Being proactive, over the Christmas break I explain that this brand new adventure will coming soon and it was met firmly with a "Aw Hells No!" from the Kiddo. I can't say I am surprised. He's been going to his same exact building since he was five. All the sudden now that's changing? When he is like the freaking #TeamQuirky Mayor of that joint? But a long time ago he was five, he switched from a beloved preschool to where he is now. We tackled that challenge and managed to survive. We'll suck it up, Sunshine and get on board with moving on.
We start with taking a tour of the middle school. One, to get a feel for the program and meet the teaching staff. Two, so I can take 385 or so pictures of the place. For I will create THE social story of all social stories with said pictures. I have an app for that! No really, I do. It's called "Kid in Story". Best money I ever spent. The Kiddo responds well to social stories and I know this will help.
I will not lie. I spent a majority of the tour biting my lips trying not to cry or let on how very overwhelmed I am by all this change.. I love the little bubble of the elementary school that he goes to now. This one middle school has kids coming from FOUR different elementary schools. That's a lot of kids that don't know the Kiddo and all his #TeamQuirky ways.
There are few perks in our corner with this move. The teacher he will have was the same exact one he had in early intervention preschool and we loved her. Same with the school nurse, she moved over to the middle school from the preschool. There's also a beloved gym teacher there that he used to have that teaches there too. So there are some folks there that know him. I kind of started to feel "Hey, maybe this won't be so bad. He's ready. He'll meet even more #TeamQuirky people and it will be fine."
And we have plenty of time still at our beloved elementary school. I won't lie though. I plan on being a sobbing mess by the end of the school year. They just know him so well. They are also the ones responsible for him getting to this point of being ready for the switch. Of course, I keep joking with the staff about who I want to transfer over with him and how I'm going to get their transfers in his IEP. (Sort of kidding. Sort of serious. Hell, can't hurt to ask.)
As of yesterday, we now have to add the custodian Mr. "T" to that transfer list. Mr. "T" and the Kiddo are good pals. I suspect part of the Kiddo's interest is Mr. "T" unlimited access to large vacuums (a focused interest/obsession for the lad.) and the fact that this man has engaged with the Kiddo in such a special way. He leaves "Hi Kiddo!" notes around the school for my son to find. You see, Kiddo is that student that's often in the hallways. (But with the purpose! He's sent on messenger jobs for the teacher.)
Yesterday Mr. "T" took this game to the next level and did this.
(Yes, I covered his name. You all know I keep something back.)
Placed outside his classroom window on a snow bank. The Kiddo pretty much had a giggle fit on a the spot when he saw it. He is now making his own "Hi. Mr. "T" signs to hide in the school for the custodian to find. When the teacher emailed me this picture and told me what had been going on I both cried and laughed. I hope this man knows just how much I value this. He doesn't have to do this. It's not in his job description. By engaging my son like this, he's teaching him valuable social skills. He's making my son want to engage with people by teaching him humor.
Ugh! This is not helping me accept the fact that he is going to a new school come summer. Stop being so freaking fantastic and supportive school! Can't he be the student with tenure? I know it's time for the Kiddo to go and start spreading the #TeamQuirky message elsewhere. As much as I want to him to stay where he is forever, it's time.
Okay, I'll allow you to go to middle school but you have to stop growing taller. I'll just push your head down. It'll be good sensory input.