Sixth Grade for an Autistic Student

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My child just started sixth grade.

Our elementary school is kindergarten through sixth, so he?s technically still in elementary school and not middle school. However, I?m still amazed he?s in his seventh and last year at our school.

Where did the time go?

How is sixth grade structured?

First, I’m happy to report that in my child?s school, sixth graders not only have instruction on every major subject (math, science, history, English) everyday but two of those classes are “switching“ classes. This means that twice a day they take their books and notebooks to other classrooms to get instruction from the other two sixth grade teachers.

The reason for this is to get the sixth graders to begin to simulate middle school.

Do you have any plans for sixth grade?

Yes, we plan on weaning off his aide during sixth grade.

His IEP is in December so the IEP team will discuss when/how to wean off the aide.

Our child is ready to tackle school on his own. He made a tremendous leap last year in fifth grade.

So, that?s one of our big goals for sixth grade.

Is there anything special about sixth grade?

I will definitely talk more about this one in later blogs, but my son has the option to attend a five day/four night trip into the mountains.

My son wants to go.

On Back to School Night, the teachers and parents met about the camping sleepover. We were given tons of paperwork to complete and shown a video.

For now, all I’ll say about the overnight is that we will allow our son to go. However, I am already beginning to talk to him about things that will be different at the site, in the cabins, with his peers.

A couple of examples are the following:

1. He won’t have his ceiling fan which he uses to help him fall asleep

2. He won’t have some of his favorite foods because they don?t allow you to pack food. (With a special needs child, I think they are flexible. You?d have to ask!)

3. A male aide will be accompanying him on this trip.

Number three is mandatory for me and will be provided by the school district.

His new aide is a male (since I have a boy, the aide that accompanies him on this trip must be male because the cabins are split into boy/girl). We will ask him if he wants to go. I think he has the option.

If he says no, then the school district will find a male aide that agrees to go.

So, even though the overnight trip isn?t for five months, we are already talking about it. Plus, my son has said he should “practice“ sleeping without his ceiling fan and his nightline. He?s willing to practice!

How will I prepare for middle school?

I will also talk about this more in upcoming blogs, but at this stage I will take every parent opportunity offered to go to some kind of “middle school prep.” I would like to visit the son soon and walk my son around a few times.

We will also have a special “Transition IEP“ toward the end of sixth grade.

 

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