Firsts are when our kids first do something, the first smile the first tooth, the first time they sit up, when they first crawl, walk, or are knowingly naughty!!!
The first day at school was a really happy occasion with my eldest son, a kind of weird experience with my middle son, and a sad occasion with my youngest son.
My first son ran in the door and went with two kids from our street. Before he went we photographed him with them, him with us, then, with his younger brother, and, then by the tree in the front garden. I then escorted him to class and had no trouble leaving him, he was totally ready, socially. The second one had the photos by the tree, then we took him to class where he zoomed in on the adults in the room. He showed no interest in the other kids, but seemed happy for us to leave him. When I returned I saw him wearing a sticker that said Alex, I remarked on it to the teacher and she said that he told the assistant that was his name. It turned out it was a favourite skateboarders name, he then had a keen interest in skateboarding, many special interests followed. He had no diagnosis of asperger syndrome at this point so I knew his start was strange compared to the older son’s, but I didn’t know why. The third little guy started school in a special class for autism, attached to a school outside of our area. I had spent weeks actively seeking a place for him, he was diagnosed in August and had attended mainstream playschool for the previous year and a half. He got his place in the school in November which I was delighted with, I mean he was going to a place where many mums wished their Autistic child could attend.
On the day he started though it felt really different, He wasn’t proud of his new uniform or being “a big boy”. He reluctantly got dressed and as he could barely speak, it was hard to explain things to him. I tried to get a photo but he curled up in a ball and I took one of his ass sticking out of the couch!! We arrived at the door and brought him in, the kids were all older than him by one to four years and that seemed so bad at the time, but now they are like replacement big brothers (while he is at school) and they really have helped him. I walked away and felt so sad because I knew he wasn’t sure what was happening. When I returned I found that he had actually sat down (he didn’t do this at playschool), he was learning to use a visual schedule and he was completely worn out. He was like that for weeks but eventually he coped and has thrived in this environment since.
Firsts mean so much more with our kids than firsts with neurotypical kids. Some firsts like the first day at school is a negative one, and some firsts are so uplifting, like my son brushing his teeth for the first time this year (he is seven now and it took lots of work!) The first time he rode a bike I was thrilled, he then put it away and hasn’t done it since, that was a year ago. The first time he said a bad word I was delighted because it was a new word. (We didn’t encourage it obviously!!!!) The first time he said “I love you mum” was so special because he had started talking so late.
Today we had another first, he arrived home with a reader from school and I never thought I would see the day.