My daughter transitioned into a school in the 4J school district in 2013. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic team! My daughter experiences autism, and during the transition process, her whole team showed up: staff from her daycare, the autism consultant, her teacher, and all the staff involved from the school district (school psychologist, autism specialist, OT, and special education teacher). They offered a placement at her neighborhood school and another school close by. The alternate school offered more supports for children who experience autism, so we chose that one.

Once children move from an IFSP to an IEP, the family piece drops out. You really feel that missing piece in the first year. Foe example, accessing resources is more challenging, and my daughter’s service coordinator only coordinates her needs in the classroom. I miss the home visits and all the parent education I received from EI/ECSE. While my child’s first year of Kindergarten was challenging, I advocated for her needs, found resources I could use, and consulted with other parents who had been through the process. I found their stories especially helpful and encouraging.

My daughter is now in first grade, and we have worked out many of the kinks. She’s in a classroom with her peers with appropriate supports. I really believe she is so successful because of the advocacy from my family, school teachers, and specialists.

Kindergarten transitions can be most stressful for the family – I remember thinking “She’s not ready!” Actually, she was. It was ME who wasn’t ready. With this in mind, I recommend that you access advocacy resources (for example, your family, other families, community resources, and EI/ECSE staff), and do regular check-ins at school. Since I take my daughter to school every morning, I have an opportunity to connect with teachers, school staff, and other children in the classroom. I am very happy with her placement, and feel that she is very well supported due to my diligence of being involved with the school and help from the community.