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A new school year

Thursday, 9 March 2017  |  Admin

A New School Year

The first day of a new school year is a challenging one, but for no one is that more true than for children with autism.

The first day brings about change galore. A new teacher, a new set of rules, a new seat in class, a timetable that has changed.

What's even worse is that all of that change comes after a six week break. Six weeks to do your own thing, to relax, to avoid the challenges that being around people brings about. But also six weeks to sit and wait and wonder. Six weeks to become increasingly anxious about the changes ahead, six weeks to worry about how you will cope.

For is school holidays are always a mixed blessing. The pleasure at having Number One at home is mixed with the fact that she is out of routine, unsure what is coming next and has no idea how she feels about it or what she can do about it. After all, like all nine year old girls she’s keen to grow up, become more mature, get more freedom. Yet her anxieties about what this means often means that she is fighting an internal battle.

This year, however, was perhaps our most dramatic first day yet. It has been two years since Number One had had to deal with changing teacher. She had left behind a teacher she loved to move to one that she didn’t particularly like, or perhaps more accurately was moving to one she didn’t feel like her. The summer was spent proclaiming that she wasn’t going back, but of course on the day her sensible side prevailed.

Until home time that is. Once in the car the world fell apart. There had been no maths. Spanish had moved to the morning rather than being in the afternoon. Her best friend had fallen out with her. Her world had collapsed everything was different, she sat and sobbed, then screamed, then sobbed some more. She was not, she said, ever going back there again.

So we went home, and we took control of the only thing we could do anything about – making friends again. We took out a craft set and made homemade soap. Number One had a plan, she would take her friemd a gift, a homemade gift, a peace offering.

The following morning with trepidation I dropped her (and the soap off), all day I waited for home time to see what had happened. Her answer “terrible” she said “but less terrible than yesterday because I was expecting it”. As I write this post it is mid November, slowly surely she is getting there, by Christmas we’ll hopefully nearly be there….

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