Franklin starts at his new school on Monday!
We started the transition a few months ago and have been working hard with school on this, in order to help Franklin cope with all the huge changes that come with moving to a new school.
He has been having an hour weekly visit to his new school for the last half-term. This has enabled him to gradually become comfortable in this new environment and to establish a familiarity with his new teacher and head teacher.
The visits have also included:
Classroom time – We have built his confidence with this gradually, starting with just a few minutes in his classroom with us by his side, to the point now of him spending 30 minutes or so with his teacher and teaching assistant, while we waited outside.
Using school toilet – New toilets are an obstacle that can unsettle Franklin, hence we have encouraged use of the school toilet multiple times on the visits.
Eating – I took Franklin’s lunch-bag along to a visit with snacks and a drink in, which he happily tucked into. (Meal times and food variety are and will possibly always be a battle for him, but having him calm, relaxed and comfortable enough to eat is the best starting point to build upon!)
Dress rehearsal – Breaking-in the uniform and the simple act of putting the new uniform on and wearing it during visits has helped Franklin become familiar with it. Importantly, it also helps him associate going to the new school whenever he has this uniform on.
At home I am also reading a transition book to him every day. Franklin cannot read but the book is mainly visuals and includes photos of his new classroom, toilet, sensory rooms, lunch hall, outside play areas etc and it also has pictures of his teacher, teaching assistants and all of the children in his class. (Due to Covid restrictions he hasn’t been able to visit the class when any of the children are in school. This book is therefore giving him at least a visual of all the faces before he starts).
Familiarity, routine and detail are so important to Franklin. By preparing him early and gradually placing these visuals firmly in his mind, I hope it makes the transition into his new school as smooth as possible and reduce any anxiety, uncertainty and unease for him as much as I possibly can. For the record I’m saying this with far more confidence than I actually feel!🤞