1. Lisa
    August 8, 2016 @ 10:45 am

    Oh, this one got me. Tears are stinging my eyes. We are in elementary school. 5th grade. Big choices need to be made this year, as middle school starts in 6th grade. I completely understand this. All of it. I hope that the new school and Jack get along well and he flourishes.


    • Shahla
      April 30, 2018 @ 11:12 pm

      Oh, I’m sitting here reading this and crying and thinking of the time when they referred us to out of district school. The news was devastating to my son Aryan who was 12 at the time. Like you said try to explain to a 12 year old that you are not changing the school because you did something bad. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t answer his question that why his twin sister still has to go to the same school and hang out with their friends. You are very brave.
      I’m glad that I’m not alone in my pain. This hit home really hard. Thank you for sharing.


  2. GP
    August 8, 2016 @ 11:32 am

    Yes. Yes. Yes. That. This is your best post yet! It is about choosing a path for our children that will allow them to be happy and confident individuals who love who they are. All of us have dreams for our children. Unfortunately, we all tend to have dreams that reflect what would have made us happy at that age, rather than what our children need to be happy.

    At the new school, they should be able to give Jack what he needs, including success experiences that will help him rebuild his self-esteem. He will see that he is not the only one who struggles, and when he struggles, he is going to learn that he is just still learning as opposed to thinking he is “bad” or somehow worth less because his brain is wired differently. It is worth a try. Without trying different options, one will never know.

    As you so eloquently wrote in today’s post:
    “She knows that if she continues to clutch her dreams too tightly in her fingers, they will disintegrate like the incandescent wings of her fragile butterfly.”

    Some butterflies take longer to hatch. Different species of butterflies look very different. But if we give them time to develop in the environment that they need to grow at their own rate, they all will get a chance to fly. Please let Jack know that your readers can see that he is a wonderful child and that different children just need different learning environments to grow and develop their “wings”- just like butterflies. 🙂

    P.S. I don’t see why Jack would not be able to have a prom at the new school. My 12-year-old daughter is in a very similar situation, and I will be lobbying for school dances and a junior prom when the time comes.


  3. Rachel Benson
    August 8, 2016 @ 11:44 am

    My daughter thrives in her special school. She is making so much more progress there and she loves it and her therapists love her. Best decision we ever made.


  4. Jodi
    August 8, 2016 @ 11:52 am

    Wishing your beautiful boy much success and happiness in his new school! Hoping that his parents and siblings will also have an easier time this year and that next summer you’ll be beaming with relief that you made the right decision. My daughter is entering tenth grade and it’s astonishing how much growth and maturity she’s shown in three years. Deep breath and good luck!


  5. mctag2015
    August 8, 2016 @ 12:23 pm

    You have once again put Jack’s best interest ahead of your own desires. I admire you so much for making this most difficult decision. I am a lifelong teacher, as well as the grandmother of two wonderful boys on the spectrum – one nonverbal and one high achieving. I understand the trauma your family will endure as you struggle to adjust to this new course, but I firmly believe you are doing the right thing. And…I predict – sometime down the road – you’ll get your sweet, lovable Jack-a-boo back.


  6. Amy Barchey
    August 8, 2016 @ 12:38 pm

    Oh, Carrie. How brave of you to share such a raw wound with us. Your words hit home to so many of us who only wish we could not relate to them. I hope when it is time to make those hard decisions for my Jack, who is only now starting kindergarten, that I will not be alone in my pain, as you are not alone in yours. Certainly, I will remember your words.


  7. mitchel jobble
    August 8, 2016 @ 1:48 pm

    I always look forward to your post on mondays but this one surely brings tears to my face. You are a brave woman and thank you for sharing some of your joy and sadness. My own little Jack is six and going to 1st grade in few weeks.


