Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The first day of school, by the Parent

I am feeling fine until I see that there has clearly been some sort of a secret uniform meeting where all the other parents have agreed to dress their  kids in shirt, tie, blazer and long shorts.  Not the polo shirt and sweatshirt my son is proudly donning!  Have I gone back to the 50s?   This is my main worry as I take my 5 and half year old autistic son to school on the first day.  Luckily I am fairly sure he won’t notice or mind at all that he may look completely different from the others.  One of the benefits of Autism….

I am also feeling fine for a number of other reasons which I shall list in no particular order:
  • We kept him back a year and in this time his speech has really come on so he can actually begin to communicate with others in more than one word 
  • He has been interested in words recently and thus is getting there on the reading front already (a particular favourite is silent letters which could cause his teacher problems when she gets to words that start with the letter p!) 
  • I am not thinking that numbers are going to be a huge problem either… 
  • At the moment he is fairly good when it comes to toileting and getting himself dressed 
  • The school know him well through nursery and have taken him to meet his teacher, visit his classroom and playground and even made up a book about this with photos 
  • I have met with those who are going to be working with my son to give them an idea of his interests and what motivates him 
  • I know my son’s teacher as she is on the PTA (and she seems lovely) 
  • My son will have the same learning assistant he had at nursery who knows him well (though he has only been assigned 5 hours) 
  • My daughter has been through the whole primary 1 thing already so I feel I know what to expect 
  • I trust the school and the people who are working with my son as we have met already 
  • I work in education myself and know that teachers know a lot more about autism now than they did when I started 16 years ago! 
  • In the High School I work in I have seen several autistic children come and go successfully in the mainstream setting, with support. 
  • I feel confident when speaking to other professionals about my son and am happy to accept advice. 
  • I have several Plan Bs if mainstream school does not work out….. 

In many ways, due to the Autism we have got the precious extra year at nursery I always wanted and met with those professionals who will be working with my son to make them aware of his needs.  


I do think now is where the differences will begin to be magnified.  It is okay not to talk much sense and have strange interests when you are 3 or 4, but not sure how this will go down as gets older!  (Mind you, looking at that description I think of my husband who appears to manage!)

I doubt he will socialise much, if at all….WHAT ON EARTH WILL HE DO AT LUNCHTIME WHEN HE STARTS TO HAVE A FULL DAY!? I am not sure what things at school might set him off…. will he concentrate and listen at all without someone telling him exactly what to do?

There are bound to be things I haven’t even thought of yet! 

Written by Robert's mum

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The first day of school, by the Class Teacher

Robert settled very well in his new school environment and felt familiar with the surroundings, I think it helped a lot that Miss Brodie had been bringing him over for a visit to my classroom (whilst he was in nursery) before the summer holidays.  He joined in during our circle time and told the group that he liked going to the park.  We then had a colouring task to do and Robert chose red - his 'favourite'!  He asked if he could use all the colours and was delighted when I said "Of course!"  Robert was considerate of his peers and understood that when someone else is talking, he needs to wait his turn.

Jimmy had a good first day at school, he was a little unfamiliar with what to do with himself at first but he followed direction from the other boys and girls.  He happily sat on the carpet but I am not sure if he was really paying attention to what I was saying (even though I would remind him etc).

During circle time Jimmy wasn't sure what to say and repeated what the person next to him had said, although he did remember to say his name.  He was happy to colour his picture and when he was finished he chose to do a puzzle (which he did very efficiently!).  His communication may be a problem and at the moment I sometimes have difficulty understanding what he is saying.  He tends to just speak using single words and not in sentences.

Written by Mrs Irvine