Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm not Panicking! (Oh, Who Am I Kidding?)

My daughter starts the first grade on Monday. I think this is difficult for any mom, but when you have a child on the spectrum, it's especially so. What's strange is that I was feeling pretty good about the upcoming school year. My daughter is in a fabulous school! She has a fantastic in-school behaviorist! The Assistant Principal really gets her and is knowledgeable and supportive of what my daughter's needs are. What can go wrong, right?

Well, apparently a lot can! My stress levels started to rise last week. I heard of other kids at the school getting their teacher assignments in the mail, but we didn't get ours. I couldn't call the school office, because they closed unexpectedly until school starts due to the California budget crisis. So, I had horrible visions of not knowing what class my daughter needed to go to and having to wait in an overcrowded office on the first day to find out, making her hours late on the first day! Okay, maybe my fears aren't grounded in reality, but whatever!

So, I was hopeful the administrators at the school were checking their emails. On Tuesday, I went to the school directory to send an email to the Principal and the Assistant Principal. That's when I noticed a name of a different Assistant Principal in the directory! I checked the main page and saw my worst nightmare. The Assistant Principal was promoted to Principal and moved to another school. The Assistant Principal is the key official when your child has special needs. It's the Assistant Principal who is responsible for overseeing that the education program is meeting the child's needs and for allocating the resources in order to do it. They're essentially, the school's gatekeeper for services. While, I'm thrilled to death for her (did I mention that she's totally amazing?), I was disappointed the promotion couldn't have been held off for another, oh I don't know, 5 years or so. Selfish? You betcha! Now, we're left hanging in terms of what services my daughter will receive during the school year. This is making me into a nervous wreck!

At least my daughter has the same behaviorist from last year! Actually, no! We found out last Friday that the agency that provides the behaviorist assigned a new one to my daughter and forgot to tell us until we called to check with them! My husband presented as convincing a case as possible why we needed the same behaviorist. I thought he was fighting the impossible fight. He proved me wrong (not the first time this has happened). At the eleventh hour, he succeeded in us getting our old behaviorist back! Yay!

I also finally received the teacher assignment in the mail. My daughter is assigned to a teacher who has a fabulous reputation. She is supposed to be pretty tough, though, and not nurturing like my daughter's kindergarten teacher was. I'm sure my daughter will do well in the class, but I'm sure it'll be an adjustment for her. Because of this, I'm glad we have the same behaviorist.

In addition, my daughter will be losing her after school behaviorist at the end of September. So, she won't be receiving any more behavior therapy after school. Yikes!

So, I went from being really confident about the new school year to being a quivering blob of jello about everything! The truth is, I think my daughter will rise to the occasion and do great. She's getting better at handling transitions then I am!


  1. Best of Luck! I'm sure everything will work out for the best. So happy you were able to get your same in class behaviorist for the new year, that will be a big help. Relax anf breath deep...she will come out on top as always!

  2. oh my. they did that to us several times last year--switch aides. i hated that. we also had to fight for the one we have now. it was very stressful. i fear them getting rid of her and giving us someone else in december.

    why do this anyhow--its so stupid

  3. I hope all goes well with the beginning of school on Monday, just remember to breathe!

  4. It'll be OK, Cheryl! But how frustrating! How did you even get a behaviorist, by the way? I know each state is different, but I've never even met anyone in our district who is a behaviorist! Sorry to get off subject, but we're a month and a half into my kids' school year, and I'm still panicking! School is so much more intimidating when you have a child who needs extra stuff, isn't it?

  5. Oh my Gosh...I so understand what you are feeling right now! Every new school year I freak out, and I've been doing this now for 6 years. One thing I can tell you is that you are the kind of parents that will always have your daughters back and that is what will help her the most. Some parents just let the schools deal with thier kids and they fall thought the cracks. When ever I walk into the school with my big "Avery" Binder filled with all my kids paperwork and rights the teachers and staff are in awe and a bit more on thier toes. Keep it up and she'll always do well. Breath mom...Big Loves.

  6. Thanks for the "follow" Cheryl! I'm following you back :)

    I wish you daughter well in the new school year --I'm glad her teacher has a good reputation. Maybe set up an appointment with her to express your hopes and fears?

  7. Awww, cutie, breathe. In and out. I love the last paragraph of this. Go ahead, reread it yourself. She's got so much love and support at home I'm betting she's going do great.

    In and out.

  8. Awww...Good Luck Cheryl! I'm glad you were able to keep her old behaviorist that way all these other new transitions will be easier to swallow. I bet your daughter will do just great too, it's usually us needing to have our hands held and told that everything will be alright. I will be thinking about you and wishing you and your daughter a great first week :)

  9. Sorry you're so stressed about it right now.

    Believe in your daughter. Believe in yourself. Even if there is more stress the first day, it won't matter in ten years.

    That's how I figure out if it's worth that much worry. If it doesn't go well will I still be upset about it in ten years.

    Even if it's bad, it probably won't even matter in ten days.

    You're a great mom with a great kid. You're doing all you can. Worrying about what's out of your hands is taking away from vital energy that you need.

    Close your eyes and take several deep breaths. It will be wonderful! She will do fabulously and you will laugh at yourself for being so silly.

  10. I'm getting stressed out reading that post! I don't think I've ever seen you use so many exclamation points ;)

    It'll all be fine. It will. And if it isn't? I have no doubt you'll do everything to make it so.

    We start Monday also. FINALLY!

  11. You are so lucky on the behaviorist front...those positions always have such turnover. If you are like me (scary thought for you!), the anticipation part is always worse than the reality.

  12. Cheryl:

    That's saying a lot considering I'm always overusing exclamation points (and LOLs).

    I know all will be well. I think it's just a before-school panic tradition!

  13. Hi Cheryl, I had no idea you lived in California. I was wondering what kind of impact the budget cuts had over there. I'm sure your daughter will rise to the occasion, but I do understand your nervousness, and I salute you being proactive. Best wishes to you. Oh, and for now, have a great weekend!

  14. I'm so glad she got the right teacher. I've added you both to my prayer list. First days can be tough. No matter what.

  15. Best of luck! I know how important for spectrum kids to have people that are "safe" for them on campus - it really helps enhance their educational process. Here's to a great year! :)

  16. WOW i know you have to be nervous but it looks like your handling it really well i was wondering if u could help me? if u get a chance please read my blog cause it is more then probably can fit in the comment box i found you through a parent & child magazine that was sent home with my child from school and read how you are really good for a support system. thank you hope to hear from you soon