Archive | August, 2014

That Didn’t Last Long!

21 Aug

My oldest boy was asked yesterday how he thought M was coping with the new school term and he said, “We’re just watching and waiting.” He meant that we were expecting a backlash to all the changes and it was just a case of when. It happened this morning. Anyone who lives within a ten mile radius might have heard the screams that accompanied the morning routine, from a simple request to choose a pair of socks to her younger brother looking at her the “wrong” way.

I am amazed she ate her breakfast, but I can only assume hunger must have over-ridden anxiety at that precise moment. We had the repeated phrase “school is stupid” right until she was putting on her shoes and the fight went out of her. She went into school calmly but of course I am now assuming that she will have reverted to needing a lot of cuddles and down time as soon as she is back home again. She is also coping with an extra half hour as the juniors finish at 3 pm not 2.30 as she did in the infants class. It is bound to be tiring her.

I found the time to write a note about this morning in her contact book and made sure the teacher and PSA would read it first thing – maybe they can devise some plan to help her self calm during the school day.

She lasted two days before it all went wrong. With full time support and a tiny school. Autism sucks at times.

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Hoping for the Best

18 Aug

I’ve just taken M up to her primary school so that she can have a good look around while it is closed to pupils (it’s back to school tomorrow) and check out any changes that may have occurred over the summer. For M this is especially important as she is a very visual person.

We went at the time her new class teacher would be there. M knows her, and has had some limited time with her in the previous term, so at least she’s not a complete unknown. However, she will only be with the school until Christmas when the substantive teacher returns from a sabbatical, so there will be a lot more change again to contend with.

Her Pupil Support Assistant was also there, which was nice as she is the constant in M’s life in this time of new challenges. Mrs T is one of those people you fervently wish you could clone so that every class that needs her could have one. She came to M with no previous experience of autism but with the very best attitude, and she is a calming presence for my little girl.

Anyway, M found her new table for those co-operative lessons (art, topic etc) and went and checked that her personal quiet desk with its sensory den was still all as it should be. It was – phew. I asked about the co-operative lessons as they will be when she is (hopefully) working with other children. The teacher was determined that M would “find out tomorrow” who the other children on her table would be. I could see from M’s stiff expression and her body language that this could well be the point at which I got a refusal tomorrow morning so I pressed her for an answer. This is where I am concerned as although she did tell us, she was at pains to insist M didn’t “spoil the surprise” for the kids tomorrow. From what I can gather most of the day will be spent learning what groups you will be in and where you will be for certain lessons. All the uncertainties that M can live without!

There is also the very real concern of M once again being in a composite class with B, her brother, who is one year older. It didn’t go well before but I think she is less clingy towards him now, and the teacher has made sure to put them into different groups for absolutely everything, which is the best she can do.

We asked for M’s visual timetable for tomorrow and looked through it together. Again, I am concerned as there is a visual for “Topic”. I asked what the topic was this term and was told they “would find out tomorrow.” This time I didn’t push – maybe it was wrong of me but part of me hopes that M will have a meltdown over not knowing and show this teacher that she hasn’t done her homework about my child. She didn’t appear to have read her IEP either as she looked quite surprised that I reminded her (well I’d hope it would be a reminder) that M will not being doing joined-up writing in handwriting lessons as agreed at the last planning meeting. As a left-hander and a very reluctant writer, everyone felt it was important to keep her a) writing and b) writing neatly (which she does) rather than continue to cause her stress by insisting she learns cursive. The teacher should know this already! Why has she not read all the notes about the way in which my child learns and how best to support her and to avoid potential triggers? It is a very small class (about 14 children in total) so what was she doing over the last week? It is not easy to get a full time 1 to 1 support person so just the fact M has one should be enough to alert any teacher, especially one is is younger than most of my t-shirts and only a year out of college.

So, I am concerned. I am concerned that Miss X is young and possibly a little too sure that her methods are right. But I hope to be proved wrong.

And I also hope that M will get up, eat and get dressed, and be at school for nine tomorrow!

Peaceful Afternoon

2 Aug

I had tentatively planned a family cinema trip in my head for today as I knew there was an  autism-friendly screening of How to Train Your Dragon 2 in town this afternoon. However, M’s support worker had put a slight crimp in my plans by taking M to see this very film earlier in the week. I had a think and suggested to Hubby that he take the boys to see it and us girls would stay at home. Off they went.

M decided her big sister E was going to “help her” with some baking. Help generally means organising the whole thing, letting M lick the spoon and getting stuck with the washing=up afterwards. M had her eye on a packet mix of double chocolate chip cookies that I must have bought in a weak moment. E said yes so they chose their soundtrack (Drowners – a very very good band {and my CD!}) and set to work. M was a lot more involved this time and although she got bored during the actual cooking stage she did stay in the kitchen the whole time, which shows she is maturing.

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I spent the time also in the kitchen cutting out, hemming and finally sewing yet another pink cat to M’s weighted blanket. Her complex sensory issues mean that she has trouble sleeping, and the weight from this blanket really helps. As she is growing I think we need to add more weight to it, but every little helps and the (so far) 66 cat patches will all add up. M was delighted with the result as her grandmother had found the wee t-shirt in her local charity shop and sent it in a parcel.

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The cat doesn’t look like much in the picture but it’s much prettier in reality. 

The men folk came home with vegetables for tea, and everyone seems very relaxed for having been occupied today. M is the calmest she has been for ages and it’s wonderful to see her enjoying the holidays with one of her siblings. I know better than to expect for a repeat performance tomorrow as autism is never straightforward, but it doesn’t stop me hoping!

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