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From Inside the Puzzle: Raising a Child with Autism Blog

First Week Back

Published August 17, 2015 9:52 AM by Devon Alley
Last week, I shared my concerns about A. returning to school. She was highly anxious, and there were several challenges she was going to have to overcome in order to be successful.

Now that she's completed the first week, I am happy to report that she has managed her anxiety and is doing well in the classroom so far. She still has complaints, of course. While she, fortunately, doesn't share any classes with the girl who stopped being her friend last year, she still sees her in the hallways from time to time, and it's still a very painful reminder. But she's managed that piece much more smoothly than she feared, so that's great.

In her last class of the day, which focuses on life skills and social development, she is the only girl, and she finds several of the boys highly annoying. She's also expressed some frustration with her theatre teacher for saying that she doesn't "believe" in multiple choice tests, and she has her regular frustrations with peers being loud. However, considering how stressed out she was at the beginning of the year, and how much of that has subsided after the first week, I will call it a win.

I feel like we owe this in large part due to the new members of her team this year. She has a new caseworker, and there seems to be a new person over special education in the school overall. Thomas and I had sent an email to them a few weeks ago, and they responded immediately. Her caseworker touches base and works directly with A. every single day. Not only did they rearrange her schedule to accommodate a time for decompression at the end of each day, but they also have worked with A. to ensure that she knows where she can go to for support each period in case she becomes overwhelmed and needs to step out. Her new caseworker is also working on a possible peer tutor for A., which I think would be a big win for her. I'm imagining that this peer tutor would not focus on academics as much as conversation and socializing -how to talk about things she's not interested in, etc. We'll see how that goes.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with the way things have been progressing so far, even if A. still doesn't really like school and complains about it all the time. At least she's not completely miserable and depressed, which was my big concern at the start of the year. At this point in the game, I'll take whatever positives I can get!

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