The Winds of Change…

Kelly Autism, It's a Tink Thing Leave a Comment

Wow, it’s been far too long since I wrote a proper blog post, although there’s plenty going on over at my Facebook page.  I’ve not been in a great place lately, mostly to do with the stresses of work and how that combines (or not!) with life at home.  The upshot is, after much agonising over it all, I am leaving my job managing the preschool to become a playworker at a different preschool.  This one is literally five minutes up the road from home, rather than a 45 minute drive each morning (or an hour and a half if there are problems on the M6, apparently!). But the main thing? I’m not in charge.  This is going to be really, really hard, but it’s this aspect of my current role that I am finding I can’t cope with any more.  There is just too much work and too little time/opportunity and I don’t want the pressure of being the one with whom the buck stops when it comes to Ofsted etc. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my professional life, and I just don’t feel I can live up to my own expectations (or that of Ofsted!) any more.  I don’t feel I am giving 100% to any aspect of my work life or my home life and that’s not fair to my children at work and their families, or my own children and my family.  I am not spending the time with my own children that they need and deserve and I am not sleeping at night – partly because there’s usually always a restless Tink in my bed, and partly because I just can’t switch my brain off from work.

So, something had to give, and my lovely preschool was it. I am devastated to be leaving. I love the children and their families, I love the ladies I work with and I love working somewhere so green and spacious. However, I have to put myself and my family first now, and it was starting to make me ill again. I saw a job advert for the preschool up the road, with ideal hours, school holidays off and it seemed silly not to apply. I’m totally overqualified, and those that knew I had applied were sure I would get it, but I, ever the self-doubter, wasn’t so sure. Maybe they don’t want someone who knows how things run? Maybe they want someone green and easier to mould? However, get it I did and I start in three weeks, all being well.  Exciting times, I hope!

Another reason I was looking for something else was Tink.  As you will know, if you’ve read previous posts, she is due to start Reception class in September.  We have agonised over the decision as to which school to apply for and have also considered looking at special schools in case her EHCP does go through and that becomes an option. However, we decided on applying for the school at which she already attends the nursery class, for several reasons. However, it was likely that she wouldn’t start off doing a full day like her classmates, so I wanted to be able to collect her myself at lunchtime, rather than relying on my amazing parents, who do it at present. This ties them up so much, and it’s not fair to keep doing this, as they are retired and should be making the most of their days rather than spending them waiting to collect Tink.

I had a meeting this week with the school SENCo and her nursery teacher, to go through some possible targets for us to be working towards on the advice of the wonderful chap from the Communication and Autism Team (CAT) that link to the school (I had heard so much about this man, Mark – for those that know him – and it’s all true!). Anyway, they said they had something to ask me and I could tell they were building up to something big; they looked nervous. (Oh god, what is it? They don’t want her to stay here, they want us to find somewhere else…!) After all the agonising, list-writing, big breakfast decision-making, they have asked if we will consider keeping Tink in the nursery class for another year before moving her up to Reception in September 2017.

I think I felt relieved! This is something that I had briefly considered, but didn’t really think would be a possibility, so brushed it off without thinking further on it.  There’s no way she’s going to be ready for Reception – I think we can see that now, even 7 months away. Her attention and concentration span is still number one of the list of targets, as we’re not really making any headway there, and, although she’s talking more, her actual communication still needs oodles of work before it’s at the level of a typical almost-four-year-old. Another year in nursery will give us all time to continue with what we’re doing, and, hopefully, build up the necessary skills ready for Reception without the added  pressure of the clock ticking for this September. Then, we’ll also see if we think mainstream is really the best option, or if special school might, in fact, be better for her and gives us more time to suss those out too.

Part of me feels a bit sad that she won’t be moving up with the children she’s with now. I can’t really call them ‘friends’, as Tink’s largely uninterested in their presence from what I’ve read in the reports, although they certainly are aware of her and, apparently, are very caring towards and accepting of her, which is lovely to hear.  However, next year, she may develop the skills to form ‘friendships’ with the new children who, although younger than her, will be closer to her developmental age I guess? However, we’ll have more flexibility; she’ll start doing mornings and hopefully can stay for lunch, allowing me to collect her each day, then she’ll build up to doing full days in nursery so when she does eventually go into Reception she’ll be able to access the full curriculum – hopefully!

So, it’s all change for us! Fingers crossed I’ve made the right decisions. I’m never confident I have – I hate making big decisions, as you may have noticed…!


Kelly is a mother of two – her son H and daughter Tink. H is home educated, Tink is autistic. Kelly is a self-employed Virtual Assistant… Life is busy!

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