In my last post, that was mostly about the impact nice weather and exercise has on one’s mental health, I also mentioned that V has already started in a new kindergarten, namely his big brother’s basisgruppe. As already explained, it’s this Danish name of an institution that, along with being a normal kindergarten, has a special department of 6 children, all diagnosed with autism, taken care of by four employees, two of which are experts on working with children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). JA started on his birthday in February and V just finished his second week. And boy oh boy, the extent of the difference is nothing short of remarkable!
For the first time in a long time, I actually feel hopeful. And here is why…
Last week, our suspicion that V has autism, was confirmed. During that meeting, we reminded them that we were planning on moving to Iceland in a few months. They became a bit puzzled as if they had forgotten about that fact and one of them suggested that maybe the big coordination meeting, that was supposed to be held in about three weeks, should be canceled instead of wasting so many resources for such a short period of time. Fortunately, we had been prepared for the news of V being autistic because if we would have been in shock I am not sure we would have responded the way we did. Instead of numbly giving in and agreeing to the suggestion, both of us strongly objected the idea. We were not ready to wait a moment longer for our son to get sufficient help!
As my post Moving Back to Iceland states, we are returning to the land of ice and fire after two eventful years in Copenhagen, Denmark. As such, we found it fitting that I made a trip to Iceland to look at preschools and schools in search for the best services for our boys. So, I’ve been in Iceland the past few days (the reason why it has been oh so quiet in here) scanning the system. The goal was to find a neighborhood that has a good preschool AND elementary school that BOTH offer excellent services for autistic children. But the big question here was: How do I define the best school? What should I be looking for? How do I choose?
For those of you who do not know, we currently live in Denmark where my husband and I are working on our graduate degrees. We moved here in the summer of 2010 and our original plan was to live here for a few years and not only finish our degrees but also gain some work experience in a foreign country. However, when the news of our son’s autism diagnosis struck, everything changed and suddenly our future plans were up in the air.