Below is an email I sent to my 12 year old autistic daughter’s former behaviorist. My daughter started in a new school this month because we all felt she didn’t need the intense services of her previous program provided. They felt (and convinced us) that she could handle a “step up.” She is still in a self-contained special education classroom, but is being a bit more challenged, and allowed a bit more freedom. So far, the transition has been much easier for her than it has been for me, as the email below will attest. *I’ve edited out names and added descriptors in brackets, but otherwise this is the email verbatim.
Remind me again how you all believe [my girl] can do this.
Just got back from back-to-school night feeling very anxious, and tried my best to voice my concerns to Ms E [the teacher] and Mrs. F [head of the child study team] without sounding like a frantic, over-protective, hovering mom.
SHE’S DOING GREAT SO FAR. She’s happy, transitioning well, acing her hall locker (though the gym locker has been scrapped), and thrilled to be in a class with SIX GIRLS!!!
But this week she brought home a 60% on a writing terms quiz and thought that was a “good” grade. I had to explain to her that it wasn’t, without making her feel bad. I explained to Ms E that she’s never really had grades before, and because her math skills are so low that they would have to explain grading to her. I think I must have repeated myself a few times, so I’m pretty sure Ms E “gets it.”
Also, I guess you guys spoiled me because I also found out that in this new system we’ll only have conferences once a YEAR. I’m used to that with my other two [children], but have always had a close working relationship with my girl’s teachers. Ms E said we could meet whenever I have a concern, but now I feel like requesting beyond what’s normally expected would make me “hovering.” I don’t want to hover. But I’ve spent her whole life hovering I suppose.
In the end I told them I would have to just GET OVER MYSELF. But that’s easier said than done.
So I suppose what I’m looking for in this email is just some reassurance that, yes, we have done the right thing, and this almost seamless transition will keep going. They can say it, and have, but those words mean more coming from you, who have known her and watched her grow since she was tiny.
Man, I did NOT think this evening would be so stressful! Letting her fly is HARD.
***to her credit, and the credit of my daughter’s former program, I didn’t receive an email response – I got a PHONE CALL – a long, loving and reassuring one. I LOVE my daughter’s former program!