A wing and a prayer

Today I ironed the school uniforms, I hung them on hangers, organised and ready. Routines are being practised and are falling into place.
We’ve bought the school shoes, the bags, the stationary (is it just mine that have a case full of pens, pencils, erasers…at the beginning of september, them by october they own just a solitary chewed biro?)
Everything is ready…prepared…and yet I don’t feel we are ready at all.
I try to talk about school every day but when I ask
Ollie how he is feeling about school he only answers with “I feel ok”
I can tell from Ollies bad moods and quick temper this week that his anxiety is creeping up, he’s having more and more “quiet time” as school gets nearer.
There were tears because his new school jumper is “miles too big” it isn’t!
The haircut thats he has been asking for “before school starts” didn’t happen today.
There is a time bomb, and its ticking.
I cant do any more than I have done to prepare us for next week, but I don’t think its enough.
I cant prepare for the moment on wednesday morning when the realisation hits him that he is going to school .
I cant precision plan the bus journey because…well, London buses.
I know that I need to be very calm about the whole thing, but knowing what Ollie went through as his old school and knowing how anxious he must be makes it very difficult to be calm.
There was a time when I was so devastated for him that I wanted to never send him to school again, and now I am 10 months later, and I want my boy to be safe, I’m scared for him.
However much I plan and prepare there are things that hang in the balance, things that can tip the whole thing over the edge.
I know that when Ollie has been in an anxious or stressful situation he often explodes afterwards, I know from experience that it often happens on the way home from places.
Assuming we get to school , I have to bring him home, we have to wait for a bus, near a road, where there will be other people, looking, judging if he explodes, we have to ride on the bus, when he was younger he used to lay on the bus floor screaming and thrashing around before and after school, I have to get him from the bus stop to the house, all the while near roads, people, I have to keep him safe, he’s fast, strong, stubborn…just playing the scenario out in my head is pushing my anxiety through the roof.
Not to mention the worry over his first morning, the first playtime, the first lunchtime, the first time someone annoys him….
I know that this school is right for him, But I also know that the next few weeks ( months??) are going to be rocky, I know that however much I prepare everything will be riding on a wing and a prayer and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.


Its not perfect but its sleep .

Ive blogged before about bedtime with Ollie, its frankly exhausting, Ollie has been going to sleep far too late and by the time he does sleep there has always been tears, tantrums and lots of shouting (all him, i promise) which is a terrible way to end the day.
With school approaching fast I’ve been concentrating on preparing Ollie as much as possible, and establishing a calm bedtime routine (as well as getting him to sleep in his own bed) is a very big part of that.
Getting him into his own bed is proving to be tricky, so for now we’ve struck a deal, two nights in his bed, then one night in mine.
Ollie doesn’t love the nights he has to sleep in his bed, but he knows we have a deal, and it helps eliminate the crying and pleading at bedtime.
Although school hasn’t started yet we are already following the evening schedule from our chart…

Its been 3 nights so far, and all 3 have been a success.
Its been a bit fraught for me, remembering to give Ollie his melatonin at 8:30 on the dot, because its a busy time for me, and being ready to get him up to bed for 9 on the dot is a challenge, but its really important that I stick to the times because it works really well for Ollie when he has a rigid plan, and the dashing about to make things happen on time is totally worth it.
At 9 we have been reading in bed, either Ollie reads or I read his book to him, then we have a quick chat because Ollie wouldn’t be Ollie if he didn’t have a deep and meaningful question or two before bed, then at half past nine we turn the light off.
And Ollie falls asleep, happy peaceful and relaxed.
Tonight he even asked for lights out two minutes early.

So I haven’t got him sleeping in his own bed every night yet but falling asleep at 9:30 is a massive improvement on raging and crying till midnight.
And I’m sure that once the bedtime routine is fully established it will be much easier to deal with sleeping in his bed.

Im going to start practicing the morning routine as well now so Heres hoping it goes as well as the evening one.

The one where we are getting ready for school #autism

The countdown has begun, 9 days until Ollie goes back to school.
In fact he’s starting at a whole new school, in the ASD unit. He has been out of school since november last year, so its a huge change and its actually very scary. Ollie’s experiences at his old school were dreadful so school is a very negative place as far as he is concerned.
Neither the school, nor myself are expecting this to be easy, its expected that I will be staying in the school building for at least the first 4 weeks and that it will probably take a few weeks till Ollie is doing full days so I want Ollie and myself to be as prepared as possible.
Im trying (not entirely successfully so far) to get a good bedtime routine established before school starts, the big stumbling block is the fact that he wants to sleep in my bed. Although tonight he fell asleep in his bed, with no tears by 10:15 pm.
Ive also set my alarm, we are going to start getting up at 7:00 this week, so Its not a big shock to Ollie when he has to get up early for school. (We’ve been waking up at 9 over the holidays)
We have already bought school shoes, and his uniform is ordered, I’ve left the shoes out so he can get used to seeing them around, and I’m hoping his uniform comes asap so I can hang it around the house, little things to help plant the ‘going to school’ seed in his head. Ive also got his lunch bag put where its visible in the kitchen.
I’m mentioning school every day, not enough to overwhelm him, just enough so that its becoming the norm to talk about school.
Ive made some visual charts for Ollie, the morning one is especially important because mornings are very difficult with Ollie. Especially school mornings.



Is there anything else I should be doing that will help prepare us for Going back to school ?
Any suggestions/advice welcome.