Last updateMon, 28 Jan 2013 9pm

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Think of school like a swimming pool


In this section we will be looking specifically at Education. School is a big issue for not only many jelibeans but for teachers aswell. Here we try and offer some explanation and help in case you get into difficulties. But whatever difficulties you are in, please, parents try and remember that teachers aren't trained in Autism Spectrum and many have limited knowlege in how to care for jelibeans! And for you teachers, please remember parents aren't either! Often we hit the ground running too.  Let's see how we can make it easier for everyone to stay safe and happy! We will be focusing on mainstream schooling here.

Here’s an analogy that just might help you and your jelibeans to understand some of the secrets of getting through the SYSTEM called School. Time to gather up your cossies, towels and flip flops, we’re going swimming, and if you can’t swim, don’t worry there are plenty of lifeguards around to help you. No excuse.

School is like a Swimming Pool, a big proper one with diving board, but daunting, busy, noisy, smelly and BIG and dangerous. The idea is to LEARN to swim gently. Jelibeans do take longer to do some things but once its learnt, we get a bit cocky and think that we can swim the channel on our own. Whoops wrong, but its only when we’re sinking fast, waving our arms everywhere trying to alert help that we realise we've bitten off more than we chew. Sometimes the Lifeguards don’t notice.


Junior School - Early years (4-11) [UK]


Pre-school, nursery, toddler group or BIG school! No matter how old your child is, this is a really big deal so we advise caution, plenty of planning and positivity. Big school of course is the start of FULL time so this is another difference to take into account. If your jelibean is used to coming home at lunchtime then why should anywhere else be any different? Making the transition from pre school to Primary school is a pretty big deal and a massive change (jelibeans don't do change well!).

The day has come and school has arrived for the first time! How exciting but scary! How everyone has been looking forward to it - and now, your jelibean is having second thoughts and mum is in meltdown! Yes we have all been there. Handing our children over to someone else, a stranger is bad enough but when they are crying and hanging onto your leg for grim death, it is seriously traumatising. So prepare them for their first day - carefully. Gentle and frequent chats will help and I am sure by now they will have visited at least once or twice.


Please remember that school is a big place to a little jelibean. Often it smells funny and there are new sounds which we may find scary - school bells for example. Many new sensory experiences that may not sit too well with your jelibean. It can easily become overwhelming. For the first few weeks it is a case of getting acclimatised to their surroundings. It may take a while, but we get there in the end.

Don’t forget to give your jelibeans a good breakfast before they leave home. They really need fuelling well. Our junior school allows all children to bring water into class and this is such a great idea and necessary for over-heated jelibeans. The school also has fruit breaks as well when children are encouraged to eat fruit – so much better for the sugar-addicted jelibean than a huge chocolate bar.





Language in word form. Understand it? Are you a bookworm by nature ?

We're all a bit hit and miss with reading. Sometimes the kids and I read the same page over and over again. Eyes are busy moving from side to side whilst the brain is in the cake shop, "I really fancy a muffin, now", I'm thinking as I'm reading an official letter. See what I mean? My brain wanders all over the place.

I instinctively pick out the bits that I fancy. Of course I get it wrong all the time and never seem to learn this lesson. Only today I got my eldest son’s appointment time wrong, I was only an hour out but still it led to mass panic and alterations, WHY? I hadn’t read the letter properly and therefore had guessed it.


Secondary School (11yrs -16yrs)

So they’ve made it! The shallow end is a thing of the past, there’s no going back now. Your precious little jelitots are now jelliseniors and jeliteens. First School seems so far away. The world looks very different now. Gone are the familiar boundaries.

Some of their friends have gone and there’s a whole new system to learn.

Big School seems so big to an 11-year-old. They’ve spent the last year being the big fish in the little pond and now they’re the little fish in the BIG, big pond. Is your jelibean swimming now? Do they still need armbands but they want to struggle on to scared to ask?

Hopefully there will have been an opportunity for you to have liaised with school, and also your jelibean has spent some time the previous term getting an idea of what life is going to be like.




How important it is to be able to write? No, clever clogs, not War and Peace, a letter is good. Today is the day of the text and email,’ ru cumin out l8er’? Pardon ? In text speak it means ‘ Are you coming out later’? What hope do these kids have, all of them, marshmallows and jelibeans alike? It’s a whole new language that seems to change as soon as I get used to it.

Jelibeans do have their fair share of problems with writing. Normally nothing at all or copious amounts of words on at least half the rain forest! Take a guess at which one I'm guilty of. Although both sexes can and do have varying degrees of problems,it's the boys who tend to come off worse. Boys have a tendency to get letters back to front and generally letters become mixed up and jumbled, making little sense.