It Is Scary When Your Autistic Child Is Getting A New Teacher!
Good Teachers are Hard to Find
When your child has autism it can make things very difficult when they change schools or go up a grade, due to the change in teachers. In my situation, my son is in the day program at his elementary school which is a special needs classroom with all different grade levels within.
The classroom has a main teacher and multiple aids. When it comes to the main teacher, its the hardest to find one that you feel really gets your child. There is a certain level of understanding and patience that every special needs child requires. Those levels are different for each child and a teacher that can fluctuate her teaching is a keeper!
I found that in my son's teacher. She obtained the perfect levels of stern yet lenient, and she stuck to her guns; which is a good thing when your child will try getting away with whatever whenever he can. She made each child feel as though they could harness their individuality and use it to help succeed in whatever the task may have been.
Reef and his Teacher
The Dreaded Information
We recently found out that his teacher was moving out of state. I was shocked and saddened to say the least to get the news. There were so many thoughts and emotions going through my head all at once:
- Who would be the new teacher?
- Would the new teacher be able to handle his needs as well as her?
- How would this massive change affect his progress in school?
I wanted the answer to all of these questions immediately because I was driving myself insane.
All other parents know that at the end of a school year they change around teachers and that you will not know who your child's teacher will be until right before school starts, and since it was the beginning of summer break I found out the news, I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't wait to find out who it would be and have a chance to talk to the new teacher in order to explain a few things to help make the transition more comfortable for all involved.
Awaiting the Information
An autistic child can range from needing very minimal support and supervision to needing so much that it is hard for an untrained teacher with minimal experience to handle, especially since my son is non-verbal. As a parent, you feel the need to explain in detail the needs of your child and his/her corks if you will. It is all in an effort to help the teacher deal with the challenges they will face with your child. The kicker is that your child is not the only one who has special needs within the classroom so you can only expect so much.
As a autism parent you constantly worry. You worry about them when they are in daycare, if you were able to find a daycare you trust that is. Is the provider you chose able to cope with the outbursts or the consistent needs that the other children do not require? You don't want them riding the bus home from school in case there is a sub one day and he/she gets off at the wrong stop. You worry about lunch time—are they eating? The last thing you want to worry about is are they being treated fairly by their teacher and is the teacher up to the task.
So yeah, I find it hard and scary when my son has to have a change in teachers. It is worrisome and stressful. You have to have faith in your school district that they will choose the right replacement, and the worry will not end until the first year is up.
You can advise and give information to the new teacher about your child as much as possible, and I'm sure it does help. But, you have to try and relax and do as much as you can from home to make the transition easier and have a belief that they will be ok. They might even surprise you and adjust to the change better than expected.
They key is to not stress to much if possible before school starts! I try to make a list of things I would like to the new teacher to know and add information throughout the school year. When it comes to change autistic children do not take it very well so we as parents need to be strong and do what we can to help, at least that's what I keep telling myself ;).
Ready For School!!
The Future Might Not Be So Scary
My advise to other autism parents out there is to please stay calm!! I know it can be a stressful time in not only your child's life but your own as well, but stick together as a team with the new teacher and maybe the outcome will be better than expected. You may even find a teacher who is just like your old one, and maybe they will help your child succeed just in ways your never knew possible. Chin up and eyes forward, you never know what the future holds!!