So the big day is almost upon us, the day my Autistic little fire cracker starts his big boy life in school, the day that I have had sleepless nights over for the past year! 😴
The ‘S’ word has been banned in our house and in all social engagements during the break as it has caused so much anxiety in little man.
I suspect my own anxiety has not helped, even though I am very careful not to show or speak my concerns around him. He does seem to have spidey sense regarding my own emotions!
Before the summer break, Ethan had four transition days (2 hours each) at his new school which went very well and he seemed to enjoy them. He is very familiar with the school as he did attend pre- school there for a brief time and his older sister attends the school, so he is used to going in each day to drop her off.
As far as I can tell, there will be no fixed support in place and they are working on a ‘as needed’ system. 🙄 So because he coped well on his visits, I suspect there is no support in a one to one capacity and that’s where it could all go sooo wrong sooo quickly!
Unfortunately it was inevitable that the ‘S’ word would be mentioned around him quite a lot during the end of term period and we also went through the last day of nursery with all the goodbyes!
We all tried very hard not to make it a big deal but when you have been through the journey that we have with his beloved keyworker for 2.5 years, its hard not to show any emotion!
And as we went through those last couple of weeks of term he frequently mentioned in passing that he was still only little and didn’t want to be a big boy.
So we decided that School would be a forbidden topic for most of the summer as we wanted to keep his anxieties as low as possible for our upcoming holiday. It worked and he didn’t seem to stress at all about what was to come (not that we knew of anyway!).
Unfortunately the time did come for shoe fittings and I felt sure that it wouldn’t go well but the incredible staff at our local Clarks store (after a quick briefing of the situation) were so calm and good with him that he chose a pair of school shoes and happily wore them all day!!! 😯
I stupidly then thought that we were on a roll and the next day decided to try on his trousers so that I could take them up if needed. This went down like the proverbial lead balloon 😑 Little man ripped the offending item off within seconds and declared he couldn’t wear them.
I tried over the following week to get him to try on his school jumpers but that was met with an outright refusal and declaration that he couldn’t go to big school as he is too little.
The uniform has always been one of my biggest worries as he has so many sensory issues with clothes and shoes but thankfully the school had already agreed that this could be worked around him if necessary.
So I now find myself in possession of every possible item of clothing in his school colours in the hope that one combination will be acceptable!
My biggest fear now, is that he just wont go in at all!
Today however, I witnessed a tiny hopeful breakthrough!
We were driving and Little Miss said to me how she was looking forward to going back to school and Ethan going with her, I immediately worried as this kind of talk has ended badly so far…. but he shocked the life out of me by saying that he was going to her school in his new clothes!!!!!!
We left it at that as I didn’t want to risk pushing it, but this is a massive step forwards and gives me so much hope that he will be ok.
But if it doesn’t go well and he becomes too upset at going in, Daddy and I have agreed after much research on my part, that we wont ever force him in. I would rather he goes in someday through choice and happily than risk his future mental health just to get him in there. I am sure that School will support us in this.
The countdown is now on, 7 sleeps till ‘S’ Day and I cannot wait for it to be behind us no matter how it goes because at least then we can find a way to move forward.
Sending out lots of love to any new pupils starting, any children who struggle with returning to/ starting school and all of the families involved xx