Autism

ASD Parenting – Back to School Blues

It feels like the summer holidays have barely begun, and here we are with a week left until the dreaded (or joyous, depending on who you ask) back to school routine starts again for another school year. 8 weeks have passed in the blink of an eye.

This can be a time of mixed emotions for children. I always remember the last week of the holidays being a big buzz of excitement. The week before school was usually spent getting new uniforms, and choosing new stationary. We have already done all of that gradually over the last few weeks. Now that the final count down is on, I’m wanting to keep things as calm as possible.

The summer holidays haven’t been plain sailing for us. Neil has ASD, and struggles with change. He hates school, I mean really hates it, but to attend school every week and then suddenly have that routine taken away is hard for him. For the first few weeks of the summer holidays he was a bit unsettled. He had maybe a week or two where he was happy and contented, and then there was a turning point mid way through the holidays when anxiety about the coming term starts to set in.

This last week in particular his anxiety levels have reached a new high, and it’s so hard to watch. I want to give him a big hug and tell him everything will be alright, but I can’t because he doesn’t much like hugs.

He is very teary at the moment, the smallest thing can set him off and he will cry wildly for hours. He often doesn’t even know why he is crying, and will not tell you if something is on his mind. Despite being very vocal and having a wide vocabulary, he really struggles to express how he is feeling. We’ve had tears because he wants to play, but doesn’t want to play. Last week we had tears because he wanted to go out, then when we got ready to go out, he cried because he had changed his mind.

The anxiety is manifesting in other ways too. He is stimming a lot more. A stim, for those that don’t know, is a self stimulating behaviour that can help calm a child with ASD, such as rocking or spinning or humming. He always stims, but it becomes more notable during times of stress.

He is really struggling with sleep at the moment too. Neil is never a great sleeper, but in the last week or so he has, on more nights than not, still been awake well past 1am. He keeps asking questions, like ‘how many minutes until morning?’ I think he has ended up in our bed every night, often deciding around midnight that he is too scare to stay in his room any longer. Again, this will probably continue , and get worse as we move through the first few weeks of school.

I can’t help but worry for him. I keep thinking about last year, and how hard it was for him returning to school after the summer break. I can’t stress enough how much he dislikes school. He has started to realise that he is different from the other children, saying things like ‘they know how to stay in their seat and I don’t’. I do worry that he is going to struggle this year, as the classroom assistant that was in the class during first and second year will no longer be there. This year, it’s just going to be his teacher with no helping staff, and I think the teacher will struggle to give him the time he needs, but that’s a story for a whole different blog post.

It’s hard feeling so helpless at times like this, I wish I could take his anxiety away, to make it easier for him, but I just don’t know how.

Time will only tell how the first few weeks of school go, hopefully with some careful planning and routine we get get through the transition period without too much upset, fingers crossed.

How are your children feeling about the impending back to school?

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10 Comments

  • Reply Something Crunchy Mummy August 24, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I hope the transition back to school isn't to stressful for you both. Thank you for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    • Reply Lauren August 29, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Thanks, I hope so too!x

  • Reply mimiroseandme August 25, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Oh wow what a great post. Before reading your post I never really understood ASD so I can now see how changes become so difficult to deal with and not only with your little boy but you too. I just hope that going back to school won't be too stressful for the both of you. Great blog. #twinklytuesdays

  • Reply Anita Cleare August 25, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing – I am sure that parents with anxious children (who are not on the spectrum) will also find this helpful! #TwinklyTuesday

  • Reply Lisa (mummascribbles) August 25, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    This is such a great post. It must be so hard for you to deal with this worry of how he'll be, knowing that you can't be there with him. I am sure there are lots of people out there reading this and it's helping them. Thank you for sharing this. We aren't at school age yet in our house so summer holidays don't happen for us. Only another two years though! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  • Reply KARA August 26, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I understand your pain, it is so hard having a child with ASD – Grayson my son does but due to his disabilities he does not manifest as much as your sweet boy, his stimming is so much worse this holidays though – his knees are black where he bangs them so hard. I think he is in desperate need of his routine back, his sleep is hours at best at the moment, but I know he is going to step backwards too.
    Wish there was something I could do to make it all better xxx

  • Reply Alison August 26, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Your poor son. 🙁 Is there any way the school can put more in place to support him? Just one teacher and no TA just isn't good enough, IMO, and it sounds like they need to do a damn sight more. I've also heard that using something like wobbly chairs or exercise balls can help keep fidgets sitting down. Could be worth investigating if he's having problems sitting still. #Twinklytuesday

  • Reply pixiedusk August 28, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    My son is okay with school but I feel like we havent done anything unforgettable this summer because of the weather and budget and I feel guilty about it. =(

    I do wish that you will have the energy to help Neil settle into that routine again.

    #TwinklyTuesday

  • Reply newcastle familylife September 2, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Aw bless him it must be so difficult for him and you too. I hope his first day back went ok and that he soon gets use to being back in a routine xx

  • Reply Steph Curtis September 4, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Sorry to hear that there is no support; that definitely doesn't sound right. Have you got anyone local who can help you follow up on that? Am really hoping that the start back has gone OK and that the teacher is a great one. Our girl's stimming has stepped up over the holidays too – hers is a lot of humming. Will see how that goes down in school! :/ x

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