“Are you feeling worried Mum?” my son asked as I put the phone down. I had just been arranging our first visit to his preferred choice of Secondary School. I felt fairly terrified, but how to express this without stoking his anxieties. I settled for: “well, I feel a mixture of things. Nervous but excited, happy and sad.”
“How do you feel?” I risked.
“Well, the same really. Scared, but excited at the same time.”
I did a mental air punch.
“That’s good.” and it was! Transition for our child is not going to be easy. He has been home schooling for 6 months now, due to a combination of issues which we are slowly untangling. Our son has Aspergers and developmental issues. The school we are considering seems friendly and approachable. They have a plan for integration. Our hope is to continue to home school as well as to have part time attendance in mainstream school.
So, how did the visit go?
Well, it kicked off depressingly in the way of a lot of these meetings. The SENCO did not seem to know who we were, or have any background, despite three calls from myself to the school and Social Services having set the meeting up. His notes hadn’t arrived from County. However, the cheery teacher did seem to appraise the situation quite quickly and didn’t mind being corrected by our son on his pronunciation of “Asperger”!! He took us on a tour of the school where we saw a couple of children that we knew, and our son got to show that he knew the music dept and the teacher there where he already goes for drumming lessons. He wouldn’t go into the Year 7 class where they were playing music, but he did enjoy seeing the canteen and looking at the Technology and Home Ec area. He went very pale at one point and looked overwhelmed, but largely he did very well. It was very apparent as we went round that his social skills need work, and he looks very different to his peers – not only in home clothes, but wearing a pork pie hat and carrying a rugby ball to fidget with and his bottle of water -sipping this makes him less anxious.
There feels like a long way to go to get him ready for this move, and so its good to have lots of time to prepare! As always we want to get this move right.