“I Don’t Want to Go Back To School”- Transitions and Changes

I was shocked out of my mind when I heard the following words come out of Michael’s mouth: “Mommy, my Spring Break is over. I don’t want to go back to school.” This is what most kids say, right? Well, not my kid. From the time he started school, he always preferred it to being home. It was not that he was miserable here, but I think that being an only child, home did not have the social aspect of friends and the different toys and games he played with at school. Mom was a good playmate for a few years, but now I’m yesterday’s dinner. More on that in another blog. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, Michael’s shocking proclamation about school. When I thought about it though, I realized why he would miss being home. At school he does work now. He admitted as much back in the fall when he started getting homework, “But I want to play at school, not do work Mommy.” Both his father and I explained to him that without doing work he wouldn’t learn things to get a job and drive a car one day, things that are highly motivating to him you can be sure.

Another reason I know going back to school was hard is due to Michael’s stress over transitions and changes. This is hard on all kids, but for him is particularly challenging. He will obsess over a seemingly small incident of one thing being out of routine at school or on our weekend schedule, and talk continuously about it. Whether it is a good change or bad, he worries about it, very normal for an anxious kid particularly one who has autism too.

We have tried to be more sensitive to this over the years as the anxiety part has gotten a little more intense the more Michael understands. And I get that. I am neurotypical and I worry and obsess about things, talk about what bothers me, and am thrown off when my routine changes too. I think all of us are to one extent or another.

As Exceptional Moms, I really believe it is extra important that we pay attention to how anxiety, changes in routine and other stresses affect us as much as it affects our Exceptional Children. For instance, I am trying to be more conscious of what tools I use for myself to calm down and am trying them out on Michael. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. The point is to be open minded and not just say, “Oh, this is his/her disorder talking, but rather this is his/her character. How can I help him/her feel calmer? How do I help myself when I feel like this?” Get to know yourself better, the workings of your inner emotional life. Knowledge is power, and the better you know yourself, the better able you are to help others, particularly your Exceptional Child. Until next time.

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