Preparing Matthew for a new school year 2009-2010

As September approaches we are set for a new school year for our son. Matthew will be starting a new school at Salk Middle school after spending 4 years at his previous school of Summit Lane. It will be a new change for him and we will have to transition him into the new school with lots of assistance. You really don’t realize how many people are involved in your child’s education until you attend a board meeting and see all the attendees. As Hillary Rodham Clinton has said profoundly in her writings “It takes a Village to raise a child.” It is true that there are so many people involved in the educational process of your child. We are eagerly awaiting Matthew’s transition and hope that it will be a smooth one as we know he resists change and this will be very new to him.

We are hopeful and we know our son will be fine as we have to believe that and also let him know that he should believe that as well. Matthew is very bright and he is aware and knows that he is starting a new school. He has expressed sadness in that he will miss his classmates but it should be a step up for him and hopefully it will be more challenging to him so he will be more involved and interested. In his former school he felt like he was held back and that would explain his regression and poor behavior. Matthew needs a support system and structure and a one on one aide to help him. He will not have the benefit of being mainstreamed as he still needs individualized attention and I’m in no rush to push him. I want him to gradually be exposed to a larger class setting and personally I feel the more intimate the class size the better it is for him. In time hopefully he will be mainstreamed but for now we want him to feel comfortable.

I know when I attended school I had 50 kids in my class and I was shy but it was a different time and I had to manage. I was also lucky because I had devoted teachers that recognized my weaknesses and they worked together with my mom to help me. This is what we want for Matthew. We want dedicated teachers who will recognize Matthew’s strengths and weaknesses and advise us so we can develop a plan to help him and address the weaknesses and reinforce his strengths. We want Matthew to attain his grade level and exceed it if possible. As parents we always want to see our children excel and do their best and we want them to also have an active social life and benefit from full participation. School is a setting where sometimes we have difficult days or anxiety and we want Matthew to feel relaxed and not be burdened with worries or fears. Sometimes I wish I could be there with him in spitit and help guide him through the difficult moments but that is why they have teachers and we have to rely on them and trust them because they play a significant role in our son’s education. We are encouraged with the new school Matthew is starting and will maintain regular communication with the staff to make sure Matthew is transitioning well and we will take one day at a time and always talk to our son and make him aware that he should not be afraid to share his feelings as we need him to express how he is doing and how his classroom experiences are. We hope he will have classmates that are on his level and will bring out the best in him. We want Matthew to try to grasp the concept of learning to work independently and also cooperatively and to try to learn to take initiative and not be passive.

We also want Matthew to make progress and to feel confident and develop his self esteem. We don’t want to see poor behavior and we don’t want to see any suspensions. That was my biggest complaint about Summit Lane was that the principal of the school, Dr. Sally Evans treatment of Matthew knowing he is autistic was incomprehensible and very frustrating as she suspended my son from school and the bus at least a dozen times which to me makes me feel she is inept in her treatment of special needs children and she should be disciplined for her poor treatment of a special needs child who needs to have his self esteem built up rather than torn apart. I am very optimistic for Matthew now that he is no longer in her school. She was not understanding and she exhibited a mean disposition.

Maria and I welcome the new school year and we anticipate positive growth and development from our son and I will chronicle his experiences on the blog and allow him to write as well so you can get to know Matthew as he is very special and you all will grow to enjoy getting to know him. He loves to write as much as I do and probabaly more so as writing for me is relatively new. I was never much for writing in the past but as I said before I am writing for my son because he means the world to me!

Good Luck Matthew in the new school year! We are behind you and will support you every step of the way! Just remember to have patience and as my dad would always say to me Be Cool, Calm and Collected and always bloom where you are planted. This was always sound advice from my dad.

Love You always!

Edward D. Iannielli III
Maria Jesusa Gonzales Iannielli

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