One year of high school done, and my son is about to begin year number two. During this time, I learned something about my son’s high school schedule.
What have I learned?
My son was a freshman this past school year. Last September, one month into high school, things weren’t going so well for him. His grades were low and he had a few issues with some of the teachers.
I emailed the teachers to help straighten things out, but the IEP team decided to meet with one of them.
IMHO, this teacher was so picky and strict about how things had to be done in her classroom that being flexible for a special needs student wasn’t easy for this teacher. By the end of the meeting, we comprised, our son had to improve and the teacher had to bend a bit. Again, our son has an IEP for a reason.
How did it work out?
I think things worked out well. My son got along well with his teachers for the rest of the year (at least, we didn’t hear anything), and his grades got much better.
How can we prepare for this year?
By incorporating things we learned from the first year.
First, we’ve been talking to our son about how to begin a school year. He agrees that he began last year poorly and that he needs to step up his game.
We’re going into this school year more organized and with a better attitude.
We also found an app for him to use that he can personalize. In one section he can create lists of things he needs to keep track of in each of his classes.
Second, we discussed with our son’s IEP to try to give him teachers that either have experience with special needs or are, at least, a bit more flexible.
Third, we made sure he was keeping his resource lab.
What is a resource lab?
I describe a resource lab class as a special needs class where students can “take a break,” work on life skills, organize their day, and get homework done. That’s my best description of it, I’m not quite sure how the school would describe it.
The bottom line is that my son has this class in the middle of the day and it allows him to take a breath. It worked well for him last year and he has it again this year.
Now, high school has graduation requirements. One of them is the return of a history requirement in sophomore year.
In order for my son to keep his resource lab elective, he took his history required class (World History) over the summer. He did great!
The lesson here is that in order to keep the “take a break” class, we had to look ahead and get the history requirement done over the summer.
How does the school assist with matching teachers with our son?
It’s not that we’re asking the school to give our son “easy” teachers. He doesn’t have a learning issue. He’s always done well in school and can handle the work.
We talk to the school because we’re looking for “best match” teachers. Ones that are a bit flexible and ones who understand that our son does have an IEP and has to be followed!
We also want his teachers to know that we are open to communicating with them (and with our son).
We want classrooms to run smoothly. We don’t want our son treated differently, with the exception of what’s written into his IEP, which are specifics that are there to help our son learn and attend school.
We only want the best possible learning situation for our son. If there are teachers that really aren’t a good match, then we do want to avoid those teachers. We’ve been pretty lucky so far.
As long as we communicate with our son’s school, then we feel that these things will work out. That way we can match his schedule and his success.
Autism and High School Schedules – Part 2
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