In just three weeks from today, I will nervously drive my five-year-old into the parking lot of your school. I will hesitate to unbuckle her while she kicks and sobs and fights me. I will watch other parents take pictures of their sweet babies with brand new shoes and sparkly backpacks while they’re cheesin’ next to the front door.
You will already know she has been diagnosed with ASD, but when I’m coaxing [maybe pleading] her into the classroom, please don’t be nervous. I assure you… while these first moments of the day will be the hardest, you’ll quickly see past anxious-angry-terrified Lucy and see her kindness, humor, and her big heart.
Let her be different- like all of your other kiddos. Remember that she will always be different, but never less. She won’t want to be the line leader or be the first to solve addition problems. She may never want to do silly games or play with the other children. Encourage her. Encourage her. Encourage her.
Don’t be offended when she doesn’t want to say “good morning” at drop-off. Don’t get discouraged when she says “I don’t like school!” When she refuses to participate, don’t take it personally. It will happen. Let it roll off your shoulders and hope for a positive day.
Remember that in three weeks when I come into your classroom with red and puffy eyes, I am handing over my most prized possession. I am entrusting you with this tiny little person who has filled my entire heart. I will count down the hours-minutes-seconds until she’s in my arms again, while you are broadening her mind with stories and numbers and turn-taking.
We will be an incredible team- you and I. Working together to make this child’s future so very bright. The priceless lessons that you teach her, I will reinforce at home. I promise to work with you in order to best serve her.
And lastly, thank you.
Thank you for your time. Thank you for hugs, your caring heart and firm voice. Thank you for passionately teaching kids- one of the most important jobs there is!
Good luck. She’s a peach.