Thursday, 31 August 2023

Getting the kids ready for going back to school

The school summer holidays is always the longest break in routine for our kids. Whilst our kids with autism struggle with these changes, many kids find the transition into and out of school holidays challenging. 

Remind them of their skills 

Whatever level your child is working at giving them a few reminders of their skills - of what they can do before returning to the classroom can help.  David can match some pictures with words and Jane can spend some time reading.  

Jane has also written a small play on the laptop and this is great for thinking about spelling and grammar.  We've also involved the kids in simple maths questions when out shopping or doing tasks around the house.  It's really just about getting the kids minds working again. 

Practice with any devices

Whatever technology the kids use at school that perhaps have got dropped during the holidays can be reintroduced so it's familiar when they get back to the class room.  David uses an iPad, Anthony does a lot of work via a chrome book and Jane uses google classroom in school.   But it could be anything.  

It could be that they use one of market leaders in the field of speech recognition technology or engage with a range of sensory.  Whatever it is they might get back into the swing of things with some practice at home.

Cut back on holiday routines 

Whether they have been spending extra time watching television, getting up late or staying up to play, cutting back a little will help when they have to suddenly change routine and get back into one for school. 

Of course I'm talking about returning to normal daily routines that often go out of the window in the holidays. We've been travelling lots of the summer, through some time zones and had lots of days out. This has meant we've changed things such and meal times and bed times. The kids have been going to bed later and some mornings have been more relaxed. 

 In the run up to school starting we are trying to get back into the old morning and evening routines. Getting up, getting dressed and having breakfast by 8.30 so that come first day back, it's not such a shock.

Be prepared for the first day back

All our kids schools do a really good job in transition prep for the kids. They've all spent time with their new teachers and in their new classrooms. But there are the other things to be ready for.

School uniforms don't just need to be checked for fitting but the kids need to be re familiarised with them. We have them set out, making sure they fit and get their school shoes on their feet at least a few days before hand. School shoes can feel pretty stiff and hard after trainers or sandals during the summer so we try and get the kids senses adjusted a little before hand.
Have you any suggestions? 

Friday, 4 August 2023

Taking my kids to the Falconry display and crafting a barn owl family

We're spending a lot of time at home this summer.  A combination of budgets, timings and other activities going on in our lives.  We are fortunate to live not far from Hampton Court and they have some events on.  This year we have been to the jousting which all the kids enjoyed and we also saw a falconry display there too.  It went well and we have a craft to make as well. 

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

How will our autistic son cope when he starts work?

Job list

My 15 year old son did a practice job interview at school today. He took in a suit to wear and practiced questions with us last night. For Anthony, this type of thing is really important. He was diagnosed with autism at four years old, and ADHD when he was around seven. We've been looking at colleges and my mind already races forward to the day ... a day he's looking forward to actually... when he gets a job. And I wonder about him in a workplace.

Sunday, 14 May 2023

Mental health and our autistic son

School boys

Earlier this year our eldest son really struggled with his mental health. He was missing lessons at school, struggling to cope outside the home and crying and worrying about his future a lot.  I read some recent research from Wysa that showed more than 8 in 10 teenagers are experiencing mental health worries, with 1 in 3 needing professional support. According to the research, half of young people can't access the support they need, with many feeling too ashamed or uncomfortable to talk to teachers or mental health teams at school. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2023

Trying to tell if my pre-verbal autistic son is in pain?

David is not like most other twelve year old boys. He's not got a favourite football team, he doesn't eat pizza and he's never played a game of Fortnite. But that's not surprising.  David is autistic and part of this means he's also never tied his own shoes, independently brushed his own teeth or used spoken words to tell us anything other than his basic wants.  One of my greatest concerns is that David will need to tell me something and he can't.

And one of the things I worry about him not being able to tell me... is if he is in pain. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Helping my autistic kids feel a bit better when they are under the weather

Boy with temperature

Nobody likes feeling sick. Even minor ailments can get in the way of you going about your day. Add in not understanding why you are feeling unwell or how to make yourself better and it gets even more complicated.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Ways to teach our autistic kids about the natural world


Teaching anything to my autistic kids can be a challenge.  Even when it's an area that they are interested in it can be challenging to support them to learn when they have such significant difficulties with communication.  David is in Yr 7 according to his age but in many ways he's operating like a child who is in Yr1.  He speaks in only a few words and needs to be shown most things to learnt them as he only understands some of what is said. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Will increased free childcare, in the budget, discriminate against autistic, SEN kids like mine?

The government has announced an extension to free childcare but a quick calculation shows me that if my son, David, was in childcare now... he would only get ... three... just three hours childcare a week, a tenth of that of his fellow peers. And all because he has autism.   If free childcare is going to be offered it needs to be offered without discrimination. 

Monday, 13 March 2023

What is alternative provision?

Boy in woods

I have been working in various types of education for nearly 15 years.   I have three children (if you can call my teenager a child) in education - two of these with special educational needs attending specialist provisions. One of whom started in what's called mainstream (a regular government funded school) and has ended up in a special school as mainstream became unsuitable for him. 

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