Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Transitioning to school age

I had to go register Mia for kindergarten yesterday. Normally, this is an exciting, as well as, a bit anxious time for parents. All I feel is pure anxiety.

I even went to the wrong school to register her. Showed up at one elementary when I was supposed to be at another. The very helpful and kind school secretary told me so. Right after she asked where my child was. To which I replied, "Mia has autism and cannot participate fully in a screening." Her mouth opened wide and she said, "You have TWO children with autism?" "Yup, I said, lucky me."

Then I felt bad and wondered if that wasn't the best reply. What else could I have said? Oh yes, but that's fine. They are wonderful (which they are!). I know people are blown away on a regular basis regarding the amount of challenges my family has faced. I respect their admiration deeply. However, I never want their pity. So, ultimately I don't know what the best reply should have been. I very often use humor to diffuse a tricky situation or question. So that is what I did.

Getting back to "Miss Mama Mia."  She has been at a private school for children with autism for the past two years. I had hoped that maybe she would have made enough progress, so that she would be ready to enter kindergarten with her peers. That has not happened, although she has made considerable progress. Now the task is to keep her at this setting to monitor and support her continued progress, so that in the future, a less restrictive environment will be in her best interest.

I worry about absolutely everything. Will she become more communicative? Will she become interested in her peers? Will she be able to go to new places without extreme anxiety? These are all unknowns at this point. And just like with her brother with autism, I know that the most important thing is to NEVER give up hope. To expect great things, and great things will come.

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