I’m sure you are just as nervous as we parents are today, tomorrow you get to meet your new class, some children you most probably haven’t met, others like Z you’d have heard about. This will be the first year of teaching you’ll be starting a new class in the middle of a global pandemic.

Six months ago Z left school and like that his world changed. The first few weeks he done amazing, he was thriving, he was sleeping and he was the happiest I’d seen him in a long time.

Time went on and he didn’t leave the house, when I attempted to leave the house with him I was met with meltdowns, running away or refusal to even get out of the car.

Respite worked, he was starting to happily leave the house, he didn’t understand why his favourite places were closed including McDonald’s, but he was out and was slowly learning to accept this.

Just in time for the summer holidays things started to reopen including parks, where he was now excitedly going with respite, as soon as she was coming he was running to her car, a huge difference to where he was a few weeks into lockdown.

He’s happy leaving the house now. He’s not really interacted with any children except his best mate E and his cousin for a week. How he’s going to be around children he doesn’t know. I don’t know how he will be. Will he be happy to come into school again I don’t know how he’s going to react when he gets off that bus and walks a new way.

Now we’ve hit a few other problems, it could all be lockdown related and a few weeks back with people we maybe ok. I’m praying it will be ok.

Z, like many other children have struggled, it’s hard enough as adults to try to make sense of the craziness around us right now, how do I even begin to explain any of this to him, I’ve not left any words out, I’ve used the words covid, lockdown, virus, social distancing in front of him. I know he’s not taken social distancing on board, truthfully I’m ok with that, children learn from their surroundings the hugs and kisses help teach them boundaries. As a parent I have to teach him it’s ok to be scared, I’m thinking that’s the refusal, or even running away, the place was so quiet, was he hearing things for the first time? With no transport about were the noise of the birds tweeting really that loud? But being scared we can’t hide away, we have to go back and do things that we used to do, school included now.

Z is Z, he’s a loving kid who listens most of the time, sometimes he’ll use his words other times he’ll take you by the hand, sometimes he’ll spell it out for you. I don’t know what he’ll want at school, but we’ve learnt to understand his ways of communicating, he’ll ask for ‘ I don’t like’, that can be verbally via grid player or even typed, that we’ve worked out is the song by Justin Bieber I don’t care! He has many songs he’ll ask for this way.

He’s learning to adapt in an ever changing world right now, he’s frustrated just like us all. I’m trying to help him to the best of my ability but I don’t have a classroom of children, so I can take the frustrated meltdowns, I’m hoping that being around children again, being back at school even though I know it’s not going to be the same place he walked out of in March, will help be less frustrated at life.

As a parent this time of year I always worry, will he be ok with a new teacher, this year that worry is a little more intense as I wanted him out of his class, away from his friends. The thing that takes away some guilt is his friend have all been split up too, so he wouldn’t have been with them anyways.

Start as you mean to go on, don’t take any messing off him, treat him as you would any other kid, firm but fair. At home he’s learning to help himself out of a sensory overload by jumping it out on the trampoline, I’ve been trying to teach him to jump on the spot or a pogo stick, right now the trampoline is the first place he goes. I just hope school will help him become who he was again, a happy child who wants to come back every day smiling.

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