  8. Kathleen Laffin
    August 8, 2016 @ 4:08 pm

    You write so well this post made me cry. Buy Jack lots of great school supplies and enjoy the fresh start. Good luck to your whole family


  9. Erna Naert
    August 8, 2016 @ 4:50 pm

    It’s hard to be different. Our son had a really hard year in 7th grade , and halfway through – we did the same thing of choosing a smaller , more protective school. And you know what ? It gave him the room he needed to slow down and just BE HIMSELF. He made friends , got invited over and had the opportunity to have a school year that all kids deserve. Tell Jack to be himself , and life will unfold as it should – he might find he likes it?


  10. Kabukidoo
    August 8, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

    I’ve been reading this blog for a long time and without fail you always manage to hit the sweet spot of life with autism. Although sometimes, it is not so sweet but bitter. My son is also in middle school so I feel like I’ve been traveling on the same path as you. Your writing nearly always brings a tear to my eye as the emotions come bubbling up. I know there is someone (many actually) experiencing the same things as we are in the messed up world of autism. Sometimes it’s amazing when we can measure how far we’ve come. Other times it’s the constant reminder that no matter how far we’ve come, there is always another mountain to climb. Two steps forward, so many back. Regardless, you manage to hit the nail on the head 10 times out of 10.


  11. Beth Brown Johnson
    August 8, 2016 @ 7:58 pm

    We made the same decision when our son was about to enter middle school. He’d been floundering and we just couldn’t imagine a larger school, with more kids (some who hadn’t known him since kindergarten), so many more teachers to get used to his habits and needs, the noises, the smells, the changing social scene, etc. We really wanted him to be in a comfortable place, where he wasn’t always being told he’s not doing it right. That was 4 years ago and I know we made the right choice. He still really avoids social situations (sigh). We’re working on it. He is doing well academically, and will tackle his homework with no argument or coercion (this is a complete 180 from public school). The very small classes and one-to-one help are exactly what he needs. He now knows how it feels to be successful.


  12. Moira Lardakis
    August 8, 2016 @ 8:51 pm

    Jack, I’m cheering for you! I hope this school year brings fun and friendship!


  13. MsM
    August 8, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

    Dear Carrie – I don’t have my own children, but I’ve been “daytime mom” to thousands. I’ve held parents’ hands as we both wept over decisions just like this and I am celebrating your decision to let Jack unfold his butterfly wings in a smaller environment that is much better suited to him. I know your boy – I’ve substituted in his classes – and he’s such a GOOD kid. I truly believe you are helping Jack “put his moccasins on to the right path” with this choice. I wish you peace as you all begin this new adventure.


  14. rocketbotmom
    August 8, 2016 @ 10:44 pm

    What a beautiful and touching post. I can’t imagine how difficult this decision must have been for you and your husband to make, but, as many others have commented, Jack will thrive in this small environment.
    I hope he has a great year and soon gets over the fact he isn’t with his siblings in a familiar environment. I will be thinking of all of you as your school year begins and pray it is a great one for all of you.

    God Bless.


  15. Ann Vasquez
    August 9, 2016 @ 9:20 am

    Thank you. It’s lonely. It’s hard and you captured it just so. My son utterly came apart in middle school. They did not care or try hard like his Elementary school and it was devestating. I think we all have PTSD. Now we have a program. A school where they care. Safety and warmth. Wishing for my Josh and your Jack a year filled with success.


  16. Weejoey
    August 9, 2016 @ 2:43 pm

    Brave mama, and daddy. For Jack, you choose the road less travelled. All love to you all.


  17. Dan Moore
    August 9, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

    Carrie,I read your words every week knowing that somewhere in your narrative you will bring me to tears.Your strengh and wisdom are a must read every week.I am only the grandfather of five year non verbal beautiful grandaughter who owns my heart and soul.I try my best to see her as often as possible as she lives a one hundred fourty miles a way.Please keep carrying the torch for newcomers new to this mysterious malady. God Bless.


