This post originally appeared on Firefly at the beginning of the new school term.
Hello and congratulations!
Made it through the school holiday?
Or, like me utterly exhausted and considering out sourcing your parenting to someone more qualified and altogether calmer?
Is the undoubted joy of handing your child over to someone else, tempered by fear of the consequences?
Then you are probably the parent of a child with additional needs.
Perhaps you love someone spectrumy who is managing in mainstream, but struggles with change and has to enter a new class, with a new time table, and new teachers?
Maybe your small significant other has complex needs and you have to trust someone to keep them safe, well, clean and alive, along with the curriculum?
Do you love someone moving from Mainstream into Special Education, and fear that there will be associated stigma?
Or is your small special person moving into Mainstream?
How do you balance the relief at having time to go to the toilet alone, with the concern that someone else who doesn’t have a parent’s eye is caring for them?
How do you relinquish control?
Pearl is now 11 and has left her beloved Primary School and is heading off somewhere new.
To be honest Pearl, although apprehensive, is excited and looking forward to making friends.
I do however, expect an increase in challenging behaviour and mood swings over the next fortnight.
And Pearl may have some too!
There is always a wistfulness to this time of year.
Taking the dogs out early this morning mist hung in tunnels over the fields.
The blackberries are going over (they have, “the devil’s claw”, an old term I particularly like for the fusty, past their best ones).
There is a feeling of change in the air.
Change of weather, change of season.
Shortening days and cooler nights.
I have been involved in the education system for 45 years, pupil, student, school therapist and mother.
Autumn is intertwined so tightly with the new school year it’s impossible for me to extricate my emotions from the season.
Tomorrow when Pearl puts on her new uniform and gets on a new taxi, to go to a new school I will be tense.
Will they understand her?
Will she fit in?
Will they see how wonderful she is?
Did we choose the right school?
I know I’m not alone.
From experience, I know this season will be replaced by the next, routines will be reestablished, and life will go on.
So fellow travellers, let them leave, take a deep breath, put the kettle on.