A small school uniform hangs in the kitchen. We placed it there a few days ago so that little man can get used to seeing it.
Next Tuesday he will be wearing it for the first time when he starts school. To him wearing the uniform will mean that he is going to school, so we chose not to confuse him by asking him to wear it beforehand. At this point I have absolutely no idea if S will willingly wear the uniform or if I will have a fight on my hands to get him dressed. I’m going to get up extra early… just in case.
We talk to him about school every day. We show him the photographs of the classrooms and teachers that the school kindly sent for him to look at during the holidays. They are aware of little man’s problems and they are prepared for him. No doubt they are prepared for a child with learning difficulties but whether or not they are ready for S himself is a another kettle of fish altogether!
Mrs C, (the SENCO), who will be working closely with S came to see us today. We were supposed to meet her on the second school visit but we had to cancel because S had got Chicken Pox. It was arranged that she would come and see us, so true to her word, she turned up this morning and spent over an hour with us.
Mrs C didn’t sit on the sofa or the chair, she got down to little man’s level ,(on the floor). My son either takes to someone or he doesn’t and I’m chuffed to be able to say that he took an instant liking to her. Within minutes he was sat on her lap having a cuddle, what more could I ask for?
As well as talking to S she talked to me, asking all about his needs, his ‘triggers’, routines etc. She has autistic children herself, so she knows how I feel. I admit that I had to walk out at one point because I was crying. That’s how it gets me when another human being says “I know how difficult it is for you at times…I’ve been there”. So often I am judged by people who see my son as a naughty child and me as an incompetent mother. You develop a hard skin, you have to, but you’re not hard inside. This lady took time out of her day, (and time away from her family), to come and see us, to put our minds at ease. She’s done the courses required to look after my child but more than that, she can empathise because she’s experienced it with her own children.
At the end of the visit she was holding my son in her arms like a baby…he likes that and he likes her and that makes me happy.
I won’t lie to you…despite everything I’m still dreading Tuesday. My heart sinks a little bit further every time I look at the uniform. I can’t bring myself to write his name in everything because it hurts to think of him not being here.
For the last four years he’s been my little mate. My life has revolved around him, his meltdowns and his overwhelming love. He must squeeze me a hundred times a day with twice as many kisses. He’s a character. He loves to make me laugh. If he does something once and it makes me laugh he will do it time and time again. He is a wonderful human being.
As a mother, it’s my duty to let him go. We don’t have children so that we can hold them back. We help them to become the best that they can be and that’s what I will be thinking about on Tuesday morning when I’m walking away from the school gate. You’d think having two other sons that I would be used to this by now…but the truth is that it’s hurt every time. I’ve cried every time and this time will be no different. And as with the other times…I will hold back the tears until he’s out of sight.