Heading back to school is a stressful event for many kids. But some kids need extra attention from their teachers to make the transition successful, and one South Sound mom came up with a unique way of doing her part to make the school year a success.
Lacey* has a 6-year-old daughter who is entering first grade. Lacey’s daughter is on the autism spectrum, and her behavior is sometimes difficult to understand without context. That’s why Lacey decided to create an info sheet for Lacey’s new teacher, and meet with her before the school year begins. And of course, she brought snacks!
Lacey posted her info sheet and cake pictures to a Seattle Autism Moms group on Facebook with the tongue-in-cheek caption: "When you are going in to meet the teacher for the first time and you go prepared... because she doesn't know what she's in for." Other moms in the group immediately responded with comments like "Love this idea!" and "I'm going to start baking right now!"
Joking aside, Lacey's info sheet was created with a purpose. “[My daughter] is what people would consider ‘high functioning’ on the autism spectrum. Because of this, adults (even teachers) often miss areas of deficit and struggle,” she says. “I believe the info sheet will help because it provides her teacher with the core information to address [her] biggest areas of deficit.”
Some of these challenges are things like understanding instructions without visual aids and navigating peer interactions. By shedding light on her daughter’s challenges, Lacey hopes to help her teacher go into the school year with an understanding of the motivation behind her behavior. “My biggest hope in doing this was that it would help the teacher in her interactions with [my daughter],” she says.
Lacey hasn’t always been so outspoken. She says it took her years to find her voice in order to get her daughter the services and supports she needs at school. “Don’t be afraid to speak up, ruffle a few feathers and even make some respectful demands,” she reminds other parents of special needs kids. “And bring cake. Cake works wonders.”
* Last name withheld at her request.