Christmas is is a magical time for children but for those with sensory issues and ASD, it can be incredibly stressful.
The unfamiliar sights, sounds and changes to much needed routine means that it’s a challenging time for children and parents… I’m on my tenth migraine of the season. Fa la la la la, la la la la!
S struggles massively with sensory overload and change of routine so we have been warning him in advance of any changes. For example, putting the decorations up. The wonderful Mrs C, (teacher and most excellent human being), made us a special booklet, a social story to read to him, so that he would be familiar with all the changes in the school routine in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
It’s a “This is what will be happening at school over the next few weeks and it’s OK” deal. We read it to him every night, after we’ve read Foxes in the Snow for the millionth time. Not that I’m prone to exaggerating…
I had concerns over how he would cope with the Nativity. I say concerns… I broke out in a cold sweat just thinking about it…
Mrs C kindly reserved us a couple of seats near the door to lessen my discomfort in crowded areas and for a speedy exit should it be required if S kicked off, but I needn’t have worried because she sat at the back with him. She had a bag of cars and numbers – all his special things to keep him calm. S loves singing but doesn’t like the noise – I noticed that his party hat doubled up as ear defenders! Once reassured that he wasn’t distressed, I could relax a little and enjoy the show. Who knows, maybe one day S will make it onto the stage… *swigs from the gin bottle*
OK, I don’t drink gin on account of my malfunctioning hormones but it reads better than *swigs from a beer bottle*, it’s slightly more ladylike…poetic licence and all that.
The next event that had me torturing myself with worry was the Christmas party but we were assured that he’d had a good time. He came home clutching some numbers from school. His teachers recognise his need to have these numbers in his hands or pockets. In these last few weeks, he’s needed them constantly. Numbers have a calming effect on him. Unlike me where they have the reverse effect. *twitch*
Also, it seems that the school trip to the pantomime went well.
OH NO IT DIDN’T!
You know you’d have done it too hehe
Actually it did go OK – he tolerated it with the help of Mrs C and her bag of tricks. I am immensely proud of my little guy.
He tolerated being in the hall for a carol service with the help of a magnetic letter and number board.
The negative side to it all is that there have been a few incidents of pinching and scratching at school. These incidents seem to happen when he is in a group or crowding situations, especially at the end of playtime. I understand this only too well but Mrs C has removed this stress after each break time so the incidents should lessen.
Mrs C wrote in his home-book that when he’s stressed he babbles and shouts, so she’s taken to running around the playground with him to “let the silly words out”. I can just imagine them both racing around the yard shrieking! She instinctively knows how to calm him down.
This week is emotional for us because, as of January, Mrs C will no longer be his one on one. S has been granted a Statement of Education and interviews for a replacement to work with him have taken place today.
S has a bond with Mrs C and we think she’s absolutely fantastic. If ever there was a teacher who understood children with special needs, it’s her. I knew she was special when she came to meet S and me in the summer holidays. I knew he’d love her when he sat on her lap and cuddled her.
But this is the way it has to be. He bonded with Mrs C and there’s no reason why he won’t bond with anyone else. She says hopefully.
We chose a gift for her from S that she could always connect with him…
He had an obsession with the story “The Owl Babies” when he started school so we wanted to get her something owl related, so we bought her this mug…also we thought it more appropriate than The Omen DVD’s which was the obvious choice… IT’S DAMIEN FOR A REASON!!!
Mrs C doesn’t know that this blog exists, Thank God. I mean, I’m sure that she’d be interested in the stuff about S and herself but less so in my hormones and the flatulent lurcher. But don’t worry, she’ll know how we feel. We can never, ever thank her enough for what she has done for our son. She goes the extra mile, she’s one of life’s good souls.
We don’t know what the future holds for S. He will face lots more challenges as he goes through his school life, that’s when this early foundation of love and support will make a difference. In my opinion, it will make all the difference.
I had an e-mail from a friend who’s son is autistic. She quoted what the doctor had told her when she received the diagnosis.
” It’s about making him the best he can be”.
I cried when I read that.
It’s about making every child the best that they can be but, for those with learning difficulties, it’s more challenging but ultimately rewarding when you know that you have helped them to reach their potential.
We hope that in years to come, Mrs C will look at the owl and be reminded of a special little boy who’s heart she touched and in whose life, she made a difference.
“The path I travel is lit by those who came before me, and it will shine brighter for those who follow me. See my potential.”