This will be long, but I would appreciate anyone's input, particularly that of the ASD moms. My older DS has a dx of of PDD-NOS. For lack of a better term, he is extremely high functioning. We have spent a lot of time that I feel was wasted doing 6 months of speech and OT. Honestly, looking back on it I can't tell you a single thing that I think he "learned" with those therapies. Because he is now 3, he is in the public school system and in my area the only thing they have that is available for his needs is a one hour visit from a speech therapist and special ed. teacher to his preschool. We have to pay for private preschool. We think this is necessary as most of his issues are social and following directed activities. This is fine and fits into our budget.
We have also been exploring ABA (which we will have to pay for primarily out of pocket). In this area I would hire an ABA consultant and would then have to find my own therapists. A consultant in this area that came very highly recommended from the areas only develpmental ped. told me that a lot of people in this area use Craiglist for this, which just seemed insane to me. So if we went this route I'm just imagine it being a bit crazy with him in school in the mornings and then doing ABA in our home in the afternoon, quite heavily at first. Most importantly I'm trying to figure out how the ABA will really work since most of his issues are dealing with others which is hard to mimic in the home.
I have found a private preschool that has an ABA department. They would work with him with other ASD children initially and then gradually move him into one of their regular preschool classes. They use a shadow system to move him into the regular classroom and then gradually fade that out, offering support only when needed. So if they find circle time is especially hard for him, the shadow might keep coming back for that and they check in with the teacher and him several times a day. Most importantly he will gradually be moving towards a typical classroom on his own, which everyone agrees is a realistic goal for him. However, the school is hugely expensive.
We could afford it for at least for a couple of years, but it would require us to cut back on all non essentials including preschool for our younger child (who isn't talking yet at 18m), Gymboree, classes, etc. To make this situation even better, we don't qualify for speech therapy through the state because of my DH's income and our insurance will not cover his speech therapy because this is "just a speech delay", however I doubt we could afford to pay for speech therapy with the expensive preschool.
So, the million dollar question, what would you do? Enroll him in the ABA school and just cut expenses everywhere else? Try a regular preschool and ABA first for some trial period? Just drink heavily and try to forget you have to deal with any of this? If I only had one child it would be a no brainer, but I have no idea how to "choose" one's needs over the other or even how to weigh who's needs are greater right now.