Autism and High School: What to Do When the Honeymoon Period Is Over


Remember my son TJ’s fantastic start to high school? Where he was so happy and excited, and my husband and I breathed a huge sigh of relief? Remember that?

Well, we shall now refer to that as “the honeymoon period.” And baby, it’s over.

How could I have forgotten about the honeymoon period? That amazing week or two when I actually think we’re in the clear?

Right after the honeymoon period comes reality. And it comes crashing in. And every time it comes crashing in, I wonder to myself, How could I have been so foolish to think we were all set?

After the honeymoon period is where the real work begins.

Last week I met with TJ’s new school team – his teachers, his instructional assistants and his special educator, who I think we should now refer to as our saving grace.

Talk about a rude awakening. TJ’s behavior in class had regressed to that of his former sixth-grade self.

That’s when the light bulb went off – he’s stressed. I had no idea how stressful this new school beginning was for him. TJ doesn’t communicate these feelings with words as much as he does with his behavior. He would never admit his stress level to anyone, as he’s so eager to please everyone. But after gathering all the input from the school staff, the problem was clear.

I was sad. But only for a second. Then I was relieved…thank God we have the problem targeted. Now we can start to solve it!

And solve it we are, as a team. Clear communication and lots of it. New folder systems so homework assignments are not missed. Bi-monthly meetings with his special educator so we can touch base on our home and school progress. Emails, emails, emails.

That time after the honeymoon period used to make me feel so sad, as if I had somehow failed as a parent. Now I am empowered by it, fueled with information to give my boy the greatest chance at success.

I guess you can say we both have grown a lot, my TJ and I. And we’re both still learning. Every day.

This post originally appeared on I Don’t Have a Job.

Read more from Lauren Jordan on The Mighty:
When I Had to Follow the Same Advice I Give My Son With Autism
What This Popular Story About Disability Doesn’t Tell You About Disability

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