A New School Year: Time to Check your Thinking

It's that time of year!  The words "Back to School" ring loud in the ears of parents, students and educators. Schools, families, businesses and communities are hearing the rally cry and readying themselves for the inauguration of a new school year!! Some are celebrating the new start and others are bracing for a new year and the anxiety about the unknown.

As we busy ourselves with back to school shopping and a return to more routine in our daily lives, I think it is equally important to prepare emotionally and mentally as adults who love and/or work with students with autism. It is well documented that our mental attitude and our thoughts play a huge role in shaping our reality.


Time for a Check on your Thinking…

Is your mind harboring resentment about what resources you don’t have?

Are you going into the year in 'fight mode?'

Are you ‘stewing in your own juice’ about the lack of support your child with autism will have or the demands of his needs?

Are you PRE worrying about how you will meet the child’s needs or cope with the behavioural challenges that often come with autism?

As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for you?”

I am not denying that the situation is probably less than ideal, maybe, it even stinks…but let’s face it, much of your stress is OUT OF YOUR CONTROL.

Twenty-six years of teaching and twenty -two years of parenting have taught me some ways to change my thinking (and I still need to remind myself to do so):

1. Take inventory of what you CAN CHANGE.

  • Your autism knowledge
  • Your classroom set up
  • Your end of the relationship with the parent or teacher
  • Your words, tone, actions in advocating for resources
  • Your words about the teacher/school/ parent, and so on…words are powerful!

2. Now let’s look at what is NOT IN YOUR CONTROL:

  • School board policies
  • Budgets
  • Teacher/Parent personality, outlook, mindset
  • Time
  • Human resources
  • Waiting lists

So now what?

3. Do what you can, where you can and CHOOSE to be positive.

Catch yourself moaning, groaning, bitching and complaining. NO ONE wants to hear it. We all carry heavy burdens or troubles. Would you want to hang around people who are speaking as you do? Check yourself…do you feel UPLIFTED and INSPIRED by someone who dumps on you? Are you the one dumping on someone else? 

Smile. Laugh. Look for the opportunity to grow, learn and make someone’s day brighter….even your own! Stop yourself from cycling into the downward spiral of negativity and hopelessness. 

Talk to others. Let’s be clear, however, in no way should you be dumping all of your angst and misery on others. Seek those who may be able to help you to view a challenge from a different perspective, offer varying insights or solutions that may not have occurred to you.

The school year is fresh and it is time to leave past failures and frustrations behind. Dragging the past into this new school year is pointless and counterproductive. Again...check your words...are you recalling the past in what you say?  

I am not asking anyone to be ignorant of reality or "pie in the sky" thinkers. However, I am a firm believer in the power of expecting good things and positive relationships. We will find what we seek.

The days that lie before you and I are a gift. The people and events that will come into your life this school year will offer opportunities to grow, expand and build our character – who we are and how we show up in this world. You and I may not be able to control much of what life hands us, but, we are always in control of what we choose to think and how we choose to respond.

Here's to a a rich and growth-filled school year,





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