It’s been a busy two and a half weeks here in the Highlands.
The children are now in their third week of the new term, and boy do we know it! M has moved up to the Junior class and it brings with it a new teacher (although luckily known to M through shared class experiences last year) and once again being in a composite class with her brother B. The teacher has been keeping them apart which suits everybody just fine.
Added to the stress for an autistic child of returning to school (and by this I mean the anxious sort of autistic who needs the comfort of family over the routine of the school day) M is dealing with going up a class at Sunday School and as from tomorrow, leaving the Beavers behind, and joining Cubs the following week. All of this is exciting, and indeed about time in the case of Beavers as she is the oldest there by several months now and academically the move is well-timed. But, and there is always a but when I write, it’s tough on her having so many changes at once. I was asked if I wanted to delay her move to Cubs till January, but there was no mention of any way in which this could benefit M, and what was unspoken was the leader’s possible dismay that from next week he will have lost an assistant leader (me) as I shall be transferring to Cubs to support M. I was polite in my refusal to delay but I might have mentioned that M is autistic not stupid and therefore I cannot see how holding her back would be either right or kind. The more she can stay with her peer group the better. If she has an emotional outburst more likely to be seen by a three year old then firstly I will be there for her to comfort and remove her if needed, but more importantly she will hopefully be supported by the very people I hope will learn to love and accept her for who she is, namely said peer group. If she continues in education for the foreseeable future she will need the acceptance and support of her peers when things don’t go to plan.
The downside of all this is that processing all the changes takes its toll on my beautiful girl. She bottles all her emotions and panic and worries up throughout the school day and then as soon as she feels safe at home, or sometimes even on the way home, the lid comes off and bang! The explosions happens. It is often verbal (quite frankly I’m surprised I’m not deaf) but sadly there is far too often a violent physical reaction. B is the one who bears the brunt of M’s physical outbursts and we are still “training” him to walk away at the first sign of danger instead of acting like a typical nine year old boy and fanning the flames to see what happens.
I noticed this morning that I really do seem to be the only member of our family that truly “gets” M. Hubby was doing the morning routine as I was in a tearing hurry to get to an appointment. I had already done the majority of the work, having set out all the breakfast items and the children’s clean clothes. However, he utterly failed to keep calm when M kicked off. Consequently she was up and down the stairs several times in floods of tears which meant I had to stop what I was doing to comfort her, then get her back downstairs and re-engaged with Hubby. I will just say at this point that I do have a very good husband but there are times when I could cheerfully strangle him. So what he’s not a morning person? Well guess what? Neither am I but I have learned to gulp my first cuppa, to prise my eyes open and to grit my teeth rather than raising my voice as it just isn’t worth it. He has yet to learn that this is an essential morning survival technique in our house. I despair but I’m not ready to give up on housebreaking him just yet.
So, we’re over the hump in week three of the new term and M hasn’t legged it from the classroom or been hiding in her den. It’s good. But it’s not yet enough. She is overly anxious (even by her standards), as jumpy as the proverbial cat on hot bricks, and extremely prone to tears.
To end on a positive I took her to the hairdressers this afternoon. M adores the hairdressers. Even with all her sensory issues this is a happy place for her. This is part way through her appointment today – I shall share another photo soon of the end result. A calm wee girl in my house this evening. Long may it last.