Then…another mom helps.
That is just one reason that I have really loved writing for the past 343 days. Sure, I love helping others. I really cherish the ‘online’ friendships I have made through writing. Each and every person who reads this blog is a part of us…and we, a part of them.
So my blog yesterday was real. It was deep and true. It was where I was in the moment. Then another mom wrote, “Never stop advocating. High school is no different. Yes they should be more independent but it has to be taught in the environment.” She had been where I am heading.
The power of a story…the power of a positive ‘been there, done that’ moment. The power of remembering that we’re all in a community and that community is powerful.
Here is the thing – anyone else could have said, “Oh don’t worry about it, it’s a year away” or “You can’t control that far in advance” or “Trust in the process” But you see, none of those things are helpful – at least not in THAT moment.
In THAT moment people just want to be heard. In THAT moment people just need to vent. In THAT moment people don’t want answers. I was in that moment and then another mom put me back on track with these simple words, “it has to be taught in the environment.” Well…of course it does. She’s a genius.
Can I teach him to swim without a body of water?
Can I teach him to surf without waves?
Can I teach him to cook without food?
Can I teach him to do laundry without clothes?
I could try…but it certainly wouldn’t be successful.
My husband has this saying, “Control what you can control. Plan what you can plan. This way you’ll have plenty of time and energy for the surprises.”
That’s just it – we have to be in that environment (High School) to actually learn. We have to be in that environment before we know what the real struggles may be. So – the real question is this, how do we begin planning BEFORE we are actually in the environment?
Here are some beginning thoughts…
- Tour the building early and often.
- Meet the special education folks as early as possible.
- Meet his teachers as early as possible.
- Make a ‘plan’ for what 4-years of High School with an entry to college looks like. Hang that in his room as a constant reminder.
- Offer to do a full-staff information session on the spectrum.
- Connect with other parents who are already there – as well as those who will make the transition with us.
- Start talking about switching classes and schedules now.
- Get a list of extra-curricular activities that he could be involved in. Start talking about those groups now.
- Find someone I can trust who is a teacher there.
- Find someone I can trust who is a support staff there.
- FInd someone I can trust who is an administrator there.
- Create a team of support folks who will keep an eye and ear out.
- Spend $85 at Jimmy John’s.
Maybe I’ve just grown too comfortable. Too comfortable in the Middle School. Growth can only come from change, I know that. Stress is an indicator of that type of change. Stress is what causes us to plan, to think so that the change isn’t quite as frightening. So…I guess it’s good.
Yesterday? Stress. Today? Planning.
In the midst of all this I have to remember the wisdom imparted to me from my Aunt Betty (who is not actually my aunt…long story…it’s Rural Iowa and we’re all family).
This too shall pass….