The second week of the new school year has started and we’ve already had lots of tears and tantrums from our two ASD children. At their request, we are counting down until half term and I am hoping that the next six weeks go as quickly as they did during the summer holidays.
Our youngest son’s life revolves around how many sleeps until the weekend/holidays and it’s the first question he asks when he wakes up each day. It’s such a shame as he is constantly worrying about what’s ahead, rather than enjoying each day. His eczema has flared up again and began a week before the start of term. This is what happened last term when he had a new teacher and for three weeks, his arm looked raw and sore until his anxiety lessoned and then his arm recovered. We are expecting a similar pattern this time as he has got to get used to the routine of having two new teachers each week, plus a TA teaching one afternoon every other week and other new TAs in the classroom. One of the stims that always seems to resurface when he’s very stressed is him clicking his tongue. He is not aware he does it and he does it whilst he’s asleep as well. Our other children find it an annoying habit to listen to and it does keep my awake at night, but it is his coping mechanism and the more you draw attention to it, the more he will do it. In time, he will feel happier about his new routines and not feel the need to click his tongue to keep calm.
Our daughter’s oppositional defiant disorder has been very evident, as she does not want to walk to school each day. As she has now started Year 8 and will move to Upper School next September, we are trying to encourage her to be more independent. Unfortunately, she doesn’t agree with us and has been doing all she can to avoid walking to school. I offered an incentive for Friday that a friend could come round after school if she walked that morning and had hoped that would be enough motivation to get her walking to school. How wrong could I be? She refused to get out of bed until 8am, the time she needs to leave to walk to school and said she was not going to school, unless she got a lift. With a lot of persuasive talking, I managed to get her out of the door by 8.30am to walk our youngest son to school. This caused a lot of stress for our son, as it wasn't part of our normal routine, as his sister doesn't come into his playground. After dropping him off, I then walked our daughter to her school, which meant she was late and something she hates to be. I cancelled her friend coming round that day, as she didn’t walk to school on time that morning. However, with her literal thinking, she argued that she had walked to school, so her friend should be allowed round. I carried out the consequence for her actions, but I now need to rethink how I word things in the future, so that it can’t be interpreted in any other way. Over the weekend we have compromised that she will walk to school two mornings a week until half term and then we will look to increase this and she will walk home every day after school, unless she is there late for a club.
Fingers crossed it will be a calmer week for both of them, but as always a new school year brings lots of change and for our ASD children that means their anxiety levels rocket out of control until they know what to expect with their new routines.