June is by far the most stressful month in our year with both our ASD children celebrating their birthdays and our youngest son’s annual statement review.
Our daughter said I ruined her birthday as I made her attend a transition visit to her upper school that day. When she was told about the visit, two days before it took place, there were tears and a refusal to attend. She expected me to tell school that she didn't have to go due to it being her birthday. However, she went on the visit and although she says she didn’t enjoy it, we are proud she did the visit. Retail therapy the following weekend in Oxford Street seemed to make up for the initial bad start to her 13th birthday. In fairness to our daughter she has matured a lot during the past six months and although she may put up a fight about doing something she doesn’t want to do, she ends up doing it, rather than putting up a continual battle, which is a huge step forward. She knows she has a difficult few months ahead of her, starting a new school with no friends and unfamiliar staff, but it is a choice she has made to help her cope with this next stage in her life. Once the last day of term arrives on 22 July, middle school will be part of her history and she will want to swiftly move onto the next chapter. Life is very black and white for her, but if it works, then it’s the best way forward. She has made a brave choice and we are very proud of her and know she will succeed. It will take time and there will be backward steps, but she will get there in the end.
In the middle of this month we attended our youngest son’s annual statement review. A lot of changes were made to his statement to reflect the progress he has made from when it was first written three years ago when he was in Reception year. He still requires the same level of support, but he’s now reached a different stage in his education as he makes his way through school life. The upcoming year is going to be one to prepare him for the transition to middle school he will make next September. It may be over a year away, but it takes time for our son to understand the changes that are ahead of him and he will need to be given more strategies to add to his ‘toolbox’ to help him cope with what lies ahead of him. Hopefully, once he sees his sister adapting to her new school, he won’t be so frightened of moving somewhere bigger without a lot of his friends. He is competitive like his sister and if she can do it, I know he will believe he can too.
This week, our youngest son turned 8. He has been on countdown for the past three weeks since his sister’s birthday and made his opinion known very strongly that he didn’t want anyone at school to know it was his birthday on the day. He hates the attention being on him and didn’t want to be asked lots of questions about what presents he had received etc. Staff made sure no reference was made to it being his birthday and he came home very happy that no one had realised it was his birthday. He is so different to our daughter who went to school with the biggest badge she could find so that the world knew she was 13 on her birthday. What works for one child doesn’t always work for another and we are great believers in letting our children guide us with what makes them happy, so that we don’t add to the stress that their ASD presents them with on a daily basis. Lots of people think it’s strange that we don’t wrap up presents for our youngest son, but he doesn’t like the element of surprise and we would rather he is happy and enjoys his birthday, than we conform to what is expected for a birthday celebration.
Will July turn out to be a quieter month? Not looking likely at the moment as I’m back in hospital for the day tomorrow with another appointment later in the month and our daughter has two rollover days next week at her new school. She also has her Prom, school trip to Thorpe Park and Leavers Assembly. The most important job for July though is all three kids are going to work on their bucket lists for the summer holidays, so that we have lots of fun activities to look forward to during their six weeks off.