First day of school, back to school, first day at new school

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aurea
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01 Feb 2009, 2:11 pm

Hi all,
I'm in Melbourne Australia and for us today is back to school day. After a long battle with J's last school (some of you may remember all the trouble we've had) J is starting at a new school today! :roll: :) He will be going into grade 4, I have heard amazing things about this school, he had a pretty good transition program with the new school last year, and they had already recognised his need for additional support and informed me at the end of last year that they were going to set up meetings with myself and the principle and the student welfare team very early on. They are also going to apply for funding something his other school wouldn't do. (fingers crossed all goes well)

J isn't the only aspie I know about to start at a whole new school. I thought it would be nice to start a thread for all those that are just starting for the first time and then I had the idea for some aspies (and their parents) going back to school after a 7 week holiday can be like starting over again as well.

It would be good to hear how everyone went, what stratergies were put in place by parents and school (if any) to help our kids with such a big day. Anyway I better go start making lunches, I will keep you all up dated.



ster
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01 Feb 2009, 5:54 pm

daughter hasn't started new school yet- won't start until Sept.....how'd everything go for J?



DW_a_mom
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01 Feb 2009, 11:32 pm

In some ways my son's transition to middle school was similar. New location, new schedule, new expectations. In some ways, the not knowing was freeing; he couldn't "expect." He certainly did form hopes, however, and we tried to keep everything as low as possible, when it came to expectations. He had visited, he knew it was happening; it was fine.

Of course, he didn't have to get to know all new kids, and that part can be daunting. No advice there, but I wish you all luck, and I hope this school works out well. Fingers crossed!


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PrisonerSix
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02 Feb 2009, 12:44 pm

I started a new school several times when I was growing up. In fact, by the time I started high school(age 14), I was on my 7th school. The first time I switched, suring second grade, was to get away from a bad teacher, and I didn't know what to expect. Fortunately, my new teacher treated me much better and worked with me in areas where I was behind, so I ended up near the top of the class.

The second time was during 4th grade. My parents have given me many reasons for the switch, but none that I believe or at least don't find questionable. I thought it wouldn't be much different, but it was. For one thing, the new school cared more about sports than anything else and since I wasn't good at sports, I was pretty much outcasted. In addition, they didn't have the long lunch/recess I had at the previous school, so there was no downtime for me in the middle of the day. My parents actually thought that was a good thing believe it or not. In addition, the school was coed(previous school was all boys) and my sister was already there, so she sometimes would get her friends to pick on me and our parents did nothing about it even though I'd tell them. Fortunately, they realized it wasn't a good place for me so they moved both of us out of there at the end of 5th grade.

My third switch was starting 6th grade at Catholic school. I wasn't happy there at all, alot of the kids treated me like an outsider, mainly because I was new. In addition, I had a poor English teacher, and the school was very biased towards certain students who were from the "right" families, which meant I was excluded from alot of activities, like the school spelling bee. My parents let me finish the year there and I went to another school the next year.

7th grade was a private school that was pretty much the epitomy of everything that is wrong with private schools. Basically, it was all about fattening the owners' wallets, which inlcuded doing things like crowding as many students into a room as possible, the only admissions standard they had was if the parents would pay, teachers who worked for next to nothing because they either couldn't get jobs elsewhere or had been fired from everywhere else, using the wrong textbooks, the list goes on. The class was full of hoodlums whom I had no way of fitting in with, plus they took in students during the year who had been expelled from other schools. Thank goodness I was only there for a year.

8th grade was public school, sheer hell. One kid started picking on me and it mushroomed out of control to the point where just about everyone picked on me. I just couldn't stand it and suffered both emotionally and academically. At the end of the year, my parents punished me for the whole summer because of my grades dropping off and that my behavior caused me to be picked on and I needed to learn how to act right, whatever that means.

When I started high school, it was a denominational Christian school that was high school only, some of my previous schools were K-12. My parents promised nobody could pick on me for being new since they'd all be new. Almost all of the students had come from a small group of elementary schools that were run by this same faith, or had attneded their churches and since I wasn't part of that, I was looked upon with suspicion. In addition, one of my tormentors from public school turned up there and decided to continue where he'd left off. When I refused to go through a degrading week of hazing rituals that all freshman had to endure, I was pretty much ostracized all but a few other outcasts. My parents made me stay there for 4 years until I graduated, something I truly resented because my sister went through lesser things in schools than I did, and they had no trouble transferring her. I guess I just wasn't worth the hassle.

One thing I read in this thread I didn't experience was I never really cared about the transition between elementary, junior high, and high school. Since some of my previous schools were K-12, nobody really paid attention to the transistion and since I had changed schools so many times anyway, all that going to high school was to me was just going to another school.

Even though most of my expectations for change never panned out, the idea that I was changing brought me hope. I guess false hope was better than no hope.


