Slowly I am trying to figure out just what my philosophy on autism and raising Janey is. I think it's something I have to do, so I don't just feel like I am doing all the wrong things, or not following all the advice out there. I need to be confident that I am doing what I think is right, and I have to look at William and see that I already did it right once---there was a time it would have been impossible to think of him in a regular 8th grade classroom, not on any IEP, happy and doing pretty well, a fine young man really. I don't know why I feel so useless sometimes when I have already done what many strive to do. I have to feel like I do know something. But there is so much more about autism out there now than there was then, and everyone has such strong opinions. I am not a fighter or a warrior or anything like that. I can't be. But I do know Janey. So I am going to try to figure out what I want to do for her.
Here is my first priority---love her and surround her with other people that love her. Make that my number one priority in terms of everything she does---her education, her surroundings, who is near her. If she isn't loved, adored, I don't want her there. She is a sweet, beautiful four year old girl, and that comes before any autism or anything else. It is why I am at peace with her school. Her classroom might not be winning any prizes for academic achievement or being on the cutting edge of autism treatment, but boy, do they love her. Both teachers and the aide have known her since she was two weeks old. They are some of the most loving and caring people I've met. The other kids seem to adore her too---especially a few of the boys, who fight over who gets to hold her hand! The girls run up to her to say hi. The therapists all beam when they talk about her. Even the subs are people that know her, and are so thrilled when she remembers them. THAT is what I want for her in a school. She certainly gets a huge amount of love from Tony and me and her brothers, from her aunt Carrie and her Nana and Grandpa, her cousin Zeben and from special friends of the family. I never want people to see her as a challenging case, or a little girl with odd behaviors that need to be taken away. I too want her to stop looking at her hands or repeating odd phrases or not answering questions, but much more than that I love her and that including for now loving things she does.