Last week we attended parents evening for the children and I am pleased to say that Big Bird has settled in really well to Year 5 and Little Bird has adjusted and settled in really well to Year 2. Last year was a tough school year for Little Bird, we were told by the hospital that he was somewhere on the scale for ASD and have been waiting for our follow up appointment ever since. We were given no help or support just told to wait for a appointment which should be in about 6 months , its now 12 months on and all they can tell me is we are on a waiting list but it looks like it will not be before September this year.
The school took the news well and worked hard to get the best out of Little Bird. I can not fault his teacher last year, she tried really hard with him and he really enjoyed being in her class. She kept me in the loop at all times with what they were doing with Little Bird at school so I knew exactly what was going on. Miss I worked hard with Little Bird but looking back it was a really hard year for him and me.
When the hospital told us they thought Little Bird was on the scale for ASD all of a sudden I started to notice a big change in him at school. I am sure the change was not that major but I was more aware of what he was doing at school and why he doing things. He was hurting children in his class (not really bad just pushing and not thinking of others), not wanting to socialize with other children and he was struggling with group work. I began dreading the school pick up because I started to be that Mum that was getting called in everyday to see the teacher. In the end the school allowed me to go straight through to the classroom after school to get him so I did not have to see all the other parents.
This went on for a few months and towards the end of Year 1 his behaviour was getting better and I wasn’t getting called in as much so I started to stand with all the other parents again. I decided to tell the other parents that Little Bird was on the scale for ASD so they were aware of it and hopefully they could talk to their children about why Little Bird was the way he was in the classroom. The school pulled him through the year but I was pleased when Year 1 was over and then we had the six weeks holiday to relax and unwind.
Over the six weeks holidays Little Birds behaviour took a massive nose dive and I began to realise what it was all about …. routine. He had six weeks of not knowing what was happening and what he was doing. School is structured really well and he seems to cope well with that and he was missing the structure of school.
2nd September 2014
Little Bird got up, had his breakfast and got dressed ready for school, he was really looking forward to going. I on the other hand was really worried because he was about to walk into a whole new way of learning, a new classroom and of course a new teacher and for a boy that does not take change well I was expecting fireworks at the school gate. As we walked to school he seemed ok and happy to go. He kissed me at the door, waved and off he went for his first day in Year 2. I spent the day worrying about how he had adjusted and if he liked his new teacher and more importantly if he was getting on alright with the other children. I arrived early to get him and stood around chatting with the other parents like you do and then the door opened and the children started to come out.
Mrs J held Little Bird back and my stomach dropped as I thought I was about to repeat Year 1 pick ups all over again, then Little Bird appeared with a smile on his face and Mrs J gave me the thumbs up and mouthed the words “he’s had a brilliant day.” I was so pleased his first day went well, he got in the car full of stories about what he had been doing it was lovely to hear and we all went home happy.
The next day I was expecting a different pick up but I was wrong as Mrs J called me over and said “he’s had another good day, worked hard and he seems to be settling in really well.” This was a pleasant surprise for me but I was trying not to get my hopes up after all this was only day two of school. It turned out he had a whole week of good reports from the teacher and we left the school on the Friday really happy and ready to enjoy my birthday weekend.
7 weeks later
Little Bird had now been in Year 2 for 7 weeks and I am so pleased with his progress at school and I believe its all down to his teacher. Mrs J is an amazing teacher and she seems to have captured Little Birds attention from day 1 and is getting the best out of him. She’s brilliant at observing what he can and can’t cope with and turning all the negative situations around into positive situations, simple things that the other teacher didn’t see. I have already noticed a change in Little Bird at home as well as at school and its all for the better, he has got more confidence in himself and his work and hes slowly letting friends into his world.
Keeping his mind busy, whilst learning.
Little Bird is not getting told off in class anymore because there is no need too, Mrs J has worked out that he is very clever and although he does not sit still during carpet time when they are learning, something as simple as putting him to one side with an educational toy to play with to keep his hands and mind busy allows him to still learn. Even though he is playing he hears everything and if she asks a question he is always the first one to put his hand up and answer the question even though he looks like hes not listening.
Assembly’s have been the worst for Little Bird, he can not cope with being in the school hall, he’s never liked it but they have always battled with him to go into them. Last year I requested so many times that he did not go into assembly but they insisted that he had to go. He’s been told off in the past for not being able to sit still and for shouting out. Mrs J realised quite quickly that Little Bird could not cope very well with the echo and the noise in the school hall, also because the children sit on the floor she thinks the vibrations from the floor affect him.
If there is lots of noise he can not take it and will shout out so a few weeks ago Mrs J tried something that would change assembly’s for him …. she put ear plugs in his ears. When Big Bird returned home from school that day she couldn’t wait to tell me just how well her brother had behaved in the school assembly. I was surprised and asked Little Bird what had happened and he said “I had ear plugs in.” I asked him if he could hear what was going on and he said he could but he said it was nice because he couldn’t hear the noise that he normally heard during assembly’s. So I guess by using the ear plugs Mrs J has removed that annoying background noise that he could hear.
