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Back To School Time Again

Back To School Time Again

It's that time of year again when us parents are busy getting the children's school uniforms together, making sure they have all the pens and pencils required and that their shoes and coats are right for running around in the playground playing tag.

It's also that time of year, when the weeks of no routine have really taken a toll on my autistic son.

He is all over the place, he is taking himself away into his dark den to calm down, he is taking himself away to watch baby TV to relax, he is hitting out and having meltdowns at the smallest of things.

He is anxious and twirling his hair and banging his head on walls.

We are all ready for the school routine.

However, if you parent a child with autism you will realise that yes, the lack of routine in the summer holidays is awful as you watch your child not being able to cope, however, going back to school and going back into routine can be a challenge in itself.

New teachers, new classrooms, maybe even new pupils.

School will generally be the same building and yet the routine my son left in July will be so different to the one he is going back to in September.

This summer holidays we have really tried to prepare my son for venturing back into a new school year and new routine.

To try and relax him and calm his anxiety around the fact his safe school environment is changing and the first few weeks while he is settling into a new routine will not be easy for him.

Before the school shut for the summer holidays the children had a “transition week” where they get to see their new teachers and new classroom various times of the day for a week.

We could also get to see and talk to the new teacher about any concerns.

After last year we realised that it would probably be brilliant to get a photo book done.

So the teacher very graciously took pictures of our son at different places; at his new desk, where his coat will be hung, the new toilets he will use, him sitting where his quiet area will be, but most importantly him with his new teacher.

This has meant that all holidays we have been able to discuss going back to school, telling him where he will put things and ease his anxiety a little.

We have also been very careful around getting his uniform.

We always buy 3 pairs of shoes, in 3 different sizes, so that when his feet grow he can have the same shoe.

He knows they are new as they feel new, however he knows that they are as close to the same shoe as I can possibly get.

We also haven't brought him any new uniform.

He will be going back to school in the uniform he wore at the end of term.

He feels comfortable in that uniform and he knows how it feels and smells.

He doesn't understand why he needs a new jumper when his old one still fits, and therefore we don't buy him new jumpers.

We have learnt from last year where he got most anxious and have tried to adapt and prepare him this year.

However, we do know he will still get anxious, he will still feel uncomfortable for the first few weeks while he is settling into his new routine.

So we will make sure his dark den is ready for when he gets home, we will make sure his weighted blanket is around and we will send him to school with his fidget bag ready.

When that first day of school hits I hope he will be as comfortable as possible.

That's what all parents really want, isn't it?

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Rebecca Shayler-Adams

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We are just a typical family muddling along our day to day lives. 4 kids, 1 with autism, 1 with an unknown neuromuscular condition

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