Talk Autism Parenting Strategies5 Pet Peeves for the beginning of the school year
Posted by Dr. Ali Griffith on Thursday, September 13, 2018
This topic stems from when I had a parent in my Autism Acceptance Fest group speak about what’s going on in the beginning of the school year. I wanted to make sure that I share some of the things that my other parents shared for how the beginning of the school year is going … We do understand as autism parents that our strategies, and our fights, and our ways of getting through, are different.
Today I just wanted to give you guys a chance for us to have this discussion so you know you know you’re not alone.
So Zachary started middle school, and middle school means a whole new life. A whole new set of arrangements I have to get into, a whole new bus. So the bus was late the first four out of five days. I’ve been spoiled for the last few grades because we haven’t had many bus issues. However, new system, new school, new bus system … he keeps being late. As a result of that, now I’m getting the late calls. We started having bussing issues because it’s a whole new school, and they’ve been having difficulty arranging new kids and patterns, and Zachary has been late for school. I don’t know if any of you guys have a child on the spectrum and they’re late for school and have this issue, but when Zachary is late for school he goes into complete overwhelm. We have to deal with the “mommy I’m gonna be late,” and the crying, and the whole mix of changes of emotions. So this week I had to take him to school to make sure he’s going to be fine. I don’t like him to be late, he’s in middle school now, why have a new system and be late for school? So you know I’m already on top of that. I have to call OPT and make sure they understand that we can’t keep doing this … so how are we going to make this better? I’m a forgiving parent, so I’m going to give them two weeks to get it together, and if you don’t get it together, then we have do what we need to do. So that’s one pet peeve.
The second pet peeve is transitioning. A whole new change, a whole new school, how are we getting used to our kids being in this new school? You gotta create a system, and you gotta let them know ahead of time. You have to keep some sort of schedule. You have to keep talking to them about this being something new. You’re gonna have a new teacher, and you’re gonna have new rules.
Communication is key. You gotta keep that letter of communication back and forth between parents. Are you still communicating, are you writing letters to each other? If they’re not answering, how else are you gonna get them to respond to you? One way direction is not a conversation, it’s you speaking to yourself. We can’t keep it one way, we gotta make sure it’s a back and forth discourse.
What is going on? How are their academics going? What are they teaching our children? Since some of our kids don’t explain things in detail, we need to know that learning is going on. So you gotta show me what you’re doing – send me a book home, let me know what you’re working on. I don’t want to play guessing games! I don’t think school is the only place Zachary learns. I believe he learns at school, and I believe he learns the majority at home. Whether it’s with me, another teacher, a program at home, or a tutoring system, either way, I don’t rely only on the school. So, you need to let me know what is being done at school.
Not staying angry. You can’t stay angry, you have to make sure you go to the school, you have to make sure they’ve seen your face so they associate your child with it. You’ve got to stay in contact. A lot of parents are not in active roles: you’re not not going in, you’re not finding out information, you’re not letting the principal see you. They have to see you. They have to associate your child to someone. Create a relationship and don’t only expect it to be done from the school. You have to be involved.
These are pet peeves I’m seeing from parents, pet peeves from schools, when I’m with my client’s. I’m seeing the constant complaints. So this is what you need to do to get it going. I’m giving you the pet peeve, and I’m giving you the strategies to fix it. So don’t tell me you can’t stay stuck in negative, you can’t stay stuck in this is not happening, unless you are doing your part and making noise. I’m not saying it’s a perfect lifestyle. I’m living it also. Some of the things you’re going through, I have to go through also. What I do know is to expect the best, to expect the most, and make some noise. Talk about it, be involved, and most importantly, don’t settle for less for you or your baby.