New school year…

My little girl is a kindergartner. Where does the time go? Such a scary, emotional and exciting time for all parents. Some are being sent to school for the first time, some are going to school all day for the first. For most, it’s a new building, new teacher, new friends, new rules. Some may be lucky to have a sibling, relative or friend already there. Some of the children will be excited for this journey some will be scared. As parents, you just hope you’ve given them the tools to navigate it all.

I have no idea how Courtney feels about this big transition. I do know I’m scared as all hell. I’m sending my little girl who doesn’t have a voice, who is still so dependent on an adult to function in all environments and hurts herself or others when frustrated on this new adventure.

Will other children stare at her as she walks around with her ears covered? Will they become scared of her if they see her bite? Will they make fun of her still being in diapers? Will this school accept and love her for who she is?

Today the school held a New Family Welcome meeting. They invited to families like us to hear a short presentation about the school, get a tour and in Courtney’s case because of the brand new program, even get to meet the teacher. As soon as we arrived Courtney started to struggle. Joe and I knew there was not a chance that she would be able to sit for the brief presentation. A friendly face noticed Courtney struggling right a way. This friendly face was the principal. She knew us from the meeting they held with just the parents of the autism program earlier in the summer. She quickly greeted Courtney by name, though had never met her. Directed us to her classroom and let us know it was ok if we didn’t go to the gym for her presentation.

Courtney’s teacher and speech therapist then gave us a private tour of the building at Courtney’s pace. They let her wonder areas, touch things and go as slow as she needed to. They made us feel at home.

When leaving we had to make a stop at the office. By now Courtney was a little more relaxed. She wondered around the vestibule as Joe talked to the secretary. As I watched her touch the wall, I noticed the saying they had on it, “when you enter this loving school consider yourself one of the special members of this extraordinary family”.

A welcome sign on our lawn, a friendly principal greeting us at the door, a caring teacher and therapist…

This is not our home school. It is not the school Alyssa will be attending. It’s not the school the neighborhood kids will be attending. But today this school became our “home” school and we are excited to be part of the extraordinary family.

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