My baby is growing up and will be going to senior school in September.

We went to Ali’s Senior School Induction Evening last night, Ali didn’t seem as phased as I thought he would, and I think he is secretly looking forward to going  It is official! My baby, my last born is growing up and I really don’t like it  To give you an idea of how big the school is I have outlined the grounds below, it is outstanding in Ofsted reports, has always been an excellent school, I went there myself and now both Alex and Ali will be there, as Alex started two years ago, he will be going up to yr 9 in September.
I have to confess though I do worry how Ali will cope with over 1700 pupils there, over 150 teachers, etc,  the school has a grammar stream as well, so best of both worlds,  I have been told that Ali will be given his own laptop there instead of having a scribe which is excellent, support to help with his limited sight, as for support when it comes to his autism, they are  waiting to see what help he will need and ready to put things into action at the time,  he is top of his class in all subjects, very very bright, I have no idea where he gets it from. I think his main problem will be the social interacting, he really doesn’t do people, although they understand this, they have facilities to deal with any problems that this may bring up which is a good thing. we can only wait and see now.

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The end of the week and the end of SATS for Ali

SATS “Standard Attainment Tests” Week is over, to those of you that have never heard of it, SATS are done every year in May,  year 6 KS2 Sats week has a huge impact on the children who face this time of testing and the teachers who prepare them for it. I know because having worked in a school as a TA, I know the stress the teachers are under but I also know the stress some parents put their children under.
But it’s not just Year 6 who are affected. The whole school joins in the dance, having to be quiet while the children take their tests, waiting for the word to get around that the test is over and they can do a more noisy activity.
I have never put pressure on any of my children to “Do well in the tests” in fact I don’t even mention SATS at all to them, I have always said to all my kids from the day they started school, that as long as they do their best, that is good enough for me,
 
My older kids all did well in all their exams and usually were either straight A or High B students, getting their A levels etc getting into university off their own bat, 
I think I have always been the teacher’s nightmare parent, I don’t believe in homework and always given my kids the choice of if they want to do it or not, and believe it or not for the majority of the time they choose to do it, I have never put pressure on my children to revise for any tests/exam’s, It is something you either know or you don’t. I don’t believe in children having the added stress put on them for SAT’s either especially when they are so young.
Anyone who has read my previous post will know that Ali missed his first day of the SATS as he was in hospital, the next day he did go into school but was still tired and not 100% but sat his tests along with the other kids, for him things are even harder, you see not only is he HFA “High-functioning autistic” he is also Legally blind in his left eye and has very poor sight in his right eye, he is also left handed which makes things even more difficult for him when it comes to writing. Despite everything he is in mainstream school and so far has coped, He has a scribe for writing as his handwriting is very slow and big so he can see it, he also has exceptional keyboard skills, having been taught Nessy fingers touch typing from when he was about 6, but despite all the setbacks he faces he is always top of the class, he has an excellent memory, and when it comes to maths he works them all out in his head, a fact the teachers found out when they used to call upon kids in the class to work sums out and they would ask them to write down the answers as they called the question. by the time Ali wrote it down he would be about five questions behind. once when he hurt his hand the scribe offered to write them down for him. they discovered that as soon as the question was asked he knew the answer immediately, his answer was written down by the scribe while all the other kids were still thinking about it.
Anyway, I have gone way off the mark here.
Ali did so well with his SATS that the head actually came up to me at the school sponsored walk and asked if it was ok to give him a present for working so hard and doing so well over the week despite being off on the Monday and basically feeling out of sorts for the majority of the week. His present. A fuck off bar of chocolate. just chocolate as at the moment we still don’t know what caused the severe allergic reaction and have been told to avoid anything with nuts. and let’s just say he was very proud of himself. I have no worries what his results will be on the tests as I know he has done his best but it does worry me is there are kids who are not as bright as Ali, there is another autistic boy in yr 6 who I know has struggled as his mother said to me at the sponsored walk, a few of the other mums whose kids were ADHD said the same. I want is the Government to stand up and recognise that children are not all the same, they are diverse and wonderful. Many children fight daily battles whether medical, social or emotional ones which impact on how they can prepare for the SATs, how they cope and the outcome.
By testing them in this way the government are only highlighting their difference not embracing it.
And to the parents who are constantly on at their children to study and revise, you really are doing your kids no favours putting the added pressure on them,
I can honestly say my kids have always made me proud and done well despite me not putting any pressure on them.
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Ali proudly showing off his chocolate

 

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Holding out his card to be stamped for each lap they have done. his guide is enjoying a cake while he waits and yes Ali is taller than the teachers lol

 

Back to school and we have our lodger back :)

Well, the boys went back to school last Tuesday,  as a treat, we took them both to see Fast and furious 8 on bank holiday Monday. I have to admit it was a great film and I even managed to stay awake through the whole thing. afterwards, it was back home for burgers as finances didn’t stretch to a takeaway but hey hoo it is payday soon 🙂 
Both boys were happy to go back to school and catch up with friends, and probably to get away from sorting bedrooms out as I have been on a spring clean mission lately,
Wednesday Alex had a friendly football match with his team at 6 pm and they won 10-2 so he was happy as the other team were a year older. 

