4th grade here he comes

Yesterday at King Ben’s school there was a promotion/graduation ceremony. This was only for the autistic kiddos grades K-5. There are about 20 kiddos split into 2 classrooms.

His mama and I got there about 15 minutes before the start so we could get good seats. It wasn’t very crowded at first because not all parents are able to get off work or whatever. I saw Ben right away. His ginger hair is easy to spot. Unfortunately he also saw me right away and immediately wanted to leave the stage and come to me. He was sitting right next to his side and she did a great job talking to him and keeping him in his seat.

It was interesting for me to see all those kiddos up on the stage together. There was much hand flapping and noise making. One little boy jumped up and started trying to take his clothes off. Several of the kids were rocking. Some were covering their ears. I could tell they were all excited but becoming overwhelmed. The aides & teachers were doing a great job calmly trying to soothe or redirect them.

About 5 minutes before the start time 3 or 4 classes of NT noisily filed into the auditorium. They finally got settled and the ceremony began. None too soon I might add.

There was a slide show set to tear jerking music so of course I cried. Ben is going to be at the same school, in the same class next year for 4th grade. All the pictures of him in the slide show were so cute. I could tell he was happy and enjoying himself. I’m glad he’s at this school.

After the slideshow we found out why all the NT kids were there. Some of them were getting awards for being a “peer buddy”. They team up a NT kid with a ND kid during PE or ย Art classes to mentor and help. That is such a great idea for both groups of kiddos!

After the “buddy” awards the teacher went through the kiddos on stage as quick as she could because by this time they were all done. Too many people, too much noise, too much, too much, TOO MUCH! The NT classes were so supportive of the kiddos getting their certificates. They yelled out “way to go___” to several of them and started different clapping rhythms.

After the ceremony Ben wanted to come home so we signed him out and brought him home.

Today and 2 more days then Ben is out of school. He has a 4 week, 3 hour/day summer school class but I still dread summer. I’m so proud of how far he’s come and how well he’s doing. I love this school too. It seems that after all the problems we finally have a good fit!

31 thoughts on “4th grade here he comes

  1. Man do I wish I’d have had that kind of support system when I was in school. I unfortunately didn’t and everything from pre-school thru high school was sheer torture. I so do not miss those days.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Aww. I know how it is. Mine will be going into 10th, 8th, 6th and Kindergarten. ( 10th and 6th are my spectrum beauties) Amazing how fast they grow and all they learn. Finding the right fit in a school makes all the difference! Like Lynn there, I wish I’d had a better support system. But, it has given me a much deeper insight into what my kids need. Sounds like your Ben is doing great! I am so glad! ๐Ÿ˜€โคโค๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! I’m like you in coming from unsupportive to trying to do better. I guess the silver lining to my childhood is I know exactly what NOT to do. Ben is a charmer and has the whole school under his spell. He’s not “King Ben” for nothin ๐Ÿ˜‚๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ’–

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes, exactly! At least, we can learn what not to do for the next generation. He sounds sweet. I have some charmers myself, particularly my daughter. She is a friend to everyone. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you for sharing that special moment with us. Well done to King Ben and well done to you too. He’s blessed with such a supportive and loving family.

    And what a lovely school to have that system – peer buddies, a fabulous idea! I’m sure he’ll do well and have fun in the next grade. Our children have a way of surprising us and exceeding our expectations. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They sure do! He does his growth in ginormous leaps. He’ll go along for months and months then suddenly he’s doing 10 new things. No clues, no lead up, just boom!
      This school is a “magnet” school. What that means is it’s a public school that specializes. His school is a music & fine art magnet school. They have science, theater, sports magnet schools. There’s a long wait list for the NT kids to get into these schools. They still do the basics but everything they do has music or art mixed in. Plus they offer special instrument, singing, painting, photography…perfect for Ben.
      The peer buddy is a great way to expose the kids to each other. The NT kids learn about autism and are kinder and the ND kids get a special friend to help play with other NT kids.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. I’ve heard about the benefits of peer buddy in school. Unfortunately, whenever I hear the word ‘peer’, it is always accompanied by a touch of cynicism, part of which stems from the fact that I never had a great relationship with my peers. Those who treated me not so nicely were not only my peers, they were also in positions of power – class monitors and prefects. Hence, I don’t really associate peer with support. But that was just me and my school, I was taught just like everyone else, no additional support etc. The right school with the right support can make a difference and I’m glad you love Ben’s school!๐ŸŽŠ ๐ŸŽ‰
    I smile when I read the part about Ben wanting to come to you when he saw you. That’s sweet, I would have done the same too ๐Ÿ˜‡

