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A day in the life of you, at secondary school

(9 Posts)
velveteenmummy Tue 23-Jul-13 10:23:29

I have a 14 year old who until now has been home educated, she is just about to start secondary school after receiving a diagnosis of autism it is very mild but effects how she organises herself, I can only prepare her so much from my own experience and she is quite apprehensive still, I would love to hear other peoples experiences of school so I can share different scenarios with her.
what was you day like at school? how did you manage your day, how did you organise yourself? getting to lessons on time, doing and handing in homework (or not) etc. Did you have major difficulties in any areas and how did you overcome them? Thanks in advance for any help in this area.

bigTillyMint Tue 23-Jul-13 11:27:31

I can't remember that far back, but I have two DC at secondary school.

They are given planners in September to stick their timetable into (get a copy for the fridge!) and homework timetable (also get a second copy) The planners are like a diary, so they write in every homework on the correct day and refer to that when they come home.
Your DD may need you to help her check her timetables every evening and to pack her bag ready for the next day.

At their school, homework is generally done on paper - sometimes worksheets, but more often either work they have done by hand or on the computer and printed off. If it was me, I would file it all neatly and keep it clean to and from school, but they just jam it into their bagshmm

I would also have a system for storing old homework/school books when they come home, but they just have piles on the table.

Is she going into Y10? Starting her GCSE courses? I would make sure I had the name/number of her form tutor/someone who I could check with regularly to make sure all is OK and sort out any problems before they become big issues.

velveteenmummy Tue 23-Jul-13 11:57:09

Thanks big, some good ideas, yes she will be starting y10.

titchy Tue 23-Jul-13 12:18:31

Do homework on the day it is set.
When completed stick a post it note on it with the day it is to be handed in on and keep in a folder in date order.

PhoenixUprising Tue 23-Jul-13 13:19:17

Can she get someone at school to help her?

My DS with mild Aspergers has a learning mentor who he speaks to every week, and he helps him with whatever he needs. Mostly bullying and coping with lunch / break time.

Worth discussing with the SENCO what your school can offer. And making sure she is on the SEN register and school are aware of her difficulties.

eatyourveg Tue 23-Jul-13 17:05:43

ds2 and ds3 are both on the autistic spectrum and the biggest help I have found is printing off their timetables and sticking them on the kitchen cupboard

ds3 had a laminated check list to go through (about the size of a bookmark that was kept on his desk in his room) before going out the door, eg phone, train pass, sports bag, organiser etc (bag always packed the night before)

School also sent home a homework timetable so we knew what subjects were set on which days in case it wasn't written in the book. PE was highlighted so they knew when to pack thier kit. School also has a homework section on the website which allows parents to see just what tasks are set. If there isn't a page on the school website be sure to ask the senco for a homework timetable

If possible get a plan of the school and print it off and go over it in the holiday with your dd marking significant places such as loos, tutor room, canteen etc

If the school office is open at all during the holiday ask if you and your dd can go in for a recky while it is quiet so that your daughter can be more familiar with the layout come september

The other thing I did for the boys was to create a velcro strip on the freezer for each of them (including ds1 NT) which was used to keep track of homework. In the organiser there is usually a place to tick it once it is done but I found that the pages got rather busy and the velcro strip worked better

The way it worked was that each subject had one or two laminated symbols about 3cm square. they were held in a bowl on the top of the freezer. Each time a homework was set, that subject got stuck on the velcro strip so that it was clearly visible. Once the homework had been done, the symbol went back in the bowl.

I found it worked best when I made sure that the symbols were prioritised in the order that the homework was due in.

It was a bit of a military operation but it worked really well for us.

Schmedz Wed 24-Jul-13 14:13:23

If your DD likes routine, then school will help her achieve it as everything is run to certain times of the day...very reassuring to know what happens when (until they change it on the odd occasion!).

If there is a desk area she can set up at home with files for books in each subject and a display board with her timetable and a homework timetable to look at/tick off that might help. Organising the school bag the night before is essential to stop any last minute panic and avoid forgetting items. If she has a locker at school, wearing the key and carrying a USB memory stick on a lanyard around their neck or in their pocket is a technique most children at our school use to keep track of the key and memory stick. Some even have a pencil case for school and a spare set of pens/colours/calculator at home on their desk so it is one less thing to have to remember to take back and forth.

Having weekly support with the LS teacher would really help at first and I echo how important it will be for her to have a chance to walk around the building a few times before all the students return...please ask the school if they can support her in this. Some schools will pair new students with a 'buddy' either from an older year group or their own to help support you know what the arrangements are at her new school for this or what she is supposed to do on the first day? If not - ask! Each school does things differently but you do need to make contact with her Head of Year and also the Learning Support teacher to ensure they are aware of her particular needs.

In year 10 she is likely to have different classes with different people apart from 'core' subjects such as English and Maths. This means she won't always be going to the same classroom or have the same teachers for certain subjects as some of her friends. She will most likely be able to go to her locker at the beginning and end of the school day and at break times. She doesn't need to carry books for every lesson of the day...a timetable posted up inside the locker should help her decide what she needs for each part of the day. There may well be extra curricular activities she could attend at lunchtimes or after school - great way to meet peers with similar interests and give structure to unstructured times...helpful for people on Autistic Spectrum.

Hope she enjoys school...she is bound to make mistakes/get a bit lost/forget things at first but it's a learning curve and she will get there in the end! She will probably be her own harshest critic...tell her it is the same for everyone in a new environment - even a new job!

lljkk Wed 24-Jul-13 14:22:55

Disorganised? Can't remember when her homework is due or who to give it to? Can't find her way to lessons on time?

Sounds like a completely normal teenager to me.

velveteenmummy Wed 24-Jul-13 21:10:29

Thanks for all the helpful tips, the school is aware and has systems in place to help her through the day, but because she is quite willing to let others help her organise herself to the degree where she may expect others to do it all! I was searching for a way to get her to think for herself and the thing thats strikes a chord with her is to hear other peoples experiences, so I think i'll get her to read some of these comments, I will be doing some charts for fridge/ bedroom etc and get lots of box files for each subject, and the lanyards a great idea too.

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