Back to School Stress Outs

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

I.E.P.  504 Accommodation Plan.  SLT, OT, PT and Vision Therapy.  GERMS.  We escape all of this for ten weeks, every summer.  We still work on retaining skills over the break and work hard to battle regression; we NEVER STOP WORKING.

However, its relieving to feel the stress level and time demands eased when school’s out for summer.

While routine is vital in our household and I’m definitely glad to now be back in the swing of things, the end of summer is always somewhat bittersweet. That initial stress of back-to-school never gets easier.

Having one child with profound special needs in traditional public school, and one child on the Autism Spectrum attending an online homeschool program, our back-to-school experience is anything but typical.  In the weeks leading up to the return to school, it seems we always have a fight on our hands.

The fight to retain critical services and to remain in integral programs never evades us.  As a parent of children with additional needs, I always keep my boxing gloves on and I’ve learned to be ready for unexpected battles.

Homeschool became our best choice for my son years ago, when sixth grade began.  He transitioned to middle school and ZERO of his accommodations/supports were in place for him.  The ball was dropped and I refused to let him suffer because of that.  The result is a happier, well-adjusted ninth grader that loves learning from home.  There is the occasional stress-out for me when he’s struggling with Latin lessons because I’m clueless on the subject! Luckily, he has online teachers and virtual resources that help him succeed.

The first week back for my daughter is always a bit nerve-wracking.  We have the BEST teacher and she attends a wonderful school, but I find it tough every year to let go.  On the first day, her pink unicorn book bag is well-stocked.  Not with notebooks, pencils, glue sticks or paper…Hers is filled with diapers, orthotics, seizure medication, rescue meds, and calming lavender oil.  Essentials I can’t let her out of my sight without.

As I drop her off and walk away, I can’t help but stress out a little on those first few days of the new school year.

After living in our “bubble” for a season, and having limited exposure to crowds of people, I know it won’t be long until she catches a cold.  Weeks of good health, months without sickness will surely soon come to an end. That alone is reason to stress out.  There hasn’t been as much as a sneeze all summer.

We’ve learned to start working on building her immune system ahead of time and we cross our fingers in the months to come for continued illness-free days.

With one child away at school all day and one at home with me, we’ve all settled back into our routines fairly quickly.  The back-to-school stress-outs have calmed.  Even though we’re always prepared for unexpected bumps in the road, for the moment, everyone is content and happily thriving.  We’re all working hard and we look forward to a fabulous school year!


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