In August Lachlan started school.
The first six weeks were what could only be described as a “white knuckled roller coaster ride”, nothing prepared me for the emotional impact that was to hit me full force around day two or three.
We always knew Lachlan starting school was going to be very different. I knew we would have to take a giant leap of faith, I knew we were going to have a whole new team of professionals to work with, I knew I was going to find it incredibly hard to trust all these new people with my special little man.
I thought I was doing well in accepting that life with Lachlan was going to be different.
I found it so hard taking Lachlan to school every morning and picking him up at the end of the day, I had so much I felt I needed to tell the staff, then so many questions I wanted to ask them about how Lachlan had got on, there wasn’t enough hours in the day! Lachlan has a home school diary, it helps bridge the gap. I felt pushed out. In a way I felt I wasn’t needed in the same way any more.
I wanted to chat with the other primary one mums in the playground but I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything other than a passing “hello”.
All of a sudden all the differences between Lachlan and his peers were there again, I would notice the other children come running out at the end of the day full of tales of their new adventures with thier new friends and then Lachlan would appear with his additional needs assistant, always delighted to see us but never able to tell us anything, none of the other children would come over to speak to Lachlan and it made me feel so sad, not just for me but for him too.
Autisim really is like living in a world you just don’t really belong in.
Lachlan has a split placement this means he attends a special needs unit in the mornings and then goes across the corridor to mainstream P1 for the afternoons.
Lachlan had an enhanced transition, which meant endless meetings over the last year, despite all the effort that went into an anticipated smooth transition so much was lost in translation, we had to deal with unforeseen staff changes and some failing to understand fully just how great some of Lachlan’s challenges were and what they meant for Lachlan going to school.
By half term I felt I was battling constantly with everyone, I was exhausted and miserable.
I have some great friends who, when I need it, listen and don’t just tell me what I want to hear. I was gently advised by a friend who teaches children like Lachlan that “I had to let go,” for my sake, for Lachlan’s sake and the sake of future relationships with all thoes who work with Lachlan. That was not easy advice to hear but it was true, I really had to let go.
Lachlan was happy, settled and making progress at school in both provisions, I could see that, everyone could, things weren’t perfect, but when is life ever? So I took a very deep breath and let go. I put my trust and faith in the wonderful ladies who are all now part of Lachlan’s life, I took a reluctant step back and let them all get on with working with Lachlan.
I think it is fair to say that was a turning point for us all.
I have come to respect if anyone working with Lachlan has any worries or questions, they will ask.
Lachlan is thriving, the progress he is making is amazing, school for Lachlan is not just about learning academically, he is learning life skills, I noticed just the other day that Lachlan now puts his hand over his mouth when he coughs, he has developed beautiful manners, always using “please” and “thank you”, Lachlan now asks for help, the first time he asked me “help me build a house please mummy?” I was stunned and delighted. Last week there was a note in Lachlan’s diary to say he had been playing with some of the other children. The improvement in his speech and language development has been phenomenal, my dream of a propper sustained conversation will one day be reality, everyday Lachlan takes a little step closer to it.
I have noticed how much thoes working with Lachlan care for him, how well they have gotten to know him and I was touched when Lachlan was off ill recently to hear how much he was missed by the staff and children at school. Apparently school was just too quiet without Lachlan.
In the last month both Lachlan’s provisions have been preparing for Christmas, this has meant Lachlan went on an all day school trip to see Christmas decorations and Santa, involving eating lunch in a busy restaurant and traveling by bus, Lachlan took part in his schools nativity play joining in singing with his class and Lachlan enjoyed attending the School Christmas party, when Santa arrived Lachlan shouted out “Christmas is open!” I was deeply touched last week when Lachlan brought home all the lovely Christmas gifts he had made at school, there was a beautiful card, candle holders, a calendar and a Christmas cake! Lachlan and I opened them all together and both Lachlan and I were bursting with pride when Lachlan recognised the items as things he had made by putting my hand on them and saying “Lachlan’s”.
Lachlan starting school hasn’t been an easy journey but we got there in the end.