Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Coping with the stress of Conference Week

As an autism mom, conference week is always an extremely stressful time. I think that this time period is so stressful because in the past, during conference week, I have always had a multitude of information thrown at me. This information has not always been the most pleasant information to hear, so I think that these past experiences make me nervous for what information is going to be delivered.
I have always been very involved in my son's education. I am the one to initiate the first meeting every school year. I do this so that the team can get better acquainted in regards to who my son is and what my expectations are for the school year. In years past, despite my attempts at doing everything in my power to get the team prepared for my son, I have still been bombarded with questions during conference week. For this reason, I get stressed for this week to come. I hate it with everything in me! I think that my utter despise for this week comes from poor past experiences. I have had so many experiences where I have been put into a little room with teachers or therapists and district administrators, and I have almost always been forced to put my mama guard up and go on the defense. I have done everything that I can for my child. He has been in every therapy imaginable. I hate having to repeat everything that we have done OVER and OVER again during conferences, especially, when I have gone out of my way to share reports and set up meetings before school ever even started. This has been my experiences every single year up until this year.

When I walked into conferences this school year, I still felt the same uneasiness that I always get before these types of meetings. As soon as I sat down at this year's conference, I immediately got the feeling that this year was going to be different. The general education teacher first explained to me that the meeting should be quick and pretty straight forward and my son's special education teacher also echoed what the general education teacher way saying. My immediate thought was, "A conference in 20 minutes or less? My kiddo's conferences have always gone exceedingly well over the allotted period of time..Maybe today will be different?" Well the conference was different! My kiddo had a great report and both his general education teacher and special education teacher expressed that my child is having a fabulous year. He is doing well socially and is making friends. He is able to transition much better than he was last year. He is also working extremely hard to regulate his emotions and melt-downs have pretty much been non-existent. The special education teacher also told me that my child is doing so well that she could see him no longer needing special education services within two years. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy that I could cry. I knew that my child was doing well at home and I knew that his days based upon his color chart have been great, but I guess I just didn't know just how well he had been doing at school. I am so proud and I just can't believe how far my child has come. For the first time, I can honestly say that I stressed out for no reason for conference week. I am one proud momma!

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