We are just about in the normal school routine now, and while all the other mums rejoice about their kids going back to school, I love having the boys at home.  roll on May day bank holiday when they have a nice long weekend. 

My brother is off to the south of France tomorrow so we got our lodger back, we babysit his budgie while he is away,  Bertie is lovely though but very old, so rather than have him and keep taking him back and forth while they go to their boat and then come back for the odd week here and there, we have his stay with us until they are back for the winter. so he will be here with us until at least October.  in fact, when you work it out, Bertie spends most of the year with us lol so we have “Shut up Steve” upstairs in Ali’s room  *Ali’s budgie* and Bertie downstairs, both tweeting to each other. 
I have to admit I have missed having Bertie over the winter, so it’s nice to have him back with us.  I just hope he doesn’t pop his clogs of old age while we have him here 🙄 

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Saying goodbye to watching class plays forever. Thank f**k

Today I saw my last ever class play, Ali is yr 6 now and once they go up to senior school they don’t do the class play.
Ali hate’s them with a passion, they are not for him and,to be honest, they have made his life miserable in weeks leading up to them, this one being no different.  if you have read my pink/purple blog you will see that I won the battle. and Ali is dressed in blue.   He never said a word, and with the exception of this picture which I took at the end, he wouldn’t even look forward.  even here he wasn’t happy with having to turn around as there was still a lot of mum’s in the hall.  people, Ali doesn’t do people!

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From these picture’s you can see that while other kids may love the opportunity to take part in play’s and enjoy doing them.  Ali doesn’t.  

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refused to look as he does his part and  holds a banner. he is supposed to be facing front.

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Walks off after a few parents laugh because he won’t look forward after prompting from his teacher. 

Now some may say that he should have to take part in these things, but if they knew the meltdown’s we have about it, if they knew how upset this makes him, how unsettled, then maybe they would understand.  
I have never missed any of his class plays or Christmas plays. In fact, I have never missed any of the kid’s school productions. This was the first one ever that his dad missed due to work.  we have always gone and watched both boys, but I have to say.  I am so glad this is the last school class play I will ever have to go and watch.   Now we just count down to the Christmas play,  hopefully, now his teacher will understand the anguish Ali goes through and will think twice about what part he is put in.  
This evening he had a smile on his face for the first time since they started practicing the play because he knew it was over.  

Ali’s parent evening

I had the pleasure of meeting Ali’s new teacher properly today for the first time,  the discussion started off with the pink/purple assembly clothes Ali was supposed to take in for his Assembly on Wednesday, long story short, he will now not be “Fear” he will be “Sadness” and will be wearing blue,  I will find out on Wednesday morning if Ali can be convinced into taking part. 

 He mentioned that Ali’s handwriting was still very big,  although when he has a scribe helping he get’s through work very quickly, he questioned Ali’s need for a scribe and said he thought that if he did more writing himself maybe it would become smaller and easier to read.
He mentioned that Ali refuses to take part in class discussions, or really interact with the other children in his class,   he also mentioned Ali seems to daydream and not look at him or really the other kids and often stares away at the wall, however obviously listen’s as when asked a question on whatever was being discussed, when being told off for not paying attention, he apparently does listen and answers correctly.  it was at this point, I said to his teacher.. “you do know Ali is legally blind and on the spectrum don’t you ?” when asked to explain, I told him Ali is blind in one eye and classified as legally blind in the other, although with glasses, he can manage with his right eye, but being left handed, as well as blind in his left eye, writing is a struggle for him, he is also autistic, ah right he said, that would explain a lot…….. WTF?? how did you not know,  every teacher he has ever had at the school knew about his need’s his quirks, 
Apparently, he *the teacher* doesn’t like to read note’s about the kids when they are new to his class because he doesn’t want to pre-judge them, and that they start off with a clean slate.  great if you have a kid who is a little shit in the previous year as it gives them a chance to start anew but in Ali’s case, this is medical and would explain the need for his scribe, and other needs. 

Hopefully, now he understands, there will be less of *excellent work Ali but took too long to write down*, and *must pay more attention in class and join in discussions*. written all over his books,   he also now understands why Ali reads digital books when print can be made larger and did say his reading was excellent, way beyond his years, 
Although despite everything he admits. Ali is top of the class in every subject with the exception of pe where he struggles, especially his co-ordination. however, he now understands why. 

All I can say is, as always I am proud of Ali and how well he has done despite such a lack of understanding from his teacher.

