My facebook feed is lighting up this week with picture after picture of kids heading back to school. First, I have to say whaaaa? Caleb just finished 3rd grade two weeks ago, how are you all back in school?? Labor Day is the end of summer, no one should be back in school before the end of summer! You all are weird.
Next I have to say that, in addition to the many happy photos and excited posts about this new year, I am seeing a lot of anxiety and fear. I get that. I’ll be there in a couple more weeks when it’s time to send my little cherub off to a new year with all new teachers for the first time in 2 years! I’m still hopeful that at least one of the staff members assigned to his class will be familiar but I won’t know that for a while yet.
I have two ways I deal with this anxiety. Initially, I immerse myself in books…science fiction or fantasy with happy endings only (my life has enough reality and sadness, TYVM)…so I can stop obsessively picking at the rough edges of my brain. When that tactic begins to fail and the anxiety begins poking through in weird yet strangely vivid dreams. Dreams so vivid that I have to ask my husband which parts of the dreams are real and which were pure dream. (Oddly enough, it’s sometimes the strangest bits of my dreams that are true. No really, someone has designed a penis pedometer. And you are SO welcome for that bit of imagery…I wish I could bleach my brain sometimes. )
When I reach this stage I switch to the next coping mechanism. I go back to picking at the rough edges of my brain but with a purpose. This is when I transform all my fears and my hopes into plans. This is when I start combing through the core curriculum for the 4th grade and figuring out which parts of the curriculum I want Caleb included for. This is when I start creating visuals, breaking down the curriculum into “he can totally do that” and “he’s going to totally try to do that.”
This is also when I pull out and dust off Caleb’s Positive Student Profile, remind myself what we are working towards and then begin bombarding his teacher with all the “you should”s, and “could we”s I can dream of.
This year I’ve done something a little different with C’s PSP. In the past I’ve been very, very detailed and factual. It’s effective…see his 1st Grade PSP here: Positive Student Profile. This year, I decided to ask Caleb’s teacher of the last two years to contribute to the PSP, I’m leaving the factual, day to day school stuff to her…and I chose to introduce my child as I know him.
If you want to read more about PSPs and other back to school crap…Those Freaking IEPs is a good place to start.
If you want to pick through your child’s curriculum, it should be posted on your school department’s website. If not, ask them for a copy.
If you are curious about how I created that document, I used Microsoft Word.
- File, New.
- Under “Office.com Templates” I chose a template I liked. (“Newsletters” is a good place to start, but “Flyers” has some cool stuff too.)
- I replaced the sample text and photos and TADA!)
If you too have a child with fragile X and you want stuff to give your child’s teacher & school staff, but aren’t insane enough to write your own, check out the Back to School Toolkit from the National Fragile X Foundation.