Well, after the open house for Janey's summer school, I didn't have a lot of hope about it. However, after two days, I'm feeling much better about things.
I got an amazingly wonderful offer of help from one of Janey's teachers, Ms. Allie. She offered to go on her own time with Janey to the first day of summer school. I am really not sure if I would have even sent Janey without this offer---I was considering not sending her. But knowing she would be with someone who knows her well and loves her, it was worth a try. I talked to Janey all weekend about school, about Ms. Allie and about how it was just for the summer. I don't know what Janey understood, as I never do, but she didn't cry at all when we were in the parking lot. As we got out of the car, she saw Ms. Allie, and she never looked back. I stayed with her for about an hour, and then left, and when I picked her up, she was truly as happy looking as I've ever seen her in her life.
I had and have some concerns about the physical plant of the school. It's housed in a falling apart high school, and Janey is on the 2nd floor. The floor is open to the 1st floor in the hall, kind of like a hotel lobby. The spaces between the horizontal bars along the hallway are about 8 inches---too wide an opening. Janey would not be a climber, and is good about holding hands, but I fear for other kids. I called the special ed department to express my concerns, and got some of a non-committal answer, but I felt better that I did tell someone.
The teacher and two aides assigned to Janey's room add to my incredible lucky streak with Boston teachers. They all seem great---they seem to love Janey, to love kids in general and to understand autism.
The strange thing---there were supposed to be 10 kids in Janey's class. Only 2 have showed up so far---Janey and another boy from her class during the regular year. They added another boy today not originally on the list. That's one heck of a ratio, but I wonder about the other kids---why aren't they coming? I think the buses are very messed up, and perhaps the general reputation of the summer program, which in past years was not good, scared them off. I could have been one of those not showing up, and I'm glad I didn't get scared off.
Janey was wildly happy again today when I picked her up, and one of the aides told me she had used the potty to pee in! I almost flipped. She cried in the car on the way home, and it was quite apparent she didn't want to leave. Tonight, another huge surprise---Janey was fussy, and I was talking to her about her day, and said "You really like summertime school, don't you?" She paused and said clear as day "Summertime school is the best!" Tony and I just looked at each other in awe. She doesn't ever say things like that. I've never, ever heard her make that kind of statement when it wasn't direct or indirect echolalia.
So, I hold my breath, but for now, it looks like summer school is a hit.