It has been about 10 months since our move to the suburbs and my husband and I couldn’t be happier. Our son, who has Autism PDD/NOS is thriving in his new school environment. Looking back at where he came from, it’s like night and day. We moved to get a better education system, and received much more.
Our son used to have a Therapeutic Support Person, who would shadow him all throughout his day. This limited his independence, but kept him safe in the city public schools and programs. Now that we are in this suburban district, they did not assign him a TSS right away. First they evaluated him for a couple of weeks to see if he would require extra support. They found that he should be able to navigate the hallways and school routines independently in his new middle school. The truth of the matter is that after moving to a new school district, the new school setting is much safer and has the funding for all the right supports to be in place. Due to this huge difference, our son able has made tremendous gains. Moving to a better school district really paid off!
We reveled in the little things at first. “Johnny” learned his own locker combination, bought his own food in the cafeteria, and shut the van door all on his own. But then, bigger accomplishments came pouring in. Our child, began to learn beyond a second grade level in math. He had been on this level for almost three years in the old public school. Now he was learning multiplication, division, and even some simple algebra. He is even doing language arts. We never saw any signs of him learning verbs or adjectives. The biggest “ah ha” moment was when Johnny’s teacher began to grade his work and send home test results. He was earning REAL GRADES. She was evaluating his progress and even sent home a bar line paper that showed his progress in every area.
We finally had perspective that the grading system and classwork was mediocre in the city special needs class. We really didn’t question things, because Johnny was safe and happy. We can’t believe how much of a difference there is between the city and the suburbs. Is it fair? No. But life isn’t fair, and if you want the best for your child/children, you may need to set plans in action for moving to a better school, or area. Do your due diligence and talk to parents of schools that you are interested in. Call and visit these schools to see how they are in person.
In our case, we actually had thought that Johnny was doing well in the city schools. We didn’t really know the right questions to ask, or where to set the bar for our expectations because he was “safe” and his teachers were “nice.” It was only when we noticed what other kids were doing in other school districts, that we began to realize that moving to a better school district would help our son. Looking back, we wish we could have gotten out here sooner. But we are so grateful to be here now. This move was truly a blessing.