  18. Nichole
    August 10, 2016 @ 1:12 pm

    A friend shared your blog post. We made this same choice when our son was the same age. It was so hard but oh, how it changed all of our lives.
    So, while I cried reading your post, it brought back so many memories, I really hope it brings forth the life changes for your family that it did for ours.
    There were no more calls home. None. They helped him self regulate and they de-escalated situations before a call needed to be made.
    He looked forward to going to school every single day and we never had another fight before getting on the bus. He took part in a talent show and played sports without fights. A whole new kid came out.
    I wish you all the very best on this new journey.


  19. Ruth Reeve
    August 10, 2016 @ 8:55 pm

    I have twin boys one of whom is on the autism spectrum . He ended up going to a public integrated pre school seperate to his brother. They attended elementary school together for 2 years, when it was obvious my special love needed a smaller setting, and a chance to talk out his frustrations in a therapeutic environment. We transferred to an out of district placement straight after the Winter break. We were not sure how to tell him he would not be at the same school as his brother any more etc, worried he would be upset. We explained he needed a smaller setting with less children, more support and people to talk to etc. He was a bit surprised, but agreed he had not been happy in his current school, and it was worth trying something new. I was emotional but tried to be positive, and he embraced that attitude. He would miss friends but would make new ones etc. It has been great! We left the first special school after 2.5 years, for various reasons, but K came with me to visit 5 others so he could have an opinion on where he went next. It was a very positive experience, and he is very accepting of his situation. I hope Jack settles quickly and finds it a less frustrating situation do that he too can see it was a good choice for him.


  20. Carey Carlisle
    August 14, 2016 @ 2:56 pm

    I’m sobbing after reading this! Thank you so much for sharing your life with the world. I’m so thankful to have found you. We have 5 children, too, and our 4th, a 3.5 year-old, was just diagnosed. I googled autism and large family and found you. You are an answer to my prayers! I’m halfway through your book and looking forward to reading your blog and your second book. May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family!


  21. KD
    August 15, 2016 @ 3:08 pm

    I still remember the feeling as mine was dragged away by paras on the first day of the special ed preschool program. Then there was adjustment and calm, for both of us. Then the mainstreaming came next with all its struggles. We’re still there, for now.

    Just saying, I understand the big feelings with this.


  22. Chelsea
    August 17, 2016 @ 7:28 am

    This was an incredibly powerful post. Wow. You are such a great mom and you’re doing a wonderful job. Much love (and tears) from Boise.


    August 31, 2016 @ 10:41 pm

    I also have a Jack- he is 9. He is also autistic,has ADHD and DS, and is deaf and nonverbal. He does not attend school in the same district as his older sister and younger brother, he is in a 6:1:1 class for autistic kids, all boys. He doesn’t mind the new school, or the new aides or teachers, he likes the little bus. As I read this I wish my Jack were like this Jack. Then I think about it and I know I love my Jack just like I see the love for your Jack. I cry whenever I read these posts and stories. I do hope Jack likes his new school. He sounds like an incredible young man.


  24. Lisa Gray
    September 15, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

    my boy is 6 and was diagnosed earlier this year. he is considered twice-exceptional and, boy, is he ever. but there are challenges and differences and, as he gets older, i know those differences will be magnified. and i worry. for all of his brilliance, he struggles in the mundane. he sobbed and screamed and refused to get dressed yesterday morning b/c he had a dream that i bought him an ant-man costume but i hadn’t and told him he would have to wait for saturday like we agreed. and my heart aches every time it is hard for him. and i worry. every time he melts down b/c the timer went off and minecraft had to be turned off. or b/c he has to take a bath…and then get out of the bath. he has beautiful blue eyes that sparkle like no other when he laughs but quickly cloud over when things get to be too much. and i worry. he just started first grade, his first year with a diagnosis and a “plan”. and, for now, he is doing okay but i worry.

    thank you for sharing your jack. i feel as if i know him just a little.


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