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    1. Sometimes I would like to be less adored๐Ÿ˜• I crave alone time but Ben *must* have me with him at all times. Then the dog follows me everywhere. Even when I go to the bathroom, he sits outside the door. After Ben goes to bed & the dog is put in his room, the cat comes to me and must be petted. She’s a weirdo kitty that licks. Last night she tried to lay down on my head and face๐Ÿ˜ซ
      This “peer buddy” is set up to benefit both kids. They take a responsible but maybe shy NT kid & pair them with one of the ND kiddos. The NT buddy helps during PE or art or wherever. The NT kiddo feels good for helping out & gains confidence with the responsibility. The ND kiddo has a buddy to play with and “watch their back” while interacting with the other NT kids. I think it’s a fairly new idea and I think it’s awesome. It’s a win-win! Maybe less shy or “different” kids will have horrible school experiencesโœจ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ซ๐Ÿ’–

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks for the additional details, that does sound like a good idea. I did have a few classmates in school whom I’m closer with and they tend to be the shy quieter types. I guess they were my peer buddies in a way and we still keep in touch today!
        I’m sorry I laughed when I read about your weirdo kitty. Mine doesn’t lick nor lay down on my face but she does wait for me outside the bathroom door, I can hear her meowing when I’m in the shower. Hopefully, you can allocate some ‘me’ time in your schedule, perhaps a fixed time everyday so at least there’d be something you can look forward to each day โฐ No hugs or kisses this time, but sweet smelling flowers instead ๐ŸŒป ๐ŸŒผ ๐ŸŒธ ๐ŸŒบ

        Liked by 2 people

  5. That’s awesome! Way to go, Ben! The support buddies sound awesome! It sounds like Ben is enjoying his school and I am so happy you found a good place that makes you happy too! Ugh – summer. Declan’s last day is Thursday and then we have 3 weeks off until he starts his summer session. We all miss the school routine! I will be thinking of you and sending some prayers for smooth (sleep filled) weeks ahead ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Yay, that so great y’all ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ’
    So really glad to read your excitement ๐Ÿ‘
    Looks like hard work and not giving up make dreams come true ๐Ÿ‘
    Congratulations to Ben and to you Gran for being an inspiration.
    Classic autism is not my strong side and I’m really learning.
    Thank you ๐Ÿ’

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh wow, how cool! Thank you so much for sharing this precious part of your life with us ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜. This school sounds wicked awesome, and I’m so jazzed that The King has the opportunity to attend! The world has come a long way in a surprisingly short time! That had to have been too cool a sight to see all these cute little auties flapping happily ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—โค๏ธ. So glad he’ll be in the same classroom next year, too; it’s neat that there’ll be some comfortable familiarity. Congrats to The King!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’˜โ˜ฎโ˜ฏ๐ŸŒ ๐ŸŽ†๐Ÿ˜Ž๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’ซโ˜„๐Ÿ’•๐ŸŽ‡โ˜ฎ

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    1. They were definitely cute! I’d never seen so many together at one time (about 20) and they’re all about the same support level. One of the 5th grade boys that was graduating grabbed the mic from the teacher and just kinda roared. Everyone clapped harder so he did it again. It was so cute and the acceptance from everyone was heartwarming.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’ซ๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŒŸ

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hearing your story reminds me of some good times. Of course there were also challenging ones too and grateful those have passed.
    As you probably already know these kids do best w a schedule. Keep a routine for the summer as much as possible and lifr will go smoother.
    Mine has too much free time these days and he doesn’t have a set routine. Computer time is in overdrive yet I choose to not get involved and let him lead his own life. After all he is 24.
    If you want to read our story look up “Andrewtism” by Ken Smyth. Only avail on Smashwords so far, but well worth the few dollars. This book describes the early struggles of raising a son w autism from a dad’s perspective. Funny too. My husband is a great writer.
    Cheers to you grandma. You’re doing a great job.๐Ÿ„

