Today I had a meeting at Ollies new school (I still cant believe I’m saying that) to discuss how and when he will start.
It was only the second time I had been to the school but the whole meeting confirmed my belief that it is the right place for Ollie.
First I was shown around a bit more, the whole school just has a lovely feel, its very quiet and calm.
They have a no shouting policy across the whole school, which is a lot different to the old school!
At the meeting, the lead teacher of Cherry tree class ( the asd unit) told me more about the class, there are 16 pupils including Ollie, all with a diagnosis of autism, and all with a statement, the class has 5 teachers. Interestingly there is only one girl. They work by stage, rather than age so everyone is doing the right work for them, and although each child is attached to a mainstream classroom how much time they spend in the mainstream class depends on the child, with some children spending large amounts of time in the mainstream classroom while one child only joins his class for pe .
They only go to assembly if they want to and at lunch they can choose whether to eat in the main dining hall, in a small group in the classroom, or alone with just a teacher. They can also choose to play in the mainstream playground or the small Cherry tree class one.
All the children have a visual timetable and they use a lot of timers in the classroom which Ollie will appreciate. Also ear defenders are allowed to be used, another good thing for Ollie.
Ollie has funding for a 1:1 so when / if he does go into the mainstream classroom he will never go alone.
So, when does he start ?
Ollies teacher said they aren’t going to set a plan in stone, we will work at Ollies pace but this is how things will probably happen, next wednesday Ollie and I will visit Cherry tree class, we will only be shown around Cherry tree so its not too much to take in, the following wednesday we will visit for an hour, Ollie will be given photos of the staff and his classmates, also photos of the school to take home.
The following week we will visit every day, for around an hour, with me popping to the staffroom for increasing lengths of time, we will buy his uniform ready for september so he will be meeting the office staff at the same time.
Then for the last week of term we will go every day for an hour but I shall stay in the staffroom.
Hopefully, then because he’s familiar with the surroundings, in september we will start with two weeks of half days….then take the plunge.
Obviously this may all go pear shaped but Ollie is keen, he has been looking at the class website, clicking the links to cherry tree class favourite songs and asking lots of questions.
And On monday we are going to do the short bus ride to the school , so that Ollie knows where it is. I’m trying to talk to him a lot about school to prepare him but I’m aware there is a fine line between preparing him and over loading him, and Ollie and I have discussed his melatonin, up till now we have used it here and there, mostly when he has asked for it but we’ve decided to take it every night at 8 so he will hopefully be asleep by 9 and well rested, rather than him asking a thousand questions till midnight every night.
I am excited for Ollie and absolutely sure I fought for the right school, but I’m also terribly nervous about the whole thing.
There are big changes coming
Wish us luck x
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