I Hope They’re Nice

I’m a fairly laid back mom. I roll with a situation because if there is one thing I’ve learned in my almost seven year parenting journey is that NOTHING will go as planned.

If it does, I usually listen extra carefully because I’m sure the apocalypse or Jesus are coming.

One thing that special needs parenting in particular has taught me is that you need to have a plan months in advanced and while making that plan you should probably make plans B-Z because there’s a chance that what ends up working out is a collaboration of all those plans. I become a little less laid back about that. 

When you have a differently abled child things get planned well in advance.

For example, we had an IEP meeting last October to tell our school district that Whitman would not be attending in November when he turned six and he’d be staying in the program he was in. During that meeting we made plans for Whitman to start a transition phase into mainstream schooling in March that would go through May. We were confident that he’d be in a mainstream Kindergarten classroom and I had requested the teacher I wanted.

The school district has been phenomenal but plans change.

When making plans B-Z though..Global Pandemic was not on my list.

But was it really on anybody’s? 

We are now looking at special education as Whitman’s source for Kindergarten. We hope that that changes pending a new rescheduled IEP meeting in which we have a whole team phoning in to advocate for Whit. I felt like someone on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. I’m phoning in all my friends. By friends I mean Whit’s team at his rehab facility where his school is and my mom because you really can’t get through life without your mom, and the fact that she has a degree in special education is an added bonus. 

We recently received the schools reopening plan and are semi ok with it. I didn’t really get a good nights rest or feel relief after reading it but I also didn’t grab my megaphone and go to the superintendents house and protest.

There were plenty of positives: hybrid learning with review dates to see if we’ll go to five days a week. All in services and two hour delays postponed for the semester. If you are like me, that got a hallelujah! I’ve been known to go to school on a two hour delay start and wait, wondering why no one was there. There is no shame in my hot mess mom game.

Most importantly, 3rd grade and under won’t have to wear masks. They will just be introduced but not enforced. So I don’t have to worry about Whitman flinging his mask off like Kanye would..his little arms up in the air like he just doesn’t care, because well…he doesn’t. 

Then I got to the part of the new normal that hit me in my gut. The first part discussed was that parents are not permitted in the building. As a mom, I wanted to obnoxiously take the pictures of the classroom and see where Whit’s desk would be…interview or maybe interrogate the children he’d be sitting next to. I had hoped that I could let them know that Whit is nice he just has autism and apraxia and that makes talking hard. He’s cool though he gets to speak with an iPad.

It just seems super anticlimactic.

I went from “Goodbye Whit..knock’em dead in Kindergarten..change the world Boo.”

To…

Standing in a little square outside of the school.

Where will my banner fit?

The thing that hit me the hardest, the thing that will and has kept me up at night is that cafeteria seating will be assigned. All I kept thinking while reading that part of the plan, with tears streaming down my face, was I hope they sit him with people who are nice. This world is crazy. Tik Tok made it okay to make fun of people with Autism and I’m sure there’s a trickle down effect to our children. I hope they place Whitman at a table where the kids try to include him in the conversation even though he’s a man of few words.

I hope that if he would need help they would help him.

And as a mom I want nothing more than for Whitman to make a friend at the cafeteria lunch table. I have so many memories of giggles and things at the lunch table growing up but I got to pick my seat and find my people.

My mama heart hopes and prays that whatever you believe God, fate, or the universe finds Whitman his people and he has a great experience.

The heartbreaking thing about all of this is that if the kids are mean I’ll never know because I’m not allowed in the building to check to see and Whitman is so sweet mannered that he wouldn’t act out or know enough to tell someone if he was being bullied.

Covid has changed so many plans in 2020.

I’m very much a glass half full, silver lining type of person who is always quick with a joke, sarcastic comment, or the bright side look but the cafeteria table set up has me so worried.

I hope they’re kind.

I hope Whitman soars because of the cafeteria table. I hope that he learns from his peers.

But more importantly, his peers learn from him. 

Written by, Lindsey E. Althaus

Lindsey is a mom, wife, and blogger at The Althaus Life. She lives in Ohio with her husband and 2 children. Her son Whitman is 6 and has Autism, Apraxia, and Epilepsy. Genevieve is 3 and is the life of the party always keeping Lindsey and Jeremy on their toes. Lindsey is grateful all things and to be able to chronicle her beautifully broken laugh til you cry cry until you laugh life.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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