This year our 15-year-old was going to be moving up from junior high school to the real high school. And as always, with any change, this came with many challenges. We were so sure we had thought out this new school year for our son. We went and visited the school, walked the halls, walked around the patio, and saw the cafeteria. You name it, we checked it all out in hopes of familiarizing our son with his new school. Not only did we do it once, but we did it a few times.
During the summer, we would drive by the new high school and talk about the Mighty Bulldogs, the schools' mascot. We talked about the school colors, purple and gold. We talked about how our son's favorite person in the whole world, his brother Zac, had gone to this school and loved it. We purchased a school shirt that he wore during the summer. We talked about how it went perfectly with his purple backpack.
I really thought we had done all we could. Maybe we did. But you never would have been able to tell.
As we were driving to his first day of school, I should have known something was confusing him when he kept repeating the school name from the previous year. I parked the car to get out and walk him to his building. He began to shriek, “No!" at the top of his lungs. Not only was he yelling, but he was also planting his feet on the pavement, refusing to move.
Thank goodness my husband was with me. The two of us found a way to get him inside. My son threw himself in a chair, then onto the floor. He kept yelling. My husband tried to get him up, but then he fell down too. I was in tears.
By the grace of God, two teachers came and instantly took control of the situation. They were able to get my son to his proper room and seated at a table.
Later that morning, my son was fine. I cried all day. My husband worried all day. But my son was fine. He did adjust, no matter how scary it must have been. No matter how hard we tried to prepare, it was something new and different.
After a terrible start to that first day, I am happy to say that things are going much smoother. My son is very excited to wear his purple Bulldog shirt now! Changing schools presents challenges for most kids, but can be especially difficult for children with a disability.
Transitioning Between Schools offers ideas that may help your child.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.