Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Growing up Fast!

I find myself in the position that I advised against only a few months ago. Suddenly without warning my children have at least one after school club a day, sometimes two - not a good position to be in. I suspect that we will be exhausted at the end of the term. We obviously had a choice- we could have taken on less but I was very aware that my autistic son can sometimes hold the others back with his reluctance to go out. He creates whenever we have an after school pick up and it is hard.
I decided however to use the situation to our advantage. If my children are to flourish despite the shortcomings of their brother then they will need to become independent earlier than most children. My eldest is already catching buses, meeting friends in town and generally very able but because we live in the country I invariably have to drive him somewhere because of lack of public transport.
My daughter on the other hand is only 12 and wanted to do netball and dance at school. The logistics were complicated. I would have to leave my autistic son at home to collect her. Problem, whilst he doesn't want to go out neither does he want to be left in alone so you can't win. Which ever you do you have a fight on your hands with the inevitable swearing and bad language.
I discovered by accident that the children could buy a pass which meant that any journey they made throughout the county was £1. Furthermore there was a bus which left the village where my children go to school after clubs ended and which took them to a much more accessible town.(Their school is in the middle of the Lakes district and involves dark, windey roads in winter) Bingo! We discussed the logistics, visited the bus stops at both ends of the journey and discussed our back up plan if they missed the bus. Then we had to put the plan in place. Although we are lucky to have good neighbours who are willing to offer lifts it is sometimes nice to be independent and not rely on people.I can't always commit to offering lifts because my son may make it difficult for me to pick up so I would rather that we do our own thing sometimes.
Anyway my daughter coped admirably with her first bus journey alone. She bounced off the bus with a huge smile on her face and I knew then that she was old enough to do it! She has her independence and can go to after school clubs if she wants. Lets just hope that next term is a quieter one!

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