Autism and a Middle School Assessment
My child is about to finish his first year in middle school. Here is a recap:
What did we do to prep the transition?
We got to know the campus. Whenever we got a chance, we stopped off at the school and walked around. Even on Sundays.
My son took a summer class there to review sixth grade English. More so than reviewing English, I thought four weeks of attending the class would help him adjust to the new campus. It helped a lot.
Finally, on the day we picked up his books and schedule, we mapped out the route he would take from class to the class. We did this several times.
How did he respond to these preparations?
He responded well. At one point, he even told a facilitator in a social group that he felt confident, and that his mother was “overly worried.”
He especially liked walked me around on the day he received his schedule, proudly telling me what his route was going to be. He really was confident.
How was the year?
There were some bumps. Once or twice a teacher communicated with us about behavior(s). We talked with our son and made adjustments.
He never missed a day, but did get two tardies. He explained them to us as “mistakes.” We were okay with his explanations and it was only the two.
He had a bump or two in his after school program, but we also worked it out with the teacher there.
He tried to participation in the school wide games by submitting his name for the competitions, but he was never selected. He said he cheered on his seventh grade peers.
We walked to school twice a week, which were a bit a challenge, especially in the beginning because it’s up hill. Still, I enjoyed our talks along the way.
How else did he get involved?
My son ended up being a part of three clubs, two that took place during the school day, and one that took place after school on Thursdays. The first two were chess and Minecraft club.
The last one was called Lightning Green Club. This one was a bit more involved as the club took part in field trips and community service activities.
He also enjoyed a bit of freedom. His aide was only with him during four classes. During snack, P.E., lunch, and the last period of the day (science) he was on his own.
We didn’t receive any negative reports about behaviors.
He had friends we ate lunch with on non-club days and very much enjoyed walking home with a buddy once a week and making “gaming” plans at the different houses (only post-homework).
What about finals?
One adjustment from elementary school to middle school is the more-formal taking of finals. Finals have specific days scheduled when all of that grade level take their final.
I taught my child that preparation is the key. We gathered the right study materials and began to study a week to two weeks ahead of time. My son does pretty well in test taking, and some subjects are easier for him (science and history), but I managed to instill in him that test-taking sometimes requires studying in advance. This proved sometimes challenging on weekends, the times when my son really wants his device time. But, we managed to negotiate times, and there were only a few problems along the way.
How was his first middle school year overall?
I consider it a success. His grades are A-B, I believe he’s beginning to accept that this schooling is now his future, and he truly enjoyed a lot of aspects of middle school.
The reports of his disruptive-like behaviors were minimal, and he seemed happy and well-adjusted.
We also never had any reports of bullying (one of my biggest fears). He seemed well liked by his teachers, and also seemed to adjust well after the death of one of them.
I know him well enough to know that if there were problems, either we would talk about them, and/or the school would communicate them to us. Since most days were smooth, he was happy, he did his work on time, and felt pride at good grades and completed projects, I’m thinking his first year in middle school couldn’t have gone any better.
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