First Day Back To School With a Traumatic Brain Injury

I have to say, I am really proud of Emma's behavior over the summer.  She's really shown a lot of maturity and has really worked hard to make really good choices.  I was cringing at the thought of returning to school because it's a huge change and changes (aka transitions) are always a hard time for somebody with a traumatic brain injury like Emma's. She not only had the changes of switching from her summer program with respite to school but also, she's switching rooms at her after school program (she was in her old room for almost four years!).  How did the first day back go?
As expected.  Sigh.

1.  The school bus came to pick her up.  Same driver as last year- Yay! Love her! She was so awesome, so I was really glad to see her as the bus driver.  However, she had a new aide.  That means Emma will try and get a feel for her by pushing buttons.  She was already whiny but when the aide came off the bus and was wearing gloves (the latex-y/medical kind.  She was wearing them because she was cleaning up a seat)- Emma freaked out.  She's deathly afraid of them because she correlates them with the hospitals.  It took awhile to get her calmed down enough to get her on the bus and she sniffled and cried the entire time.  Sigh.

2.  Apparently the school day went really well! yay! That's relatively easy- same teachers she has had for the last few years.

3.  Her after school program.  Sigh..................  First, she refused to sit down on the transport van. Then when she got to program, she was upset because she couldn't go to the old room and then she was upset because her former one-on-one didn't walk her to the van. Expletives came flying.  She was mean.  She was refusing to do a single thing asked of her.

I told her that yesterday was a free pass because it was the first day back BUT I reiterated all the rules to her once again.

How I prepare my child with a traumatic brain injury for back to school 

I literally start preparing her for back to school THREE weeks ahead of the return date.
I get her in a routine that mimics getting ready for school, I get her up at the same time every day, etc.
I start reminding her a week ahead of time about the changes in environment and try to get her as prepared as possible so that way it's not as much of a shock.

What I failed to do yesterday morning was reiterate all the rules before getting on the bus.
I literally go over the school bus rules, then the rules for school , the rules for the UCP van and the rules for UCP.

They're all the same rules:
1. Listen to the adults
2. Follow directions.
3. Make good choices.
4. Be a good friend.
5. Use nice words and hands.
6. Be awesome.
7.  Throw the angry away and if you feel angry, tell an adult you need to take a break.

I literally repeat these rules for EACH step of her day: bus. school. van. program.

Welcome back to school! LOL

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