Autism: Secondary Education – The Next Step

When he was diagnosed in 2013 the local authorities were still issuing the Statements and we were awarded 20 hours of one-to-one care for him in mainstream school.

As the Government made changes, there has been a process to transition all the children from statements to EHC plans.

As we made our way through the form I was told, “I think if Cameron was going through the diagnosis now, he probably wouldn’t meet the criteria to be awarded a plan,” – this gave me mixed emotions.

I was happy that Cameron’s high functioning and ability to adapt and learn means that he has come on leaps and bounds in mainstream school but it saddened me immensely because Cameron has only got to where he is now and succeeded because of the help that was put in place so early on.

It makes me think of all the parents struggling to get their children support that are not so severe with their condition that they may need a specialist school.

Why should we fight; why should it be an onslaught of making calls, proving their weaknesses for someone to categorise them enough to think that they should be entitled.

For the last couple of years I have been battling with the decision over a secondary school for my son.

Yes I am lucky to have a statement that potentially will not limit me to the catchment schools, that I am able to look at other schools within the area that could meet my sons needs more effectively.

Trying to decide whether to send him to a less popular school that I know some of his primary school friends will go too or send him out of the area and risk him starting his high school life isolated with no friends but the academic and support side of it be much more appealing.

What do I do – what’s best?

I thought that I still had plenty of time and we can decide much later on.

Then I was handed an envelope full of print offs and at the top of the file was one titled, “Moving towards Secondary Education”, times running out it would seem.

I am so lucky with my son’s school and wish he could stay there forever – they have sent me this in preparation for next year so that I may have a read and know what the whole process will entail.

They have also offered to attend meetings with me at any of the schools in question should I require them too.

All the information is on your local authority websites under the Education sections.

The one for our area is easy to navigate and there’s a plethora of information.

Don’t put this off, knowledge is key and the more we can prepare ourselves will help our children so much.

I flicked through the handout, had a mini panic attack and filed it for a later date.

This is new territory for us as a family, me as a mother trying desperately to make the right decision on my son’s future but also for Cameron as he enters the next most influential and landmark part of his life into early adulthood.

So I’ll go back to my Internet browser now to check Ofsted reports, transport options and School prospectus’ – wish me luck!

Why Special Needs Mums Don’t Make Good Friends!

She was trying to explain and apologize to her friends because she was, “In the weeds.”
She was too busy caring for her little ones who required so much of her to be a good friend.
She felt bad for not responding to emails or phone calls. And she reminded her friends that it won’t last forever.
My immediate thought was, ​“It will for me.”

The season of our son requiring everything of me isn’t going to end anytime soon.

He will need me to tie his shoes year after year.
He will need me to change his diapers or help with toileting forever.
He will require supervision always.
He won’t move out and move on.
I’m going to be in the weeds forever.
And let me tell you that the weeds can be a lonely, scary, overwhelming place to be.
I know every mother has been here. You’ve been exhausted from countless sleepless nights.
Or worried about an illness going around your house or community.
You’ve been pulled in every direction known to man, and have no time for yourself.
You go to bed too late and wake up counting the hours until bedtime.

You have had to cancel an event that you’ve looked forward to all week because of a sick kid.

Haven’t we all been there?
But for some of us the season of being waist deep in caring for our child won’t end.
For parents like me, the weeds are where we live.
One thing I can say about the weeds is that although it can be extremely lonely, I know I’m not alone.
Every moment I feel grief wash over me, I know another mother is feeling the same.
Every second I feel out of place or that I don’t belong, I know there’s a mom who gets it.
When the day is long and I’m tired of fighting for what our son deserves I can hear another mom telling me “you got this.”
When I’m feeling so isolated and exhausted that I start crying while wiping the crumbs off of my stove, I know that unfortunately there’s another mom sitting on the bathroom floor crying with me.
Every dream I let go of I know another mom has done the same.
I know I’m not alone in the weeds, and oddly enough, that brings me some comfort.
Another thing about the weeds. There’s joy. And a lot of it.
I know that every moment I’m pushing our son to be stronger, there’s another mom enduring hours of appointments to achieve another goal.
Every time I’m over the moon about something seemingly insignificant I know without a doubt there is another mom crying tears of joy with me.
Every smile is cataloged into my memory.
Every giggle is recorded in my mind. No moment is wasted or taken for granted, and I know with every fiber of my being that there are other moms who feel the exact same way.
There are far too many moms who know that each and every day is a gift.

You may be here. You might be, “In the weeds”, too. It may be a season or a lifetime.

But just know that I’m here. You aren’t alone, I’ll be here for awhile.