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Summer is always the hardest. He’s super sensitive to high pressure and heat so we wind up stuck inside too often. I’m usually alone with him while his mama works and he’s too big & too fast for me to feel safe taking him out alone. He’s a runner๐Ÿ™ His Mama’s best friend just moved to a house with a swimming pool so I’m hoping to work something out with her. I’m going to look for that book! I love learning what worked or didn’t for other parents.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸŒท

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      1. Argh! Don’t stay cooped up in the house w Ben. That’s not the best idea.
        Can you find a taekwondo class (martial arts)? Those have structure and are rule based. My boy started classes when he was @ 11 yrs old. Now he teaches it and is a 3rd degree black belt.
        Or have him take piano lessons. My boy has a gift in this area as well.
        I needed to get him out and about so his video gaming didn’t make me cray cray.
        He has been my project for a long time, but now i need to cut the strings and let him fly.๐Ÿคพ๐Ÿพโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŽน๐ŸŽผ

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        1. We thought about martial arts. We’d need to find a teacher that understands autism. Ben is getting better at following instructions but I don’t think he would do well in a regular class. He definitely needs one on one. He’ll be 9 in Sept. He has ADHD also which makes it even more difficult for him to focus at times. We don’t give him meds for the ADHD, we tried once and it made him violent. He gets to try different musical instruments at his school and so far hasn’t shown any particular interest in any. We’re open to whatever he’s drawn to. He’s still only semi verbal so we do a lot of guessing & asking yes or no questions. I’m hoping we can set up some kind of schedule to go to his godmother’s swimming pool.
          It was easier to go places & do things when he was younger/smaller. I could hold onto him if he tried to run away or was thrashing in a meltdown. He’s just too big for me to do that now. I need someone else with me to help. His mama is going to try to take a leave of absence from her job for the month between the end of summer school & the start of 4th grade.
          Thank you for your suggestions. I appreciate it! I’m open to any ideas that have helped others.
          With a great mama like you, I’m sure your birdy will soar!!!๐Ÿ•Š๐Ÿ’ซโœจ๐Ÿ’–

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh my Goodness. Not being verbal is a huge challenge. Does Ben have Regional Center services? If not, look into it. They pay for a baby sitter a few hrs a week so you can get a break. It helped us a lot to know that Fri evenings we could go to dinner, etc…
            Yes. These kids bolt. Mine did too. One time my mother in law was in a mall with my Andrew and he took off! Luckily, a man grabbed him and brought him back to her. Not fun and very scary.
            I’m familiar w ADHD cause my oldest suffered from it. Quite a lot to handle. Getting him into some sort of exercise program will help. Do look into reading Andrewtism. I could send you a hard copy if you don’t have an ereader. My husband self published it,but i can get you a copy.
            I stayed home on and off for many years to manage my boy(s), as they both were handfuls. Thank Goodness they were 8 yrs apart in age.
            Other children w special needs have taken Taekwondo (rule based which they respond to) and done well. He became an expert with a bo staff.
            Music therapy worked well for a bit too. And piano lessons became a weekly routine. Boy Scouts was good for him as well. Even though a few tried to bully him, he learned leadership and out door survival skills that have helped him tremendously.
            Also look up the actor from Sat Night Fever John Travolta’s brother. He has a movie/ video / acting summer camp program for autistics which is free thru Regional Center.

            Andrew decided to take a road trip w another aspie this week and drive to Southern California. Yikes! I’m hoping they do okay.
            Keep up the good work Grandma. It’s going to work out in the end. One day/week at a time is how we roll…โ›บ๏ธ๐Ÿ“ฌ๐ŸŽง๐ŸŠ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคบ

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            1. Our experience with Regional Center wasn’t great. They basically told us that everything needs to go through insurance now. Sigh… I’m going to get that book, thanks for reminding me. I need to start putting Post Its up everywhere๐Ÿ˜• One day at a time…sometimes one hour at a time๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for all your suggestions and advice.๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŒŸ
              I’m in Southern California. I hope your son & his friend enjoy their trip to my area๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒด๐Ÿ˜Ž

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