Monday, 17 January 2011

New Year, New School, New Sasha??!!

Well. I'm amazed! Sasha's start at the school nursery really couldn't have gone better. She's had 3 mornings there so far, and has come bounding out of every session with a big grin on her face. Then she's continued bouncing around at home in a good mood all afternoon - apart from when we have to drive back to school to collect Tamsin, which she never wants to leave the house for. Can be tricky, as she disrobes the second she first gets in at about 1245pm, so I do have to persuade her to dress again at around 230pm. I've only had minor mutterings about not wanting to go in the mornings, and I've hardly had to chase her round to put the uniform on at all!!

I'm feeling quite pleased with myself as I did manage to put some advice from our Earlybird autism course into practise, which I'm sure has helped. It's a laminated schedule with Velcro pictures on, breaking down the week and the day by timings, so Sasha knows Mon-Fri uniform goes on first, followed by school, packed lunch, playtime with mummy, collect Tamsin and bedtime, and this seems to have made her more settled about what is happening. The 'collecting Tamsin' bit is obviously least favourite, and the 'going to sleep in mummy and daddy's bed' which was originally reserved for weekends has somehow crept onto every day's schedule, but minor points in what I'm considering to be an overall success really :) Tamsin was also very interested in the schedule, for the first couple of days!

So the routine is going well, and nursery haven't complained yet... the EYAS has spent some time in the room for a couple of days, so I have had feedback that there have been times when Sasha hasn't wanted to join in or do something, and so has crouched on the floor and had minor strops, but as the staff have ignored her and just left her she has largely got over it very quickly and run to catch up! Of course I know that a bad day will still most likely come before too long, but at least I'm reassured that she feels happy and confident in her surroundings and is working with the staff, so hopefully all will not be lost. It really has been the best possible start, and I'm convinced it was the best thing we could have done for her. It will definitely ease the transition into starting school in reception (assuming we get her place there...).

Tomorrow the educational psychologist is due to visit and observe Sasha, followed by a meeting with me, and she will then write her independent report to go towards the Statement assessment. Of course if everything goes well tomorrow then it may look like Sasha doesn't need any extra help at all, but I'm hoping they are realistic and take everything previously into account. If nothing else, she still needs SALT help (of which no signs yet...). We also need to have her hearing tested again for the Statement, although I'm convinced there's nothing wrong with that, so it's a minor inconvenience really.

So happy days, long may they last :)
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Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Feeling a bit sore and sad tonight, after Sasha gave me a well-aimed whack on the head earlier this afternoon with a twirling majorette baton (really not as funny as it sounds, and yes I know, rubbish present, hindsight is a wonderful thing...). It was a really vicious attack... no, not really, we are actually very lucky that Sasha has never shown any signs of aggression or violence and long may it stay that way. She was just a bit hyper after a 10 minute afternoon nap (when she could have done with more sleep) and she was just playing (or so she thought - think from my screams she realised it wasn't such a fun game any more!). What's upsetting is that she really didn't mean to do it, she was just playing, but she doesn't really 'get' why that wasn't a good thing to do. Obviously others her age would, and if it had been Tamsin she had hit, I don't think the pain would have gone away for Tamsin. She definitely wouldn't have understood why Sasha did it, or that she didn't mean to hurt her. So for me it's sad as it highlights that there will be times when others simply don't understand her or what she's doing - although of course I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she doesn't play that type of 'game' any more!!

She has been remarkably good about everything lately, so cheerful and easy going (well, mostly...) that I think it has been easy to get lulled into a false sense of security about how she is improving. Today has not helped allay my fears about her start at the new school nursery on Thursday!! Just hope they really are as understanding as they seem :) She was excited today as she got to see her EYAS again for the first time after the Christmas break - she did actually ask for her out of the blue yesterday after the first school run of the week, so I know she must have missed her, which is nice. The EYAS will be going into school the morning Sasha starts to help out, but I'm still undecided on whether this is for the best or not - she is great with Sasha, but when we had a trial session pre-Christmas, she was there too and Sasha didn't want to have anything to do with her. Jury is still out on whether that was because Sasha was a bit poorly, or whether it was a shock for her to see her EYAS in a new setting, not something she is used to. Sometimes she seems fine with changes to routine and new things happening, but it can all catch up with her later in the day. We'll see - all I know is that Thursday morning I'll be biting my fingernails (metaphorically speaking; haven't done that since I was a teenager!!).

