Wednesday, 26 October 2011

First huge meltdown at school

You know, I knew I would jinx things by writing about how well they were going... serves me right!

Actually all is not so terrible, but Sasha did have her first huge meltdown at school two days after I last blogged - a big enough meltdown that I had reports back from a few other parents (whose children had told them!) about how upset Sasha had been. The school teacher briefly mentioned there had been an incident and mentioned something about Sasha not saying sorry when I collected her, but I wasn't too concerned at that point as they didn't seem to be themselves. However, when I asked Tamsin if she'd seen Sasha that day, and her response was 'yes, she was doing a mushroom in the dining room and then wouldn't eat her lunch when one of the bossy dinner ladies tried to make her', and I also then heard comments from the other children, I did start to get a bit anxious. Especially seeing as the dining hall, and getting Sasha to eat any hot food, has been one of my biggest concerns since she started.

It's unlike Sasha to lash out at anyone or do anything intentionally naughty to hurt someone, so I did worry about what the 'saying sorry' was for. So I called the teacher the next day to put my mind at rest, which she thankfully did, and I just hope it doesn't get me a black mark in the neurotic parent book.....

It was coincidentally Sasha's first 'full' day at school (i.e. she now stays until 3pm instead of only 130pm). Not that the full day had anything to do with it - the meltdown started in the classroom in the morning. It had been brewing for a few days, ever since they changed her carpet/sitting position in class. She didn't like the change (funny that!) and has been reluctant to sit down and join in ever since. The teacher thought it was because she didn't like the boy she was being asked to sit next to, but surmised it wasn't that, as he wasn't in school the day she finally blew up. However, as her EYAS pointed out, it could also easily have been just because he wasn't there on that day for her to sit next to, that matters came to a head.

Sasha refused to join in at all, and it was the assistant who spent the morning trying to persuade her (with no luck) who the teacher wanted Sasha to apologise to. Sasha was still upset when she went over for lunch and things only got worse - which led to Sasha not eating any lunch at all and being witnessed in full meltdown by all the other children.

They obviously handled it how they thought best in the morning, but I'm not sure it worked..... however in the afternoon they talked it through with Sasha and got her to make a 'sorry' card for the assistant. Now I'm not sure Sasha is really up to the level of understanding what she was doing that for, but certainly by the time I picked her up she seemed fine and not even overly tired with her first full day (although the exhaustion from the meltdown did obviously kick in later!). Most importantly, she seemed happy enough to go back in the next morning. That was the last day before half term though, and an unusual day as the routine was all changed due to an outside teacher being in the classroom, so I'm guessing the carpet issue didn't need to be addressed. So I'm waiting with baited breath to find out how the return to school goes after the holidays... All I know at the moment is that I'm shattered from having two of them at home all day every day to entertain. Even a little supermarket trip can be more than difficult with Sasha.. but more on that another day!
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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Statement review and school update

Wow. Time is flying by and I've still not managed to get into blogging as regularly as I'd hoped. Starting the manic run up to Christmas now too, so sure there'll not be much time going forward for anything except shopping..... So I promise I'll get better at it in the New Year - same time as I finally get to the gym again....

Anyhow a very quick update for now. Sasha is doing amazingly well at school, which is lovely but also slightly unsettling, bizarrely. I think it's partly that once I find I don't have to worry about one thing, I feel a bit lost without the next issue to concentrate on! This week we had her statement review (every 6 months until the term after her 5th birthday, then just once a year thankfully). I was anxious before the meeting - I remember only too well how everyone told me I'd never get a statement for Sasha, and seeing as she has been getting on so well at school, I thought they (the council) may just take it away again.

It turns out I needn't have worried, as everyone is still in agreement that she still needs the help specified in the statement. Not that there's a lot specified, to be honest, it's not like she has a dedicated assistant or anything! It mostly just suggests tactics for the teacher, like small group work and visual timetables. The key direct help in the statement is speech and therapy, which I had to battle for after feeling let down by that service early on, and so now Sasha will get a visit at least twice a term from a speech therapist (SALT). I'm told this is a very good level of support, although personally I can't help feeling more intense weekly therapy would have been better - but then again I'm no expert!

Although she is doing so well, and I'm generally getting positive feedback, it is of course impossible to forget  how different she is. Whilst she may catch up intellectually with her peers at some point in the future, it's likely that she will always remain behind with the social understanding. She may well get to learn her own 'triggers' for meltdowns and manage her unacceptable behaviour, but that's probably some time off, and even then that may cause extra stress and create more difficulty in her life.

For me the statement was, and still is, a means of making sure that everyone is 'singing from the same hymn sheet' when it comes to Sasha. If we had to move and change schools, it would be the starting point to avoid having to waste time going back to square one. It does mean I get a face-to-face meeting with the teachers and therapists that other parents don't get, but that's not something I ever really wanted. It does make me feel slightly sad every time, knowing that Sasha does need this help. Right now though, thankfully, she's not aware of that, and she's such a happy, confident, contented little girl (when she's in the right mood!!!). She's very sociable, and she is joining in and following instructions most of the time at school, and she is still developing her language and understanding. Tamsin, meanwhile, is also doing amazingly well, and we're very proud of her. So we have a lot to be happy about, and for now I will try and stop worrying about 'what happens next'.

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