School Challenges

The kids have now completed the first two days of this new school year! I wasn’t too worried about Little AoA. Everyone at her school seems to know and love her. She loves being at school. Making friends is her personal challenge right now. She is extremely shy around peers and adults outside the family. She is coming out of her shell a bit, and we talk a lot about strategies for making friends- most involve TALKING….

Brother is a different story. We have to measure the small victories, like walking into the school rather than having to be physically dragged into the school and into a calming area. He has walked in on his own on both days. The first day was ok. At the end of the first day, it was apparent that the proactive measures I had taken, had not been taken seriously. The result was that Brother didn’t want to return to school. I immediately got in my “child advocate” mode, and started emailing the entire team, calling for a large meeting to figure out how to meet Brother’s needs that would be evident if they couldn’t accommodate him with a simple schedule change. I wasn’t angry about it…I just knew the anxiety that would come, as we have been down that road. The team that helped last year also knew…the person in charge of his schedule was not on the team from last year. I’m sure I came across as a “helicopter mom”…which I try not to be..but someone has to advocate for kids who have unique needs for accommodations. Until the school team gets their boots on the ground, it had to be me. The school team is together now, and thankfully, I can back out a little bit.

The second day of school, Brother’s anxiety and paranoia took over as we approached the school. About a quarter mile from the school, he said he was feeling sick. A big distraction helped us get to the door. Someone had driven off the road in the school entry. There were emergency vehicles and obviously an injury. We wondered how that could happen, as we are usually not able to go more than about 5 Miles an hour on that road.

This was our view as we approached the school. When we got to the drop off spot, one of Brother’s teachers happened to be there. Brother got out of the car, and walked in with his trusted teacher.

By late afternoon, I received my first teacher phone call. Let me back up….on “meet the teacher night”, I met with each teacher, and filled them in on Brother’s situation. They knew…then we had to change Brother’s schedule. All but two teachers were different. I hadn’t been able to give them the “heads up”.

I know that Brother’s behaviors when he is anxious, can lead a teacher to feel like a failure. He shuts down completely- dissociates…and it is extremely difficult to get him out of that state until it is time to leave. If they were doing an assignment, the teacher won’t know what he can do. It looks like he can’t do anything. But no! He is gifted, with an IQ on the high end of meeting criteria for gifted…he feels like a failure if there is even one little thing that he doesn’t know- and gives up on all.

Ah…school! At least we know what we are dealing with this year.

~AoA

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