Some really great things happened as we dealt with the breakdown in my son’s placement. After my wife took him home from school last week, following a morning in which things went very poorly, I told some of the staff that we agreed that it was time to make the change. A lot of discussion ensued and a staff member asked if I thought my son ‘needed closure’. We agreed that it was important for him to leave on a positive note rather than having the last few weeks overshadow the two and one half years in the program. I envisioned closure to mean a chance to quietly say goodbye to his teacher, his aide, a few peers, and the staff that has supported him. The school team had other ideas.
Earlier this week, my wife brought him back to school at the end day. His mainstream and special ed class had all gathered for a going away party. Good Luck posters were splashed on the computer screens in the classroom. Teachers brought in cupcakes and cookies. The students had made a large number of cards wishing him well. Most were covered with pictures of his ‘special interests’ that they all knew very well. One student even sang a song. The principal and support staff were there along with his mainstream teachers from the two prior years. He exchanged phone numbers with a few classmates before leaving.
A week ago, he wanted nothing to do with a new school and acted as if he might be able to prevent the change from occurring. The night of the going away party he told me he was sad to be leaving his classmates. He’s also expressed both anxiety and excitement about his new school. In other words, within a week, his reaction has evolved into a set of very appropriate emotional responses. I’d even call them typical. I’d even call his recognition of his feelings as mature. He still has some emotional baggage about having to make a change, but to me it looks like the change in placement is already showing benefits.
We’re incredibly grateful to the staff for such a wonderful sendoff. If you’re reading: Thanks Again!