autism · public school

Dear Director of Special Education,

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Note: This letter is to the director of special education for the county that D attends school. As many of you know, this school year has been ROUGH. We have gone from public school to homeschool to homebound services and homeschool to public school again. We expected that the transition would hit some road bumps, but this letter explains what should have happened when it started earlier in the school year by describing what did happen this week. This is not another one of my complaint/you are breaking the law type of letters. I promise! 🙂

Dear Director of Special Education for County School System,

As you know, this year has been very difficult for my son. D has high functioning autism with debilitating anxiety that has kept him out of school the majority of this school year. We have worked since Thanksgiving to get him back to school. Finally, in February, The D Whisperer began working with D and our family. Despite some continued bumps in the road, we were finally able to start transitioning him back to school, this time at Different Elementary, several weeks ago.

The transition started out very well. I was hesitant, skeptical of the team at Different Elementary, in fact. I doubted that they would be able to meet D’s needs, especially on the days when his anxiety was so intense that he absolutely refused to get out of the car and attend school. After the trauma he experienced earlier in the year, I knew those days would come and I truly expected the team at Different Elementary to repeat those experiences, causing more trauma.

Boy was I wrong! This group of educators has truly exceeded my expectations and deserves to be recognized for their commitment to the children they work with!!

The team got their first real taste of D this week and it was intense!

Wednesday was field day and D had worked himself into a tizzy over the routine changes. He absolutely refused to get out of the car. Autism Support Aide, Assistant Principal, Special Ed Coordinator, and a couple of other individuals came to the car and gave him his choices, “You may walk into the building with Autism Support Aide or you may walk into the building with your mom.” Everyone was on the same page, everyone agreed that the worst thing to do would be for us to drive away with him in the car. Everyone was calm and supportive. No one tried to use embarrassment or force to get D out of the car and they were all very patient with him.

Yesterday made Wednesday look like a walk in the park. D was combative before we got to the school. He had decided he would not go to school and he was standing firm in that decision. The team at Different Elementary stepped up to the plate again. These ladies tag teamed to help D overcome his anxiety, attitude, and refusal to enter the building. They were understanding that too much talking was causing further agitation. They read and cared about what his body language was telling them. They understood when the talking was becoming too much or someone was overly agitating him. They were willing to back off and give him space for a bit. They were all very patient with him, and again never used embarrassment or force to try to make him enter the building.

Not only was the team great with D, but after noticing the situation from her window on Thursday, the art teacher came down and agreed to help with my younger children during her planning period. She took them away from the commotion and let them have some special color and paint time. As a former public school teacher, I know how precious the planning time is during this time of the year and was so blessed that she chose to give up her planning period to help us make D successful.

Once D entered the building, he had a great days according to his teacher. She helped him settle into the classroom, and clearly did not make a big deal out of the rough mornings. She has been instrumental in his transition, but has been especially instrumental in ensuring his success after two rough mornings.

While The D Whisperer was not at the school either of these mornings, she made it a point to come over to see D Thursday afternoon and spend some time with him. She was able to help him process the difficulties and determine what could make the mornings go a bit more smoothly. She also made it a point to meet D in the car rider line this morning since Autism Support Aide was out and she knew that would upset his day. The D Whisperer has done amazing things with D since she began working with him.

Again, the team at Different Elementary deserves to be recognized. They are a team that really knows how to work together and more importantly, they know how to make D feel safe, secure, and cherished even after rough mornings. They are an amazing group of professionals with a true heart for ensuring the success of D and the other children they work with.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I wish D could have been with them from the beginning. I truly believe his experience this year would have been much different.

Feeling Blessed

16 thoughts on “Dear Director of Special Education,

    1. Julia, thank you so much!! I do know that you know what this means and what it feels like. Your support over the last year+ has been amazing. Just knowing you’re in my corner has been such a blessing. Thank you!

  1. That is so amazingly awesome. Praising God for how He is using these people to speak to D’s heart. Praising Him that a happy D makes for a happy Mom. Praying for more success in the future and praising Him for holding you all through the days that will be more of a challenge.

    1. Lisa, Thank you so much for praising God with me! I assure you, this has not come without a LOT of prayer. I was very, very skeptical because of the horrible times we’ve had this year, but when the going got tough with him, they totally stepped up to the plate. I’m so grateful and blessed by them!

  2. I have worked with special Ed on numerous occasions with some of my foster kids and they are amazing! The right group of people make all the world of difference and it sounds like you you found what you and your son needed! What a true blessing that is for you all!!

    1. Thank you so much, Susann! You’re right, it has to be the right group for sure! We have worked with some individuals who were good, they wanted to help D, but they had no idea how and he absolutely resisted everything they tried. This team is amazing and he sees that they care for him without being forceful or condescending. I’m so blessed to have finally found a team that truly understands him and cares enough to show him that they care!

    1. Thanks so much, Chrisa! I never thought this school system would get it right and when they did, I just can’t stop thanking God for putting them all in place for D. I was very skeptical and even told them, “Do not put your hands on him or force him out.” I promised him after what happened at the other school that no one would ever forcefully remove him from the car and their response was, “Of course not! That would not help matters, it would only cause him more trauma!” Um – YEAH!!!! I know we will have more challenges, it’s the way this life works, but hopefully with this team the challenges will be much less traumatic for everyone! 🙂

  3. Hooray!! As a former educator, I am always so happy and grateful to hear that teachers are doing all the right stuff. Good for you to be big enough to point out all the things that they are doing right!! I personally know how much that means to teachers and administrators. I’m so glad to hear that D is having success!

    1. Kate, I completely agree! I am also a former educator and rarely did we ever get recognized when we were doing something well. I think, especially as much ‘grief’ as I have given the district this year, that it is extremely important to recognize those who go above and beyond and really care about the kids. That’s what it is all about and so many times now it is forgotten. Thanks so much! 🙂

  4. I thank God for the help. These professionals validated you and D’s needs. They did not minimize his anxiety, or judge you for the problems. One small step for this year. a giant step to getting him back to school regularly…(I know, corny, but true) luvin u. mjg

  5. O_O Inki gif! What is the second one from? I don't recognize it and it's too small to read the show logo. K-ent <333 More on toyca…peah…iwful chapter. Nothing will ever be okay again. :'(

  6. If you're ever going to grab a gun, it better be with a fluid motion that also pulls the aim away from you, up or to the side… and even then, I wouldn't want to be in the situation even if I'd trained for it(some martial arts do, like krav maga).The general idea then is grab barrel, pull away the aim and opponent off-balance, and use the barrel as a fulcrum to tear it out of their hand(against the thumb, because that's the weak side).

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