Routine and Structure
Routine and Structure is really important with Little Bird, its something he is used to and something that he knows he is getting especially when he is at school. Little Bird starts everyday at school the same, he goes into circuits three mornings a week where he prepares to focus for the day. He then sits down with his favourite TA Mrs S and does a visual diary for the day. Its made up of post it notes that he can slowly remove and put into the bin once he has completed them. He seems to be responding well to this, and it makes for a good day at school.
Learning to speak to adults
Little Bird has trouble talking to adults, he always has done. He does not relate very well to them and does not really engage with many adults unless he knows them really well and this can come over across that he is being rude, he isn’t he just does not know how to speak to people. We had an incident at school last year where a teacher was trying to make him apologise for something Little Bird had done at school, because he was not responding in the normal manner it all got blown out of proportion and spiralled out of control and I was called into the headmasters office.
The next day at school Little Bird was really well behaved and the previous days antics seemed have been forgotten, at the end of the week he was back on track and the teacher was happy with him. Mrs J caught me in the playground and told me that she thought the incident got out of control and that she thought Little Bird could not cope with confrontation with adults. Little Bird has a counselor go into school once a fortnight to help him, she is very clued up on Little Birds condition because her daughter and husband have it and we have suggested that she goes into school to educate the adults in the school about how children like Little Bird work. Thankfully the school seem to be on board with this and are eager to help so this will be happening to benefit Little Bird and other children like him. This is a massive step forward for helping him to communicate better with adults.
Shopping is a No No
Little Bird hates shopping …… which does surprise me because until he started school he always came shopping with me and he loved it. Now I have to shop when the children are at school but if I do have to nip into a shop for anything its a nightmare. Little Bird does not like the noise in the supermarket, he can’t keep still, he does not listen to me, he talks really loud, he has to touch everything and of course he is around alot of adults that he struggles to communicate with. I would say the supermarket is the worst place for him to go but I will keep taking him in there because I do not want him to run away from it. That leads me onto ……. what people think.
What People Think
Little Bird has been hard work in the supermarket for the last 2 and a half years, I used to find his behaviour hard to manage and if I am honest I found shopping really embarrassing because of the people that would look at him and judge him and judge my parenting skills. Since February and finding out about the ASD my whole outlook on this has changed, yes people stare at him, they mutter things and I have even had some ignorant people say something to him but I feel really relaxed about the whole thing. When I enter the supermarket now with him my main aim is to get what I need as quick as I possibly can and get out of there and I manage to do that easily and do I care what people think? No I don’t. I have had looks and stares recently but I couldn’t care less, other people do not know or understand him and they can think what they like about him.
Last week I was at the customer services desk in Tescos trying to sort something out and Little Bird started playing up, the lovely older gentleman behind me tried to talk to the children to keep them busy whilst I was talking to the lady behind the counter. The gentleman asked the children what school they went to and Little Bird shouted at him “I am not talking to you, I am not talking to you.” and backed away from him. The gentleman tried again and I told Little Bird that it was ok the man was just trying to make conversation with him but he was not having it and had no interest what so ever in talking to him. In the end the gentleman said to me “corr you have your work cut out with that one.” I thought you do not know the half of it, but I was not stressed out over the situation. At the end of the day Little Bird does not cope well in some situations but that does not mean I should not put him in those situations, he needs to learn to deal with them and I am sure he will get it one day but for now we will carry on as we are.
Since Little Bird has been in year 2 he has come on in leaps and bounds, Mrs J and the TA’s that are involved with him have all been apart of where he is right now. He likes going to school, he has friends and he is so clever and learning something new everyday. Last school year Little Bird did not get invited to any of the other childrens birthday parties and I found that really sad, although he was not bothered in the least. Little Bird has changed so much this school year that he has been invited to them all which is lovely. He has been invited around friends houses to play and he has had school friends around for tea which has been a first and he has loved it.
When the children returned back to school in January I was really pleased to hear that the day before the children started the teaching staff went to another local school for a training course on dealing with children with Autism. I pretty much think our school is on top of this and it was nice to hear that when they were on this course the teachers running it agreed that our school was doing really well with what procedures they have in place.
Little Bird is doing really well at school, I love the adults that are working with him. They always have time for me no matter what and they love working with my little man and it shows. They are a credit to our school and I am pleased with how Little Birds schooling is going. Little Bird is a smart cookie in more than one way and when we went to see his teacher on Friday for parents evening she told us about something that had happened that day, I thought I would share it with you, because its just one occassion of when you realise how bright this boy is.
Mrs J said to the class that the reading books storage area was a right mess and that the class needed to tidy the books up at the end of the day during their golden time (golden time is something they all look forward to on a Friday, its time they can play or do anything they want in the classroom). Mrs J then carried on teaching the class, Little Bird got up from his seat and slowly made his way to the back of the classroom where the messy books were and started to tidy them up. Knowing Little Bird still listens in the classroom even when he’s busy doing something else, she left him to continue. When he finished the books she asked him why he did it and he said “because I am not missing my Golden Time.” I love that in his head he instantly thought about missing Golden Time and decided to get it out of the way so he did not miss out later. Mrs J said this was the neatest the books have ever been, he did a really good job and got his Golden Time.
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