I waited a bit before reporting on my child’s new school year.
What happened last year?
Last year was my son’s freshman year.
It was the first time he had gone to school without an aide.
He was fourteen when he began school (he turned fifteen in February).
Within two months, he changed his “look.” (He suddenly went from a shorts-wearing kid to a pants-wearing kid, he grew out his hair, and his attitude, well, teenagers can be surly, can’t they?)
The summer before freshman year, he took a health class in order to free up an elective class for a Resource Lab. (This worked out quite well).
The first two months of his freshman year were rocky…He had trouble adjusting to most of his classes, the requirements in each class were quite demanding.
For example, he took a language (Spanish) class for the first time ever. That in itself was quite the transition for our son, plus he had a teacher who wasn’t all that flexible.
We met with the teacher after three weeks in order to get on the same page.
His Resource Lab class even began on the downside, yet he caught up in that class quickly.
How did he finish his first year in high school?
He ended up doing well—A’s and B’s, even though he had a physical challenge.
He broke his foot in January. He missed only one school day. He had to use crutches for three weeks (and peers had to carry his bookbag) and he walked in a boot for the next five weeks.
He had to miss the rest of P.E. class, but he ended up with an extra study hall which he used well (to get work done and study for quizzes/tests).
We were pleased because he worked hard and got his grades up, and the broken foot didn’t even derail him. He did well on his finals and he ended up being proud of his own work.
What about sophomore year?
Ah, well, we asked him for something this year—to start off the year better than he did last year.
And, he’s done it.
His experience last year meant he was already used to the campus layout and the rigor of the work.
He likes his teachers.
He’s back to having P.E. class (he has always liked P.E.), and likes the rest of his classes.
He was able to keep his Resource Lab class because he completed his history requirement (World History) over the summer.
His counselor helped by selecting teachers that matched up well with him, plus they gave him the same schedule which puts his Resource Lab right in the middle of the day.
He continues to do a great job of getting work done at school (mostly during Resource Lab) while also finishing up work and studying at home.
He’s done so well that he earned a trip to a Smash tournament in September.
Any autism-related issues?
Well, he did report to us that he was being bullied. (He was bullied last year in his English class.)
The good news is that he reported is to us after only a few days. The P.E. teacher spoke to both boys and says he will keep on top of it.
We sent an email to the teacher, the counselor, and the case worker, making sure to document it.
Even though this is now the second bullying issue he’s had to deal with in high school (after having NONE in elementary or middle school), our son handled it well. And, told us much sooner this time.
He understands that bullies can escalate, and that asking for help isn’t all that bad.
There’s good grades, works getting done within reason, and a smidgen of maturity.
Autism and the New School Year has begun well. Let’s keep it going.
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