To My Son’s Future Middle School

Jamie Sumner
Special needs mom and author
06/14/24  8:03 AM PST
Prepare for School

To Whom It May Concern,

My son Charlie has just graduated fifth grade and is scheduled to attend your middle school this coming fall. You and I have not met yet, but we have many scheduled meetings on the horizon. You are in my Google calendar on multiple days in multiple colors for a multitude of reasons. We will get to know each other soon enough.

However, you knowing me is not the point. Charlie is the point and purpose of this letter. If I could say one thing about my son, it is this: do not underestimate his people-reading skills. He might be mostly nonverbal, but he gets it all, if you know what I mean. He knows if you are talking down to him or over him. He knows his reading and his math. He knows how to manipulate you (sorry) into getting what he wants. Don’t let him. Unless he hasn’t slept the night before because his legs are stiff or his chest hurts from leaning too heavily into the harness on his wheelchair or, well, I guess you’ll figure it out. It’s a lot, but also it’s not. Because once you know Charlie, you will love him. It’s impossible not to and this is not just my bias as his mother. This is a known fact at his elementary school.

It’s hard to say goodbye to that elementary school. It was, to put it simply, his jam. He loved the husband-and-wife team that drove his bus. We have already been invited to their house for a pool party this summer. He loved his special education teacher whose son was also in his grade. He loved Friday morning assemblies, especially when everybody clapped for something. He loves to be cheered on and to cheer on others. Please note that for your file: Responds well to verbal praise. He attended all the field trips and field days and even the back-to-school nights when they had live music. Please add that note as well: Enjoys music of any kind.

Do you have a music program at your school? Specifically, is there a space in which Charlie could apply his particular set of skills, aka conducting like a maestro? He keeps great time. It doesn’t have to be band or orchestra, if you feel that is not a good fit, but please keep your eye out for an extracurricular in which Charlie could participate. We want him to find his place. He deserves to have that.

Every middle schooler is on an epic quest to fit into a spot that was made especially for them, to excel at one particular craft, to be known for something. We want that for Charlie too. Please note that in your file.

You may roll your eyes at this letter. Perhaps you’ll whisper to a colleague in the break room about the over-the-top mom. I’m okay with that. Because this isn’t about me. It’s about Charlie and making his middle school transition as seamless as possible. If any of this helps you to know my kid better before the bell rings on that very first day, then it was worth it. He is worth it.


Charlie’s Mom


child with special needs
Jamie Sumner is a special needs mom and author.
Author of the middle-grade novels:














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