Monday, August 25, 2008

Theme Week: Back to school

Back to School week

In Michigan this is the third year that schools have been mandated by state law to start school after Labor Day (September 1). The idea is to give the state's tourism industry a boost. I can't complain about the delay as it gives us a bit more time to get ready for the school year.

My third grader's first day is September 2 and my kindergartner will start the next day. The first day of school can be the great cause of anxiety for students whether they are on the spectrum or not.

Those of us who have children on the spectrum know that big transitions such as going from no school to five full days of it week after week will be difficult. This huge change represents many small, medium, and large sized changes such as not being able to sleep in as long as one wishes, moving from room to room, having six hours dictated by a school schedule and going from being in a quiet more predictable surroundings to noisy, less predictable surroundings. A lot of the unpredictability stems from the behavior and noise level of other students, various drills, and the personalities and/or teaching style of the educators.

My third grader who is on the spectrum seems fine with the idea of the change, but I'm getting nervous. He wants to be a regular third grade class, which he'll be in for part of the day. It's the other part of the day he'll object to: The MiCi room. He asked me what MiCi meant last Spring so I explained that the letters stood for "Mildly Cognitive Impaired." Ever since then he's objected to being in the class. Unfortunately my explanation to him came after his Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) meeting in March instead of before.

His school situation for the 2008-09 year was decided upon when we had his IEP meeting. I guess I could call another one, but I'll try talking to his principal first. It's not something I look forward to as directly addressing conflict is not my strength. However, I will have to at least give the principal an understanding of what is going on in regards to my child's wishes. The sooner I do this the better.

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