The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.
― Arnold Bennett
The beauty of each new school year is the fresh start it represents; a chance for a new beginning. This September was especially notable for both Jordynn and Jocelynn as they both were beginning programs in new schools. Jordynn began a new out of district placement and Jocelynn transitioned from elementary to middle school. As summer came to a close both girls expressed feelings of excitement and anticipation for the new school year and eagerly made wish lists of things they wanted to start the school year off right.
For all the possibilities the new schools offer the girls they also stand as sources of new challenges, unavoidable adjustments, and required transitions. For a typically developing student the transition to a new school can be overwhelming; now multiply that exponentially for a child on the autistic spectrum. In anticipation of some of the adjustments the girls would have to make my husband and I put together a number of supports in the summer to ease the girls’ transitions into their new settings. Together as a family we read books that highlighted skills that would be important, created a schedule detailing the specific steps to be followed for the morning routine, and purchased various tools (i.e. agenda books, binders, dividers, etc.) to promote the girls’ organization. (Special Note: Of the books we read Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey was an excellent resource and served as a terrific tool to generate dialogue between the girls, their father and myself about specific skill development. It is certainly a must read for preteens and teens. I recommend parents preview the book in advance to anticipate the talking points the book will generate).
With the first month of the new school year behind us, I am hopeful about the prospects this school year presents and look forward to both Jordynn and Jocelynn making significant gains in their development.