Well, it’s official. My son has been bestowed yet another diagnosis. Disruptive Mood Disregulation Disorder. His doctor explained that is is kind of the ugly cousin to bioliar disorder. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a childhood condition of extreme irritability, anger, and frequent, intense temper outbursts. DMDD symptoms go beyond a being a “moody” child—children with DMDD experience severe impairment that requires clinical attention.
Yep, that’s pretty accurate for my little buddy. And while I am saddened by yet another diagnosis on top of the Autism and ADHD I am happy to finally have some answers.
So….what does this mean moving forward? Well, I wish the answer was black and white. Instead my family lives in the grey area. Because he is in traditional public school adding any more therapies will certainly disrupt his education. With that said, we have decided that he is going to finish out his year at North Grove Elementary School and then he’s done. I’m going to homeschool.
The decision is not something that I ever thought I would do. My time spent as a pre-school teacher in my younger years were not pleasant. About the only topics I enjoyed teaching were English and Art (hello, English and Art major!), but after discussing the situation with the lack of support given at the school and his current needs with his father we agreed that it is in his best interest.
I’ve spent much of the last two days researching the many, many options available to us. At first I was dead set on enrolling him into Connections Academy. It’s an online virtual public school that is tuition free. The reviews seemed decent enough, and I enjoyed the fact that since I am considered “low income” they would provide all necessary equipment – including a laptop. However, upon further research I found several articles, blogs, and reviews from parents of special needs students AND students themselves that stated that it is neither flexible in schedule, but that the teachers are often difficult to reach or don’t explain the material in a way someone with learning disabilities would understand.
That left me in a panic. Do I really want to be in complete control over my child’s education? To be perfectly honest, yes…I kind of do.
It isn’t that I want to be a teacher or that I want to have complete control over my child. The more I thought about it the more I decided that I wanted a child-centered based education that would allow him to learn the core structure of learning, but also centered around his interests to keep him engaged. After learning that homeschooled children are often happier and receive a more well-rounded education…I was sold.
The next step was to determine what curriculum I wanted to base his studies on. Do you have ANY idea how many curriculum’s there are out there? Hundreds…if not thousands. With him being a very visually stimulated child I knew I had to do a lot of online learning and not have a curriculum solely based on worksheets. And I think I found the perfect combination for him. Time4Learning.com I’m going to have to find a way to fund an entire classroom for him of school supplies and equipment…but it certainly seems to be right up his alley. Quite honestly the learning videos that I saw certainly kept me entertained! I’m going to supplement his education with other subjects that otherwise would not be taught at this grade level or in general. For the next school year has chosen Art (yay!), Cursive, and Geography. I’ll also be doing extra work with him on writing, spelling, and reading because those are areas I know he is lacking and not receiving attention on in school now.
I feel good about my decision, but I do not feel good about the cost. I’ve been pricing around for a decent all-in-one computer and they are about $350 for the specs he would need. I would be interested in in working on a laptop, but he’s been known to throw electronics that are easily handled in fits of rage (he just broke his third or fourth tablet – I’ve lost count)…and I don’t want to have to scramble to get something repaired or replaced on the drop of a dime in the middle of a school week. Thankfully we can share a printer I just need to invest in a LOT of computer paper and ink. I’ll need pencils, crayons, tape, glue, scissors, construction paper, and a whole lot of school supplies I normally wouldn’t have to buy. It is a little overwelming….especially since he has requested a desk to have his own work space. My thought process is I am going to turn the dining room into a work room. While he is working on his computer for school I can be on my computer watching his work and working on my own business stuff.
I am HOPING that by homeschooling I am removing the outside elements that overstimulate and exhaust him throughout the school day and we will see a change in behavior. He will need outside speech, occupational, mental, and cognative behavioral therapy. Busy, busy I am going to be.
In the meantime the doctor has given him off of school until Thursday and increased his medication….and we have started a FB page for him to get some online presence as well as a way to keep his life somewhat sorted. He likes the idea of potentially becoming “viral” and the thought that people would care enough to want to learn what its like for him living with autism. If you’re interested in “liking” it you can find it here.