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Transition

I don’t know why I seemed to think Little Man’s transition to his new school would be much smoother than it’s been, but I guess I did. And I’m feeling kinda blindsided at the moment. This sucks. It’s awful to watch him go through this. He won’t tell me how his days are going, but his SAI and social worker have been awesome at keeping me in the loop. Only the news usually isn’t fabulous. Yesterday was a day for him, although not quite as bad as last Monday. I’m left feeling defeated. I’m watching him regress, right in front of my eyes. In the back of my mind is the stark fear this amazing school is going to tell us he’s too much for them, he needs too much, too many services for them to handle. I don’t know where we would go from here. I’m spending most of my days praying he will pull it together, turn it around, get back to where he was last year.

He has regressed. His anger is at all-time levels. He can’t ask for help. He can’t express what has him so worked up. He can’t figure out what to do to help himself calm and settle. We never know what we’re going to get when he wakes up in the morning, but it’s typically been a lot of stomping, banging, slamming, lashing out. I’m angry….not at him, but my anger gives me a very limited amount of patience, and we’re all paying for it. I’m also just so sad.

We knew there would be a transition period. Everything is new, and I mean everything, except three friends from his class last year. It’s a brand new school, in a new building, with only one teacher he knew before this year, in a different part of town, with a different schedule, new routine, new style of learning/teaching. For him, that’s just a whole lot to take in and process. We were in such a good place last year. I’d hoped, given the environment at his new school, he would settle quickly. We’re midway through week 3, and it’s pretty dark. I don’t doubt for one second this school is what he needs…the way they are teaching (it’s a STEAM school), the characteristics they are building and encouraging, the choice they give the students, the innovation is everything he will thrive in, once we move past this.

He would have to go through transition no matter where he went to school this year. He’s in sixth grade. That means middle school. The lifeline of our familiar elementary school is gone – although I’ve checked in with his SAI there, and remain friends with so many of the teachers and staff there. He can’t go back. I can’t imagine how much worse this transition would have been had he not had the choice of his current school. He would be a thousand times overwhelmed if he were at the traditional middle school his siblings attended. Thinking about it gives me the hives.

That doesn’t change the fact this is brutal. And I’m calling BS on those autism parents who say they wouldn’t change their kids for anything. I would, in a heartbeat. I would take a kid who was less brilliant, less creative, less witty, less amazing, if he didn’t have to go through this painful struggle. Wouldn’t we change our “normal” kids in some ways too if it would make life easier for them? My little man has to function in a world not designed for him. He has no choice. Watching that struggle, when there’s very little I can do for him beyond the medications, therapies, and accommodations we have in play, breaks me. I hate seeing his face crumble after he’s had an episode. He can’t help it. He’s  surviving as best he can, but that means responding to being overwhelmed, anxious, over-stimulated. That means meltdowns, tantrums, lashing out, withdrawing. That means me waiting by the phone each day, micro-managing as much as I can at home knowing those 6.5 hours he’s at school each day take just about all he has in the tank.

We’re on week three of school. How long can this transition last? And will we all survive?

16 thoughts on “Transition

  1. Remember that transition can be hard for a child on the spectrum or not. I’m sure the signs are different and more extreme, but for me, switching schools for the first time since Kindergarten at 6th grade just about ruined school for me. I hated it, was bullied, and actually think I may have gotten depressed. Eventually, I got over it, and hopefully your Little Man will too.

  2. Keep at it. 6th grade is no cakewalk for any kid, exponentially so for kids on the spectrum. But development happens. Even to kids like ours. Maturity doesn’t erase autism, but in many cases, it softens the edges.

  3. It’ll get better, Momma…hang tight. I feel so awful when school starts and my kids on the spectrum struggle being with us all day, after being home, or coming up from the middle schools, and being thrust onto a big high school campus. I always have to remind myself that how we end the year is miles from how we start it. God bless the parents who have to put their trust in us… *hugs*

    • “how we end the year is miles from how we start”……thank you so much for that reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in the current storm and forget the progress he generally makes. Hugs right back.

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