PINK/PURPLE *The joys of being a parent of an autistic child*

Ali (10) came home with a note from school about clothes needed to be taken in for a class assembly ,  he was not a happy bunny and is refusing point blank to dress up, he hates dressing up, in the past it has been a nightmare, and for the last couple of years we haven’t had to worry about it as he has always been a narrator on the school plays which meant he could just wear his uniform.  
for years he insisted on wearing the same clothes as his brother when not at school and it’s only over the last year or two that I have been able to dress them in different clothes, even now he hates new clothes and usually Alex has to wear something first before Ali will wear it.  

When Ali is at school he is usually in his element, everyone dresses the same, it’s a routine he thrives on.. until it comes to Christmas plays and class assemblies. he hates them with a passion, they can usually convince him to take part but only if he doesn’t have to dress up.  

So back to this note:
 

Now it would be hard enough for me to convince Ali to dress up at all, but to have purple/pink clothes.  Seriously?? The kid may be only 10 but takes men’s 2XL is 5 ft 11 with size 11 feet, pink/Purple is really not his colour!

There is no way I am going to go out and buy this kid anything in pink or purple,  His sister’s clothes wouldn’t fit him as they are both smaller than him even though they are now both 20 and over.. *Happy 20th Birthday to my step-daughter today* 
I am not a pink person myself so that is out of the question, but I do have a purple T-shirt that has a skull on it, so worst case scenario I’m guessing that will have to do along with his black jogging bottoms.
Well I will send the clothes in but I will let Mr Denney deal with the massive meltdown that is inevitable when it comes to convincing Ali to wear it lol

What is it with school’s and their demands for clothes for plays etc.
over the year’s I have had to provide pirate clothes,  roman gladiator , harry potter, knight, Arab and other outfits,  everything green for green day …  oh and brown..  
thanks to ebay, the pirate, harry potter, knight and gladiator costume’s and others, were found, bought, worn for about an hour and now  all sit in a box on top of the wardrobe in my room,  never to be worn again, well they wouldn’t be by the boys as they are too small now.  but in total, I would say there is about £100 worth of dress up outfits there. 

As for the green day, well Primark ended up being the destination to get a green T-shirt and jogging bottoms, again to be worn for one day and never again because I don’t for some reason dress my kids in green. 

Brown! Now that was a nightmare to find..  again it was eBay and brown t-shirt, does anyone dress their kids in brown???

All I can say is good luck Mr Denney, both this time and at Christmas if you are brave enough to insist Ali dresses up again and roll on next September when Ali starts senior school as we will no longer have this dress up crap ever again. 

When your child starts school for the first time.

Dear Teacher

I know you’re rather busy
First day back, there’s just no time
A whole new class of little ones
And this one here is mine

I’m sure you have things covered
And have done this lots before
But my boy is very little
He hasn’t long turned four

In his uniform this morning
He looked so tall and steady
But now beside your great big school
I’m not quite sure he’s ready

Do you help them eat their lunch?
Are you quick to soothe their fears?
And if he falls and hurts his knee
Will someone dry his tears?

And what if no-one plays with him?
What if someone’s mean?
What if two kids have a fight
And he’s caught in between?

You’re right, I have to leave now
It’s time for him to go
I’m sure he’ll learn so much from you
Things that I don’t know

Yes, I’m sure they settle quickly
That he’s fine now without me
I know he has to go to school
It’s just so fast, you see

It seems like just a blink ago
I first held him in my arms
It’s been my job to love, to teach
To keep him safe from harm

So, when I wave goodbye in a moment
And he turns to walk inside
Forgive me if I crumple
Into tears of loss and pride

I know as I give him one more kiss
And watch him walk away,
That he’ll never again be wholly mine
As he was before today.

The teacher response

Dear Parent,

I understand that you are scared
to wave your child goodbye
and leave him in a teacher’s hands
don’t worry if you cry!

I’m used to weeping parents
It’s hard to leave I know.
But it’s time to share him (just a bit)
To help him learn and grow.

Let me reassure you
That I’ll give your child my best
I’ll wipe his tears, soothe his fears
And change his dirty vest!

If your darling child is full of cold
I’ll blow their nose all day
Just like you, I’ll care for them
In a special way.

I’ll treat him like I would my own
I’ll catch him from a fall and
If there is ANY problem
I’ll be sure to tell you all.

It’s true he’ll grow to love us
They’ll talk of school a lot
It doesn’t mean they hate you
And that you should lose the plot!

I’ll tell you a secret..
That when your child is here
They talk to me as much of you
Of this please have no fear.

You’ll always be their mother
Whilst teachers come and go
To them you are their number one
This I truly know.

Soon you’ll see some changes
In your little girl or boy
They’ll become more independent
And to see this, it’s a joy!

I’ll teach them all I have to give
To share, climb and to write
But to you they safely will return
To tuck them in at night.

With love from a teacher…