Have won a few minor battles over food lately - predominantly tea time, which has been an issue for a while now. Sasha seems to fill up during the day and so 'tea' is not a favourite word - she would have sandwiches twice or three times a day every day if I let her! However have managed to bribe her to eat spoonfuls of other things lately, so it's a slow process but I have hope for the future. Likewise with the nappy situation - we have now switched to pull-ups (for nursery's sake) and she did scream about that and refuse them the first day. However now we have shown her we have none of the other ones, she is happy with her 'big girl pants/nappies' - still not happy to go without though! We have made progress in that there have been several times she has happily sat on the toilet, but apart from one lucky moment on Christmas Day, it's either not been the right time or she's managed to hold it in despite sitting for a while. So we'll get her settled at nursery and try to 'lose/run out of' all the nappies in a couple of months!! The dummy has now permanently gone, which is great, and although she does still request one from time to time, it is usually in a jokey manner rather than in a screaming fit. She has replaced the dummy with going to sleep in mummy and daddy's bed at bedtime though, but as long as she continues doing that with no fuss and being transferred easily to her own bed we're happy to let it go!

Sell my head is still smarting a bit tonight, so early to bed for me.
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Friday, 7 January 2011

Just the latest update... new year new start...

Things are moving on. Changes afoot. All good I hope! Since we got the confirmation the council will asses it's definitely not been quiet here, what with Christmas and New Year. Sasha did her last day at the old nursery just before Christmas and it was a funny feeling leaving the place for the last time. I'm now more convinced than ever that this is actually a brilliant move for her, one which was kind of forced upon us but will hopefully work out for the best. It will be a big change for her starting at the school nursery, especially as the staff/child ratio is not as 'good'. In her old nursery it was about 6 children to 1 member of staff I think, whereas now in a class of 30 children there is one teacher, one nursery nurse and one assistant... so more like 10 to 1. Sasha had a very good key worker at the old nursery, who knew her well and worked very closely with her, and whilst one has been assigned at the new nursery, I'm not sure she will have the time to concentrate on Sasha so much. I'm trying to be optimistic and hoping she just doesn't need it.... But she definitely will for the first few weeks of settling in, so I guess I'm really just hoping there's not another child who also needs it!!

We had a settling session for the 10 new nursery starters this week and all the children behaved very well and enjoyed playing whilst the parents were talked to (in the same room). I was very impressed that Sasha only came back to me once or twice, not even as often as some of the others - she was definitely in a good mood! Until it came to the time she wanted to go of course... but even then she was very well-behaved, helping me to tidy up the play food she had been playing with. However when another girl (who Sasha actually knows quite well!) had the audacity to take back out some of this play food, Sasha spotted it whilst trying to get her coat on and flew back across the room to screech no at her! Quite funny, if you knew what had gone on - to me it was obvious Sasha was trying to be good and thought the other girl was being naughty (even though she wasn't). It's just a worry that to others, who were not constantly observing, it would seem unreasonable behaviour from Sasha (which of course she will also show at other times) and they may be tempted to remonstrate with her in some way... which would obviously not go down well!

Today we had an unusual occurrence (not generally a good thing) in that there was a talk for all parents of year 1 (Tamsin's year) about maths, directly after school drop off. This meant Sasha being with me, sitting in a classroom with c. 40 other mums and a few younger children, whilst we all had to be quiet and listen to information. A recipe for disaster really, and a situation I'd usually try and avoid, but I was feeling brave so we went along. Sasha was actually amazingly well behaved, thanks to a bit of distraction from a colouring program on the school computer, then chocolate buttons, followed by being able to play with my iphone. However the latter caused a problem when she realised I couldn't have the sound switched on, and lots of her favourite games involve music of course. So at the point when I was refusing to 'fix it' (i.e. switch the sound on), she began to get agitated and wanted to go home. As it was nearing the end of the talk I did agree to take her and slipped out as quietly as I could; all along thinking that other mums would just think I was 'pandering' to her and that she was a spoilt child getting her own way. That's when it's sometimes most difficult, when you have to accept that others will form their own opinions of my parenting - no-one else really knows her like I do, and for me it's natural now to know when to push it (like I have been doing with her food lately!) or when to avoid that meltdown - if she'd had one there, believe me, no-one else would have been able to hear a word the teachers said from that point on!! But of course no-one else understands because I don't really let them see her get to that point. Sure my old school friend who witnessed it over lunch one day would back me up though...! It's so difficult to describe how it's not just her being naughty and having a tantrum because she wants her own way - she generally doesn't understand why things are not possible. Another mum with a slightly younger child than Sasha was quite surprised today when I explained something Sasha would not understand, and it is difficult to grasp because in many ways she seems so 'bright'.

Today I got a call from our newly assigned 'Educational Psychologist'. She is a lady who works for the council but is supposed to provide an independent report for the statement assessment for them. So we now have a date for her to observe Sasha for the first time, and it will be interesting to see what conclusions she draws. We are still working towards have extra care in place for September when she starts reception (gulp). And so for now on to next Thursday, when she starts school nursery properly and I'm due to leave her there for the first time. Fingers crossed everybody!
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