Starting secondary school

Bam started secondary school this September.

Starting secondary school is a big step for any child. The change is huge – a child goes from having one/maybe two teachers all week to six a day. Suddenly, they are expected to follow a timetable and complete about four or fives times the amount of homework than they received at primary school. Not only that, it’s a new school, new people and it’s generally a lot bigger than primary school.

All these changes are really tricky for a child with autism and if I’m totally honest I worried about how Bam would cope with such a big change. But, he’s coped well – it’s not been really easy, but it hasn’t been really hard either. He went to a different school to his friends because we felt the school he is at offered the support he needed for his particular special needs.

That’s been tough for him but we took lots of time to talk to him about our decision and the reasons behind that decision.  He has approached the new environment in a really positive way and I’m so very proud of him.

Reflecting on the transition, I think the huge amount of preparation we did was key to helping him settle quickly. We spent a lot of time talking to both Bam’s junior school and his secondary school about Bam’s particular needs.

Bam went on quite a few visits to the secondary school so he could familiarise himself with the buildings and with some of the teachers.

We also tried to help Bam by talking to him about the change throughout the summer holidays and explaining some of the differences between junior and secondary school.

As for his friends, we have ensured that Bam sees his old school friends throughout the holidays and into the new term. We felt it was important for him to stay in touch with them so he could share the experience of going to secondary school with them.

The biggest thing we did to help Bam transition to secondary school is successfully applying for an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). This has made such a difference as it means that Bam’s receiving the specific support that he needs.  It was a lot of work but 100% worth the investment.

It’s a really tough change and my stomach still churns as he heads into school independently but he’s doing us proud, love you Bam xxx

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The goodbye kiss!

Nothing really prepares you for your baby, the youngest baby in your nest starting school. So that moment when my baby started school was an emotional one…I can honestly say I really didn’t want him to go!

Why? I knew he would be absolutely fine. He’s such a bright little chap and although not keen to go to school (he prefers playing with his mates) he’s actually fine about it.

But when I put the school uniform on him to check it fitted I had a lump in my throat and was holding back the tears. How did his baby years fly by this quickly? I’m not ready for this!

So when the his first day arrived I wasn’t sure how I would feel. I knew it wasn’t about me, it’s about my baby, my baby taking his first step into independence. Bam, my eldest was running around the house with excitement, his brother was finally going to school which in his eyes meant he would no longer miss out on activities when his brother was at home and he was at school. It was now an even playing field.

So with uniform on, we headed off to school…only til 11.50am but that was long enough for me. He headed into the classroom with a confident stride listening to the teacher explaining what he needed to do. Then it came to the all important first goodbye. Don’t worry I didn’t cry – no chance for that! He literally looked at us and said ‘bye’. Bye, that’s it! kiss

And every day since the same has continued, no kisses, just bye. On one day I even explained at age 4 it’s the law, you have to give Mummy a kiss goodbye, to which he answered ‘no it’s not Mum’

Ok, ok, you’ve developed some small wings, go and have loads of fun sweetheart.