We have officially started the two weeks off from school due to Christmas vacation. And it’s difficult not to compare this time to January of this year, and all the hurt and pain that we had to endure due to what the other teacher did to our son. It was just such a difficult time for all of us, but mostly my monkey.
This year he’s in a new school, AU unit. A class specifically for kids with autism. His classroom is designed differently. It has a hallway, and on the left are the restrooms, on the right is a small kitchen, and straight ahead is a really big sensory room. It’s just an amazing place for kids like my son where they have more room to roam but are also safe. There are about eight other kiddos, the teacher, two full time paraprofessionals, and a part-time para.
My monkey’s teacher is the sweetest, kindest, patient person. Exactly what my son needs. When my son has rough days, she will right away notify me and let me know what happened. She will tell me how she tried to assist my son. She will also ask for my opinion on ways to assist my son. And when he has great days, she will send me a message celebrating his good days.
Our principal has been amazing. She’s constantly checking up on us, assisting us, and is just generally caring towards my son. It feels that when we have bad days, the school as a whole genuinely has my son’s best interest at heart.
And how do I know this?
Our son will tell us.
My son loves my parents. When they are about to leave he will hug them and will struggle to let go. Yet lately, when my dad has to pick him up from school to take him to therapy, my son doesn’t want to leave. It’s a struggle to take him out of school and put him in the car. Last time my dad said that the Para was struggling with my son, he didn’t want to leave the class. And when my dad went in to try to assist, my son took off. He went down the hall where two teachers were walking. The teachers stopped immediately to try to assist. But my monkey was too fast and kept running towards the doors. The teachers yelled at the two 5th graders that were near the door and asked them to assist in making sure my son wouldn’t leave. The two 5th graders stopped what they were doing and helped my son from going outside. The teachers ran towards them to assist and tried to assist my son to come back. My dad said that through all of this, my son was laughing, he thought all of this was a game. But what I loved about this school is just how everybody, always, is willing to assist my special needs son.
My daughter went a few weeks ago to take chocolate covered donuts to his classroom for his birthday. And when she went to the office to let them know that she was going to drop off the doughnuts, they asked her who her brother was. And when she told them his name, they all said his name in unison. They all knew who he was. And they told her what a wonderful brother she has.
My son loves the bus, the driver and the monitor. My daughter says that yesterday, she was outside our home waiting for the monkey to be dropped off, our son came down the stairs getting off the bus. Yet he ran back upstairs, to hug the bus driver. And the bus driver replied, “I love you too Buddy.”
And we can feel it. When he has bad days in the bus, the driver and the bus monitor are extremely patient and kind. They will tell us what happened and then ask us what can they do next time to assist our son.
And this is how we know he’s safe. He loves the bus. He loves his school. He loves his classroom.
And now that the year is ending, and we reflect how this year started, all we can really do is look back and simply appreciate what a great place we are in right now. My son still has his struggles. He still has his off days. But all we see, and how we feel, is the great team that takes the time to understand my son. They love and support him, especially during the rough times.
This autism journey is sometimes tough, but the easy part is loving you. ❤️💙