When I was young and in school, I would start to get both excited and anxious this time of year. Knowing the start of school was right around the corner brought thoughts of new starts along with a new backpack. I loved the smell of new books and stacks of perfectly lined paper. I looked forward to packing my lunch in a shiny clean new lunchbox, and all my pencils were sharpened weeks in advance.
I also experienced a little anxiety. Would I fit in? Would I have lots of friends? Would I be able to find all my classes, and would I be able to keep good grades? But the excitement always overshadowed the anxiety. I wish that could be the case for Ashley.
Ashley loves school, but transitions are difficult. This year brings a multitude of those transitions – high school, a campus type of school, different teachers and aides, different students, a different layout to the classrooms, lunch rooms instead of lunch room, and new nurses and other administrators. She should have had some preparation in her last year of middle school to help with the transition, but she didn’t.
More often than not, students exiting middle school visit the high school they will attend. They meet the staff and walk around the school so the experiences in September are not so overwhelming. But that didn’t happen for Ashley, and when you throw in the fact that she is deafblind, it’s easy to see why I am so anxious.
I’m going to do my best to make the beginning an exciting time for her – new clothes, new shoes, a new backpack and lunchbox – but I’m not sure what else to do.