“I’m not putting any offers on the table, but I can tell you right now – since your son is still in a diaper and has a 1/1 aid in his current school setting he will be offered some level of support when he transitions to Kindergarten. Thank you for coming.”
And an elevated hand showed me the door.
I stood there for a second, unsure what to do. I looked around the board room of school transition professionals with their laptops open. They were looking at their screens, their watches and began making small talk with each other. I looked at the extended hand and the door knob I was supposed to grab, turn and open.
My appointment to talk about Declan’s transition to Kindergarten was at 2:00. This was the first meeting to discuss what services will need to be put in place for him in his new school setting. And here I stood at 2:20 looking at a door handle.
Had I said everything I needed to say?
Did he realize he was talking about my son, not a used car?
Did they all realize how important this meeting was to me?
Did they all know I had trouble sleeping the night before the meeting? That I was having a hard time concentrating on anything else right now?
Could they hear it in my uneven voice? The concerns I had?
For the first time ever Declan is excited for a transition. And I am sitting with my hands over my ears with my eyes squeezed shut, wishing the whole idea would just go away.
Declan is doing SO WELL at his preschool. He is happy. He is cooperative. He is hitting less. He is trying to learn.
And he is going to take the next step. KINDERGARTEN.
Declan is excited to go to a new school. He is excited to go to the same school as Catelyn.
Does he realize his teacher will be different? The other students will be different? I’m not sure.
I had taken notes of things I had wanted to discuss. I had tried to make sure I had painted a very accurate picture of Declan before a team went out to observe him in his school setting.
I have concerns of elopement. Of him hitting or hurting another student. I am concerned he will be teased. That he will be stressed. That he will become UNHAPPY.
In short, I am scared Declan’s emotional, physical and educational progress to this point will halt.
But the meeting moved so fast. Questions came at me so fast. I did not get to look at my notes.
So I did the only thing I could think to do. I turned and addressed the room one more time:
“I guess what I am trying to say, is that in the right environment, with the right supports we see what Declan is capable of. When you go to observe him, please recognize that you are seeing a child that has been in this same classroom, with the same teacher, speech therapist, occupational therapist, 1/1 aid for the past 3 years. He is doing VERY well in this environment. You are going to see the best version of Declan. Please recognize that when his environment changes, he may struggle. But when all the right supports are in place, you will be able to see what he is capable of. Thank you.”
“Of course” and “Thank you” hit the air, and I turned the handle that had waited so patiently to leave the room.
I got to my car and sat for a moment. I took a deep breath and calmed myself. I realized that none of us in that room knows what is going to happen next year. Given one support or 10 different services, we won’t know for sure all that Declan will need until he starts. I must believe we all want the same thing. For Declan to be safe. For those around him to be safe. That learning will take place.
And of course, I hope everyone will be happy.