Transition Year – High School

A few surprises and realizations with this post; I’m old, my son is a teenager and he’s getting ready to move into high school.  Not too sure how to address these three simple facts in life, but may attempt to bring some logic to this phase of my life … somehow.

I vividly remember the day he was born and how small he was when we moved to the US back in 2011.  He was a small little chubby kid, walking happily down the school corridor holding the hand of his aid.

Soon he moved to a regular elementary school, fighting off the PE teachers while laughing and expanding his skills tremendously.  Elementary school flew by and suddenly he was joining the middle school.

As part of his transition to middle school, he had the extended school year (ESY) on his new school, primarily to allow him time to get comfortable with the new school layout and his new classroom.  This is an important part of all special needs kids and should be part of their IEP.

Ask the school to provide the ESY program and make sure they have added it to the IEP.  If in doubt, get a special needs advocate involved to review the IEP.  My wife happens to be an advocate, so just reach out 🙂

Oh my – middle school!  He left cub scouts and joined boy scouts.  He started to grow a fade little mustache, making his Viking father proud – although several years away from a proper Viking beard.

Last week, we had his virtual 8yh grade graduation.  We were all sitting in the sofa area, applauding when his name and pictures came up.  He was sitting giggling, dressed in his finest boxers shorts, t-shirt, and slippers.  Heck, we haven’t left the house for months, so new dress code!

To state that the last few months have been trying for everyone is an understatement.  I would however argue that parents of special needs kids have had an extra level of stress and challenges.

We are not trained and experienced teachers, and our son will not sit in front of the computer for 1-2 hours on his own.  Honestly, he will start a movie, close the Zoom application, or just walk away.  He needs assistance to keep engaged.

When the school district then decided that the ESY would remain virtual, we freaked out.  This means he would not get to see his new school until the fall.  He will not get the necessary support and education he needs, which will lead to him digressing further.

I appreciate that there are safeguards and challenges with re-opening some school activities, but it is hard to accept when we see thousands protesting on TV, businesses re-opening and even Six Flags will open up now.  Yes, even summer camps are allowed too.

My wife and I are working full time and cannot set aside 4-5 hours daily, during the ESY, which will simply affect his learning negatively.

Time will tell how well he transitions to high school.  We as parents are very nervous, and know how much support our son needs.

The fact that I’m getting older has absolutely nothing to do with his transition.  That is just life and all these experiences should make me wiser … it, unfortunately, make me more prone to grumpiness, and sometimes affects my interaction with the school district.

So, we will be dealing with teenage tantrums, mustache in his yogurt, long workdays, and limited educational advancement during this summer.  Thankfully our oldest daughter has attended the high school for a couple of years, so we do know the school layout.  But, this does not mean he knows the layout of his new classroom and daily routines.

It’s part of life.  We get hit with challenges and obstacles, and how we get through these really define us, and our kids will learn from our reactions.  It is important that stay focused, stay healthy, and stay positive.

We cannot let these challenges impact our happiness.

We will work with his school to develop contingency plans and ensure that he gets the necessary support when school resumes.  We have to work with the school on his needs, and how best to support him.  It is teamwork.

If we fight and argue with the school, then we only affect his learning and abilities.  That is not in the interest of school or parents.


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