School starts next Tuesday here at Casa Diva, and although I am more than ready, I am also very hesitant. This is Jake's first year in regular school, and as any parent of a special needs kiddo knows, this can be a joyful milestone as well as a brand new sense of worry and turmoil. I want to set him up for success- I have a list to take of all the quirks, needs and issues that may or may not arise. His meds, possible side effects and when he takes what, are all listed. I have a list a mile long to help them get to know this complex child before they label him, pass him off, shut him down and shove him aside.
I have a game plan. Unfortunately, the school doesn't seem to be on the same page. the principal is trying her hardest to, now, set up the meeting she thought had already been taken care of. i am scrambling and hoping we get to meet his teacher, aide and those who will be with him daily on his new adventure. There is lost paperwork, lost time and a lack of communication i am beginning to find is all a part of this system we deal with. The school he is attending is the best in our district for disabilities, and we have a wonderful caseworker pushing and pulling right along with us to make this transition as smooth as possible for a child who does not do well with change. And when I say "does not do well" I mean does terribly, if the situation is handled wrong.
Jakers is the kind of kid who needs to know what's happening next month to be totally satisfied. We explain holidays in advance. Company coming, us going anywhere... all is explained ahead of time so he can prepare. School has been explained for months now, and he (as well as Lyss) picked out all of his own supplies. He went superhero for his first "real" school. She went High School Musical (only because there was no Jonas Bros. paraphernalia to be found thank you Lord forever and ever amen). They are both very, very excited and we have been encouraging that excitement. We both have always been together on that one, at least. Alyssa has a passion for learning like no other kid I have EVER known, and she's smart as can be. We did pass up an offer on the gifted program last year simply because it involved possibly skipping a grade- something she is not emotionally ready for. And because she isn't yet bored with what she's learning.
Jake has the same quickness; he's been labeled the smartest kid in class all three years at his school. It's the lack of impulse control that does him in. And does me in as well, because watching him fight himself is something that tears me up in ways that very little ever will. I want that brass ring, for all of my kids. and seeing it come so easily for one and so painstakingly slow, agonizingly slow, for another is harder to watch than I ever thought possible. He has taught himself to read, to count, to do all of those things- he wouldn't let anyone teach him. He watched, and then gradually picked it up himself. It's how he needs it to be, so it just has to be. You can't force a child to learn in a way that's not comfortable- that sets them up for failure. Letting him go at his own pace, to a degree, has made major changes.
He's become a different boy in a lot of ways this summer. He's learned to gage his own moods better, to control his impulses just enough to be safe. It's enough, it has to be. He now engages others in play- once unheard of. The hitting, kicking, screaming ball of rage has dissipated into a not as angry little boy. It's a major improvement- we still have our moments, but who doesn't?
Does all of this mean he's ready for school? Not without everyone, on both sides, being prepared. His quirks and triggers are definitely something the school needs to know- especially those who will be with him all day every day. I don't think I'm being too protective in saying that- there are just some things that you can't overlook. He will test the limits, and one wrong reaction could very well set his pace for the year. He's perfected gaging others and reacting accordingly. . in positive or negative way. He has to have the structure and consistency- giving in to him is not an option, if you want to get anything else done. Ever. He remembers, and he keeps on pushing.
I'm rambling, but I'm worried. Worried he will be too rough for them, worried they won't pay enough attention. Worried he'll slip through the cracks of a system not well enough equipped, or funded, to really do what they promise. I will probably touch on this a lot more in the coming weeks, just to keep myself sane about it. I want him to excel. I want him to prove everyone, including me, wrong. And I want everyone to be aware, really aware, of him. As a person, as a wonderful little boy. Is it too much to ask?