An emotional start to the school year

Autumn – a time of change

The summer is coming to an end and there is a distinct feel of autumn in the air.  Days are shorter, mornings are fresher, the central heating is cranking into action and condensation is starting to dampen the windows.  And as I look out of my kitchen window, my garden is starting to look as tired as I feel. 

The trees and shrubs that edge my garden are turning yellow, discarded leaves are being blown across my mossy lawn and the summer bedding is losing its vibrancy.   But for all the early signs of decay, the garden is still productive.  To the side of the lawn sits the old apple tree that has once again found the energy to supply us with an abundance of apples.  And at the end of my garden lies my small vegetable patch, slightly overgrown and weedy, but still with plenty more vegetables to dig up.

I love this time of year.  I love the golden colours of our trees and the rich colours of autumnal plants.  I love the way leaves get whipped up by the wind before settling into the gutters and across the pavements.  I love the sunny days when the last rays of warmth tease me with the prospect of blackberry picking or conker collecting with my children.  But above all, I love gathering my own produce which reminds me that  as a human being I am nothing without a healthy and productive environment.

I also love September because it symbolises the start of a new year.  The memories of my own school days, the excitement of new books, new stationery and squeaky new shoes has forever defined September as a time of starting afresh. 

But now that I am a mum that sense of looking forward is tinged with emotion. 

As my daughters return to school, I can’t help but miss their chatter, the fights over whose turn it is to go on the computer, the slamming of doors, half finished artwork and discarded clothes everywhere.  Normally this sadness would lift as we settle back into the routine of school, weekend, school and I would once again start to enjoy some time to myself.  But this year I’m going to have to wait a while longer.    

You see my son is finding life difficult.  After struggling to get him into school on his first day back, he now refuses to go in at all and has now spent the last day or so holed up in his bedroom.  I am beside myself with worry because after working so hard to help him recover from his agoraphobia and to get him into a specialist ASD school we now fear some sort of regression. 

At the moment we are talking with the school trying to work out the possible causes of his refusal and also trying to talk with our son though he is unable to tell us why he doesn’t want to go back.  What I did notice though is that after his first day in school, he was so exhausted that his autistic behaviours worsened and he was unable to communicate with us.  What I think has happened is that the change from home to school was such a shock to his system that his brain became overloaded.  As a result his autism worsened and his levels of anxiety increased. This has come as a total shock to us all as up to now our son loved his school and showed no indication that he was nervous of returning.

Our biggest concern is if his anxiety prevents him from leaving the house at all.  I really don’t want to go back to those dark days when my son (and I) were confined to our home and all the isolation that comes with it (read more about this here).  So for now we are allowing him to rest in order to bring those anxiety levels down whilst we think about what to do next.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
This entry was posted in Autism Spectrum Disorder, School, School Refusal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to An emotional start to the school year

  1. Blue sky says:

    So sad to be reading this, and you know it supports what so many people in the autism community say about the school routine – that perhaps if the school hadn’t closed over the summer, he wouldn’t be finding the transition so difficult. I hope you find some options to ease back gently into school I can’t imagine how worried you just be ((hugs))

    • Aspie in the family says:

      I agree. I’m sure that if my son hadn’t had the school holidays, he would not be feeling as bad as he does now. I’m trying desperately to keep going out with him to stop the full onset of agoraphobia but inside I’m so worried for his long term health. I’m also feeling incredibly tired at the thought of going through all of this again. Deb x

  2. theramblingpages says:

    Aw Deb, I wish I could offer some words of wisdom, or something that might help, we are not as far into our journey as you and I feel inadequate at knowing how to help you deal with this. I do however know that feeling of dread & despair at regressing. Just know this comment comes with much love & hugs. Be kind to yourself, you are a fabulous mum who walks the world and back again for all your children. He will come through this. He has dine it before and hopefully this is just a small blip. I think you are probably right, it has been too much of a shock. I apologise if any of the following sounds patronizing, like I say we are still feeling our way & learning and you probably do all this as a matter of course but we have to spend a couple of weeks before the start of school going through our photos of Little Man’s new teacher, classroom, building, peg etc, & spend a lot of time talking about it. I then spent the 10 days leading up to the new year, we got back into routine & even walked the route to school, although this year I actually felt it was over kill & he didn’t need it as much. If you can get him talking, could he be introduced back into school with short visits which gradually get longer? Would school and the bloody authorities allow that? I hope you can help him quickly & always remember that you are a good mum and do a hell of a lot more than some. He will come through this. Much love xx

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Thankyou for your fantastic support and words of encouragement. You are not being patronising in the least. Sometimes when you are in the middle of something so difficult it is hard to see that this might just be a blip. I think its the fear of regressing that is upsetting me at the moment. I have to remind myself that he is not as unwell as a few years back when he couldn’t even communicate properly. At least he’s doing that, eating and talking to his school friends on the xbox. That is still positive stuff; we just have to find a way of getting him readjusted to school. We are in regular contact with school and if we haven’t got him in on Monday, they are putting in place some intervention and gradual transition. We need to move quickly to stop it getting worse. Again, thankyou for your lovely comment. Deb x

  3. Beth says:

    I wish I could offer advice or practical support to help you both through this. But I only offer my sympathy ( and empathy in terms of that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach that comes with seeing your child suffering terribly, losing ‘him’ to his autism and feeling powerless to know what to do or how to help or even who to turn to.) I hope your son’s anxiety reduces some to let you in and help you both help him and I hope you get some support soon. Best wishes and biggest hugs ,Beth x

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Thanks Beth. Its a terribly feeling when the autism takes over likes this. It is so hard to find a way in; we’re just concentrating on reducing the anxiety so that his behaviours lessen so that we can help him back to school. Hopefully next week the school will be providing us with some support. Deb x

  4. JuliesMum says:

    Ugh, really feel for you! Life is never that straightforward with ASD is it? I used to feel sometimes as if I was trapped in a nightmare. Really hope you find some resolution to this one somehow.

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Hi Juliesmum – does feel like a nightmare at the moment; awful feeling of uselessness. Just working on reducing his anxiety so we can work with him and help him get used to school again. Deb

  5. fighting for my children says:

    I hope he gets through this quickly. hugs to the mama too.

    • Aspie in the family says:

      And me; I’m hoping this is a blip that he will quickly recover from. I know that the longer it lasts the harder it is to get him readjusted to school and going out. Thanks for the support. Deb

  6. Lizbeth says:

    Oh I hope his system can acclimate…sometimes it takes time, time that we necessarily don’t have or want to have. It makes it so much harder to know backwards is not the direction you want to be. Hang in there. It would have taken me a lot longer to recognize what’s going on. (((Hugs)))

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Lizbeth. I think you’re right. We can be a bit impatient wanting our children to recover from these difficult times. I’m trying to get a balance between easing his anxiety and going out with him to keep his confidence up and stopping him becoming totally agoraphobic. Thanks for your support. Deb x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>