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September 3, 2014 at 8:00pm est. I literally saw music notes flutter to my ears!

Yes I will explain! At 8:00pm we start Isabella’s bedtime routine. It usually takes some coaxing and reward offer to get her to cooperate quietly but not on this wonderful evening! I simply asked “Isabella are you ready for bed? ” and her response was “Mommy can we go potty and brush my teeth? I have to go to school tomorrow.” I wasn’t completely sure I was awake because I really didn’t think I would hear those words come from her mouth especially considering the nightmare of a teacher we had last year at a different school. (More on that in another post don’t want to ruin this glorious moment! ) I hugged her tightly mostly to hide my tears. They were happy tears but I didn’t want her to think I was sad.

So the only conclusion I can come up with is the teacher this year is above all happy to be working with Special Needs children and Isabella can feel her love, patience and compassion. She is trained to understand certain behaviors and doesn’t belittle the children for behaviors they can yet control. She doesn’t yell at them to get their cooperation (which in our case would start a back and forth fight last year with that awful teacher) And most of all she understands that when a meltdown is happening the best thing to do is clear the room to remove the sensory overload of and for the other children. And then just 1 person is there to help her through the meltdown.

My humble advice to anyone searching for preschool/school is to interview the teacher. Ask some tough questions and demand the answers make sure everything is covered in the IEP! Very important questions would be 1- How long have you been teaching special needs. (This is THE most important answer anything less than I was an assistant in a special needs environment for 5 years is a major red flag!) 2- How will you communicate with my nonverbal child? 3- In the event of a meltdown how will you handle calming my child down? 4- Could you show me your classroom? And make sure to have the teacher point out where the quite area will be such as tent or shelves that form a separation from the rest of the class with maybe just a soft pillow or blanket.

Do you have any experiences that you could share to someone going to their 1st IEP meeting? Or any suggestions on how you have been able to ease the transition into school?