Back to School Sorrows – Part 2

I was so good about not getting emotional before J left for school, didn’t want to upset him prior to leaving, but once he was on his way the tears came.

I’m always so nervous for my boy. Will his new bus aides treat him okay and try to understand his quirks? That includes his new paras at school, will they work well with him and vice versa? Will he continue to excel and progress with his IEP (individual education program)? Will his classmates and peers be kind to him and nice, will someone try to be his friend?

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve asked the universe to let him be able to tell me how his days are. The ups and downs, what brings him joy and sadness. I so wish I could know what his days are like besides a third party telling me this and that.

Things will be alright though. Everyday I learn more, learn how to understand and relate to my son, learn through research and articles on how to be a better and stronger advocate for my son, learn how to seek support and guidance from others to keep progressing with my son. I can only hope that with all this knowledge and continued learning that J will never go without (no matter how many times I think I’ve failed him), that my intentions are always for the best, for his best.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges, hardships or sorrow. Challenges with transitions and new or different schedules. Hardships with maintaining appropriate behaviors. Sorrows that we don’t get to experience the typical events that go along with raising a child; like in our most recent event, the joys of back to school shopping. What a chore the turned out to be. J had a meltdown while shopping because he wanted to go to the garden center instead of doing the shopping first. He didn’t want to wait or want to understand the first/then schedule. A trip that could have been fun and enjoyable turned into Lance walking, half carrying J to the car while I finished the shopping. The excitement for back to school shopping, open house night or showing off his classroom, where he sits, his teacher or friends isn’t something we have ever experienced.

At the very least I won’t ever go without seeing his excitement of seeing the gym during ESY or getting on the magical yellow school bus in the mornings. 🚌

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Back To School Joys – Part 1

J started 2nd grade this week!!!

I was pretty nervous for him to go back to school, given his aggressive behaviors he’s had in the last few weeks and the feeling that he may have regressed over the summer as well, my fault.

This summer I took a different approach with J, especially since it all started a little rough with lots of aggression and turmoil aka I was J’s punching bag. So I backed off, I relaxed and hung out with J instead of having an educational and therapy driven agenda with him. I engaged when he wanted to, requested to or when I could get away with it. We had a great summer, including a wonderful family road trip. I was a completely different mom this summer, a mom I was happy being and I was happy to let Jax be a regular kid, enjoying his summer vacation.

Then reality hit and I realized there was only 2 weeks till school started back up and I started to freak a little bit. Were his writing skills, cognitive skills, listening skills still up to par with last school year? It wasn’t like we hadn’t worked on anything this summer or not gone to therapy sessions or hadn’t gone on social outings or hadn’t taught positive behavior, but I wondered if my new approach to making this summer more sustainable may have backfired for the overall global needs of J. I mean I have a 7 year old non-verbal, not yet potty trained, sometimes aggressive, but with the cutest freckles and giggles, autistic child going into 2nd grade!!!

But all these worries were for not. J has had a GREAT start back. He participated in ESY (extended school year) sessions which help for him to transition back into school with a couple hours prior to a full day back. Since his first day back, J has met and exceeded our expectations and that of his school support staff too. I couldn’t be prouder or more excited about his school year ahead. As his resource teacher said, ‘this will be our best school year yet’. I certainly hope so, fingers crossed, toes crossed, arms and legs too; all for an extra measure of luck.

I think what had made this school year even greater for J is he gets to ride the actual school bus. He loves it! Had never been so excited to leave for school and it’s all because of a big yellow bus 🚌!

Love My Tribe

I always thought since becoming an autism parent, my tribe would consist of other parents who face the same struggles and challenges, ups and downs, successes and failures like I do. I was wrong. I thought in this tribe we’d have this understanding of acceptance, a feeling of camaraderie between us. I thought they would be the people I would go to for all my trials and joys with J and his autism. I was wrong. After 7 years (5 of those being a autism parent), I have found my tribe. First, I have to acknowledge J’s school team as part of our tribe. They have been great from the start, continue to support, embrace and encourage J everyday at school which in turn carries over to home. We are lucky that there is a trusting revolving door between us where information, assistance, questions and answers live. These loving individuals get it, as much as a non-autism parent who is helping raise our son can. Then there are those in our lives that aren’t part of an official autism group, but they are part of our group and thus for J. These friends don’t have an autistic child, a few have experience with autism but not with a it-resides-in-my-home experience BUT that doesn’t disqualify their understanding and ALL these friends may not exactly get what we go though in our autism world, but not knowing hasn’t stopped them from showing their support, reaching out to us, interacting & getting to know J and wanting to spend time with our family for who and what it is. So yeah, I don’t have what I thought I would have as an autism parent concerning a distinct support group related to our reality. But what I do have is a great group of friends that I wouldn’t change for anything. I so look forward to seeing these people, they have become family. We share hobbies and interests, keep in touch, see each other as often as we can, plan dinners, play games, share books & wine, and always have a good time.I hope I’m not jinxing it all. ❤️I always thought it would have to be other autism parents that were my main tribe, and even though that could be someday, right now it’s our friends with kind and gentle souls, who celebrate in big ways being different rather than looking down on it, who celebrate J with us and our life. I’m grateful that in return they have chosen us as friends and we get to celebrate their lives with them too!