In her own words, our daughter is doing one of the hardest things she’s had to do in her life today and that is to say goodbye to a lady at school who has been her support network since she started Middle School in September 2012.
Children with ASD often latch onto one person in the school environment, who they are comfortable to confide in and share their anxieties and concerns with, about things going on at school. For our daughter, this lady has been that person and although we always knew it was going to be hard when she said goodbye in July next year when she moves up to Upper School, having that day brought forward has been an emotional rollercoaster for our daughter which won’t stop today. When she walks into school on Monday and realises that this lady is no longer there if she needs to speak to her, reality will set in and we are expecting a difficult few weeks whilst our daughter adjusts to this change. Fortunately, school are being very supportive and have made 3 Learning Support Assistants available so that our daughter can go and chat to them when she’s struggling with something at school. Fingers crossed she will do that and not bottle up her frustrations instead.
The positive side of today is that I’ve never seen our daughter up and dressed so early for school!! She was ready by 6.30am and met her friends outside school at 8.15am as they had permission to decorate this lady’s office. Sometime this morning, our daughter will have been allowed to leave part of a lesson so that she can say her goodbyes. School have realised how important this is to her, as she needs to close this chapter in her life, so that she can move onto the next one. It’s how her ASD brain copes with change.
I’m emotional just thinking about what our daughter is going through today. She went prepared as wrapped a box of tissues as one of the leaving presents for this lady, as they both know there will be plenty of tears today. Our daughter will never forget the support this lady has given her and the journey they have gone through. Back in Year 5, our daughter refused to talk to her and during our first meeting, she sat with a coat over her head, as she was not going to listen to anything she was told. By Year 6, they had built up a rapport and our daughter would go and ask for help, if something was bothering her at school. This has continued to develop and our daughter has blossomed in confidence at school with the support she has been given.
When I read the thank you card and the inside of a personalised notebook our daughter has made for this lady, tears sprung to my eyes, as our daughter rarely shows emotion like this. We see plenty of tantrums, but not heartfelt emotion and it shows how much of an impact this lady has had on our daughter’s life. Our daughter has also ensured that this lady never forgets her, as she has turned one of her sweatshirts into a cushion with a beautiful message on the front and she has left the arms in place with the chewed cuffs as a reminder that this lady always knew when she was anxious, as she would take one look at our daughter chewing or unthreading the cuffs and ask what is wrong.
I am hoping that our daughter will realise in time that although this lady has played an important part in her life, she has also given her the stepping stones to success and with all the guidance she has given our daughter, she will be able to get through the remaining months of Year 8 and make the transition to Upper School. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m confident she will get through it, as once she puts her mind to it, she can conquer anything.