The countdown begins – only a few days left before Thaney starts at his new school. I have to say that my nerves haven’t been helped at all by news of a 53-pound, 9-year-old boy with autism being smothered at school by a 40-pound therapy blanket and then reading another news story about yet another young child with autism and his family being removed from an airplane.
Braeden and I were talking about this on the way home from camp today – as Thane napped in the car. When Braeden was this age, his skills were just different. If something happened at school that he didn’t think was right or that he otherwise wanted to discuss, I could trust him to talk to me . . . just as he talked with me this afternoon about his day at theater camp. With Thane, I have to rely on the adults to let me know how his day went, and for them to decide what I should or shouldn’t know. That makes it scarier for me to leave him places than it is for me to take Braeden someplace new.
Thane hasn’t wanted to go to school for about a month now. I don’t know exactly why, though he has mostly been fine once he is there. He has said he didn’t want to go to a new school, and he has been yelling at me in the car because I am taking the wrong path – the new school is in the opposite direction of the old one, so the path/road is indeed different. I decided to swing by the new school just to remind him of the outside yesterday – we were within a very short distance when we picked Braeden up from camp. He protected and complained even as I pulled in. I sat for a minute showing him the play area and telling him it would be fun.
The school is closed this week so I wasn’t expecting to see a teacher there, but she was there cleaning things up and getting ready for the summer program to start next week. She came right over to the car, asked to be introduced to the new student, introduced herself to Braeden, talked to him for a minute, then invited Thane into the studio building or out on to the playground. He chose the playground and she happily ran with him over to the climbing structure and climbed up one way as he went down another, then they slid down two side-by-side slides and Thane was pretty well smitten with her right there. They rode a teeter totter, checked out the swings, and she invited him to look at the studio even though it was messy. She teaches music so they played some instruments, checked out puzzles, beads, and games. Then she went outside with him again!
We interrupted her for at least a half hour from her cleaning work. I thanked her several times because letting him check out the space without kids there will make Monday so much easier, and she said she was happy to help and she would much rather play with him then clean anyway. I still feel kind of guilty for taking so much time, but now he is talking happily about his new school. His BCBA was here today and they had a very happy chat about school (including the “rule” to wear short sleeves and shorts in the summer because it is so warm out).
So this is another teacher who seems like she will be fun. She teaches music at the school so he will see her a bit even if he is not in her class. She had Thane smiling and she warmed him up really fast by getting into the play with him. I’ve seen the other teachers playing in the sandbox, climbing, sliding, pulling wagons, etc. The head teacher visited him at his old school last week and I was a little worried since he was hiding. I am sure he will still be somewhat overwhelmed next week, but there is going to extra support, the BCBA will be there with another child so he will stop in and say hello to Thane too. It’s not currently in our IEP to have him work with Thane at school, and it probably won’t be necessary, but it will be nice if he says hello. The social worker is usually right in the area too and plans to pop in at some point to check on him as well, so I should be able to get some feedback from known sources early on as well.
So we’re working on the summer clothing and new shoes . . . With the help of the BCBA, Thane threw out his little brown cowboy boots from See Kai Run and accepted a new pair of brown shoes. I did get him a pair of navy blue shoes from the Eleven Collection.