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Terri Mauro
BY Terri Mauro

First Missing Accommodation, First Note Home, and More School-Year Firsts for Parents of Students with Special Needs

First day. First week. First day off. First hundred days. The school year is full of firsts. Of course, if you’re the parent of a student with special needs, chances are you’re going to chalk up some additional firsts on top of those. Check these off as you go along, and throw yourself a party when you hit them all. Or maybe just go lie down in a dark room.

50 school-year firsts for parents of kids with special needs

  1. First missing accommodation
  2. First promise you know the school’s not going to be able to keep
  3. First note home from the teacher with a problem
  4. First day your child comes home upset and you don’t know why
  5. First day the bus is late coming home and you’re in a panic
  6. First morning you’re not ready when the bus comes
  7. First tears over homework
  8. First note explaining why homework didn’t get done
  9. First call from the principal
  10. First call to the principal
  11. First cutting comment from a child-study-team member
  12. First professional telling you they know your child better than you do
  13. First “we don’t do that here”
  14. First kindly school staff member telling you something you’re not supposed to know
  15. First exclusion by the other moms
  16. First packet of notes on some topic to teacher
  17. First rant to your spouse about something happening at school
  18. First night of lost sleep
  19. First arranged playdate between your child and the child of another friendly mother
  20. First order of fancy adaptive writing tools from an OT catalog
  21. First conferences with the OT, PT, and speech therapists
  22. First one there at back-to-school night so you can question the teacher
  23. First day your kid doesn’t want to go to school
  24. First day you don’t want your kid to go to school
  25. First notebook to fall apart because your fidgety kid has unwound the spiral
  26. First emergency trip to school to bring something from home
  27. First emergency trip to a school supply place to buy that thing your child never told you was needed
  28. First call from the school nurse
  29. First request to pick up your child early
  30. First trip to the bookstore to do research on this year’s particular problem
  31. First frustrated post on an Internet message board
  32. First faint feeling of hope that this might be a good school year after all
  33. First wave of dread that in fact, it’s going to be the Worst Year Ever
  34. First missing school supply that your child can’t tell you what happened to
  35. First conversation with a gym or specials teacher who is clueless about your child’s IEP
  36. First realization that speech, PT, or OT is not being delivered as it should be
  37. First artwork coming home that looks like it was done by a paraprofessional
  38. First time you’re hearing about school activities that your child has not been included in
  39. First field trip for you to attend as Class Helicopter Parent
  40. First field trip for you to worry desperately about from home
  41. First time considering sneaking a recording device in your child’s clothing
  42. First gripe session with other parents about things going on in the classroom
  43. First realization that maybe the kid other parents think is a problem is yours
  44. First time catching the school doing inclusion wrong
  45. First IEP violation
  46. First veiled threat by the school
  47. First utterance by a school staff member for your Can you believe they said THAT? collection 
  48. First battle chosen
  49. First decision to live to fight another day
  50. First day scouring the Internet for humor posts to make you laugh through your frustration

What firsts are you marking right now?


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Terri Mauro

Written on August 17, 2017 by:

Terri Mauro is a former blog manager for Friendship Circle and Parenting Special Needs guide for About.com. She is the author of 50 Ways to Support Your Child's Special Education and The Everything Parents Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder. You can read more of her work on her website Mothers With Attitude and listen to her every weekday on the Parenting Roundabout Podcast. Terri has two children with special needs adopted from Russia in 1994.
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