I don’t know about you, but I was really worried about Alfie moving from primary school to secondary school. I had many a sleepless night over it and I know Alfie did too. He tossed and turned all night on the lead up to changing school. He was also very quiet too but at the same time he had had such a bad time in primary school that he felt he needed this change.
Ten week programme
What I didn’t realise at the time was that there was a special ten week programme taking place to help children like Alfie cope with changing school. This meant that every child with special needs would be given the opportunity to attend the school, once a week for 10 weeks. It would happen every Friday to help with changing school.
We were really lucky because the day before this was due to start, we went up to his new school to talk about our worries. If we hadn’t we wouldn’t have known anything about it. Changing school was going to be such a massive step for Alfie.
If the teacher at his new school hadn’t asked me if he was taking part the next day and every Friday after that, I would have been left completely in the dark.
He’s not going.
The following morning Alfie got ready to attend his new school. I rang his primary school to ask why I hadn’t been told anything about it. They told me Alfie was not included because it was for children with special needs only! Apparently Asperger Syndrome is not a special need……… I was furious! They told me to send him to school as normal.
I totally lost it at this point. I asked them if they actually knew anything about Asperger Syndrome? She didn’t really know what to say. This was how well she knew Alfie. Because he was academically capable his other problems didn’t matter. Asperger’s was irrelevant.
Here he was, about to make one of the biggest changes of his life so far and it didn’t matter to them. Even though they knew of his difficulties in that he finds any type of change really hard, he didn’t matter. He didn’t matter. MY SON DIDN’T’ MATTER!
What the hell were these people thinking? They were supposed to have my Childs best interests at heart.
Absolutely no idea.
Here was my son, sat in his own clothes instead of his school uniform, all
ready to go to his new school. He had been preparing himself since 3.30pm the day before. Anyone who has a child with Asperger’s will know you cannot make sudden changes. I wasnt prepared to let him meltdown because of this and the whole situation had meltdown written all over it. I have to give him as much notice as possible of any changes that are going to happen. You know this right?
Now five minutes before he was due to leave the house they wanted me to tell him that actually, he was not going to experience his new school and that he needed to undress and get back into school uniform? Sorry, but that was not happening! Not as long as I had anything to do with it.
She argued with me for a good few minutes until she finally gave up. I told her he was going anyway and that she couldn’t stop him! She told me his name wasn’t on the list. I told her that I, ‘me’ personally, had put his name on the list the night before and she was NOT going to stop him going.
Anyone with an autistic child moving to high school will know realise how important this ten-week period could be to him or her. I knew this was very important and there was no way I was backing down.
He was so worried about changing school
You see Alfie was really worried about getting lost. He was worried the other kids would leave him on his own. Alfie also knew that he wouldn’t be able to ask anyone for directions.
He says he doesn’t think he would have coped without these introductory sessions. He says that when changing school happened in September he knew he would be ok because he now knew what to expect.
Alfie was going into the Welsh stream whereas much of his old class weren’t so he knew he probably wouldn’t know anyone in his class. This 10-week period altered all of that and made changing school so much easier for him.
Please push for this!
If you have a child with Autism I strongly urge you to ask about any similar schemes running in your area. Alfie found it invaluable. Changing school to high school was one of his biggest worries. This scheme helped iron out a lot of his fears.