Originally Posted Monday, August 19, 2013
What to do? What to know? Are you ready?
These are the questions that I ask myself “Every year” since 2010 and Jr being diagnosed with Autism.
Each year despite “clear concise and consistent” planning and revising of POA’s = plans of action when, where and how needed; I still pose this question to myself.
Each year I ensure that several things are done.
- I ensure that “each” teacher that directly interacts with Jr “knows” that’s he’s diagnosed with Autism and that he does have a current IEP on file.
- Jr’s teachers are also made aware of his “seasonal allergies/sinusitis” as that goes hand in hand with the Autism’s sensory/touch issues.
- I ensure that Jr “knows” who is in his “support system” at the school. I remind him periodically when I’m volunteering at the school and there’s only a few that I’m on social networks with so I may remind him by showing their pictures, stating their role at the school etc.
- I keep a record of the teachers name, classroom number, classroom schedule, roll of all students in the class, the names of the students that Jr sits at the table with or adjacent to, the school bus route number and the driver and attendants name and more.
- I also ensure that his father knows the teachers name, classroom number, class and school bus schedule. I also ensure that at least one of my closest friends has the same information; in case of an unforeseen emergency or situation. Despite Jr having four older adult siblings they can’t be relied upon in any aspect regarding Jr.
- We also go over who he should have the school call in specific situations. Usually it’s the school nurse he’ll see first, then they’ll call me, then if needed I will pick him from school or consult Jr once he arrives at home.
- I discuss with Jr what steps to take in the event he get’s “upset, sick, or tired at school.” I teach him that he MUST tell the teacher and his peers when “he needs them to get out of his personal space, when it’s too loud for him, too bright for him, etc.”
- We go over how to cross the street, who to speak to and who NOT to speak to, what people are safe to go with to ride the school bus home and what shirt they should be wearing, who to tell your address to and for what reasons, and much more.
- Patience, we go over exercises that require Jr exhibit patience so that he’ll be able to “sit still and be attentive” or come close to it as possible.
- We also go over sight words, math, science and more as a refresher before school starts, during the school year and on the weekends. I make at least 90% of the trips we take an “Educational trip” because everything we do, say, see, touch, hear, and taste IS a learning experience.
- Despite tardiness and absence policies at his school, I keep him home “within reason” based upon his sensory/touch issues. Meaning if I notice that he’s overwhelmed or exhausted by the hustle and bustle of riding the school bus to school each day and containing himself the entire day; then I’ll send a note to his teacher requesting that his absences be excused because he needs a mental health day or days. I do my best “NOT” to exceed the minimal amount of days legally acceptable, however I do what needs to be done to ensure that he doesn’t experience a meltdown. I HAVE to do this because Jr has walked out of class after becoming completely frustrated and I don’t ever want to experience that again. I know I don’t have complete control, but I’m content with the precautionary measures I’m taking and the fact that since I’ve resumed those precautionary measures it hasn’t happened again. Church say, AMEN!
- Eating habits, I attach a note on the inside of his lunch bag for all the “curious, watchful teachers and the bullies” so that they know that I know “exactly” what was sent with Jr to school and what I expect to have returned. Not to mention, I can tell if he’s actually eaten what I’ve sent by his hunger when he arrives home from school that evening and we discuss it.