction of elementary school and Sarah would not be able to handle the hour class schedules of a typical Middle School setting.
Unfortunately, as you know, Sarah hasn’t been cooperating and her behaviors have gotten in the way of her learning and distracting others. Last spring, the teacher asked us to complete an application for a school that could handle Sarah’s behaviors. She said we could decide when the time came if we wanted her to go there, but it would be wise to just get the paperwork started since the school has a year long waitlist. On Friday I received a phone call that a spot is open for Sarah at this school. In our hearts we were hoping that by the time this school called, Sarah would be getting better with her behaviors and it would not be needed. I have nothing against this school; it is just that it is for the more severe, in general. Also, while not set in stone, if you are severe enough to be at this school, you usually don’t leave it to go back to the other programs, say the ASD High School program. If she enters this school, she will be there most likely until she is age 26.
Again, I have nothing against this school, they do great things with their kids; various field trips and making crafts to sell, but in many ways it is a death of a dream. It is the most restrictive school for the entire county. The website states they try if possible to find less restrictive situations before this school is selected. Basically, it is the last option-just saying that is heartbreaking. Friday night I mourned for the loss of another hope for my child.
I know you are praying and we can tell. Her behaviors are improving, but her teacher said they would have to be drastically different in order for her to stay at her current program and if we don’t take this spot now it might not be again available for another year. She said with Sarah’s behaviors she certainly would not be able to go to the ASD high school program next fall. We asked for clear direction and we got one. David and I will be setting up a time to visit the school and if God continues to confirm His leading we will sign the paperwork to make the switch. I thought of the verse in Isaiah 30:21:
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”
God is whispering in our ears for the way to go for Sarah. While I cried for the loss of what we wanted for Sarah, He knows what is best. Maybe this restrictive program is what she needs and she will be happier here. Maybe He knows I needed this whisper because I wasn’t willing for her to go here otherwise. I love how He knows where I am at on this journey and He gently leads. Like Hosea 11:4, “He leads them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.”
I am struggling with this, no doubt about it. I guess I need to stop digging my heels and allow Him to lead us with ties of His love. He has never left us for one moment on this journey. All along He has been whispering in our ears, “I’m here, I’ve got this, I love Sarah more than you can imagine, stop resisting, let Me bring peace to your hurting soul and follow Me.”
So I am giving Him my grieving heart and walking this new path. I will continue to listen for His whisper because He has never let me down yet.
Psalm 14:5-6, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me!” (Emphasis mine-the verse ends in a period, but I just can’t end that verse without an exclamation point!) Thank you for your continued prayers for us!