“Why did it have to happen to me?” Evelena asked after shopping last week, “why can’t I just talk to everyone, Ciara, Keelan and Niall don’t have to worry”, she said.
I felt incredibly sad hearing her say this. I know it’s a long & hard battle she is fighting just to be, as she says, like everyone else.
With no definitive answer, all I can do is try and put a positive spin on it. Telling her one day, all this will, hopefully be a distant memory of what once was. After all, look how far she has come to date. She nods, agrees and looks a bit brighter.
All this came from being in a queue to pay. I suggested, as it was her money she was spending, that she pay the cashier. She was reluctant to, but I reassured her she would be fine, after all she had paid before, she reluctantly agreed.
Waiting to pay, I assumed she was anxious about eye contact and physically paying, when all the while this wasn’t the case. She told me, after leaving the shop, it was the waiting for the change she didn’t want to do.
The reason being because she wouldn’t be able to say ‘Thank you’ thus appearing rude, and she didn’t want to come across as a rude girl.
Its moments like this, when it brings home how real her struggle is. It’s a worry knowing she is struggling and trying so hard to jump all her hurdles, just so she can be, in her words ‘normal and say thank you’.
She certainly doesn’t lack in the want department, and while I want to believe in her confidence as she reels off how she will talk when she starts school blah blah blah, I can’t help but have the door of doubt slightly ajar.
September this year will mark an important milestone, Evelena will be starting Secondary school.
She is excited about starting and is familiar with the school, so there are no real nerves or apprehension regarding the school as a whole as her two older siblings are already there. She is looking forward to being known, as Evelena, and NOT as the girl who doesn’t talk!’.
I arranged an informal meeting with the head of SENCO at her new school, as I felt it important to give them an insight on who Evelena is and what she has been working towards.
We talked in some length regarding the current methods in place, and how we can continue to keep up her current progress when she starts.
With Evelena now being 11, and having a good understanding of her SM, I feel she should be partly involved in making decisions and choices where intervention surrounding her SM is concerned.
I felt it important, to run through with the school, things we would prefer not to happen from the onset, such as any verbal ‘ice-breakers’ used to get to know one another when settling into their new forms.
Even without suffering any anxiety, many people do not like this kind of ‘ice breaker’ but can deal with it. Unlike Evelena who would be sitting, anxiously waiting for the finger to point, and no doubt would have worked herself up into a height of anxiety and just clam up, or in Evelenas case not respond at all.
This is not an impression she will want to make, as it would be the first impression and one that the students would always remember.
However, I did double check this with her later at home, at first, she said she didn’t mind but when she thought about it more, she agreed it’s not something she is ready for.
Other than the ice-breakers, we agreed to ‘play it by ear’ regarding any intervention at first. If she feels or the school feel she is not coping, is noticeably struggling or if she just tells us she is, then we will reassess our options.
She does not want to be singled out to attend classes where it will be noticed and other kids might start asking why she is being taking out, wanting to know what she is doing etc.
I pray she will have a good transitional period and make some new friends. I feel it’s important to her that she does. She has had lots of friends at Primary school and is a popular little girl but she has tended to stick with the same one friend and this, I feel, has held her back a bit.
Before school starts, they will be encouraged at the ‘meet your class’ day to exchange phone numbers with any other student they have warmed to, and will be encouraged to meet up in the school holidays.
I think this is a great idea and I hope Evelena is able to find a ‘new’ friend she can hook up with and get to know in the summer holidays.
My eldest daughter is staying on at 6th form and my son will be moving into Year 10. Both have said they will be keep a watchful eye out for her to make sure she is OK, and not as we all fear, all alone.
Unbelievable as it is, there are kids who play alone and sit alone at school.
More importantly we want her to be happy. Yes, her education is important but so is her happiness, and a happy child will get on so much better than a child who is sad and unhappy, or so I believe.
Evelena is self-motivated and studious. She hates failing, and can get really upset with it. It becomes an even bigger problem to her if others are on hand to see her mistakes. Of course none of whom would probably even be bothered by it, but it really upsets her. I say time and time again to her, no one worries about her mistakes only her! And after all she never fails she just learns and next time try a different way.
If it was down to confidence and self-belief she would win a gold medal every time. So, with that in mind, I hope September 2017 will be the end of one chapter and the start of a new one.