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Walking towards independence

Posted by: Marita on: February 3, 2014

Last year we had ongoing challenges with Heidi going to her classroom in the morning, if she felt I had not said goodbye properly, or could not see me when the morning bell rang she would fall to pieces and get very distressed. At least once a week a parent/teacher/aide would be helping a crying Heidi find me to say goodbye.

Usually we would get to school in the morning, I would say goodbye to Annie who ran off to her classroom and Heidi would wander off to her classroom at the same time. All it took for Heidi to get upset was me to be out of eye sight when she felt it was goodbye time, no matter if I had already made every effort to say goodbye earlier.

So this year we are working, very slowly on Heidi going to her classroom independently and saying goodbye when I drop her off, not 5, 10, 15 minutes later (depending on what time we’ve arrived that day).

I’ve started parking the car a block away from school, which reduces the challenge of finding a parking space during peak time. Both girls are aware that the end of year goal is for them to walk from the car to school, by themselves. Annie pointed out she could do this already and I agreed she could, but Heidi needs our support.

First step is that I’m walking with the girls, but stopping at the school office, which is handily next to Heidi’s classroom. I will say goodbye there and Heidi walks into the room by herself.

Heidi’s aides and teachers are aware of this big step as well, often in the past I’ve spoken to aides/teachers in the morning before the bell rang. We are all going to be diligent about filling in the communication book daily, especially important as Heidi has two aides who work different days and two teachers who work different days.

I think it will be a whole term of walking to the office and saying goodbye from there, so many other things to get used to in term 1 so I don’t want to push our luck.

After that I will walk the girls to the school gate and say goodbye there, then walk them across the road from the car and final huge step, they cross the road by themselves (yay for school crossing supervisors :D ).

Baby steps, we can adapt and change, make the steps smaller or bigger as needed. I’m just thrilled at this point that Heidi is open to the idea.

9 Responses to "Walking towards independence"

Good luck with it Marita – I’ve had similar struggles in the past with Matilda struggling to get off to school without tears and upset every morning. Your plan sounds just right – hoping that Heidi becomes more comfortable with the goodbye ritual and that you can work towards her independently walking to school.

Thank you :)

I hope Matilda settles in to the school year soon, so hard for everyone when kids are tearful and upset about school.

Hope you have a good school year with all the changes. With all the planning you have done I am sure you will reach your goals. I forgot to ask 2 different High Schools their meeting points for the first day of school today so it’s going to be Bluetooth on and phone calls to admin on the way :)

Thank you :) I hope the high school pick ups ended up going smoothly.

What a huge step. Well done to Heidi being receptive to the idea. I hope it goes well for you all.

Thank you. So far so good :)

Getting excited about reading more. Great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

Thank you :)

[…] get to school and Heidi goes to class while I wait at the office. Then I go to talk to our canteen manager, we need to collect our order a bit early as Heidi has […]

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