Approaching the first day of middle school for my son with autism, I was hoping that I had done everything I could think of to help prepare him BEFORE the first day of school.
He was pretty comfortable on the new campus, he got assigned the English teacher from his summer class, and he was looking forward to a couple of his classes.
How was the beginning of school?
I met my son at the end of the first school day in order to walk him over the Teen Scene after school program. He told me he had a great first day. He seemed happy.
I signed him up at the Teen Scene and he stayed for an hour or so.
The rest of week went well, too.
What discoveries did we both make that first week?
First of all, my son made an adjustment in his route from class to class. After a couple of days, he realized that he only wanted to visit his locker once during the day. He said he was getting to lunch too late to get “the good meals.” (Meaning pizza)
Second of all, he was already loving his elective class, a combination of Lego robotics and engineering. It was his first class, which made his look forward to getting to school.
My son also began to discover various clubs that he wanted to attend.
How did the clubs fit in?
Well, with bullying on my mind, I had discussed with my son that I felt it was a good idea, during lunch and recess, to hang out with kids he knows. I encouraged him to find familiar peers to hang out with during recess and, especially, to sit with at lunch. This made him less of a target.
A cool thing that happened, though, was that my son found a bunch of lunch-time clubs to attend.
As of one month into school, four days a week he now attends three different clubs: Minecraft, chess, and a Green Environment type of club.
His routine, at this point, is to leave PE, get his lunch, and make his way to a club. He enjoys the clubs.
I’m happier because they’re monitored, and he can get to know some new kids that have similar interests.
Have there been any other adjustments?
The new school is a walkable distance, if you ask me. (I love walking.)
It is a longer distance, and the way to the school is all up hill.
And, there are now hundreds of people dropping off their kids.
My schedule with my son is that we walk two days a week, and I drop him off the other three days. It took me a few days to figure out the route that works best for me in terms of dropping him off. And, my son is adjusting to the long, uphill walk.
Picking him up after his after school Teen Scene is no problem, but two days a week I pick him up right at the end of school.
Again, I had to figure out a pick up spot that works well for both of us.
So, far it’s all working out quite well.
In my next blog, I will discuss some stray thoughts about my son’s transition to middle school.
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