September 5th, 2013 - sixth and ninth graders!!
Well, we survived the first two days of school. Over all I'm quite pleased with how Safety Guy's schedule and classes have worked out. The student who assaulted him last year isn't in ANY of his classes (some sort of miracle), and two other kids he had run-ins with last year aren't there now. He likes all of his teachers, although he's a bit nervous about the increased work load, and downright grossed out by the idea of dissecting a fetal pig in the spring for science class. I'm hoping, really hoping, that whatever struggles he has this year are minor compared to last year.
The Princess is also happy with her teachers. Sixth grade here is like "junior high lite" - the kids start switching rooms for different subjects during the day, although they have a home room they start and end the day, and where they have one academic subject and keep all their stuff. She sees her friends in different classes, although her closest friends have different home room teachers. She's off to a good start, and I hope she has another good year.
I've already been called for a handful of sub jobs over the next two weeks. I like it when I'm pre-scheduled, since I'm really not a fan of early morning phone calls. (Those calls can happen anywhere from 5:30 to 6:15, although sometimes I'll get a late call around 7:15 with a frantic secretary saying, "Ack! We need you here in 15 minutes! Please!" Good thing I live close to the schools.)
Safety Guy has had some backlash each afternoon or evening after school, which we expected. He's processing a lot of change and anxiety in a short period of time. His stress comes out most often through sharp, snarky, or mean comments or swearing, often directed at his sister. It's unpleasant, but not unexpected, and I count my blessings that he's not acting out physically at this time. Time alone seems to help restore his balance, so we remind him to go to his room, or just plain send him there if he doesn't take a polite hint or two. His special interests have been all over the place the past couple weeks as he stressed about going back to school, very intense and persistent. I'm hoping that he'll ease off for a little while.
I don't know about every person with Asperger Syndrome, or other autism-related issues, but I could pretty much mark up the school calendar to tell his teachers when he'll have the most difficulty. In fact, I think I might actually DO that - get a copy of the calendar and share it with his resource teachers so they can track his behavior. He swings up and down with his anxiety and moods fairly predictably. Anxiety builds up to a peak before each major transition or holiday - back to school (huge), Halloween (not as bad), Thanksgiving (not too bad), Christmas/Christmas break (BIG), winter break (with seasonal affective issues - nasty), spring break (the "I'm sick of school!" meltdown), and the end of the school year ("Thank God it's over!") are the easiest ones to predict. Then there are less regular anxiety-inducing events: doctor/dental appointments, family trips, and special events. SG is due for wisdom teeth surgery this fall or winter. THAT will be the mother of all anxiety storms, I'm pretty sure, combining Safety Guy's fear of gagging/throwing up with surgery, which he's never had before, and needles, which he doesn't like either, in his MOUTH (that gagging thing again).
So, while I'm hopeful for an overall positive year, I also know I'm in for the long-distance roller-coaster ride of life with Safety Guy. I hope the ups are good, and the downs are short. For all of us, this year.