I tried a church this morning - on my own, without the kids. It was really lovely. The congregation is tiny - there were about 50 people there total. Because the congregation is so small, during the passing of the peace, everyone literally greeted everyone else. For the last song, everyone held hands. It might just be hippy-dippy enough for me. I enough just having an hour of peace and quiet. I also think it was helpful for me to remember to think about people besides myself - to remember flood victims in Pakistan, people who have lost their jobs in this economic slowdown, victims of violence in the Sudan, and people who are sick and dying. I was able to put aside being sad about Sam and all his Autism has taken from our lives (and his life)and think about how lucky we are to have jobs a safe place to live.
I might go back another week or I might try a couple of other places. There is another church of the same denomination in a different town and I might check that out. I also heard about an Episcopal church that has a service designed for families dealign with Autism. It is a short service and the kids are not expected to sit the whole time ot to be quiet. I would like to try that one week as well. Then I have to make a choice. I don't know if I want to make church my "get away from it all" activity and just go by myself for now or if I want to kind a place I can bring the kids. I am not sure I would get the same benefit from a service with Sam chewing paper, jumping off the pews and making his noises. He is not going to understand the concept of church so is it worth choosing a place based on him? In a perfect scenario the church would have a regular service with a special needs Sunday school room. Then, I could get the nice calm church service and Sam could have an interesting place to play. But I can't find such a place. Tough call.
I met with the Director of Special Services for my town and he was open to considering another placement for Sam. True to form I brought 2 typed pages of notes on my concerns (since my first negative experience with the district I have been a nut about writing down my concerns and requests. That way everything is documented and dated - most special education issues have time limits and that way no one can jerk us around). He actually seemed upset that we were only presented with one option for Sam's original placement. Now, it is very possible he was giving me a sympathetic act. I am visiting the other option this week. It is another public school program a couple of towns over. I have heard good things from other parents and I know this school has more experience. It may be no better but I am excited to see. If it is no good then I have to battle for other options.