While there were many wonderful things about Liam’s new school: great teachers, guided reading, acceleration in math, excellent music program, trips to new parts of PA and MD, and other enrichment opportunities, there were things that (of course), were different.
Most of these had to do with supporting Liam’s social skills.
There was no itinerant autistic support teacher. In fact, in his new elementary, there were no teachers who were familiar with how to support a child with an autism spectrum disorder.
Liam started to “get in trouble” (in the loosest sense of the phrase), for touching things and for being disorganized. When he would become anxious, he would either be sent for a “break” (a walk around the school with an aid (neither of which he had needed before), or everyone would rush to help him, which would make him feel more overwhelmed).
He even “worked the system” by asking for frequent breaks. It caused me to call his old school and ask if that was typical for Liam. When I found out I wasn’t, I put an end to Liam’s escape from class.
Everyone tried to help him. They had his best interest at hear. Because it was close to the end of the year and Liam had been doing so well in third grade overall, I neglected to bring everyone “up to speed” like I had in all previous years. I didn’t realize just how much the move had affected him, and how it would affect those who worked with him and his schooling.
Thankfully, we talked (a lot) and started to work things out. The last month was productive and Liam started to make the friends I wrote about in a previous post (ones he still has today). The school started to realize how good he was at math and music, and he started to learn more independence.
The lesson that I learned was: I could not over communicate about Liam. He was still in need of social skills support and I needed to ensure that we kept his services in place, regardless of how good things seemed to be going.