Thursday, 15 March 2012

After the second Parents' Evening, by the Parent

I am beginning to feel like a fraud and am honestly struggling for things to write at the moment, but keen to update the blog at useful intervals to give our perspective.  Last week there was a Parents' Evening and I  could not have been more pleased by what was being said.  I am going to relish it, as not sure this will happen again! It was very positive as regards his literacy and numeracy and even that he is trying at points to interact with others at playtime.  This is so much better than I had hoped as I think, as a parent of a pupil with extra needs, you do often try to protect yourself by preparing for the worst. 

For example, several weeks ago my mobile phone went and it was my son’s Support for Learning Teacher.  I could feel my stomach turn in anxiety, sure it was some bad news about his behaviour.  But no!  The phone call was to ask if it was okay for Robert to do some extra work with a Learning Assistant who is interested in numbers!  We discussed maybe looking at the language that surrounds numbers and I explained his current fascination for space.  I mean, really, could I ask for any more from this school?  Which is another reason why I feel like a fraud.  Am I honestly reflecting a typical mainstream experience for an autistic child?  Surely this is an example of best practice and we have been incredibly lucky to have our son in this school at this time with this sort of support?

As always I am cautious and realistic about the future, things will become noticeable but we will help our son with that when it comes.  At the moment, I cannot ask for more from the school and his experience seems incredibly positive at this time.  

Written by Robert's mum

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Socialising, by the Learning Assistant

I've recently noticed some interesting changes in Robert's socialising...

Today he played hide-and-seek with another child during his playtime.  There were several remarkable things about this.  First was that he played for the entire 15-minute period with this one child, without wandering off.  Robert has, in the past, been asked to play with other children, but often ends up wandering off during the time and playing on his own.  He didn't do that today.  Second notable thing was that this was a continuation of a game that had happened yesterday.  Somehow, Robert and this other child managed to agree to play this game again the next again day.  That leads on to the third point: that there seems to be an indication that Robert might have initiated this interaction with another child - something he has never done in the past.  It will be interesting to see if he continues the game playing with this child tomorrow!

Robert has really been enjoying the weekly social communication group.  I think from the work in the group he has been honing his observation skills, because he is now doing things and actions that he never did before and I think some it is copying the behaviour of other children.  Copying other children's behaviour has never been a problem for Robert; unfortunately, it was generally the negative behaviour he copied.  But recently, the copying has been of behaviour seen to be more positive in nature, and of class and school routines.  I've been getting a lot of cuddles off of Robert (his teacher has been reporting the same thing), which I think is from seeing the other children in the group cuddling me.  He now gets in line when he notices the other children doing so, rather than needing me to remind him.  He is also now giving the quiet signal (finger on lips, sitting up straight and tall) to show that he is ready or paying attention - Robert is now attending to these class routines more and more.

Written by Ms Childs (as told by Mrs Brodie)

Monday, 9 January 2012

Reflecting on the first term, by the Parent

Well, the first full term is over with and could probably not have asked for more in terms of progress for my son and support from the school, so I'm not sure if there is not a great deal to write!  But I am loquacious by nature, so tough!

Firstly, Robert managed the Nativity!  Even managing some of the songs and actions and avoiding joining in with the boy next to him who was very hyperactive and finding it all a bit too much!  However, seeing other perform so confidently around him does highlight the obvious differences that will always be there.  This is  my continual worry: at the moment in Primary 1, lack of interaction, not understanding  instructions and poor comprehension are accepted; by Primary 3, I worry that these differences will become much more obvious and he will be much further behind.  In the meantime, both at school and at home, we are trying to do everything to prepare my son for the “real world”. 

At school, I accepted the invitation to attend my son’s Additional Support Plan review meeting, which was held before the end of the term.  I would be interested to know how many parents usually come along, not because they do not care but not sure how much the school encourages it (or sees it as worthwhile).  I understand this: they maybe do not want to worry the parents unnecessarily, but I think we must have ultimate responsibility, no matter how hard the truth or difficult the task.  At the meeting I am once again impressed by the knowledge of my son and their willingness to discuss next steps, so I try to be as open and supportive as possible. 

At home, I am probably more harsh on my son than a parent would be with a boy of 6 who did not have his difficulties.  I keep things pretty strict (though with lots of cuddles) , very clear boundaries, in a bid to make him used to this for the outside world.  However, he is an incredibly affectionate young boy which is lovely for me and makes me hope he will endear himself to others as well.

Christmas holidays have been very nice, though possibly I was too lax in my Bin Weevil’s computer timings and we may have gone past the allowed half hour slot several times!  My son also got a DS and the family were given a Wii so we have been rather surrounded in the electronic.  Perhaps not the best for someone like him, so it is good that they are back to school tomorrow…

Written by Robert's mum