I don’t really talk to any of the mums at my sons school. I am the unsociable school mum. I’ve always been pretty quiet and I like to keep myself to myself (she says, whilst sharing her life on the internet!) but I am capable of having a conversation with people and being friendly. However, I think to the other mum’s in Max’s class I must come across as quiet, awkward and just generally not very approachable.
School mornings for me are, quite honestly, a nightmare. And I’m sure that most parents of children on the autism spectrum will understand what I mean. Max’s behaviour at home is challenging at the best of times, but add to that the fact that he has absolutely no concept of time and does not like being rushed and it makes for very stressful mornings. Now, I will admit that I am not the most patient person and I snap and shout more often than maybe I should, but honestly I think that even someone with the patience of a saint would struggle with my mornings.
Our main problem has always been getting him to actually get dressed. He will literally just sit on his bed and stare into space, even after reminding him 10 times (I’m not even exaggerating), or he will just get distracted by something else. We’ve tried removing his iPad, charts, rewards, setting alarms to let him know when he needs to do certain things, and nothing has worked for longer than a few days. Currently we’re asking him to get dressed as soon as he wakes up, so that he doesn’t have chance to get distracted by anything and he’s then free to do what he wants until it’s time to leave for school.
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had school morning meltdowns because; he forgot his gloves, he doesn’t like learning to tell the time, because he dropped his juice bottle, because I shouted at him for wiping Nutella all over his uniform, because he got pen all over his hands after I’d asked him not to use the pen, because he doesn’t like P.E, because he doesn’t want to go to school, because he wants to take a pack lunch, because he doesn’t like me anymore, because he wants to take Shopkins to school, because his shoes don’t feel right, because I’m rushing him despite being 10 minutes late already… You get the idea. IT. IS. HARD.
By the time I actually get him to school we’re all pretty wound up, and quite frankly I’m emotionally drained and it’s only 8:45am! So the last thing on my mind is having a natter about the weather or what I’m doing at the weekend. I just want to get out of there as fast as I can, get home and most likely have a cry before I burst into tears there and then in the classroom.
So what about school pick up time? You’d think I’d be a bit more relaxed by that time and and could take advantage of this opportunity to have a chat with the other mums? Nope. I have no idea what Max is going to be like when I pick him up, what mood he’s going to be in, so I’m a ball of anxiety just hoping he’s going to be happy to see me and won’t have a meltdown on the way home.
So there you have it. It’s hard, but I’m getting on with it as best I can. And our life isn’t always like this. Weekends and school holidays are much easier as he isn’t being rushed. But I can’t see a way to improve our school mornings.
If anyone has any tips on how to make school mornings a little easier, especially from other autism parents, please please do let me know. I need all the help I can get!
Thanks for reading.