Friday, June 3, 2011

Meltdowns And Memories

Sean really needed the meltdown from the other day....

Isn't that ironic?  And, actually, quite like the rest of us?  For me, there is nothing like a good cry to release the internal stresses of my life.  Some people yell.  Others may run mile after mile.

Sean melts down.

He holds himself together.  He endures the schedule changes, the noise, the chaos, the occasionally not-so-great night's sleep, eventually falls completely apart, and then he's fine.

Sean took to his room that night and has stayed fairly quiet since then.  Of course, we are doing everything we can here to keep things on the even keel to help him weather the latest.

If he wants to go outside to swing in the morning before going to school... have at it.

More computer time?  Sure.

Unless it's absolutely necessary, we're not leaving the house once he comes home from school.  He needs that down time and we have to give it to him.

I'm not entirely convinced that his meltdown was due to us signing his transfer papers five years ago.  Was he reliving the restraining incident during his crisis?  Absolutely.  It was heart-wrenching to see his eyes so filled with pain.

But I think a small part of him is scared.

I know I am.

Going full-time to the junior high means so many more things to work their way through his brain.  A second locker combination for gym, changing into and out of the gym uniform, navigating a cafeteria filled with a hundred or more kids, morning books, afternoon supplies...  So much to think about.  So much to plan and pre-teach.

I wonder if Sean is thinking the same thing?

He could also be worried about leaving his current school.  He's been in a self-contained classroom for five years.  The student-staff ratio is sometimes as low as 2 to 1.  It's been an incredible experience.  They have worked with Sean and adapted to practically all of his needs.

Take for example, walking in the hallway.

Sean, either due to his lack of spatial awareness or simply not paying attention, could not walk in a single-file line.

For years teachers tried everything.  "Put your arms out and make sure they don't touch the person in front of you."  "Let's walk in the front of the line."  "Let's walk in the back of the line."  I think eventually it came down to him walking on the other side of the hallway or beside his teacher.

Sean was never reprimanded for not being able to be in line.  It was not made out to be some must-learn life skill.  The school simply felt they had bigger issues to battle.

And so it was for years.  They tried different things but always in a laid-back fashion.

Then one day the kids lined up and so did Sean.  The teacher realized it but kept quiet.  She wanted to see what happened.

Sean walked in line.  He got it.  Finally.

Just in time to go to junior high where lines practically do not exist.  Hey, he'll be great for graduation!

That's how it was with his old day program.  One tiny step at a time, coaxing along the way but always cognisant of how Sean was coping.

The staff has become like family.  Sean's small set of classmates...a comfort after the countless numbers of faces passing him in the halls of the large junior high.

I have no doubt that he will miss his old school.  He will miss having every staff member know him.  He will miss the close circle of peers.  He will miss the many individual adjustments that the school made in order for him to be successful.

Even though he says he won't... he will.

I'm sure a ton of emotions are flooding through him right now.... success, saying good-bye, moving on, moving into a world filled with unknowns, anxiety over possible failure.

Imagine how we would feel....

So the meltdown the other day was completely within reason and not entirely unforeseeable.

Today is his last full Friday.  He's almost there. 

Just one more step, Sean.  Just one more.

1 comment:

  1. Middle school is so many unwritten rules and social issues. Sounds like your son was at a wonderful school -- you're lucky.

    Good luck and have fun this summer.