Oh, there's so much you don't want to know. Trust me.
This much I'll share: I make fun of this back-to-school business, but really, with an autistic child, you have no idea. Meetings, more meetings. Contracts, doctors, arrangements, evaluations, special supplies. Hearts broken a little. Minds, tired.
In the past 7 days alone I've met with specialists, adjusted meds (with distressing results, I might add), revisited IEPs, conferenced with Roo's preschool teacher, conferenced with each of Toe's two Kindergarten teachers (Mrs. Her, for mainstream K and Miss Tanya, for autism-support K) twice. Shopped for packable "Toe friendly" milk-free lunch foods. Done practice runs of the new routine with Toe. Oh, and we had homework already. Yah, homework.
Then of course I had to re-watch that Temple Grandin film (first viewing was aborted due to my uncontrollable sobbing).
Even with all the minutiae, the work part of ASD ed prep is nothing compared to the emotional strain. Do you have any idea what it does to a mother to watch her brilliant little 5 year-old turn from the blackboard (where he's been invited by his kindhearted new teacher to draw or write anything he'd like) and flatly say, "I can't. I'm just no good at it."? Can you imagine how it feels when tests show your kindergarten baby can read and do math at near second grade level, but is confused by simple body language or terrified by the thought of eating a noodle?
And at every meeting with every teacher there's the retelling and reliving of the story: Well, he was a perfectly normal baby, then all of the sudden at about 18 months...That, followed by the look of pain in the teacher's eyes. The wordless moment of eye-contact in which she tells you, I know part of you died then, but hang on, it's going to be okay.
So, that's where I've been. Working it out with my special boy. Trying to find our own place on the very broad and sometimes unpredictable spectrum of joy.