So we are at the end of the first week of my Biggey being introduced to her new school. We are still waiting on the Local Authority to sort out the formalities of the arrangements in regards to the Statement of Needs, yet the school were still comfortable to begin the process – whilst we wait.
Biggey, Dad and me all traipsed along on Monday for her to have a look around the place. It didn’t take long – there are only two classrooms, a games room, breakfast room and toilets! It is a special support unit attached to the school and for now, that is where she will be based. There is a teacher and teaching assistant based there all the time and many of the lessons take place in this unit with teachers from main school coming into the unit where possible. All classes are small, perhaps up to 6 children, sometimes only one child. Sometimes children are in there full time, others part time, others as needed. It may sound a bit like the “naughty children’s” unit but in fact it is very small, patient, nurturing, caring and understanding. Exactly what she needs. Not only to meet her ever expanding needs, but also to repair the damage done by the other school and improve her perception of what school and support is all about.
Whilst we were there the Head teacher came across to say hello and welcome her. He chatted to her for a few minutes and asked if she had any worries. She tearfully said she was worried about not having any friends. He reassured her that they will help with that and hoped that she didn’t worry for too long about it.
I have to say, I really wanted to hug him, or just rub his arm or do something insanely touchy feely at this point! He was just so nice!
Introductions to people took place and then she was invited to go in the next day to join their cookery class. She agreed readily (since she loves cooking and baking) so the TA took her across to the main school to show her the cookery room. Now here’s the difference – they showed her the exact route she would take, the cookery room, introduced her to the cookery teacher and gave her a typed list of ingredients. None of the old stuff of figure it out, write it down, go with flow, be independent and “you’ll be fine”. She was smiling. Normally. None of the manic-too-big smiling that she does when trying to cover her anxieties.
I wanted to kiss these people! Of course, I refrained (you’ll be pleased to know). Yet I was delighted because they had thought all this out, I didn’t have to ask and nudge and suggest.
Tuesday came and I dropped her off at the school with her box of ingredients and plan to collect her again in two hours. That is when I posted briefly about being alone. It was amazing, for her and for me. When I collected her again she talked animatedly about the whole experience.
The Headteacher came to see the cookery class. He wanted to taste my cupcake so I had to take him one when they were finished. I met my Head of Year. She teaches PE and asked me if I liked PE. I said I love it. She said we will have to try and get me to go to some clubs. She said that she will come with me for a few times because I might not know anyone and so she will stay with me until I feel more comfy about going. She seemed nice … I’ve had a good day… blah blah…”
I was crying at this point! After so many months of intense difficulty, the fights, the phone calls, the emails, the lack of understanding, thoughtlessness, no empathy. The tears were happy tears of relief. Thank goodness for a bit of kindness, compassion and understanding.
She went for two hours each day and then a bit longer today, Friday, so she could join a PE lesson. There is check in each morning and feedback at end which we are all involved in. It’s like taking your child to nursery (or so I imagine – I never got to experience that because they were both older when they arrived). So far, so good. Everyone (School, Head, Senco, Support and us) agree we need to take it slowly to ensure her success; she is going to get very tired; we cannot put a timescale or deadline on exactly when she will attend full time. When she does eventually attend this unit full time, there will eventually be another transition, little by little, to main stream schooling and classes with the unit there when needed.
She’s absolutely shattered tonight although she still had enough energy to have a little strop about the fact she didn’t want to go to bed! She quickly went off to sleep.