Jackie’s story – strategies for making the move to school
Jackie talks about her experience of her children starting school and offers tips to help parents prepare.
Jackie’s children attend a primary school in Portsmouth. She has twin daughters in Year 2 and a son in Reception. One of Jackie’s daughters has a diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) ADHD (Attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and mild to moderate development delay. Her other daughter has had a referral to the Neurodiversity team. Starting school was not an easy time for them and it was only at this transition point that the family realised they would need extra support.
Working with the school and professionals, a programme was put in place to give the girls the help and support they require. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but now in Year 2 Jackie says the school day is much more settled.
“Over the last year the support has been amazing and honestly makes me so emotional to see the progress that one of my daughter’s has made. We still have a way to go with her sister but I’m happy everything is being done.
I have a friendship group that I didn’t have before. Believe it or not, after some really challenging times, I have confidence in myself as a parent. It’s very easy to blame yourself when things aren’t going well.”
As a parent who has been through this challenging time with her children, we asked Jackie to tell us what worked for her and any suggestions she has for other parents who might be worrying about how their children will settle in school.
“Before your child starts school, I would recommend that you prepare by attending all the transition days and use the website to familiarise your child with the Reception teachers.
“When your child starts school, it can be very lonely and daunting, especially when they are having a rollercoaster of a journey. It’s vital to communicate with the school to find out what they are doing to help support your child’s needs but also that you do whatever you possibly can. Don’t let worries or concerns build up, talk to a member of the school team, and send emails to follow up on things discussed for peace of mind. I would also advise trying any strategies that are suggested, even if you are sceptical because something may help.
“If help is offered take it. Our school has a Family Support Coordinator who is honestly brilliant!! The first time we had a 1.1 meeting I walked into the room and burst into tears. It was, however, just what I needed. I now meet with her and other parents once a week in school for a coffee and catch-up session which has made a huge difference to me and has helped me move forward when things have felt at their most challenging.
And lastly, be kind to yourself! ”
For more tips and information about how to make the move to school easier, read our Local Offer Top Tips