As summer began to wane last year, I found myself in a state of near panic.
Panic brought on by worries of Little Guy starting public school.
To tell the truth, I did not feel my son was even remotely ready for the sensory onslaught of school. Little Guy's anxiety level is in overdrive on most days, and school can be stressful...even for the "neurotypical" child. I did what I could beforehand to have services and strategies put into place, but it was difficult as Little Guy was not coming from the district preschool and was no longer on an IEP. As I dropped off my son for his first day of kindergarten, I tried to act positive and excited for his sake; on the inside, my stomach was tangled into knots. I spent all afternoon near my phone, waiting for the school to call and tell me that Little Guy was in the middle of a huge meltdown.
That call never came. And, I'm happy to report, has yet come this school year.
Yes, this boy has exceeded all expectations regarding his ability to regulate himself at school:
That's not to say it hasn't taken an ongoing, coordinated effort between the school, his teacher, and myself. Some of his goals have taken months to achieve, such as tolerating riding the bus home - we're up to four days a week now. There's also been concern regarding challenging him scholastically; what does a teacher do with a kindergarten student who already knows the concepts of time, money value, number placement and addition/subtraction into the thousands, as well as basic division, times, and fractions?
However, I have to say that overall we've realized the hope I'd set for my son at the beginning of the year - that he'd have a positive start to his public school career. I think we've achieved that :)
As this school year is winding down, we are already looking ahead. According to the psychologist we see from Primary Children's Hospital, first grade could be the real test of Little Guy's capability to handle school as he will be attending full day as opposed to only a couple of hours. I'm feeling much better this time around as the school staff are familiar with my son and have proven to be willing to work with his unique challenges.
And who knows...maybe Little Guy will prove me wrong again and be a rock star when it's time for first grade!