So, I think - I hope - msk has found a place to spend his middle school years. I haven't wanted to jump to any conclusions. And I know that there's going to be some tough times over those three years. But, I'm starting to relax, at least a little bit.
It's hard to not be apprehensive, because this is such a big transition. Middle schools are huge - they've only got three grades, but this school is twice as big as the elementary school he was in last year. Twice as big with only half as many grades, so that means four times as many kids per grade. And this age - adolescence and puberty - it's pretty super charged. I've noticed it with msk. There are no more breaks for the slightly odd-seeming child. He's a youth now. There are a lot more disapproving glances. And his new classmates? They're just not all that cuddly; they can even be a little scary if you don't look too close.
More than a few people with special needs kids have moved them out of an inclusion setting at middle school. There were stories of teasing and unhappiness and separate classes that had no meaningful interactions with "mainstream" classes. I’ve heard of fights and lawyers and non-public placements or homeschooling. Those are directions that really aren't too good for msk. Scary stuff.
But after meeting with msk's teachers I know the feeling of this new school is welcoming. Msk is included into the shifting grouping of about 125 sixth graders. He gets some special education pull-out services to help him achieve some academic goals, but mainly he's included. The teachers are very positive. They're open to trying to do things a little differently. They already see a positive impact on his classmates - they're learning about being open-minded. His classmates are always saying hi and including him, even though eye contact and responses from him are pretty limited. They've reached out and given him a chance and they seem to genuinely like him.
It feels great to just take a short break from the worrying.
Of course there's always room to worry about the 14 and 16 year old girls that live in my house... no need looking for trouble, I guess.