I remember the last few weeks of term at school…
There was a different atmosphere and the time-table was no longer adhered to.
I remember thinking how bare the walls looked as the work was taken down in readiness for the Autumn term.
The teachers, who for most of the year were miserable gits, practically floated around with smiles on their faces. That little gobshite, Johnny Twatbag was going to be someone else’s headache come September!
The shrieks and squeals of excitement hurt my ears…and that was just the teachers!
They were all on Planet Good Mood because school was nearly out.
The end of the school year was a fun time for most children but not me.
I hated the change of routine and my heart would sink when the teacher’s said “We’re going to do something different!”.
My son’s diagnosis has made me realise that I have autistic traits, so I understand why his behaviour has plummeted over the last few weeks.
The transition to Year 1 began after half term.
There are lots of different activities going on and Year 6 are getting ready to leave for high school. It’s all very confusing and LOUD!
S soaks all this up like a sponge and he can’t process it all.
So his behaviour changes.
He is unable to tolerate even slight changes.
There are more ‘incidents’.
His behaviour becomes “challenging”.
His teacher phones me one day – I can hear him in the background, spitting and shouting.
“We’ve tried everything, we just can’t calm him down”
I grab my coat and go round there.
I hold my child and rock him back and forth.
I can feel his tension begin to subside.
I can see the frustration in his teacher’s eyes.
She genuinely cares about him – enough to put herself on courses to learn more about teaching an autistic child. She once told me that she’s taught children with autism before but never one like S.
I know only too well how challenging my son can be.
There is no in between. It’s one or the other. He is happy or he is most definitely not!
Having given it a lot of thought, his dad and I agreed that it would be a bad idea for S to attend school on certain days where there was a major change to routine. S’ main problems are social and communication and he has Sensory Processing Disorder so we agreed that sports day and a trip to a farm would be too much for him at this point in time given that he’s struggling to cope with the smaller changes that are going on.
His teachers were all in agreement and the absences were authorised.
I felt sad.
I have photos of his brother on his first sports day – all smiles.
I had mixed emotions but my in my head, I knew that it was the right thing for S.
I also told myself that this is the situation this year..
He’s still only five years old.
He might be able to tolerate it next year or at least part of it.
At this moment, I don’t feel at all confident that he will be able to stay the course in mainstream but if he doesn’t it won’t be for the lack of trying on the teacher’s part. I couldn’t ask any more of them. They’ve been amazing.
I have read many stories about illegal exclusions with autistic children but not once have his school asked me not to take him in. He was in attendance during the recent school inspection. I truly believe that they have my son’s best interests at heart.
The hope is that he will get the extra support he needs and this will improve the situation. At the moment he gets support in the AM. The board has been approached and we are waiting on their decision. He needs the full support. Fingers crossed, he will get it.
We have a few more weeks to go until end of term.
We are working with the teachers in preparing him for a new class and a new teacher by using social stories. He will of course still have the familiarity of his support teacher who will follow him throughout school for as long as she is needed. He will also have the familiarity of his friend. A lovely little boy who has stuck with him since the start. He’s not at all fazed by his behaviour and neither is his lovely mum. I wish there were more people like her!
This morning was a difficult one.
Lots of spitting, shouting and door slamming and that’s before we got through the front door!
On seeing his ST, he shouted “DON’T WANT YOU!!” and hid behind the door.
We know he likes her and when he’s in a good mood, he cuddles her. But I know how I feel when he says such things to me.
I decided to leave her to it as sometimes my presence makes things worse.
The last thing I heard him say as I walked towards the gate was “POOEY WEE WEE FACE!” and then he let out THE loudest raspberry.
It’s going to be a long few weeks… best get some beer in!
I’d be interested to hear about your experiences with your autistic child and mainstream school, especially the end of school year.
The thing about being autistic is that you gradually get less and less autistic, because you keep learning, you keep learning how to behave. It’s like being in a play; I’m always in a play. ~ Temple Grandin