The Road Less Travelled

posted by Momo Fali on May 13, 2013

Today started with my 14 year old daughter making herself a peanut butter sandwich to take to school for lunch. As she reached into the cabinet to get a container, she asked her little brother to grab her a bottle of water.

Do you remember in The Sixth Sense when Haley Joel Osmet’s mom walks out of the kitchen, then returns a moment later to find all of the cabinets and drawers open? That’s what it sounded like this morning when my daughter turned back to her sandwich and found a water bottle stuck firmly into the middle of the bread.

My son just turned 11, and he is smart, so you’d think he would know better, but let’s keep in mind that this is the child who has secretly been taking pictures of people’s double-chins with my phone. I go to make a phone call and instead find 64 photos of fat necks; my own included. You don’t even want to see the search history on our iPad.

Sometimes his behavior is downright bizarre, so that’s why it was such a relief when my husband and I sat in a classroom at, what we hope will be, our son’s new school. Though I will admit, before the class started we were concerned the day would be filled with¬† nothing but chaos.

There was the student with personal space issues (BEEN THERE) and the other one who ran around the room only to stop and pet my husband’s jacket (BEEN THERE, TOO), one child was sleeping, and one child was rolling around in his teacher’s chair. My husband and I looked at each other with that same what are we going to do now look that we’ve given each other many times before.

But, then the class started. Though the behaviors didn’t come to a complete halt, these kids were learning and they were learning stuff that my husband and I were clueless about. No offense to Canadian geography, or anything. I couldn’t believe the difficulty of the work and I couldn’t believe how smart these kids were.

The teacher, who knew exactly what to do to get through to each individual child, had them focused, challenging themselves, taking a quiz without audible groaning, and speaking clearly as they read aloud. It was amazing to watch and I was flat-out honored for the opportunity. I wish everyone could do it. Ignorance is bliss, after all, but knowledge is power.

At one point a student raised her hand and started a sentence to her teacher by saying, “No offense, but maybe you should have…” Yeah, that whole “no-offense” thing? BEEN THERE, TOO. My son used to start most of his sentences with, “I’m sorry to say this, but…”

That’s when my husband and I looked at each other and silently thought, these are our people. And that’s a place where we’ve never really been before.

I can’t wait to see where we go next.photo (4)

    Comments

  • Melisa


    Keeping EVERYTHING crossed that this all works out for you!

    EVERYTHING. xoxo

  • Lisa Daly


    Here’s hoping this is exactly what you need! Lot’s of love your way for the new changes coming!

  • Vicki (Go Mama Go)


    Well Hot Diggity!!!

  • tara


    HOORAY!!!!!!! That is so exciting!

    Also, the water bottle in the bread? Seriously?

  • Trish


    It’s an amazing feeling yes? To see, with your own eyes, that it can be done? That there are amazing teachers out there that have this magic touch with our kids. My son was suspended 2x from his mainstream school and we felt like you did. Where do we go from here? How? What? Why?
    My son has been in his school for 3 years and Oh. Em. Gee. It has made all the difference in his life and ours. He has 4 other classmates, diff grades, same behaviors, skills, etc. 1 teacher, 4 paras. Amazing.
    Reading your journey through this brings back memories (though I can’t really forget them) and I hope nothing but the best for your son and your family. Keep the hope. Keep the faith. In him, in you and in those that are here being supportive.
    P.S. I hope this didn’t come across as kooky/corny. I just feel we need to be there for others when we know how hard it is. Thanks for sharing your beautiful family and story.

    • Momo Fali


      Thank you for sharing your success story! One of the problems we’ve been having is that the current school is always calling and asking me to pick him up. The new school (hopefully…fingers crossed hard) says they don’t do that. And, yes, seeing it with my own eyes was so wonderful.

      • Trish


        Oh yes, I had to pick my son up several times a week. I didn’t believe his current school either when they said they wouldn’t be calling for us to get him. I thought, “Good luck with that lady”. He’s taken 3hour naps, called his teacher every name in the book (and some she never heard of!) but as long as he isn’t a danger to himself or others? They are trained to respond in a safe manner. I will admit seeing the school’s # on my caller ID still sets the anxiety levels to high. I’m so happy for you guys.

  • Tanis Miller


    Sounds PERFECT. Can’t wait to see where this road and those people take you and your family.

    • Momo Fali


      Thank you, Tanis, for being my inspiration.

  • meleah rebeccah


    Oh hell yes! This is wonderful news. So very wonderful. I am both happy and hopeful for all of you!

  • Toni


    Big BIG SMILES! :) :) XO!

  • Liz


    I’m very happy and excited, for everyone :)

  • Mama D


    Wonderful. May these other children finally be his tribe!!!

  • Mare


    So happy to read that your boy has found a good fit with schooling. Hopefully, that will give you some peace. I pray he does very well there!
    from The Dugout

  • Laura in Little Rock


    Isn’t it amazing to meet that teacher that knows s/he can _TEACH_ and kids can learn and they don’t have to sit still and be quiet little sponges to absorb?

    Isn’t it amazing to find a place where you aren’t the exception, but the norm. So excited for you.

  • Casey


    I’m SO happy for you. Relieved. Excited. All the good things.

    I remember the first time I went to a friends house and there were lots of gay people there. I’d never known more than one person like me, never mind a whole house full. They were baking tofu for a dance party. I knew everything was going to be okay for the first time in a long time.

  • Judy Warchol


    Your post reminded me of this story that Molly Ringwald told about her daughter. Not sure if you’ve heard it already, but you might enjoy listening to it.

    http://themoth.org/posts/stories/mothering-in-captivity

    • Momo Fali


      I have never heard this, but YES! We are not alone!

  • Tammy Soong


    Both of my kids do the, “I’m not trying to be rude, but…” And it’s totally my fault because once when my son asked if xyz was all I’d brought for snack, I kind of went off on him. He explained that he was just asking, not trying complain about it. So I said, next time you say something like that, explain yourself. Yeah…

  • Pam McG from Ohio


    Hi Momo Fali, I work in the spec ed dept of a public school district in central OH and I wanted to be sure you’ve heard of the Autism Scholarship from the Ohio Dept of Educ. The student must be on an IEP written by the school district you live in and be diagnosed with autism or be on the autism spectrum. He also has to have an ETR from your school district. The scholarship provides $20,000. You choose from a list of ODE approved Autism Scholarship providers that provide the child’s education and follow the IEP. The providers receive the scholarship dollars. You apply for the scholarship through the provider. You can find out more details through the Ohio Dept of Educ website. When you get to the website, type in Autism Scholarship for more details. There are quite a few Autism Scholarship providers in central OH. I’ve been praying for your situation as I know this is not an easy decision to make. I love your son! He’s a neat kid!! Good luck and God Bless!

    • Momo Fali


      Thank you! Yes, we applied for it last week when he had his assessment. We are so hopeful that this is the answer. *fingers crossed*

      • Pam McG from Ohio


        I’m so glad you’ve applied for the scholarship!! I think once he gets plugged into the right program with the right teacher – he’s going to soar like an eagle!! No more getting calls to come and get him! Remember you can change providers if one doesn’t work out. My fingers are crossed right along with you! More importantly, my prayers are going up on behalf of your family!

  • AlisonH


    YES!!!

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