Maya has been on vacation from school for nearly two weeks. This is actually the first time I can remember she has been away from school for such a long period without us going on vacation. In Maya's former schools she had a combination of school with also a therapy group, so even during official vacation days when school was not in session she still had therapy group. So for the past three years, the only real free time she has had was a week between Christmas and New Years and permission to take up to 3 weeks vacation during the usual 6 week summer vacation and 1 week during one of the other week long breaks. So it occurred to me just before the break that this is probably the first time she has been home for two weeks in a row without having us go on an official vacation.
Two weeks is a L O N G time for a 7 year old. The first few days I couldn't figure out why she was "at us" all the time to take her places and do things with her - my first thought was what's up with her? And I started in the usual fashion used by many parents of autistic children of trying to piece together a reason - let's face it, we autistic parents are like detectives because often our kids have difficulty relaying actual information to us that we have to literally retrace our steps to see if can figure out a reason for the change. Anyway after a bit of pondering here or there it came to me, Maya has never had two weeks off from school before.
All in all so far it has been pretty good and considering I have been sick twice and Maya had an ear infection that's not too bad. The whining has increased a bit but you always see that when the structure of school is taken away so I hardly even blink at that (my husband: a different story) and we have worked in some activities (the local carnival, splashing at the Interactive fountain, swimming, the movies) where we are pretty much hitting an activity every other day with a lot of good trips to the playground and bike riding on days when something more exciting isn't planned. So it is a good mix for Maya.
One thing I have noticed not just in this period but for the past two months or so is that Maya's resistance to over stimulation has grown. Time was not so long ago that she really couldn't handle one activity or so a day without doing her imitation of a dairy product, as in, reaching her expiration date and souring like milk before our very eyes. Last Saturday she got up and went shopping with Leo, went over to his parents to play for a while (her usual Saturday activity), then Leo took her to the carnival for a couple of hours and then she came home and rode bikes and played with the neighbors until dusk. A year ago Leo and I would have had to choose just one of these activities or we would face a tantrum complete with animal like sounds and a little 25 kilo (that's 55 lbs for all you metrically challenged) body flinging itself and contorting every which way. Not bad, eh? This week still we are going to try and fit in the Dinosaur museum and swimming and probably a trip to the fountain as that is just fun for her.
Today when I got home from work we finally got confirmation from the government that Maya qualifies to attend the school she is in, it's a guarantee that the government will supply the funding necessary for Maya to attend her particular type of special education school. The school needs this guarantee in order to get the funds they need. Her funding has been guaranteed through 2015, just before she turns 12 (or at the period in the Netherlands when kids typically reach Middle School).
It's pretty funny since the "other" school we considered sending her to said we absolutely would not be able to send her to their school until we had this confirmation and that her current school just arranged a start date with us and has never once broken a sweat that we have not received any word on this up until now. Obviously they reviewed her file before and are expert enough to know she would qualify for the extra funding so they were not taking any risk, but had we chosen for the other school Maya would still be at her old school learning nothing and probably not making nearly as many strides as she is now. So for all my harping about the Dutch and their love of the rules there are those rare exceptions.
We applied for this funding at the beginning of December, (right around the time her former school was trying to kick her out) and were told that it takes up to 8 weeks to receive a decision. About 2 weeks ago we got a confirmation that they received our application and we would hear in another 8 weeks. So all this tells me is that the approval process is fast but opening the envelopes which contain the applications is super slow.
So as of April 29 she is officially able to get funding under Cluster 3 special education and we are now, according to the letter we received, free to register her in a Cluster 3 school.
Ummmm, okay, thanks, we'll get right on that.