Friday, August 17, 2012

Back To School She Goes


Princess A heads back to school VERY soon! As in 18 days soon! Less then 3 weeks!!!

With the autism, anxiety is a big thing when it comes to ANY change! Even though she's been to the school before, we have played at the playground this summer & you can SEE the school from our backyard, she's still very anxious!

A friend of mine recommended, I had never seen the site before but fell in love with it! This friend is an AMAZING support and I truly appreciate her help. She knows financially, that I can't afford to spend money. So this websites as great! The specific suggestions were some things that I already do but some were things I had NEVER thought of!

Basically without going into details the website suggestions are:

Because we live RIGHT by the school, we spend a lot of time playing at the playground and I walk her around, pointing out what windows were from what classes she had last year, what doors she entered and all that! 

We started preparing in June before the end of last year, for the new school year. We kept a steady schedule all summer. We kept the same wake up and bedtime from the school year as well. I do NOT break that for anything really. This summer the ONLY time bedtime was broke was soccer night. Other then that, NOTHING not even her camping vacation, breaks her bedtime and wake up schedules.  We took FULL stock of all the school supplies and clothes, shoes, backpack and lunch bags, among all the other things you need for school from last year. Last year she didn't have much school supplies, as it was just Junior Kindergarten. We made a detailed list of the things she needed and the things she would like to have---for example things like a princess or pink pencil case, a princess or my little pony lunch bag, new lunch containers that snapped shut because those are easier for her, At least 1 "pretty" lunch container and drink container the rest could be plain or whatever we could get cheap but good quality---just simple things like that. 

This weekend we go through the clothes again, to see what won't be fitting this school year and make the rest of our clothes shopping list (she's got a good chunk of her clothes but NOT all of it yet!) When her minuscule amount of government money comes in on Monday we hope to finish the back to school shopping! My daughter is super excited because we are breaking our no spend 2 months to have a special mommy/daughter day. (Two very bad things have happened lately....our house was broken into with her and I home Tuesday & then today, just in the field outside our backyard a girl was raped in broad daylight and my daughter sadly was in the backyard with me when it happened). She's having a rough time with the bad things going on, with feeling safe in her own home, with getting ready for back to school, so we are doing lunch out (& I am trying to NOT feel guilty about it) and finish her back to school shopping! 

Talk about it! That's not something we really do. Yes we talk about school needs, supplies, that she's going into Senior Kindergarten and all that, but we don't talk about her feelings, her worries, her fears, her NEEDS! So, tomorrow is a day off for my hubby & we are going to have a little chat at the school during a picnic and playground play! Make it a fun time at the school!

Plan on playdates and get togethers! I don't tend to make many playdates with her classmates simply because shes got ONE really close friend whos parents are never really around so making a playdate is impossible. Sometimes we run into her at the pool or playing outside but other then that, thats about all!  When we do have those encounters, we let her play as long as is possible. 

Pack a friend! It can be a stuffed animal, a picture or a note according to the website! At my daughters school you are NOT allowed to bring in toys and stuffed animals, etc, from home. So, I plan to send her a picture and a note on her first day and maybe each day send a little note for her lunch to show her we're thinking of her and miss her and hope shes having a good day and loving school!

There is a lot more planning when it comes to school for a special needs child (not only autistic children). In my daughters specific cause I need to have EVERYTHING planned to a T and VERY visual! Last year we had a lot of ups and downs with that, this year I have some awesome new ideas that I think will work a lot better! Our morning schedule will be the same, get up, dressed, hair done, breakfast, teeth brushed, lunch and snack packed, homework reviewed, agenda double checked, school calendar double checked (to make sure we aren't missing any special days---ie: pajama day, dress up day, etc), backpack packed, shoes on, coat/sweater/snow suit or whatever on & leave the door! All this takes about 1.5 hours to do....then we allow ourselves 15 minutes to get to school. It takes 2-3 minutes to walk there, that leaves 12-13 minutes to play before the school day starts! Starting the day with some fun physical activity with her friend! Just like after school, if the weather co-operates and we don't have prior commitments I permit her to play around outside. It burns off some energy, good physical activity and good for her! Plus nice fresh air. Most days though, she's hit that imaginary brick wall and by the end of the school day shes just DONE and had it it, wanting to go home, relax, have a snack & maybe watch a tv show, or read a book, or just some relaxing quite time in her comfy chair! Then we prepare dinner, eat, do homework, playtime (outside if we can), family time, bath time and bed prep time (teeth and hair brushed, wash and hands washed, pj's on, a/c on, curled up in bed, 2 books read, then tucking in!). 

All year round, she has the SAME morning and evening schedule. We change things up a little in the summer---more activities, this summer we did swim lessons and soccer. But we try our hardest to keep that same schedule! With 18 days to go, we are getting hard core into the school prep and preparing even more then we have been all summer! I plan to use some of the tips I hadn't thought of from that website to get the anxiety levels done asap!!! 

Are your special needs children ready to head back to school or do you have some prep work to do? Leave us a comment and let us know!!!

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