As I was spiraling from depression, Thomas’ packet had been sent out to state approved residential schools, about 12-13 schools. Weeks go by and we had heard nothing from any of the schools Tommy and I were like, WTH? I called the contact person at the Board of Education multiple times and I did not receive a call back. Unbelievable IMO. Finally after speaking with a community board member who called on my behalf did I receive a return phone call. The woman said we had to wait for the schools to contact us. Fine.
I got tired of waiting and went down the list making phone calls to the admissions department of every school his packet was sent to. Sometimes I spoke to a live person and they would tell me why Thomas wasn’t appropriate for their school or the school didn’t have a peer group for him, meaning the population didn’t include 16 year old boys at the same cognitive level as him.
While I appreciated the honesty of the schools I did speak to, I was starting to get worried, so was Tommy. We really needed a school for him and soon. One morning I came home from my walk after bringing Daniella and Samantha to school. The phone rang and I contemplated not picking it up. I was hot and sweaty from my walk, my mood sucked, etc… For whatever reason (God’s hand) I did pick up the phone and it was the admissions person from the Sail school. She told me Thomas wouldn’t be appropriate for that school because his IQ was too high for their population. I almost laughed and said, “What kind of population do you serve, my son’s IQ is in the high 40’s”. Turns out she was reading an old IQ report from when Thomas was younger. She said she was going to review his packet again and call me back.
A couple of hours later she did call me back and she also spoke to Thomas’ current school who confirmed the last IQ test was as I said. Admissions Woman asked if Tommy and I would like to tour the school. Of course we said yes.
We went without Thomas. Turns out the Sail school was literally a five minute drive from Andrus, the residential school Thomas attended when he was 8 yrs old until he was 11 yrs old. During the ride up there Tommy and I discussed that this was the only school we heard from that was interested in our son. We didn’t want to make our decision based on that fact. We had to make our decision as unbiased as possible and also face the possibility that this school may not be “the one” and we would be back at square one.
We met with Admissions Woman who was wonderful and so very knowledgable. The building is older and not the most modern but we both didn’t care. She gave us a tour of the bedrooms, while we were there the cleaning people were busy changing sheets and blankets, some delivering clean laundry and others gathering dirty laundry. There were also people mopping the floors it was impressive IMO. We then toured the school where medically fragile students attended as well as special needs students who required a small student to teacher ratio and more attention.
To be honest after seeing that school I was a little freaked out as those students were lower functioning than Thomas. I was afraid of Thomas being placed where he did not belong. Maybe this wasn’t the place for Thomas. We were then given a tour of the other school which is off the residential campus. It’s down the road about a 5 minute drive and the students are bused from the residence building. We saw the first classroom, met the teacher and her students and the para professional and immediately felt at home. The environment and atmosphere was so similar to the school Thomas was currently attending. I couldn’t believe it! We met the teacher and students of the other two classrooms and the feeling of familiarity was the same. I was so relieved!
Admissions Woman stepped away to give Tommy and I a chance to talk things over. We both agreed right there and then that we loved the school and wanted Thomas to attend. We told Admissions Woman this. She informs us then that there was another boy being considered for the one space they had available.