Growing Up and Letting Go
I’ve spoken of change being the Achilles’ Heel of Autism. I’ve spoken of my kids and fighting for their inclusion and school. After all of that, I know what I’m going through is probably pretty typical not just for me, but ANY parent anywhere sending their kids to school. I’m sure my mom felt it several times, with our entrance into school, then middle school, high school and eventually college. It is now my turn to start this journey.
My oldest boy is going to elementary school in a couple of weeks. We’ve beaten the rush to get school supplies. I have gone crazy getting him all Lightning McQueen Cars stuff. I keep thinking the other boys will think he’s the coolest kid with the coolest parents to have gotten him all this stuff. Of course, he doesn’t know about it, or else he’d perservate over it, and half of it would get destroyed before leaving the first day. But that’s really besides the point, right?
Now that I’ve gotten all of that though, I’ve started to think about past that first instant where everyone sees his cool stuff. He loves making friends, but he’s not near their level of communication or social skills. He gets to be in a regular ed class with other kids his age because he is so far ahead academically. I’m going to do everything to make sure he stays ahead in those areas because I know better than most, if you don’t keep and cultivate those skills, they start to suffer. The school is supposed to work with him on his communication, social skills and fine motor skills.
But I can’t help fearing this change. He has 9 weeks to prove himself as belonging in that classroom. The school has said that they are already full, as in, they are taking no more new Kindergarten students. He has not done well there during his ESY term, though I know that’s no indicator as the teachers, pupils and setup will all change. But I’m still very fearful of what’s going to happen to my little man. And will he fall through the cracks like so many of us did? He’s shy, and smart, and keeps it together around most people. Will he make up that gap? And how about lunches away from home? So many things to think about and of course, my anxiety is getting the better of me. But I know I need to for him and me to let him have his chance, let go, and make sure the schools don’t underestimate his skills.