Starting school is a fun time of year for a lot of kids and families. It’s exciting with all the changes and things happening. They just can’t wait to see who their child’s teacher will be and to send them off to school.
Well, that isn’t the case at our house. The start of school means the end of all our summer routines, which brings about a mega case of meltdowns. Throw in the fact that Spencer is going to a big public school (new building), new teachers and new amount of time being in school, and you’ve got the recipe for major pain.
To combat that, we tried a few things to help ease the transition from mostly being with Mom all the time (and a very small Pre-school class), and for the most part I think what we did REALLY worked. Starting a week and a half before school started, we went up to the school EVERY day and started working wake up time to school wake up time.
The first time we went up to school, we met the secretaries and some of the counselors and learned the procedures for dropping off and picking up Pre-K students. Everyone at our school has been SO accommodating to Spencer and his needs, it’s been wonderful. Anyway, we practiced dropping off and picking up. Then we would also practice walking from the front of the school to Spencer’s classroom (area before we knew which room for sure), from his classroom to the resource room and vice versa, and from his room back to the front of the school. We made sure he knew how to get to the important places he would go during his day at school.
When school started, he was VERY confident about where he was going, and I know that eased some of his anxiety about being at school. The only thing we could not simulate was the number of people who would be in the lobby and moving about the school while he was. The large crowds make him very nervous. He’s getting better and better about going where he needs to go everyday though.
We also created an All About Spencer folder for his Pre-K teacher and his resource teacher. This folder included a letter about Spencer and his diagnosis, and what that really looks like with him. It also included a 4 page Sensory Profile for him. We were hoping these things would give his teachers a head start in dealing with him, and it REALLY has seemed to help. The last two days, his resource teacher has been sick, and has had a sub there for her. Everyday, the sub has been waiting up front to be introduced to him with the para-professional that Spencer already knows, and he has gone with them mostly willingly.
I’ve been so impressed by all the faculty and staff at our school, and how willingly and lovingly they have taken my daringly son into the big elementary school. He still has his bad days, but I know it could be SO much worse. Here’s hoping things continue to work well.