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aurea
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02 Feb 2009, 4:14 pm

Ok, first day over, hmmmm. (sigh of relief) So far so good. Actually the school has been great. J isn't funded (this school will be looking into that) but the teachers were obviously well prepared for his arrival.
I had taken along with us a tub of fidget/calming things that J likes ie,play doh, pipe cleaners(he makes stickmen out of them, the process calms him) squishy snakes,lizards etc). The teachers took the tub, thanked me then took J with them and showed him where the tub would be if he ever needed anything from it. WOW. They had the daily timetable written on the board, then informed me that there would be a time table on the board every day, because get this-"these kids need the visual". Again WOW. J had meet a girl during his transition last year, she was there again today, she took J under her wing and took it upon herself to look after him, she even appeared to be interested in his endless talking. Then a woman came over to me to introduce herself, I'd seen one of J's teachers talking to her, I thought she was another mum, no she is an aid, she is in the classroom for a short while (dont know exactly what that means) she is there to help look after J and another ASD boy. I LOVE THIS SCHOOL.
After about half hour of settling in for all the kids, J's classroom teacher came over to him and said its time to sit on the mat, then she asked him if he would like to collect something from his bucket to hold onto/squish whilst he was on the mat 8O She said there was another boy that liked to hold a squishy ball when it was mat time. A note came home after school informing parents of the usual up and coming events like swimming etc, but in the note was a reminder to all parents that a weekly class schedule would also be coming home. Oh my!! ! :D Last year I couldn't even get a yearly schedule. So all in all I love this school, the school it self seems fatastic. I must say though prior to actually leaving for school in the morning, I thought I was never going to be able to get him there. I had been talking to him about "the new school" all threw the hol's, I'd beed telling him leading up to the day even when he woke in the morning,"Its school day today". Then he blew me away, I asked him if he could please start getting dressed, I told him all his clothes were on his bed. He asked he "why mum are we going some where?" HUH!! ! Yes honey you have school today. Oh my he started crying, begging me not to send him, he asked me to home school him, he was a mess. I eventually got him in the car promissing to stay with him for a little while to make sure he was settled. School started at 9 I was out of there and he couldn't care less by 9.30.



DW_a_mom
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02 Feb 2009, 6:26 pm

Oh I hope this works I hope this works!! !! !


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Temma
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04 Feb 2009, 5:39 am

We've started at a new school too and my J has been very happy so far - not sure how long this is going to last for though :lol:

Aurea, your school sounds unreal - still keeping my eye on it :lol:

Long may the good times last :D :roll: :) !



ster
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04 Feb 2009, 6:37 am

sounds great ! hope it lasts



aurea
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06 Feb 2009, 4:38 pm

I thought I would give an update, J has just finished his first week at this new school.
I LOVE THE NEW SCHOOL!! !! !! !

J isn't funded, however they have provided an aid (not full time), they asked him at mat time if he would like to collect and hold one of his fidget items. They have been using his interests to engage him in the class, they are only to happy to listen to him go on and on about what ever it is he needs to talk about. They listened when he said he had a sore ear and called me (Hmm the only time I didn't have me mobile phone with me) my older son picked him up.
They noticed as soon as he started to get anxious during singing time and they removed him from the group and distracted him, they have noticed how tired he gets and will be implementing scheduled time outs for him to either go to the library go on the computer or something else that he finds relaxing. They noticed that he finds maths stressfull, they will be modifiying his program until he is comfortable. They have visual aids all over the room.

J is obviously very very happy at school for the first time in a long time. He asked to go to school half hour early the other day, he wants to go on camp (I want to go to his camp I looked up the web site wow, www.campaspe.com.au) Its only 2days and 1 night all the aids and all his teachers will be there, they have told me they take extra cars so if anyone needs to they can get them home again.

I haven't had to ask for any thing they are onto it before I can say a word. Im actually thinking they only thing I will be able to say at our first school meeting will be "Thank You".

All schools need to follow their model, when it comes to ASD's they know their stuff. :D



DW_a_mom
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06 Feb 2009, 4:44 pm

I am SOOOO happy to hear this. Of course, at some point you all may disagree, or you'll see something they don't, BUT it's a drop in the bucket when you know they "get" it and care enough to pay attention. Really, truly, every child can be happy at school - it's all about finding the RIGHT school, I really believe that.


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Smelena
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08 Feb 2009, 11:39 pm

Excellent news!

We've also had a great start to the new school year ... no meltdowns in 2 weeks from the boys!!

My second son started Occupational Therapy during the school holidays and using a fidget toy and his exercises during class time have really helped.

It makes a world of difference when the teacher knows what they're doing.

My third son started school this year. I had thought he was Aspie .... but at school he's very NT so perhaps a lot of his behaviours at home were copying his brothers.

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Helen