Thursday, August 20, 2009

school starts

Tonight we visited Martin's school for an open house. The official start day is Monday. He has a calendar for counting down the days. He's been ready to go since August 1.

Martin has had, shall we say, an "uneven" school career. We signed him up for preschool when he was 3. This was before his diagnosis. We took him four days in a row, four awful days, before the school told us that it wasn't going to work. I felt like someone was breaking up with me. Or breaking up with my kid. It was terrible. Martin's diagnosis soon followed.

After that, he was eligible for a special-needs preschool classroom at a local public school. He rode the bus. He liked his teachers. He received speech and occupational therapy once a week. Martin enjoyed himself and I'm sure he made some gains. But at the end of that year, he was still in diapers. He still couldn't tell you how old he was. In fact, he couldn't answer a single question you asked him.

This past year, starting just after his 4th birthday, Martin attended a Montessori preschool. He was accompanied by his tutor. She was essential for him to learn the classroom routine, to handle social interaction, and deal with his frustration. He never could have gone without the tutor. By the end of the year, though, he was working on his own. The teachers handled any problems. They were prepping him for this year. They were preparing him for Monday.

Monday is the first day of school. Martin is going by himself. As I said earlier, he can't wait. But I'm a little nervous. I think he has a 50-50 chance of making it through the first day without some sort of major meltdown. I know he's capable. But any little thing could throw him for a loop. Maybe someone will sit in his spot. Maybe another child will use the materials he's been waiting to get back to all summer. Tonight, he noticed that the circle on the carpet was marked with red tape, not blue tape like last year. For Martin, this could spell disaster.

If you're the type of person that invokes a higher power, dwell on Martin for a moment on Monday morning. We've done all we can to prepare him, but there are no guarantees. We could have four awful days followed by a polite invitation to leave.


  1. Jen - I'll be holding your little guy in the light the next few days. When we took ZW to her first day this week there was a little Kinder kid screaming and loosing it. I had bad premonitions about next year when our little one starts school...I"m wondering though, why can't he have a tutor or person shadowing him this year? Tim's little brother used to do that for kids in Columbus public schools. Not possible where you live? Blessings to all.

  2. I'll mark Monday on my calendar as well.

  3. Hi Jen,
    I just spent some time reading through some of your recent posts. We'll be thinking of Martin on Monday. Say hi to the family.

  4. We'll pray for Martin and we will knock on wood.