Thursday, September 7, 2017

I hope it's a better year.

My social media newsfeed is a slew of "Back to school" shots.  Kids posing in their brand new outfits and lunch boxes that they will soon lose. Some smiling.  Some sulking.  It's cute. It's adorable. It's nice to see a bunch of good looking kids ready to take on a brand new year.

And I can tell you just by looking at the photo if they are autistic or not.  It's not by how they part their hair or how they hold a book bag.  It's how their parents caption their picture.

"I hope it's a better year."

Seriously, there must have been ten in a row that said this.  Each time I saw one, I'd checked.  Yep, a fellow #TeamQuirky member.  Over and over again.  Parents of the typical kids would just caption it as the first day of whatever grade and move on. Some of them even go super fancy and have the kids hold up a sign they made which I cannot do as I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler. Parents of autistic/special needs, just try to get their kids to sort of look at the camera and take whatever shot that they can get. I can bet you dollars to donuts that there was a photo shoot and there were about 20 other shots on their smartphone that they scrolled through before deciding on that one as "good enough". They have other things to worry about, which is pretty much everything else related to school.

And good Lord, do I get this. I get this so hard. Last year at this time things were so bad in this house and at his former school.  Just getting him out the door on the bus was a freaking production that left me drained by the time he went off to school.  Plus, I couldn't even catch my breath because I was waiting for the dreaded phone call to come.  Which it did, nearly every single day.  The personal best being from the principal on the second day of school telling me how "out of control" he was and I needed to come get him.  She treated us like we had somehow pulled a fast one and scammed him into her school.  No one there seemed to understand him or our shock at how bad things were.  They didn't know him or us.  They thought that this was the status quo. This went on for months till we found him a new school.

I can't even believe that an entire year has gone by since then.  He is happy. He is thriving. He is still loud as feck and a ten gallons of hyper in a five gallon bucket. He is The Kiddo. The one we know and love and is actually eager to go back to school.

Despite knowing he is in a much better educational placement, I still can't help but feel anxious.  I'm trying to hide it from Kiddo. I'm putting on a show of "Yay! School!!" but inside I am still freaking out. He went happily on the bus and according to the teacher it was a great first day.  I'm just hoping it stays that way.

I'm just hoping it's a better year too.

Sorry, I have no picture of me dancing in the street singing "Brand New Day" from The Wiz. 


  1. And hopefully, fewer broken teeth this year!

  2. So glad he had a great first day!! I know the horror of a bad placement and I know the joy of having my daughter in a program that's right for her. Thank you for sharing the good, bad and ugly!

  3. My son, who started Kindergarten, isn't on the spectrum, but he does have some sensory challenges. He is new to school (no preschool), but so far so good.

  4. Girl. There's just no way to describe it except then you just did. Thanks.

  5. I'm moved by your post because you totally get it! You understand what it's like for many ASD kids and families and you're keeping your sense of humor too. I wish our school district understood. They refuse to put Autism on the IEP. Instead they chose the ED classification despite plenty of data and her diagnoses from 3 independent evaluations including the district-funded IEE which clearly states my child needs a school for autistic kids. I'm so glad you found a better placement. Keep us posted on how that goes!

  6. I really enjoyed your blog post about the struggles of autism and schooling. I work at a charter school for autistic children, so I get some first-hand experience in getting the children excited about coming to school and learning. I get to see the struggles they have in academics, while also noticing their social problems. I really liked how you spoke about the need for children to enjoy school, as well as receive the personal support each child needs. That is a huge struggle for these children, not being able to sufficiently express their needs, and therefore not receiving what they require. Parents like you, who are so involved in helping their disabled child be successful are very important in helping it be a better year.

    I enjoyed the humor, as well as the vulnerability you expressed while speaking about your child. I think it shed a lot on the unspoken world of autism. The parents and teachers, as well as friends and anyone else who strives to do all they can to help these amazing, yet troubled people, are heroes in my eyes. Working at the school has opened my eyes to just how challenging working with autism can be, and how much effort those around them have to put in to make the most of the day. By speaking about the struggles your child faces in school, such as keeping focused and calm, as well as speaking about your worrying about him having a good day, you show that he is just like any other child, but he has some added struggles that need extra support. For these individuals, having someone to look after them, support them, and love them, makes their lives so much easier. Your blog brings some added knowledge and humor as you tell about your struggles of providing that for your child. They have so many hardships, but if we give them all we can, they have all they need to succeed.

  7. You nailed it. Thank you, from a mom who, despite a new educational placement this year, spends the day holding her breath and hoping for the best. Thank you for the reminder that we are not alone.

  8. Whenever I read your posts there's a kind of relief knowing someone out there is going through a very similar situation. Will Little be like Kiddo when he's older? Who's to say. Thank you for sharing.

  9. I just hope That my sons teacher will stop calling cps and educate herself on severely autistic children first. I mean she is a special needs teacher after all. First week this year she called cps because my son lost weight over the summer but grew almost 3 inches taller.