First Week of School

Imagine spending your whole life where, aside from a very small handful of people, nobody really gets you. Where you’re the only one struggling to get your needs met, and the only one who can’t talk. Where you are the odd one out. Then one day you go to this place [school] where everybody uses multiple communication methods – such as picture exchange, makaton signing and really simple, coherent sentences. Where other children are the same, the majority also non-verbal. They make the same noises, they flap, spin and sensory seek / avoid and everybody gets it, accepts it and helps to meet your needs. What a feeling of utter relief that must be. I reckon that’s how it must be for The Monster. Perhaps that’s why when every single morning I have asked if he is going to school he has nodded his head and said “yeeeaaaaahh”.

I don’t think I have ever been as proud of The Monster as I was his first week of school. A huge change for the whole family, but non more so than for my baby. One of the classic traits of autism is the need for routine so I was fully expecting the transition to be difficult. I couldn’t be more wrong *touches wood – it’s still early days*. He managed a full timetable. The most hours he’s ever done and he has never done 5 days before.

His first day he was understandably devastated when I left but he settled OK with the help of an iPad (I don’t reckon many places would’ve whipped out an iPad to play on to calm him down!?). Each day the drop off got easier and by day four I was leaving him at the school gates where a teacher greeted him and he dragged them off towards class without much of a second glance at me – charming!

On his second day he was taken on a minibus for ‘Adventure Time’ where they went for a walk around a huge park. Again, something he took in his stride, other than a wobble when initially getting on the minibus. That was to be the first of three trips out, he also went out to a sensory play place and to a tailored soft play place. What a fun timetable….no wonder he wanted to go everyday and it’s no surpirse that I haven’t been getting the super pleased to see me, bouncing boy at the end of the day like I am used to – I’m completely boring by comparison!

Something that hasn’t alarmed me, but has taken the teachers aback is his love of food and every day he has had seconds at lunchtime (I do feed him, honest!).  I am super grateful we don’t have the food struggles many autistics have, that said we are very much the other end of the scale where stopping him eating can be really challenging.

Part of me does wonder if he has been captured by aliens and replaced with a more helpful version of himself though! I snorted when reading this direct quote out of his diary:

“He’s quickly becoming our class helper! he’s wonderful at tidying up and follows single step instructions!”

Errrm, not at home let me assure you! I’m trying to convince them he’s just showing off in his first week!

We finished the week on a massive high when his teacher brought him out to meet me at the gate and he stood holding her hand beautifully whilst she told me how amazingly he had done and how great he is at getting his needs met. He has picked up their picture exchange system really quickly and has been signing to them as well as making some word-like noises. Proof that our early intervention and hard work at home has really helped. When you hear the words (in context of him going around helping everybody)

“Everyone loves him, He’s fast becoming everyone’s favourite”

you know you are raisining a little superstar and you made the best decision in choosing a specialist school. I’m almost certain it would’ve been a very different story from a mainstream school.

The fog has lifted. The future is bright and I am so excited to see where it takes him.


Face of Mum

You will only see this on here once. A tear stained, blotchy face and stinging red eyes. Not an uncommon occurence in reality but a face of mum that you can’t see behind a keyboard.

Today we have spread autism awareness everywhere we have been. It would be great to be able to pick and choose where and when we do this, like I can on here but in reality we can’t turn autism on and off.

This face of mum has been up since 4am this morning (aside from the sleeping with one eye open until finally relenting and putting Cartoonito on at 6am). Apparently that’s an acceptable time to start the day – not for the first time in recent days. A 4am start combined with 3 get ups for The Small One through the night no less. 

This face of mum has been on a playdate with friends this morning.  A pang of jealousy ripped through her for their seemingly normal life. Four year olds playing together nicely in a bedroom. Parents eyes not fixated on every move their child made. She hates that feeling of jealousy but the feeling of guilt for feeling it in the first place is worse. The Monster was golden until it was almost time to go and he spread a sprinkling of autism awareness in the form of running at lightening speed through the house, escaping upstairs and trying to then come down unaided, shouting, refusing to put shoes on, slamming doors, lying on the pavement and refusing to walk to the car.

This face of mum has taken the boys to the Dr’s where The Small One had an appointment for his jabs. Here he spread his usual autism awareness by turning the self check in screen on and off and caused havoc in the waiting room, with the additional excitement of some furniture being brought into the surgery. Game over. Luckily they were then given a private room to wait in and the lovely nurse gave The Monster a pack of sweets whilst The Small one had his injections. After playing with the taps and a splash of water around the room later they left having only received a couple eye rolls from the elderly couple in the waiting room.

This face of mum instinctively let go of the pushchair for 3 seconds max to check The Monsters hands whilst walking home and he rubbed his hands through a thorn bush. In those three seconds (max) the pushchair had free rolled into the road and was still moving. Thankfully there were no cars coming.

This face of mum has received post for yet another hospital appointment for The Small One. As usual on a day The Monster is not in nursery. This mum can’t deal with thinking about that today.

This face of mum has had emails from The Monster’s Educational Psychologist today delaying an appointment made for June by almost a month and also wants another meeting in less than a weeks time, looks like she will be facing that one without Dad again.

This face of mum has packed the boys in the car and driven until they have both fallen asleep just so she can catch her breath today.

Today, this mum craves normality, an easier carefree life for her babies.