The Highs and Lows of a Year in Mainstream School (Part One)

This post is now available in the ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ ebook available to download from Amazon.

LWAAS 3d book cover

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7 Responses to The Highs and Lows of a Year in Mainstream School (Part One)

  1. Emma Eames says:

    Everything you write is near identical to our experience of mainstream school except we are just approaching the end of year1 but we are still clinging on to mainstream as we as parents think it is still the right place for our son (although I’m not sure school or other professionals agree!)

  2. I think it’s one of the hardest choices, but if you can make mainstream work and get the right support to help then eventually it will hopefully pay off. It also can be a valuable way of informing and educating others about difference and the need for acceptance. – I wonder with the assemblies etc. whether they cld have a programme where B is enabled to sit for part of the assembly and is then taken out as part of the ‘show’ at a planned point with dignity rather than leaving it until he has had enough, that way they might be able to avoid the public spectacle that does no-one any good. May be over time they could gradually extend the time he participates. – Don’t know if that would help, but it might be something to think about. Also i was going to let you know how we helped my Son with the toilet issue – we had very similar issues when he was at nursery and the solution we found was totally unique. It wasn’t in any book or would never have been suggested by a professional and may just have have worked for him. If you want to DM me your email I’ll let you know – didn’t want to splash (excuse the pun) it all over the internet.

  3. yes yes yes. Again, so much I relate to! All of it except the thumping really (sorry, bonus of having a girl) – and I don’t think she’s pulled down Cook’s top, but then I’m not sure our school would tell me. They refuse to write anything negative in the home/school book – not sure if that’s better or worse than yours!
    Assemblies are exactly as you describe – tense, buttock clenching, mostly un-enjoyable experiences (every week or us, though we’re not forced to attend). Our girl has swung from not getting further than the door, to full on joining in class songs and dances (!) to back to general refusals and having to sit on the TA’s knee. Yes she sticks out like a sore thumb. For me though, as long as she’s happy (I use the term loosely) to go back into school every day, it’s got to be the right place! Good luck with the outnumbered meeting – had those too. Sent my OH on his own to one this week, so there’s a warning to be nice to your wife 😉

  4. Sian sly says:

    I often read your blog as working with autistic adults who have missed out, because diagnosis was exttrmely late in developement, i’m curious to see if todays children will fare better in the future. And, I do feel teachers are still very unaware of how to deal with autistic behaviour. All our local schools now have adjoined autistic units with specialist care and a lot of knowledge, time for rest to catch up. Its a shame B does not have these facilities as you get the mainstream needed without the ‘rules and routine’ demanded from mainstream pupils

  5. Lisa Johnson says:


    My daughter is in a mainstream school and also the youngest in year 5 which doesn’t help seeing as though she is way behind the others anyway. It still seems the best thing for her at the moment.

    Just wanted to share my experiences of sports day, in her younger years I let her participate like all the other children but with that worry something could go wrong and her confidence dented. Then in year 3 she competed in the egg and spoon race, which when I think of it now is a combination of things she finds difficult. As soon as they started it was clear she couldn’t compete. After a few paces she dropped the “egg” and could not scoop it back up again but continued to try as cheating wasn’t an option. She was still trying when the children were coming back up toward the finish line. There was a looong period of the whole field realising what was happening and I just wanted to run on and save her but I was frozen and in tears. Amazingly but also cringe-inducingly the rest of the children who had long finished started chanting her name in support as she stumbled on at a snail pace. It was obvious by now she wasn’t going to do it and the SENCO ran on and scooped up the egg and ran towards the finish line with my girl and everyone cheered.

    As it turns out she was fairly unphased by the experience but as time has gone on she has become more embarrassed by her differences and I’ve come to the conclusion that although excluding her from such competitive races sets her aside from the other children it does not highlight her differences as much as actually participating. Even if she forgets about it, older children will not. Thankfully, we had a couple of year’s sports days rained off. Otherwise I’ve asked them to let her help out and for them to exclude her from anything that will weed out her difficulties in this way which they have been happy to oblige. She is much more content with this too x

  6. solodialogue says:

    I often forget in day to day life, the value in the saying that you cannot train a fish to climb a tree. I need to remember it more.
    My son, too was in a mainstream class for his kindergarten. He excelled academically. The social parts were, for the most part, lost on him although he had his participating moments. And like you, next week we will have our IEP. I enjoyed your seating configuration. I have similar ideas but thankfully we will have enough chairs. 🙂

  7. monaghanmammy says:

    My son is a big fan of sand too…it made for some very interesting nappies when he was younger. On the plus side, he was never constipated.
    Am I VERY juvenile that I’m laughing my arse off about the dinner lady?

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