Home > Top Ten > Top Ten: Ways a Special Needs School Tour Can Go Wrong

Top Ten: Ways a Special Needs School Tour Can Go Wrong

Today’s Top Ten was going to be a spoof. I needed a topic and my sister and I were joking around this weekend about the Top Ten Questions My Christmas Tree Should’ve Asked Before Moving In. But after this morning, there is no doubt in my mind as to what my Top Ten will be.

In an effort to jumpstart my school review series (coming soon!) while simultaneously demonstrating why it has taken so long to get up and running, I thought I would dedicate this Top Ten to the disastrous school tour I just returned home from. Only on planet Special Needs is one required to regularly attend open houses in order to find the right middle school for their fifth grader – I’m not kidding, it’s like applying to college but much less organized.

Today’s tour was at my first private special needs school (up until today I had been focusing on public options) – this one is located quite a distance from our apartment. Though tours are sometimes rescheduled at the last minute or start late, the Top Ten Ways A Special Needs School Tour Can Go Wrong promptly began:


1. Due to unforeseeable circumstances I was left bringing both babies to the tour this morning. Enough said.

2. I then had the pleasure of lugging said babies to drop James off at school, followed by shuttling them onto 3 subways and a bus.

3. Once above ground we got to tour around the school’s neighborhood. Alot. We entered 3 separate buildings before finally finding the middle school office. At which point I was kindly directed to the main building where the tour actually started, back on the main road.

4. Two minutes into the tour, Adam pooped. Alot. Not a bathroom or changing table in sight. Hope he can get through the hour without making a fuss.

5. Five minutes later, Margaret loudly announces to the tour she has to poop. I am directed to a nearby girls room, where I instantly confirm that there is definitely nowhere to change Adam.

6. We enter a small, quiet conference room to meet with the Executive Director and introduce ourselves. Damn this tour for being so small and personal. Adam wants to get down and explore the beautiful, gigantic aquarium, the many shiny plaques and awards, and all of the other neat knicknacks lining the director’s office walls. I say no and offer him a cookie. A donut. Blueberries. A cup of water. A book. My phone. I whisper “Wheels on the Bus” into his ear while looking as interested in possible in the special electives the school has to offer. Adam squeals loudly in anger, interrupting introductions and director. Many, many times.

7. After a few minutes I excuse myself from the office, leaving Margaret in a swirly chair with a book (the walls are glass so I can see through). I stand outside of conference room rocking a screaming baby, straining to pick up a sentence or two, trying to wait out the Executive Director so that I can at least see one or two classrooms before giving up.

8. Adam decides that he is done screaming. Thank goodness! Instead, he head-butts me in the face in a last ditch effort to be let down, giving him a bloody nose and me a bloody lip. The secretary looks stunned. Not so thankful that the conference room walls are glass anymore.

9. I pack up my stuff and hustle out of the tour while Adam continues thrashing around like a muskie out of water. The tour started one hour ago (plus 2 hours of travel) and we were not able to see a single classroom.

10. Despite having checked online before leaving, we walk outside into the pouring rain. Adam screams until we reach the first subway, where he promptly falls asleep. Perfect timing.

Bonus: Adam wakes up refreshed and ready to play upon arriving home. I’m ready for a bowl of ice cream and a nap.


And then it was 11:30am. How was your morning?

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