Monday, 27 July 2009


Finally - summer holidays...

The last two weeks have been incredibly busy.
Induction days 2-6 went great. Cirwen still
enjoyed going and learning in her future "comp".
She made friends and it seems that some of the
older pupils took her under their wings as well.
She came back one day proud and all smiley as
she was shown where the "cool kids" hang out
during the break. She can't wait to start in
September although she decided to join their
activity scheme during August, where she will
be able to keep in contact with her new friends.

In the meantime, I run around from one parents
meeting to another... Secondary SEN-Co demanded
all medical reports in the last minute, Primary
meeting for admission of the Little Dragon to the
nursery (yey! The teacher can't wait to have Cirwen's
little brother in her class..), the last performance of
the year six... "Doctor Who and The Missing Head-
Teacher" proved to be actually funny and entertaining
(in contrary to endless, boring Christmas plays).
Cirwen didn't have a solo, or main part, but stood out
with her grin and energy. Her face was beaming with
pride and joy on the stage.

The week before the performance, Cirwen was due to
make a presentation in front of the class. Originally,
she decided to do it on her little brother as she loves
him so much. Five days before the assigned day,
however, after a quarrel at school, she changed her mind
and told me she wanted to tell kids about autism. She
was fed up with the laughing and teasing by regular "not
yet bullies". And so, with my help, she did it. She went
to school to explain why she is different, why she cries
so quickly and often, why she talks in such a way, and
how difficult it is when people don't understand how hard
it can be. She also explained it is not all so bad and found
a list of famous people with autism.

I thought she was incredibly brave to do this. it's not easy
to label yourself in front of cruel already kids, and risk may
be more teasing later. Again my worries were unfounded.
Cirwen received an apology from two of the kids who liked
to tease her, and was flooded with questions even after the
lesson finished. Later that day on the assembly, she received
the Golden Award for her presentation.

She made me so proud. She proved she can adjust to change,
she proved she has the potential for independence, she
proved she can fight for herself and accepted her autism
not only as disability she has to live with, she accepted she
will always have to fight for her right to be accepted to the
society, her right to live and strive for achievement.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Induction - Day one

Here it came. The induction day at the Academy. I must
say, the school thought it through. The year 6 children
have been to the Academy for a whole day. Next week
they come for two days and the week after, they will
spend three days there. The timetables will be kept for
September. I thought - "Wow, it could not be better than
that for my stuck in her ways girl. She will meet the new
kids, see the school and get the idea of the new school
life and system, instead of being thrown into the deep
water and left to deal with it." I was confident and excited
for her. I was positive. Till Monday...

We got up early, actually, for once Cirwen knocked on
my bedroom door, fully dressed at six o'clock asking
if I could help her to find a belt for her jeans... She was
all excited and ready to go. All packed, happy to show
off her new "Twilight" lunch box and see the new school.

We happily caught the bus, and both looked for landmarks
to help us remember the way and where to get off. We did
the same during the walking part of the journey. We were
half an hour early... It wasn't a problem though, as the older
Academy pupils were waiting for the newcomers to round
them up and usher them to the main hall.

Cirwen confidently exchanged "Hello's" with them, asked
a few questions, and then her greeting was completely
ignored by two arriving girls. Noses in the air they looked
other way. I had to go. I could not hang around of course.
I left with a very heavy heart. Cirwen was standing alone
between the two groups of children who obviously new
each other from their street or primary school. She still
assured me she would be fine.

I spend the rest of my day going about my usual domestic
stuff and playing with my Little Dragon, trying to pretend
I'm not worried. But I couldn't help it! What if she will be
just left alone all day, because she's the kid from different
school? What if she bursts into tears at the slightest jest
about her looks or the way she talks which will give her the
cry baby status for the rest of her school life? What if...?
What if...?

3pm came later than usual. Time was dragging cruelly.
Finally, I was there. at the gates, waiting to see her face.
waiting to see the expression on her face.

There she run up to me... Huge grin, skip, "It was brilliant!",
she exclaimed. And my legs buckled and I hugged her to hide
my tears. She made it through the first day. Cirwen made
8 friends (obviously it means these were the girls who she
immediately got on with), she loved every minute of it. One
teacher, she said, freaked her out a bit. "He was just too nice,
but then he became a bit more bossy, so I thought he's OK",
she explained. That made me laugh. He must have invaded
her personal space. For an autistic girl it doesn't have to be
really, really, almost touching close. He crossed the boundary
of her safety bubble she established for people.

Anyway, I am again positive. She can't wait to go back next

I know I worry too much, and my girl may be not so vulnerable
as I think. I guess as much as Cirwen needs to be independent,
I have to learn not only how to enforce it, but how to get used to
her independence.