Bit of a weird day today. Sasha had an 'introductory' type day along with her peers at school to prepare her for Reception start in September. So we found out for the first time who her classmates will be as she progresses through school. It's a 2 form entry school (i.e. 2 classes of 30 children per each year group), so the 30 morning nursery children already at the school were split up and mixed with the 30 afternoon nursery children, and some children new to the school will join each class.
Thankfully two of the girls she mentions most now are going to be in her class, but I'm disappointed that some of the other children she loves are not going to be with her. Familiarity helps to settle Sasha, as it does for lots of children this age obviously. It's just that routine is generally a key feature of autism, so the whole environment and teacher change at the same time will be more than enough for Sasha to deal with. I guess I'm just apprehensive. I'm a bit sad for me too as some of the mums I have enjoyed chatting with, who I know have lovely children, will now be waiting outside a different classroom and so I'll not be chatting as regularly with them. How selfish! Part of the sadness though is because I know their children would have been lovely to and with Sasha - but then I realise I have to stay open minded. I'm sure the new classmates will be equally lovely :)
Also, I'm not sure how the school does the mixing up, but it never fails to amuse the parents that they put children with the same name in the same class, when they could have been put in separate ones to avoid the Jane A and Jane B (example only!) scenario.
I'm very pleased with the teacher Sasha will have, as I've heard good things about her and I believe she is very experienced. Knowledge and understanding is half the battle with autism! I half wish I could line all the teachers at the school up and talk to them about Sasha though - first point on the list would be 'try not to shout at or say 'no' to her directly'!
Sasha skipped into the new classroom quite happily, and got on with playing alongside her peers, so it was a good day for her, although all a little confusing. I am still eternally grateful (in a strange way) to the old nursery for really forcing us to send Sasha to this school's nursery, which hadn't been our plan at all. Now she has been well prepared and the change is not such a big shock for her. We are extremely lucky also that Sasha has such an independent streak in her, so on good days she doesn't cling and likes to get on by herself. I think part of the difficulty we face is that most of the other mums would probably have thought that there is nothing wrong with Sasha if she can do that; surely she doesn't need special treatment? Well first thing to mention is she doesn't really get special treatment other than (hopefully) people explaining things slowly and clearly, directly to her, sometimes using pictures. The trouble with school is really the aftermath - she is extra tired tonight (as I'm sure they all are, with the excitement). In the morning she won't really understand now why she can't go back to that new classroom - if it's her new class, why not stay in it? Of course we try explaining, but the time concept is still a difficult one for her, and doing unusual things/not following patterns is also strange.
Every day since her birthday she has asked for more presents - but not in a greedy child sort of way (she wouldn't mind at all what was in them!), just in a 'I like presents very much' kind of way! Sweet, but very repetitive. She also asks to visit various places at inappropriate times - like her grandparents a 4 hour drive away (which she's mentioned at least 6 days in a run), the local farm at tea time, or the 'chip shop' (dreaded M) on the way home from school. She gets upset when we say no as she doesn't understand why not - again difficult to explain the difference, but it's not in a spoilt child kind of way. Along the lines of the pen on carpet type of experiences (see here), she does naughty things, but not to be naughty. It's more that she's just inquisitive, exploring, or hasn't realised what shouldn't be done in the first place. See I had told her to only draw on paper, but I never did say Sasha you mustn't draw on the carpet...! What other children can deduce naturally just doesn't come to Sasha... sigh. But she is a bundle of laughs and we love her very much :)