We moved into our new house a little over a week ago. (It's not finished, but we can live with remodel mess for a few weeks while I finish up wiring issues and hang new sheetrock in the bedrooms.) For those that recall, I enrolled difficult child 2 in public school just a few weeks ago. I hated to get him adjusted to one school, only to have to pull him out in a few weeks and do it all again at a new school, but the alternatives were slim. (We all needed a break from each other badly - him being at school meant 8 hours a day that I didn't have to be on guard for meltdowns & physical fights with his pregnant sister. I could go pee without fearing screams from the other room during the day.) In any regard, the new school is set up for block classes (2 hour classes that compress an entire year's study into 1 semester.) It wasn't fair to put difficult child 2 into those kinds of classes 9 weeks into the school year - that would be like missing 18 weeks of a regular class. So, we had to get creative with his schedule for the rest of this semester. We put him in what they call "skinnies" and "miniskinnies" - classes that are only an hour long and either go the entire year (a "skinny") or are an hour long and go only 1 semester (miniskinny.) Basically, he has no core classes (math, lang arts, science, or history) as those are all block classes. He has alot of elective classes and 2 PE classes. (Yeah! Get this couch potatoe out there & active!!! Yippie!) But what truly shocked me the most is that he chose JROTC for one of his classes!!! (Air Force JROTC, for those interested.) When the guidance counselor handed him a list of the classes he could chose from, she told him to number them 1-8, 1 being the class he was most interested in & 8 being the least interested. JROTC was his first choice!!! I didn't even know he was interested in anything to do with the military! Wow! We got to meet the Sarg in charge of the ROTC program. He's a nice older guy - definitely career military. Probably spending his retirement doing the one thing he knows how to do - train cadets. Kind of on the goofy, laid-back side, but you can tell he's not the kind of guy you want upset with you. lol. One of those kind of guys who can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on whether or not you're screwing up. The first words out of difficult child's mouth, after meeting the Sarg, was "gee Mom, he's just like Dad!" Yup. He did remind me an awful lot. My first thought was that this just might be the beginning of a turning point for difficult child 2. A solid, good male role model in a position to push difficult child 2 into getting himself under control. Not to mention, for a kid on the Autism spectrum, the rigid structure and routine of military life (even at the ROTC level) is probably a perfect fit. At least, I think it will be for difficult child 2 so long as he sticks with it and doesn't let his anxiety get the best of him. He thrives in rigid structure and routine - I think that's why he's always so comfortable when he's inpatient. Military life, compared to civilian life, seems almost like the perfect fit for my difficult child 2. Everything is spelled out. Everything has a proper procedure. There's a book that tells you step by step how to do everything you could ever need to know to do well. They even teach you how to interact with your peers and superiors. To someone like difficult child 2, who so doesn't understand the grays in life, the military is as close to his pure black & white thinking as a person can get. The guidance counselor and I spoke to the Sarg about difficult child 2's spectrum issues. The Sarg said difficult child isn't his first Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kid, and won't be his last. Cool! So he's dealt with kids like difficult child before. That's wonderful! The guy didn't even flinch (unlike some of the other teachers I met while we were enrolling difficult child.) He just looked at difficult child 2 and told him if he had ANY problems, concerns, fears, or questions, he (difficult child 2) was to come to Sarg and they would figure it out together. Then Sarg gave me his private line at the school and says "Mom, that goes for you too. We're going to do all we can to help M get where he wants to be." I swear, I could have kissed that man's feet right there in the office. You guys know that feeling when you meet/find someone in a position to help your difficult child - that feeling when you just KNOW that person is a good fit and actually gives a darn? That's the feeling I got from the Sarg. The fact that difficult child 2 took an instant liking to him is such a bonus! Now if I can just help difficult child 2 over the initial hump of his new school anxiety, I think we're on a great path for good changes for him. (I did have to struggle with him yesterday to get him to go to school - he's extremely anxious because he knows not a soul at this school and it's HUGE compared to his other school. It even intimidated me a little & all I had to do was find the main office and the student pick up parking lot!) Cross your fingers for him, please! I just want him to stay out of his own way long enough to get through the adjustment phase. If I can get him through that part, to where the school doesn't intimidate him to the point of giving up, then I think we just might have found a key to getting him to be independent. (He's so anxious about this school & all the changes that he's been sick to his stomach every morning for the last 3 days...but he hasn't refused to go yet. He's threatened to refuse, but no meltdowns, and he's still gone, so far.) I could use all the prayers of the board to help him get past the anxiety without quitting.