This is a huge step for him and I've pondered this long and hard over the holidays (yeah, that hard I forgot it was happening next week!) because while high school is a huge adjustment for other kids, for ASD kids it's a tougher adjustment.
All A wants to do is fit in and so we try our hardest to make this possible. At times it works, when people often remark to us (the extremely annoying although well-meaning) "Oh, he doesn't seem THAT autistic, does he?" and at times it doesn't, like at his breakdancing lessons where he tends to stick out like a sore thumb. So with the spirit of fitting in in mind, I've had to go and buy school shoes and a school jacket.
At his primary school they were incredibly strict with the uniform policy with the full set including blazer. Just as A was arriving at the school, the even instituted a school jacket so outside of ordering the expensive wool blazer and Gore Tex jackets we really didn't have to worry about what he wore. When we approached the High School about uniform, I was taken aside by one of the administrative staff. In her experience with ASD kids she has noticed that the more high functioning kids want to fit in and so she filled me in on the realities of the high school uniform and the dress code. There is a full uniform, blazer and all but only a select crowd wear it (I'm being diplomatic here) in the junior section and only prefects, in the last two years. So she said not to bother with the full regalia and just to buy a tie and make sure he was in black and white. She also advised me to check out what the other boys were wearing as they took every opportunity to express their individuality through this.
So since then I have been stalking teenagers in the area to see what is popular and trendy and based my decisions on that mixed with A's choices. It's been a bloody expensive mission too.
Anyway, the real point of this post was to share a document that was emailed to me from a Scottish based charity Enquire on tackling a new school with a disabled child. I've tried to find this online to link to but haven't so I'm cutting and pasting here as I found it incredibly helpful and it is written with discussing it with your kids in mind.
Then you won’t feel so worried about how you
will get there on your first day.
It helped me get used to the school.”
a different room for each subject.
‘Need extra help at school?’ (Download it from www.enquire.org.uk/yp or contact us for your
Remember you can take someone along for support
if you want to.
it hard to learn, you can call or email Enquire for advice.
‘People who can help you in and out of school’
(It’s on www.enquire.org.uk/yp or you can contact us for your free copy.)
out what you want to do. Call them for free on
0800 11 11 or visit www.childline.org.uk to have
a 1-to-1 chat, send an email, and get advice.
they start at a new school. One thing that can help
is getting involved in clubs and activities at school.
by email, online and in guides.