Middle School Transition for a Child with Autism – Part Four

Any other “stray” thoughts or issues regarding middle school?

In my first three blogs about my child with autism’s transition from elementary school to middle school, I discussed how I prepped him for the change, how he learned to get around a new campus, and I also discussed some of the new on-campus activities my son discovered.

I would highly recommend that a parent attend your child’s Back to School Night.

What is Back to School Night?

Typically, Back to School Night is a night when parents get to hear about their child’s individual classes.

In elementary school, the parent sits in one class, hears a very detailed outline of how the teacher intends to teach our child, and there is plenty of time for parents to meet the teacher.

My husband and I discovered that middle school Back to School night is a bit different.


Because my son has 6 teachers, not just one.

And, so does every other student, and there are now LOTS of students.

So, the middle school Back to School Night was a whirlwind of sitting in our son’s first class, listening to the teacher for TEN MINUTES, and then hustling to our son’s second class. After the second class, and ten more minutes from Teacher #2, we hustled to class #3, and so on.

Ten minutes isn’t a long time. I had an issue with that. Plus, the Back to School instructions stated, “Please do not talk to the teacher. If a parent needs to talk to a teacher, the school can arrange a separate meeting.”

I had a problem with that.

What did I do?

I ignored it.

At the very end of each ten minute discussion, I hustled up to each teacher and quickly introduced myself. Remember, I had already sent each teacher an email introducing our son. Most of the teachers remembered my email and that made for a quick connection.

My husband and I quickly re-iterated that we desire an open line of communication. We wanted to help the teacher as much as possible.

They all seemed pleased to meet us. (And, we were not the only parents to ignore the “please don’t approach the teacher” instruction)

Were there any hiccups during the first week or two of middle school?

Of course there were.

First, about eight days in, we got an email from our son’s English teacher telling us that our son was talking out of turn during class. We thanked the teacher for telling us, and then reminded our son that talking out of turn in class was not okay. (We have yet to get another email on that subject.)

Second, on Back to School night, the last teacher we met was the science teacher. This was my son’s last class of the day and I asked her if he was “antsy.” She said, yes. But, she explained that she wisely put him up front next to her, and also told him that he had a space in front of his desk that, if he needed to move around a little, he could use that space.

My son tells me that he’s only needed to do that a “few times.”

And, finally, there has been a tardy slip!

What happened?

The first week of school is known as “tardy-free.” They do not give our tardy slips until the second week of school.

It was in the third week that our son took too much time after the very first morning bell to get to his locker and then get to his first class.

He explained to us students are not allowed to visit their lockers until after the morning bell.

What did we do?

I now make sure that my son has the books his needs for his first two classes before he leaves school the previous day! Therefore, when I drop him off at school, he no longer needs to go to his locker and then get to his first class. Instead, he goes straight to class #1.

What about the transition from elementary school to middle school for a child with autism?

It’s really all one huge adjustment. Yes, it’s a transition, and things are different, but it’s all workable.

And, so far, my son has done extremely well.

One thing I tell him is that he’s getting older now, and getting more and more responsibility. It’s his job, for example, to remember to switch his books before I pick him up from school. (He’s only forgotten one time.)

The other thing I finally told him was to NOT worry about bullies. I tell him, “Enjoy school. Try hard, and do your best. Remember that your body might get a little wound up from time to time, but you’re old enough to know how to deal with things. Ask for help, if you need it. And, you’re in a typical school because you belong there. We know you can have success, and fun, at the same time.”

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