It's no secret that our kids have trouble transitioning. And with 23 days left (but who's keeping track?) until the end of The Boy's final school year at his current placement, I'm trying to prepare him.
When I know there will be a change in our routine, I explain it to him using the words "first" and "then." First we'll go to the supermarket and then the park. Or, First school, then Sensory and then Home. I do this because he always needs to know what's coming next.
For the last few weeks, I've been telling The Boy, that soon he'll go to "a different school."
The times that I've said this to him, he's replied, "We're going to take the train to the school?" Sometimes it comes out as a statement, other times like a question. And I wonder what school he's thinking of, since he's taken the train with me to interview at four schools. But I know it's too complicated a question to ask. And I don't want to him to say "the school with the tree" because that was my absolute dream school and we were rejected.
This week, I've gotten two calls from The Horizon Program and while I'm looking forward to The Boy starting there. I still have my doubts. As I'm typing this, I feel my heart beating faster and I'm trying to breathe in and out slowly to calm my anxiety. Still, my hands are shaking and my fingers tapping nervously on the keyboard.
Am I making the right decision? I can't tell you how often I've asked myself this question. How often I've been unable to sleep over it? It's a foolish question, really. Because I know I would question any new school - even the dream school.
Because I'm not ready for him to go to kindergarten. I'm not ready for him to grow up. I'm not ready to let him go. He's already lost his first tooth. And has a second one ready to come out. He's starting to push my hands away when I try to help him with things. His favorite phrase of the moment is "all by myself." He wants to brush his teeth all by himself (even though he can't). He says he wants to take the bus to grandma's house all by himself (even though he won't). And says he wants to pour his juice all by himself - this he can do. Well, almost.
The Boy is starting to show independence in self-help skills. I know, that's great! Especially since some are part of his IEP goals. And it makes me so proud to see how far he's come and every inch of progress makes me more hopeful for the future. But can't he need me just a little bit longer?
Come September, The Boy may not have any trouble transitioning. The Boy may get on that school bus on the first day of kindergarten without looking back. Maybe all this anxiety is for nothing. But if he does have difficulty transition, he'll have the proper support, and he'll adjust quickly.
But in the meantime, who is going to help me with these transitions? Because I really wish there was someone to tell me what's coming next.
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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.