Yesterday, I donned my black arm bands and sent my babies back to school. It’s been a short summer holiday and I feel like we wasted most of it. We had a fantastic holiday in Weymouth but the reality of being home hit hard. I realised that going back to school was closer than I wanted it to be.
I had two excited children though. Garreth was starting Year 8 and Seren was starting Year 3. They were looking forward to seeing their friends and getting back into their routines. I had bigger problems though.
My Bigger Problem
Macsen was going back to Nursery. He started officially after Easter and didn’t settle very well at all. It didn’t help that we had so much on during the term. We lost Nan just after Easter; we were preparing for the arrival of Anwen; I had another traumatic delivery and that doesn’t include all the appointments between us all. Macsen simply didn’t settle. He couldn’t tell me why because he doesn’t talk. I felt defeated by the time the last day of summer term rolled around.
The summer break bought me a reprieve. I didn’t have to worry about school and the challenges Macsen faces there. I didn’t need to worry about whether his peers shunned him because of his inability to communicate. My mind was worrying about fighting for the support he needs.
Waking up yesterday morning to a grey, rainy day only helped my mood slip further. The issues with school were there, weighing heavily on my mind. Getting him to the school gates was easy, he was more than happy to go there. However, I found the waiting torturous. Within the first 20 minutes I made a request for a callback from the head.
Perhaps my sense of helplessness was the reason I started the academic year ranting at the teaching assistant. My guilt at not knowing what to do spilled over in tirade of pent up frustration at the only face I could see.
A fruity issue
It was all over fruit.
It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Getting angry over fruit?
It wasn”t ridiculous at the time. It was something I could fixate on to get my point across. To prove that I need more communication that is up to date and accurate.
Usually, the school provides a snack for Meithrin. It’s a time called ‘Caffi’. It costs £1 a week and the children each get some fruit, cereal or another healthy snack. That’s stopped this year. They no longer have ‘Caffi’ as of yesterday. Instead the parents must provide a snack which I have no problem with. However, I do have a problem with not being informed of this change.
Bringing it up with the school and getting told that it was in the information pack I received infuriated me further. To my recollection I saw nothing about the Meithrin children needing to take their own snack to school. My recollection was correct and I made a point of showing them exactly what was printed in the information pack.
I did receive an apology but the victory didn’t taste as sweet as I thought it would. We still hadn’t resolved the underlying issue. Support for Macsen’s needs. Rome wasn’t built in a day and L.E.A.‘s don’t act within a year.
The real issue
The crux of the matter is Macsen’s needs are not being met. He has a speech and language therapist; he has a teacher; he has a Mummy. But Mummy feels like a go between and finds it impossible to pass on every detail of every meeting and appointment.
I don’t have the authority to put a support plan in place. I don’t have the qualifications to say what support he really needs. I do though have an in depth knowledge of Macsen that no-one else has.
This process is new for me. My son needs support and I need guidance. I need advice on where to turn, how to petition for support, and most importantly how to bring everything together.
I won’t stop. I am my child’s advocate but I can’t get him what he needs alone.
He enjoyed his first day back though, so let’s celebrate 1 day at a time.