Can Do – Weds 6th July 2016

By | July 6, 2016

Occasionally I get thoughts about the future, thoughts which I really should think more about as the children are now 12 and 13.5 years old.  

They aren’t going to grow out of having autism, what – hopefully – will happen more is that they develop more individual coping strategies for them, to deal with the challenges of life.

Whilst we were waiting for the school bus to leave for the Olympic pool yesterday (so that we could follow and not get lost!) we were chatting to a TA outside school.  Talking about how we reached our decision to place D in SN school and how it was the right decision for her.

It was a tough one at the time: 

Do we keep her within mainstream – where she wasn’t coping – and hope that eventually she would settle and obtain qualifications?


Place her within an SN environment, where she wouldn’t obtain qualifications at the end of school but learn more about life skills and potentially be happier?

It was a no-brainer for us and, six years on, we are so pleased that we went with our instinct and opted for the SN environment, yesterday couldn’t have been more proof of that.

D won’t have GCSEs to her name but she is able to walk to the shops with her class on occasion, we go into school every morning and she’ll say “good morning” as we walk in to the TAs.  She was clapping on her team mates yesterday and, although she had reservations, she participated, she accepted the advice and encouragement given and enjoyed it.

She is polite, always saying “please and thank you” and we have a lovely community atmosphere at our local shops where, if she holds the door open for someone in Costa, they’ll thank her and smile, she really likes to be appreciated.

She can read, learning by memory as opposed to phonetically and, although she finds writing difficult, I’ll get a lovely little note in Mother’s Day/birthday cards – that will do me just fine in place of any essays.

My ultimate aim for D is for her to (this sounds silly, but hopefully other SN parents will understand) travel on a bus, by herself, handing in the correct fare and sitting amongst the passengers.  Whether it’s to a college/work placement or meeting me somewhere.  It’s something she’s nowhere near ready for and won’t be for a good while, but that would say steps towards independence to me.

After that, who knows? We’re focus on the “can do”, not the “can’t” because it’s easier on the nerves that way.

And T, who masks so much during his time at secondary mainstream.  Who walks to and from the school bus stop, who builds up his emotion during the day and lets it out at home.

My aim for him is to talk more (or just talk!), he’s like a firmly closed tin can at times, there’s no chipping below his surface.  He’ll glare and grunt at D and then react when she inevitably does, it’s tricky at times.  

But then I remember just how much he hides his emotions during the day, how he rocks when he’s relaxed/concentrating at home and how much effort it must take not to do that at school.  How he plays in a football team every week and must have to bite his tongue because he’s a real team player and not everyone else is, they get the ball and just want to score, irrespective of their position.

He shies away from a cuddle or any sort of contact and his idea of getting attention is placing his head on your arm or shoulder.  As demonstrable as D is, he isn’t but I admire him so, so much for just getting through the day.  For his extremely dry wit which is an acquired taste and has got him into trouble at school this year.

I’m mega proud of them both, for what they CAN DO.  

Life is too short to look back and try and change the past, apart from feeling immensely proud at just how far the children have come since their diagnoses.

I want to change how the world perceives them, that can only happen with greater understanding and awareness of autism.  

I’m sharing this picture below again from yesterday but it’s so bl***y wonderful.  Thumbs up, smiling, that’s how I want our outlook to be.

Already “can do” is our word for the week too.

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