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September 4, 2009

Before I start this post properly, I wanted to take a moment to let you know just how much I have appreciated the support you have given me over the last few weeks – and particularly since my last post.  I cannot tell you how important you have been to me.  You have blessed and encouraged me more than you could ever know, and for that I am eternally grateful.  To all of you who have taken the time to read my blog and then contact me either by comment, Plurk, email or other means – a heartfelt THANK YOU.  You gave me the strength and self-belief to make it through the Chipmunk’s first days in his new class – I am honoured to call you my friends.  Now enough of the mushy stuff – on with the news…

I wanted to get this post out quickly, in view of the interest and concern that was expressed when I posted ‘Back to School Blues’ – therefore I apologise if it is not up to my usual (obviously exceptional) standards!  *insert wink here* !  I really just wanted to let everyone who was thinking of us know that the Chipmunks’ first two days back at school were fantastic.  Yes, you did read that correctly – I said FANTASTIC!  He loves school for the first time.  He is already settled, comfortable, happy:  he actually remembers what he has been doing each day and can’t wait to tell me about it on the way home.  Believe me, this is improvement on an unimaginable scale!

Let me explain the events that have brought about this massive change in direction.  And here is also where I hold my hands up, and freely admit:  I got it wrong.  My experiences with the teacher Chipmunk had last year clouded my judgement, fostered resentment and caused me to hugely underestimate the level of commitment and understanding currently being displayed by those in contact with him.  I went in with a closed mind expecting barriers everywhere I turned – instead I was greeted by the SENCO with the words:  “I have an open door policy.  Please never hesitate to pick up the phone or come in to see me.”  I could have cried.  I didn’t – I felt that may not have been an appropriate response while in an important meeting! – but I could have.  To cut a very long story short, the entire teaching team have been handed a picture of the Chipmunk and made aware of his particular diagnosis, so that they can watch out for him at playtime, assembly and other times when he may feel overwhelmed.  The SENCO has also changed Chipmunk’s IEP to reflect his School Action+  status and was welcoming of all the ideas given to me by the National Autistic Society (who have also been marvellous).

Chipmunk now has a home/school link book, to be filled in weekly.  This will not only record his behaviour and any causes of anxiety, but will be a useful tool when he insists he cannot remember anything he has done at school that week!  There is a visual timetable in his classroom to enable him to better plan and remember what is happening each day.  Daily events will also be explained to him in the morning, with any unexpected changes being talked through before they occur – whenever possible!  He will have a designated Special Educational Needs TA (shared with one other child), as well as another TA and the class teacher.  The teacher herself has been wonderful with him – making a point of telling me how well he has done this week.  All in all, this equates to a very happy Chipmunk – and a very happy Chipmunk Mummy!  The only downside?  The teacher from last year neglected to mention to anyone else (including the SENCO) that Chipmunk only has 30% hearing, and therefore it is essential to ensure that he doesn’t miss vital information.  This has now been added to his file and the teacher/TAs duly informed.  I also have another meeting booked in with the SENCO and the class teacher, for 3 weeks’ time.

There are no words to adequately express how relieved and pleased I am at the way things are heading – and how hopeful I now am for the Chipmunk’s educational experience as a result.  Here is a testament to the potency of love, the power of prayer and the value of friendship.

God Bless

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2009 19:53

    I am really pleased things are going more smoothly for you both this School year, now we just need to get you re-homed! 😉

  2. September 4, 2009 19:57

    Yahoo! That’s so wonderful, Hannah. I hope this is the beginning of the best year for him (and you!) yet.

  3. September 5, 2009 20:39

    One word for that post…………FANTASTIC!!!

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