The transition from Primary School to Secondary School – it’s not all that bad!

I had been at my Primary School for 7 years and was accustomed to the buildings, staff and everyone around me. I‘d had the same teacher for 4 years and had all the support I needed. But when the time came to decide on a Secondary school, things were actually ok. I was taken to have a look at the 2 secondary schools in my area whilst I was in Year5 and then again in Year6 so it wasn’t all too much to take in and I was quite relaxed. Although I like doing things in a traditional way and in a routine, I also like new, fresh starts and a chance to make myself better, so the thought of what a new school could offer me made me feel positive.

We went to the Open Evenings which were really busy and although I was excited and fascinated it was difficult to relax. I spent a lot of time smiling, but still avoiding looking at anyone. Then we went for a private tour which was better and then we met with the head of SENCO at one of the schools. I was included in all of the meetings and although I felt a bit awkward I could tell that the teacher we met knew so much about Aspergers that I felt like I trusted her right away.

Making the decision between the 2 schools was difficult so we sat down as a family and the tactic I used was to list all the pros and cons of each school. Once the decision was made, my primary school and my parents made appointments for me to visit the school – just for half hour at a time. I sat and ate lunch with a teacher so I could see the dining room at its full capacity. I visited and watched the classroom change-overs so I could hear the bell ringing. I saw a break time and got the chance to walk round the school when it was quiet. After every visit I wrote down any questions or requests I had that I hadn’t been brave enough to ask in person.  My mum could email the SENCO and find the answer, or we would arrange another visit. I was given a map and shown the contact book that we would be using. I liked this because I was able to analyse my surroundings, and when given an opportunity to find where I was I was thrilled because using what I’d learnt made me feel confident, even if I was in a new place.

My primary school was especially helpful: towards the end of the year I became part of a small group and we would talk about our worries and feelings with a teaching assistant. She gave us a little book which contained advice and tips on what to expect and importantly, how to respond! My best friend was also going to the same school and our parents both asked if we could be kept together in our Tutor Group. I think that thanks to both schools working together, this was made possible.

Over the summer holiday my new school emailed me my timetable. This was great because I was able to colour code it and put copies on my wall. I was also sent my profile. This is a piece of paper that all my teachers would have before I got there which explained my likes and dislikes. This was brilliant because I knew then that I would not be put in any awful situations – like the teachers telling me to “look at me when I’m speaking to you”. Something which I am just unable to do.

On my first day we had arranged that I would go in with my friend from her house so we didn’t have to worry about meeting somewhere and we could go in together. I was given a timetable and map along with everyone else but I felt confident because I had already seen these before.

I was given a locker and lots of books but it was all very exciting.

So far everything is going really well. There are of course some issues, mainly with not knowing how to respond to other children, there are so many personalities and it can get very busy. What helps me is talking it over with my family as soon as I get out of school and being given a resolution – so for example, the lunch time queue for food can be very busy and jostling so my mum suggested asking the school to put my plate to one side for me to collect. Once I knew I had this option I was able to deal with the queues, knowing that I had a way out but so far I have not needed it.

The SENCO are also very pro active in my school. I find it almost impossible to ask for help, especially when I am upset but the school has teachers specifically to look out for us and one of those teachers was coming to find me every week to make sure I was ok. Now I go to see her every other week. I keep a list in my head of anything that is bothering me and she will go through the types of things I can say to people to help me resolve things.

Everything is really positive. The only negative thing that I can really think of at the moment is that sometimes when someone knows you have Aspergers and they have read about what Aspergers is, they think a “one size fits all”, when it doesn’t. I don’t mind too much because it is really good that they have tried to understand it but sometimes I feel a bit awkward when they are trying to help me but it’s really over the top. It just shows that as Aspie Kids, we are all different and until you get to know us as individuals you won’t know how our needs differ. Because of my communication problems I can’t tell you if you are off track but it’s nice that you’ve tried!

Actually my communication has improved massively since starting secondary school. I know that I only have to be with a teacher for a single lesson, so they are only looking at me for an hour – not like in primary school when it was 6 hours! So I feel like I have a break in the intensity, even if I will be seeing them the next day.

Having Aspergers matters to me but it doesn’t bother me, if that makes sense? I don’t feel I need to tell people if I don’t want to because I think people judge me for me, not because I have Aspergers. My Aspergers is just who I am, it’s not a separate thing. People can’t like me but not like my Aspergers, because it’s the whole of me. If you like me, you like that I’m an Aspiekid, and so far that’s working just fine!

13 thoughts on “The transition from Primary School to Secondary School – it’s not all that bad!

  1. Michelle Brooks January 8, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    This is a brilliant blog Erin, well done xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Sage January 8, 2017 / 5:53 pm

    Very well written Erin.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrea James January 8, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    Beautifully written and it helps me understand even more about Aspergers syndrome so thank you. Many children cannot express themselves like this so it’s really hard for their parents to understand. You are opening a door into their world. Keep blogging lots of love Andrea xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carla Passingham January 8, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    Erin
    This is amazing! You should feel so proud of your achievements and the way you have explained Aspergers to us all. Good luck in all you do in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anne-Marie January 8, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    This is excellent, Erin, a superb account of your transition and an awareness booster to all who read!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kelly Roper January 8, 2017 / 8:28 pm

    Erin this is such a well written piece, you should be very proud xx

    Like

  7. Bella Perez January 8, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    Omg! Thank you 4 letting me read this it is so deep. I honestly would not guess you have aspergers and I’ve Been your friend for two terms now! It’s great your telling everyone! Your sooooo brave!!!!!
    Love bella!!

    Like

  8. Annabel January 8, 2017 / 8:53 pm

    It’s pure brilliance.

    Like

  9. Amanda Gamlen January 8, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    This is a fascinating insight Erin, and so beautifully written. It sounds as though your school has put a lot of thought into how they could help you make a smooth transition without being too full on. What you say about the length of time with each teacher makes perfect sense. I hope lots of people get to read this. Looking forward to the next instalment. Keep blogging Erin!

    Like

  10. Eleanor Powles January 8, 2017 / 9:39 pm

    You did rily well with that Erin! I liked it and I agree whith you .you are what you are. Like I have delecia which does not gust bother me in English but the hole time. That was amazing but to long for me to handle for me.
    1 of you best friends
    ELLIE POWLES

    Like

  11. englishisnotme January 8, 2017 / 9:53 pm

    Hi it is me ( Ellie ). I thought that was amazing but to long but very deteled. You must tell me more about you Aspergers. Although I do all ready know a lot about u/it.

    Like

  12. ninjakitty553 January 10, 2017 / 7:42 am

    This is such an amazing blog. This, not only is extremely insightful, helpful and touching, is a great piece of writing. Amazing xxx! Grace xxx

    Like

  13. girlofstars March 31, 2018 / 8:28 am

    I know I’m pretty late to reading this, but wow – this is amazing. You’re blog is so amazing, as it helps me understand more, and I’m sure it helps many others too! girlofstars (although you know who I am) x

    Liked by 1 person

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