Futile guilt and second guessing; not the most fun feelings to mull over. We have had our respite kids with us a lot lately. Their mom needed an operation and isn't able to take care of the severely special needs sibling nor the youngest on her own during the recovery period, so the needy sibling stays in residential care currently and she is back to her parents few hours away with youngest. Our respite kids have been with us for school weeks and travelled to see mom and grandparents for the weekends. Having them with us, and some similarities our respite boyo and Ache share have kept the topic question firmly in my mind during this time. Boyo is high functioning asperger kid and I have itched to use some training methods that worked well with Ache with him. And I have used some. I have also found myself bit frustrated over how well he learns certain things with those methods and tricks and in the other hand how little his mother has time and zeal to help him learn to function on the highest level he could. And that is the thing. When Ache was young we decided I would stay home for much longer than we had anticipated before his birth because his needs and our fears he would not be a good fit to day-care. In the end I was home nine years instead of the year or year and half we thought beforehand. And I did make it my main job to train Ache. To help him achieve his fullest potential. I did my research, I tried million different things, picked the ones that worked and I drove him hard. Structure, diet, activities, playing with him, carefully picking toys and other stimulus for his free play to help him improve and so on. At the time it felt like a no-brainer to do everything in our power to help him be as high functioning than was humanly possible for him. And he did flourish. He is way more high functioning than any professional dared to bode when he was young. Way more than we dared to hope. But he has also had to perform on his absolute limit all his life in almost all fields of life and almost all the time. There has been very few things in life that have come easy to him. And even those that have, have been crammed together with things that have been very hard or almost impossible tasks for him. Like academics; learning comes very easy to him, but academics go with school and everything else in school was either major challenge or almost impossible for him. It is planned that Boyo will start first grade in Special Education. Normal curriculum but smaller class size and with different type of kids and I find myself worrying if that decision will end up selling his academical capacity short. We had a very similar choice with Ache all those years ago. He had struggled a lot during three first years, was starting to play truant (or in that point more often just running from class room and hiding to school, often to some higher closet self or something similar), bullying was already an issue and we had an opportunity to try the autism/neuro classroom in other school. He spent a semester there and while it was meant to be a class for mostly high functioning autism spectrum students or ADHD kids at that time all the other kids were more or less with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and some had some LDs too. During that semester it felt that academically Ache didn't learn much (wasn't a problem in math or native language but it was just his second year of English and we were worried he wasn't progressing like he should) but he certainly picked every autistic mannerism one can imagine from his peers very quickly. His social development seemed to regress dramatically. He wasn't really able to keep up with boys in his sport teams socially at all any more and in one we were already recommended to think about moving him to teams for special needs kids. He started to behave in very embarrassing and childish ways publicly and it seemed that all the hard work I had put to his training was in spoils. After a semester we decided we wanted to pull him out and back to mainstream classroom. School was certainly agreeable. Ache had found all kinds of ways to entertain his new class mates and come up with all kinds of great ideas for them to do. So the Special Education teacher was more than happy to get rid of him. However that fall was an only time during Ache's school years he was happy to go to school and happy to stay there. At the time it felt so vital to help him be as functional as possible, that taking him out felt an easy decision. But looking back it isn't that simple any more. Yes, had we left him there it would be very unlikely he would be a pro athlete today, nor would his plan B be medical school. He wouldn't had lived alone in different countries by now. If he would have had girlfriends by now, they would be very different girls than his current girlfriend or ex. He wouldn't be a person he is now. More likely he would had ended up to specialised technical school for high school. Maybe he would be able to get a job from open market but maybe he would need more sheltered situation. Maybe he could live alone but maybe he would need some help. Maybe he would be on disability. But most importantly: Maybe he would be a happier person. Of course mulling this all out doesn't make any difference. We did what we did and we can't know what would had happened if we had done differently. And if we ask Ache now, he would certainly be appalled of the possibility of not having the options and lifestyle he does have. But of course, had it gone differently, he would have never known he could have things he now has and he wouldn't know to miss them. And maybe the road there would have taken less a toll out of him.