The start of the 2013-2014 school year….it seems like it was only one minute ago I was walking to the car at the end of the last day of school with an extremely happy seven year old and seeing the smile of Elizabeth as she said “We’re off!”
So much free time, so many fun things to do….summer time!
And now we are labeling school supplies, figuring out what new clothes we need, deciding where the new bus stop will be….school time.
I spend a good portion of August as I have the last so many years working on all those things that are special to Elizabeth” start of a school year. So much of what makes a good school year for Elizabeth requires quite a good deal of work on my part.
Those who have typical developing children hope that their child will like their new teacher and that those few moments at “meet the teacher day” will be pleasant and will lay the groundwork for nice relationship for the year.
In the case of our children, those first few moments, most often are filled with such stress for our children, that if the year were to be set by that interaction, we would really be in for quite the year! We have to make sure that the teacher understands our child, that they have the information they need about their disorders to help them be successful in their day. They also need information on how to help them when the stress is too much and they are beginning to shut down or have a meltdown. This information takes time to prepare, and once prepared it takes time to share. and hopefully it is once shared it is openly accepted by the teacher.
I have always felt it is so important to teach the teacher as I have reasoned who knows my daughter better than her family? With this in my heart, I share in the form of a letter to all those who might have Elizabeth in their classroom or encounter Elizabeth….think school nurse, office staff… my hope is that if Elizabeth ever has a problem, those who now “know” her will be better able to help her navigate the situation.
As time passes, the letter is changed. As goals and successes have occurred, the letter reflects them. As her needs lessen in one area but grow in others….that too, is on the letter. The letter takes a great deal of work, but by picking it up and reading it, I know that that individual will “get” her. That calms me.
I am blessed with two wonderful typically developing children as well as our beautiful Elizabeth. With this said, I get to experience both sides of the school prep time. I can label those supplies, and head on into the “meet the teacher” time, I can enjoy the experience, knowing our little guy will share his great personality. I can leave the school that day, with the hopes of a good year. That time is so blessedly easy at this point in his school life.
Yes, I get to see what others have as their normal start to school, only they may be blessed to have it with all their children.
I have the chance to have both and by doing so I so clearly see,at the start of each school year, all the work that really does go into helping our special children start a year. All the worry and concerns.
I wanted to offer out some good thoughts and encouragement to all who are starting their new year, or have just completed those first few days.
I know I am waiting for our school to start, so I am in those last few days of summer, where Elizabeth’s anxiety is high, my heart is sad summer is over, and the school year is waiting….I want to offer out that as we have a” last week” feeling going on, that I take comfort knowing all of our work with our child, all of our concerns and all of our love will make a positive difference for our child. The same will go for yours…the child you love so much will benefit from your advocacy, from your leading with what feels right in your heart.
We will be there for them throughout the year, we will do our best to make the year as successful as it can be.
Take a deep breath and I wish you all the best for a good start to the 2013-2014 school year.