"He who saves a single life, it is as though he has saved the entire world."- Talmud
“One Child’s Progression to a Regular Education Classroom”
by Irene Takoushian
My son, Steven, is a 7 year old boy with autism. He attends a regular education class every morning for two hours a day. At this point, I am still holding my breath in anticipation of how Steven will fare from day to day. Will this be a success story? Will he maintain and grow in this “normal” environment? Transitioning a child with autism from an intensive applied behavior analysis education program to a typical school setting is a new challenge and a new concept of how we will raise the bar for Steven on a new and unknown frontier in his life.
When I began teaching my little boy at 15 months old in my home, I thought that I had ample time to fill in his deficits in striving towards normalcy. Steven’s life has taught me that autism and time are overwhelmingly oppositional forces. I feel as though I have moved a mountain from the time he was diagnosed until now. I realize now with great clarity that his partial transition to a regular education classroom is for me and his teachers, both a victory and a new mountain to move. I have a great deal of hope, for he has come so far, yet every day I fear that this may be as far as he will ever go. I am haunted, driven and hopeful, all three states of emotion living within me at the same time, twisting my life into a continuous state of anxiety - for Steven, at this time, will not grow without extraordinary outside intervention.
Steven is a student at the Ascent School for Individuals with Autism. His teachers at Ascent attend and observe his transition program with him, diligently planning for success. They identify problem areas and develop the direction for his progress. With the right focus and professional expertise, Steven’s climb will become self-propelled, and perhaps someday I will no longer need to move the mountain for him. This is the reason that I still have hope: Ascent gives it to me.