Friday, September 7, 2012

New School Year, New Challenges

Image Credit  Jimston Journal

Its a new school year. C1 has officially entered high school and I’m terrified. Having a kid with autism makes back to school take a completely different tone and set of challenges. My mind is focused on her adjustment to a new school with new rules, a school with 2000+ students, if my new IEP team will be as helpful and cooperative as the last, if I will have a month or more of daily meltdowns because the school is one big sensory ball of chaos. I have to again have the sex talk and not the way I expected. I have to focus on not being taken advantage of or being talked into something because her social skills and her inability to read people makes her an easy target.

Its stressful y’all.

Her first day wasn't too bad. After the obligatory first day pics, (which for me was a first time ever taking them before dawn) She proceeded to give me typical teen angst. Complaining I took too many pictures, thinking every noise she heard was possibly the school bus before I finally left her head off to the bus stop. 

Before she got real annoyed with me.

On her return home that afternoon, I had to 1st tell her she forgot to turn on her cellphone, a requirement I have while she waits and rides the bus both ways. After I watched her and gave her space, I could tell she was trying to decompress I got to the myriad of first day questions. The one I feared the most clearly shook her up as well. While we'd been at the school twice for tours she was completely unprepared for the amount of kids. Her school is not considered overcrowded but that many students and that volume levels she came home shaking. Its been a week now and she's still coming home in sensory overload but its not as bad as the first day.

I may joke and kid on social media, I made several comments about a teacher of hers who was shocked when I told her C1 has had e-textbooks for 3 years.

Hello the teacher doesn't even have a website! I bet she thinks I was lying...

I still have to make some minor adjustments. She's used to classes with SMARTBoards and individual laptops, but she' new to the online testing area, something the State put into practice this school year. She's completely overwhelmed by the cafeteria line length but as with every school she's ever attended she visits the school library daily. She's amazed by the soda machines, the allowance of iPods in between classes and during lunch and she's gotten some class time with her iTouch. I know the social aspect will take a long time but I’m glad she's making it to the end of the day before she goes into her stimming episodes. Its the balancing game I have to play. Home life is considerably more chaotic because of her need to decompress but she's making it all the way to home so its just one of those things.

High School is a journey much more complex than I could ever imagine. We are already going to attend our first college fair soon. As I sat on the phone with K talking about both of our brand new 9th graders who are venturing into this world, either child is the same we get to discussion what's similar, whats different and then joke about our high school days.

Milestones are funny like that. I have a high schooler. Its something I never thought would be a big deal but then when life gives you a child with special needs you realize that there are lots of milestones in life, they just sneak up on you. 

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