The past few weeks have brought a big change for my little boy as he started his new school. It is a specialist school with very small classes and offers the emotional and social support that he needs in order to cope with the challenges that ASD presents for him in an educational environment. There is a high ratio of teachers/support staff to children so they are able to provide specialised teaching methods alongside a specialised learning curriculum.
It has been a very up and down start to the term, but we were fully expecting that! The first few days were good overall. A couple of difficult mornings but he managed almost 3 full days and got on well when he was there. The second week was much more tricky. The school refusal began again and a number of issues were worrying him about the school day. Lunchtimes in particular have caused him much anxiety, despite being offered a number of options to reduce his stress. He has also found going into the classroom difficult but he has the option of being in the lobby, just outside of the classroom, if it is too much for him. Anyway, after a lot of persuasion, patience and negotiation he did manage to attend school every day that week, even if only for an hour!
This week started in the same vein but on Wednesday we had a small breakthrough as he wanted to be at school for the start of the day! He had a good day even managing to join in with lessons in the classroom, eat lunch with a teacher and participate in Forest School activities with his classmates. Definitely a big achievement for him!
Sadly Thursday and Friday were a completely different story. There was a pirate dress up day which he had been so excited about but on the day itself it was all too much and the demand avoidance kicked in big time. He didn’t make it in to school at all for those two days, despite our best efforts. Oh well. Next week is a new week and we will attempt to start with a fresh and positive attitude!
Evenings have been interesting to say the least!! There has been a noticeable difference in his behaviour at home since starting school. He has alternated from being hyper, to tired, to happy, to angry. We never quite know what to expect but we just take one day at a time! It is hard work trying to get him into bed on time as he resists and delays every step of the way – we are more exhausted than him by the time his head hits the pillow!
We were pleased with the steps we were making, but the last two days have made us doubt the success of this new journey. We know it’s bound to take time after being out of school for so long and after the difficult experiences that he’s had over the past few years. We need to be patient and give it time, I just hope the school are prepared to do the same. Trusting people is a big issue for him so we really need to get to the point where he can let his guard down and accept the support from the school staff. If we achieve that then I’m sure he will feel more settled and be able to increase his level of attendance.