So technically it was not his first day ever at school, that first day was a couple of years ago back when we lived in England, and he had moved up from the nursery to reception class at the local SEN school. But this is his first day in an ASD unit at a new school here in Ireland, something we have been waiting for for the last several months.
We headed to his school the other week to hand in some paperwork knowing that we would soon be waving Dylan off to school, and just to touch base with them. It was suggested that we could him back the next day to do a few hours seeing as the man had another day off and we had the car. His principal went and grabbed him a school sweater from the spare box so he could wear it the next day. So that was that we drove away knowing the following day we could be coming back to leave him at school.
That morning was an exciting morning in our household and a slightly strange one as we prepared three lots of packed lunches and got three lots of school uniform ready. There was a bittersweet moment getting a photo of the 3 of them together in their school jumpers, looking forward to getting Dylan the full uniform so that he can join the mantelpiece photos of his siblings in their uniform. We waved off his brother and sister and then headed out on the 40-minute journey to his school.
It did sadden me that a few minutes into our journey as we passed through the village next to us, that we went straight past an actual special needs school, sadly a school which is so full that even the waiting list is closed and has been since I started phoning them before we moved. But I’m going to ignore that and concentrate on the fact the ASD unit where he is going has the most wonderful teacher and SNAs. His principal and deputy principal are also lovely women, and that deputy has gone above and beyond to help us get Dylan this school place, and I just cannot thank them enough the for the hard work they have put in.
He was so excited when we arrived; he wanted to hold Daddy’s hand from the car, not mummy’s which was strange for Dylan, so I think that made the man’s morning! He ran up those steps, and towards the door, I think what helped was us putting his old school bag on his back, he must have understood that meant he was going to school. He ran into his classroom and back out into the little courtyard they have; he looked so happy! So off we went, I didn’t even cry! Which was strange because it’s all I’ve done ever since we started this fight!
The man & I headed back towards home as we had a few jobs to do before that 1pm pickup, of course, we went for breakfast together to celebrate the first time being kid-free during the day since we’ve moved. It was strange not having Dylan sat near us in his pram, munching on a pack of crisp and patting me down until he found my phone in my pocket. I was actually able to use my phone to take a food pic. Obviously, I’m out of practice when it comes to telling the man to get out of the shot. I look forward to bringing you more pointless food pics very soon.
We got regular photos throughout those few hours we were apart via an app, it was amazing being able to see what our boy was getting up to and he looked like he was having lots of fun. When we collected him I genuinely believe he didn’t want to come home, he just sat there on the beanbag, looked us but didn’t get up straight away. We enjoyed listening to what he got up to, and we presented with this beautiful painting that Dylan did for me, such a great way to end the day.
Since I started drafting this post on his first day, he’s gone back and did a second day, this time it was a full day as we went and collected him after collecting his brother and sister from their school, they came with us to see where Dylan’s school was and to meet his teachers, this was especially important for Oli who likes to know these of things. He was very tired by this point, and I know it’s going to take some getting used to these long days.
We have also received the fantastic news that transport has now all been sorted and on Monday the bus (his teacher is going to be his escort in the morning and an SNA in the afternoon) will be coming to pick him up in the morning! Can you believe it? After several months of battling to get to this point, we have finally arrived! Now I may not have cried that first day we dropped him off but the idea of waving him off on a bus Monday morning already has me reaching for the tissues.