We’ve been bracing ourselves for a tough transition for Schuyler. Since she started her AAC class in elementary school, she’s been on a transfer path with her classmates, the idea being that she would have a group of students familiar with her weird and wondrous ways that would accompany her through to the end. But it didn’t quite work out that way, for a number of reasons, and so when she transitions to senior high school (11th and 12th grade; I know, it’s weird), she’ll be going to a school that is almost certainly a better match for her, but will have very few of her previous classmates attending with her.
For her junior year in high school, Schuyler will be introduced to a whole new population, none of whom will know quite what to make of her. It’s probably safe to say that her social anxiety is ramped up to eleven. And yesterday, she faced this new reality for the first time at her new senior high school band’s first percussion camp.
She was scared. No, she was terrified, and I’d be lying if I claimed to feel otherwise.
I’ll save you the drama. When we picked her up yesterday afternoon, Schuyler was happy. She made a few friends, she used her iPad and her speaker to talk, which was deemed “really cool” by her new classmates, and while hot and exhausted, she declared the day “fun but kind of hard”. I’ll take that.
There are going to be more of these moments, both in her new school and eventually in the big, chaotic world. She’s going to apply for jobs where accommodations aren’t a given. She’ll have independent interactions in a world that won’t exactly know what to do with her. Schuyler’s difference is beautiful. But it’s also complicated.
I don’t know, though. At the risk of cracking my outer curmudgeon shell, I’m thinking that it might not be so terrible. Schuyler will have stumbles, of course. But after seeing how she stepped up yesterday, I’m beginning to dare to think that perhaps she won’t be eaten alive in a few years.
Which, you know, is good.
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