Autism. anxiety and school

The last thing I posted about school was pretty positive. Bright Eyes decided that he wanted to go, and so he went, and had a great day.

That was last week. This week was the complete and utter opposite. He did NOT want to go and it took all our effort and ingenuity to get him there, and even then we only succeeded on two out of three days.

On Wednesday we had a massive dust storm. There was wind and red dust everywhere. I think it may have affected him because he did not want to get into the car to go to K's place, which he really loves in normal circumstances. It was a catch and carry job with lots of screaming, and he only calmed down half an hour later once we were there and K showed him a rather nifty pop gun which could shoot pompoms. 

Still, he went to school, and had a pretty good day.

On Thursday we had tears and pleading and stiff body language, and refusal to even go near a uniform shirt or his shoes. We could see there was no way he was going to calm down. AP did a deal with him that he could stay home if he went on Friday. He agreed and so I let him stay. But I told him that Thursday was my work day and he couldn't talk to me or play with me because I needed to do my work. For the most part he was pretty ok with that, and just stayed quiet nearby, reading books.

On Friday there were more tears and pleading. "Today is not Friday. It's Saturday," he yelled in hysterics. "It's Friday tomorrow. I can't go to school. I hate school. School should be locked. That's not my uniform, I won't put my shoes on. I'm not going. I can't go. I won't go."

He looked intractable like Thursday, and it took a bit of flexible thinking to get a solution. First of all, I dropped any expectation I had of starting my own work or doing anything else BUT get him to school. I decided I could wait all day, but we were going.

Then I got rid of as many extra barriers as I could. The uniform and shoes were really giving him grief, so I let him wear crocs and his regular shirt. After all, there is no legal requirement that a child wears the uniform at a NSW public school.

I packed his bag and said, "Well, even if you don't want to go to school, let's at least go to the lolly shop (which is our usual 'stepping stone' to school) and then we can come home.

"No, I'm listening to this song," he protested.

"Well, how about you listen to two more songs, and after that we can go to the lolly shop," I compromised.

"Ok," he said, "But we're going home after." I grabbed his bag as we walked out the door and he said, "Noooo, you don't take that." I said, "Well, I can take it and then I can bring it home again." He seemed to be ok with that, so on we went.

We bought our 10c lolly and ate it. He was happy by this stage, so I said, "Let's go across to the teacher, and after we talk to her, we could come home." "Ok," he said. "And after that we'll go home."

"Oh," I added, "and we can maybe read a story in the book corner too."

"And after that we'll go home," he said.

"Yeah, probably," I said. "We'll see how we go."

So we crossed the road, and here I should say how grateful I am that it is only just across the road because if I had to negotiate getting in and out of cars as well, it would be an added burden.

We ducked into the book corner quietly and I read The Cat in the Hat comes back as slowly as I could without arousing his suspicions. 

"Now it's time to go home?" he said. 

"What about we read another story?" I suggested. He chose one, and we read it together, slowly again. Then we did another one, and by that time the teacher had a few minutes to come over. Bright Eyes was still asking to go home at this stage. 

"Do you want me to read you a story?" she asked.

"I've got to go to a meeting with the principal," I said to Bright Eyes. "I can come and get you after that and we can go home together then. You can read with the teacher now though."

"Ok," he said. So I left him, in his crocs and play shirt, and took off. Apparently he had a pretty good day. But I was shattered after that little effort.

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