I had a meeting with the school execs about O and his transition to grade 9 in September. As usual, I was anxious. Would he get edged into the most convenient corner? Did the funding allow his needs to get met? Do they even ‘get’ him and all the amazingness that we think he is?
I need not have worried. The meeting was a success and went beyond my expectations. And yes, they ‘get’ him alright. We laughed about his sense of humour, marvelled at his memory for dates and details and the teacher kept saying how bright he is, how much she was going to miss him. They understand that his bounciness and pacing are needed and part of how he expresses himself. They know that 9 out of 10 times that his outbursts of enthusiasm are both important to him and great for the rest of the class too. I am happy.
The theme for this Autism Positivity Flash Blog is ‘Acceptance, Love and Self-Care’. Perfect. This theme reflects how things have been going for the last year.
Last year at this time I was anxious and concerned for how O was doing at school. Despite great teaching and some class support, he was fitting in like a square peg in a round hole. The school and class sizes were too big, there was too many transitions to cope with and the homework was overwhelming. Something had to change because I was seeing his school confidence dropping and his anxieties rising.
We got him into a program that was suited for both his learning disabilities and his ASD. Our guy’s school experience went from dark to light. O loves his class this year. There are 8 kids total in the class, the coolest teacher ever, a Child and Youth Worker apprentice in the class and full use of the technologies that help him learn. Awesome!
What I love best is how this current program is not about whittling away at that square peg that is my guy to make him fit, it is about accepting that his shape is perfect for who he is. He didn’t have to change, the system did. His enthusiasm for certain video games is worked into the curriculum. His pacing doesn’t have to be stopped, they just make room for it. He is loved for exactly who he is and he is thriving because of it.
Unfortunately his current program ends at grade 8. However, after the great meeting this week, I am confident that this path that has enriched him so much this year is going to continue.
I used to wish for that crystal ball to know what was going to happen in his future so that I could be prepared to work things out for him. Now I am confident that all he is learning will truly help him meet his full potential. Even if I don’t know what it will be, I am very sure that our guy’s future will be amazing.