So last month we had the IEP meetings for Cuddlebug and Bearhug to set up their transition-to-middle-school IEPs. The ASD resource teacher from the middle school was there, which was great because we were able to get a lot of our questions answered as to how things work in middle school, both in general and specific to the autism program. I am feeling a little better about the whole thing now that we have *some* idea of what to expect.
This week there is a field trip for the 5th graders to visit the middle school, and also an informational meeting for parents.
While they will have an open house in the fall, the resource teacher said she is happy to set up a separate time for her students to come when it will be quiet so they can take their time to get familiar with where everything is without the huge crowd. That is AWESOME, and we will definitely be taking her up on that!
One of their electives will be a social skills class, which also includes spending some time tutoring kindergartners at the elementary school which is connected to the middle school. I think that will be a great experience for them (and who knows, may even help them develop a little more patience for their little brother... a mom can hope, right?). The teacher said that both her students and the kindergartners really enjoy it, and it's a great learning experience all around.
And... (drumroll please)... Cuddlebug and Bearhug have now officially "graduated" from speech therapy. :) There are still some articulation issues but it's either things that they physically can't help or they know how to make the right sounds in a therapy environment and it's just a matter of remembering to do it in conversational speech which is something we can work on at home. When I told the boys about that they were pretty happy, poor Cuddlebug seemed really relieved. He seemed to like it more when he was younger but not so much anymore... I felt bad when he told me, "a lot of other kids finished speech a lot sooner than me and 'Bearhug.'" He's never said anything like that before so I didn't realize he was noticing (although I guess I shouldn't be surprised, he notices everything). I just told him it's different for everyone depending on what they're working on, and that's ok. I also told him how proud I am of both of them because I know how hard they have worked in speech as well as at school.
His current resource teacher told us they've been talking to the 5th graders about middle school, and letting them share what they are nervous about and excited about regarding middle school.
On both of their lists (both boys and both nervous and excited about) was "having a girlfriend."
Which reminds me of a recent conversation we had in the car.
Cuddlebug: "We're starting to be interested in girls."
me: ('wha?!?!' on the inside, cool as a cucumber on the outside or at least I think so) "Really?"
Bearhug: "Yeah, or at least the girls are starting to be interested in us."
(Now that I already knew, but I didn't realize that THEY knew it yet)
me: "How do you know?"
Bearhug: "A girl gave me a love letter."
me: (still cool on the outside, crying incoherently about how my baby isn't old enough for this stuff yet on the inside) "A love letter? What did it say?"
Bearhug: (totally nonchalant about the whole thing of course) "It said, 'I love you.'"
me: "Wow... what did you say?"
Bearhug: "I didn't respond."
me: (ok, now I'm starting to feel sorry for the poor girl) "umm... you know she had to be pretty brave to give you that. You don't have to say it back, but you should say *something*"
Bearhug: "Oh, I did say something."
(pause to see if he was going to continue but he didn't)
me: "What did you say?"
Bearhug: "I said, 'Aren't we a little young for that?'"