New year, new routines


A new school year brings new routines. But with autism, change is hard, and sometimes scary, for both of us.

Third grade is supposed to be more independent, less hand holding. But whose hand shouldn't be held as much, his or mine?

Letting go is hard, especially when the last few years have required so much assistance, it's hard to know when it's OK to back off without negative consequences. He wants to do his morning school routine independently, but he also wants to know that I'm there if he needs me. My presence is grounding for him. And I'm not quite ready to completely step away and leave him to fend for himself. I need to know that he's off to a good start, otherwise I'll worry all day.

So our morning compromise that's feeling right for both of us right now: he lines up with his class and goes in on his own while I hang back. Once they are in, I head up and stand outside his door while he unpacks. When he's done putting his things away and settled at his desk he gives me a thumbs up, I wave and blow a kiss, and I go. My staying tells him that I've got his back and I'm there if he needs me, but my distance tells him that I know he can do it. His thumbs up tells me that he's happy and his needs are met, and I can leave without worry. We part with us both feeling confident that the day is off to a good start.