Monday, September 12, 2016

First week of School

We just finished the first week of school! As an autism parent, any new school year can bring a bit of uncertainty. New teachers, new paras, and a new classroom can often be difficult. Change can be hard for both the kiddos and the parents involved. The beginning of last year was extremely difficult for my kiddo. For those that don't know, my little guy is six years old and he started kindergarten last year. The school that he attends did not have a special education teacher at the start of the last school year. This means that I had to do a lot of advocating and I also had to do quite a bit of coaching  in regards to teaching the general education staff on how best to implement my child's accommodations. My kiddo spends the majority of his day in the general education environment with a part time para. For this reason, when last year began I wasn't overly concerned about the lack of a special education teacher. I was wrong! Special education teachers are huge advocates for those on their caseload. In addition, special education teachers are great resources for their general education teacher counterparts. I am a special education teacher so when my kiddo did not have one, this meant that I had to really fill in the gaps. This was extremely stressful for me and it was also hard for my kiddo because he did not start the year with some of the resources that he needed to be successful.

This year has been completely different. A wonderful special education teacher was hired! She called me before the school year started and she took the lead and set up a before school meeting with my son's new general education teacher. During this meeting I was able to share what worked and what didn't last year. I was also able to share a bit about the color system that we used so that my kiddo could track and monitor his behavior. The new special education teacher told me that she felt that it would be in the best interest of my kiddo if he started the year with his former plan in place. I was so pleased that all of these things would be done and I could just be a mom and advocate, and not also have to wear the hat of special education teacher as well! After I left the meeting, I felt confident that the 2016-2017 school year would be great for my child!

My little guy has a wonderful general education teacher that really reminds me of myself. She is extremely organized and she had everything ready for my little guy by open house. By the time the first day of school rolled around I really felt comfortable that my little guy was going to have a great year. His color chart was ready on the first day of school and it has been ready for him every day since the first day of school. My son's teacher provides detailed comments that really allows me to see how he is doing throughout the day. Based upon the color chart and teacher feedback, my little guy has done wonderfully well over the last few days. He had one small meltdown during technology when he was told that the Chromebooks weren't going to be used on that particular day, but the good news is that he was able to pull himself together with a bit of prompting. I am so thankful that everything has gone so well this year. I am hopeful that the year will continue to progress at this pace. Stay tuned for updates!!!

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