Mama OWL Blog: Autism & Open Evenings

Autism & Open Evenings

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

It fills me with a deep sense of dread that L will be starting senior school next year. I worry so much about how he will cope with the transition, learning to manage going to different classrooms and dealing with different teachers. His additional needs mean that he thrives on routine, knowing where he is and who he is going to be with, so it's going to be a big change for him and one that I really hope he doesn't struggle too much with.

His primary school are so wonderful and understanding of his needs, I wish he could have another couple of years with them. But a year is what we have left, and so this year is about preparing him for that transition and getting him as ready as we possibly can. The staff at primary are already putting things in place, and talking about it more with him, and he'll have extra visits. We discuss it often at home, and A & J tell him about school and the lessons they do and about homework.
I have on several occasions overheard him ask J if he will help him at school, which tells me that he is quite worried and it is clearly on his mind a lot. J will be in Y9 when L starts (hopefully at that school, we have sent in our application & have our fingers crossed) and A plans to stay on for the 6th form so I hope that he will have both of them there to support him where necessary.

Last week the Mister & I took L to visit the school that we want him to attend during their open evening, along with A to act as our personal guide! L has visited once before on a Y5 taster day, he was quite anxious most of that day but he liked the school and enjoyed his time there which is obviously a good thing. We saw a couple of the teachers that he met on the taster day, and he remembered them and was keen to talk to them.

We visited the support centre and had a quick look in there, though he was more keen to get around all of the classrooms and see what was on offer! He had a good go at several things and seemed to really enjoy the experience.
A showed him how to hold a guitar in the music classroom, and he had a go at the sewing machine driving test. His favourite things were setting fire to monster munch in Science (of course) and testing pH levels, and also using the computers in ICT.

We encouraged him to have a go at everything even if he wasn't particularly interested in doing so, like for example trying to get him to do some art was like pulling teeth whereas he was more than happy to decorate (and eat) biscuits in DT. Is it still called DT, actually? I'm sure you know what I mean. He was very pleased with his efforts and he enjoyed eating his work!

Maybe I am worrying for nothing. Perhaps he will settle straight in & really enjoy this new environment. I really wish that I could believe that. I guess that a part of my anxiety is about him growing up. He is quite protected from the outside world in primary school, everyone understands him and his ways and accepts him for who he is and how he is without question. His autism is just a part of him, like his blue eyes & blonde hair. I can't keep him protected forever and with starting senior school, it means more freedoms and new experiences that I can't control or keep watch over.
Teenagers can be cruel, and being around older kids who don't understand him or who do & will seek to get a rise out of him makes me worry. I also worry that J will get in to trouble through protecting his brother, as I know he will if he sees anything out of order.

There is so much to come and I wish that I could be excited or look forward to it. But I don't, and I can't and that does make me sad. I want to be excited for him, for his new adventures and the new friends I hope he will make.

But all I have is dread and worry.

I'll try to enjoy this last year as much as I can, because I have no idea what lies ahead ― apart from many sleepless nights.


  1. Poor you! Of course you are worried. I think very few parents are excited or happy about their children starting secondary at the best of times, but your challenges and fears are bound to be greater. It sounds like you are all doing the right things to help him prepare and it's great that he will have his brother and sister there to look out for him.

  2. I could have written this post! I am feeling exactly the same about RJ going. They 'get' him at his current school,.why can't I leave him there!?

    Does L's new school use planners? I know that this will be the think that will save RJ. As he can have something to keep a track of where he should be xx


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