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Thursday, 10 September 2020

A Positive Start



Back to school has pretty much happened for everyone now.

I’ve seen everyone have very mixed feelings about the kids going back.

Me? 

I’m not that bothered. 

To be honest lockdown and covid-19 hasn’t bothered me nearly as much as others.

From my point of view I haven’t been too concerned about going out. I don’t exactly have an active social life. I have few friends I see throughout the year in school holidays. Outside of that the only trips out I make is going to church twice a week.

Church has adapted to being online. A lot based on my input. So, although it isn’t the same that need was still met.

As for schooling, well home educating the 4 of them wasn’t exactly difficult for me. In fact, our 4 thrived in lockdown Home Ed; something the schools and teachers said.

Going back to school, again, isn’t a problem for me. 

Routine in Home Education was there before lockdown so it carried on during it. Going back to school (both state and home ed) just carries that routine on.

My Dependant Personality Disorder loves routine. If I can form a routine and create a dependent structure with it then I generally cope OK. 

The kids obviously have different reactions returning to school but not really negative. 

Midge was anxious before going back to Secondary and starting Year 8. However, in many ways this is normal for her. 

Previously, when it came down to school and school holidays, she would become anxious and it would usually come out as stomach aches and headaches the days prior to starting. 

In the past we’ve allowed her to determine the days when she is comfortable to start. This year, we decided to chat to her and explain that everyone was in the same position and subsequently going to school is a must, not a when. Thankfully, 2 days in to her schooling she came home with smiles, positive stories and happiness. 

We thought Will would struggle with “back to school” due to his autism. Like with Midge, he usually has termly based difficulties adapting to the change between school and holidays.

Having the other 3 at home and then going back usually takes a few weeks of adjustment. Often emotionally overwhelming him either in upset, anger or joy. Once the routine kicks in he stabilises a bit. We expected it to be more intense this time due to lockdown.

However, we’ve been chatting to him more about getting him into a school. (Once we get the blessed miracle of an EHCP (Educational Health and Care Plan) of course)

For a long time going to state school brought out anxiety attacks. However, we’ve made talking about school a casual conversation point which has inadvertently allowed him to do the same.

So his starting back to home ed has been good (more to follow on this) He’s thrown himself in and so far there’s been no signs of struggling.

Arty usually gets anxious when school starts. A lot of this is usually down to the unknown. 

Arty is very much like me. He likes his routine. 

His school has a 4 tier year group. Each year the school usually changes the children around in each class. Subsequently, he isn’t sure if he will know all the children in the class.

The uncertainty makes him incredibly anxious. On top of that the “new teacher" worries him too. 

Arty's Attachment Disorder usually comes out in a “fight or flight" scenario. If the teacher is a strong solid teacher then he is more likely to enter the “flight" position where he toes the line and doesn’t want to get in trouble. If they’re new and “over nice" then he enters the “fight" position. This usually then means he takes the stance of being cheeky and mucking around in the class because he will “fight" for his position with the teacher.

Normally he doesn’t know what type of teacher he starts off with and this brings quite visible anxiety. Only really under the concept of “how do I behave?”. 

However, this year he knows his teacher as well as the class. Due to covid-19 restrictions they haven’t wanted to change anything for the stability of the children. Knowing both of these points Arty has gone to school quite happily.

Finally, James.

James is James. That’s possibly the best way of describing him. 

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook knows how wild and hilarious James can be. 

Although he struggles a lot with his own additional needs in social settings he is probably the most sturdy of all of the kids. 

He’s confident in his own ability and personality that he enters every situation as “I’m James and I’m here". 

We as a family have somehow managed to not only thrive through the last months but have managed to push through and start this “back to school” somewhat positively. 

I know there are so many people right now struggling and this post shouldn’t be a dig or negative against them. The struggle is hard. 

However, something I keep saying is that this year isn’t as bad as what others have gone through. This year is nowhere as bad as our 2019 as a family for example. 

As everyone knows and I’ve said a few times now; last year was hell for us. 

This positive start with the kids and the solid routine around us all I think has really been great. 

How has everyone else been? 


*Every child gave permission for me to talk about them in this post. They read the text about them and then agreed that I could share it*


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