Tag: beans

A letter for Kindergarten

Beans is 3.5 and she begins kindergarten next year. A thing I have done for all my autistic girls in the past is put together a letter about them for the teachers to give to the parents of the children who will be attending kindy alongside Beans. It helps have everyone on the same page with regards to my daughters who have special needs and in my experience, encourages inclusion, compassion and understanding. It also saves me from having to repeat myself too.

I thought I’d share the letter below that I did for Beans.  This letter is completely opposite to the one I wrote for Wilding – isn’t autism amazing like that?!

Anyway:

Hello there,

My name is Beans. I will be attending kindy next year. I’ll be 4 in May and I have three big older sisters.

I wanted to write to you and tell you a bit about me, so that kindy can be a really great experience for us all.

I’m autistic. That means I think, feel and process my environment differently and in my own way compared to other kids. 

Meeting new people can be a really overwhelming and difficult experience for me. This may mean sometimes I cry or have a shutdown where I don’t talk. Other days I may look like I’m not happy to see you or be at kindy, but that isn’t really true. I do want to be here, I’m just adjusting to my environment and that can take a while. 

Kids can be really loud and busy and lots of kids can often be a lot for me to take in. I’m sensitive to noise and crowds and I struggle with transitions. 

I have my very own quiet space at kindy, and my own teacher aide to help me. If I am having a hard morning, the best thing for you to do is say hello to me quietly and then give me some space. Please don’t crowd me or touch me without my permission, that just upsets me more. I promise I will come out and hang out with you if and when I am ready.

When I’m anxious, I find it hard to talk. So I might wave instead, or not at all.. When I am comfortable and happy, it’s hard to get me to stop talking! I also jump on the spot like a little bunny rabbit when I am happy.

I really love puppies, playing in the water, imaginary play and dancing. I also really love hugs and cuddles when I am ready for them.

I’m really looking forward to coming to kindy and I will see you soon.
Feel free to ask my Mama Jessica anything, autism is a big part of our lives (my Daddy is autistic and so are 2 of my 3 sisters) and we are totally open about our lives.

Love, Beans.

Please feel free to use a similar version of your own if you feel it applies to your child or may help.

 

No, She’s Not Grumpy – She’s Autistic.

If I had to tell you how many times people have commented on my daughter Beans’ disposition as being “grumpy”, well.. I’d completely lose track. It happens daily, really. But the thing is; she isn’t grumpy – she’s almost 3 years old, she’s a toddler, and she’s also autistic.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know she doesn’t get “shy” around strangers, she actually struggles socially.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know it takes her a long time to warm up to people.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d realise that trying to get her to give you eye contact or say hello is really distressing for her, and you’d back off.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know it takes her about half an hour to decide on what item of clothing to wear every morning; and that despite having a wardrobe full of clothes – she only regularly wears about eight items.

If you knew she was autistic, you wouldn’t use the hand dryer right beside her in the public toilet and you wouldn’t mow when she was around.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d understand why she likes her food divided up sometimes.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d be compassionate and understanding when you see me carrying her everywhere – because her legs tire easily, and they hurt.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know that if the morning routine is deviated from in any large way without warning ; she screams and screams.

If you knew she was autistic you’d know how much thunderstorms terrify her.

If you knew she was autistic you’d know she completely falls apart when she’s itchy.

If you knew she was autistic you’d know that some shoes can take a long time to put on comfortably.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d see how at peace she was when she was playing in water.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d realise that an iPad or an iPod is a parenting tool – not a display of bad parenting.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d realise what an epic mimic and imitator she is, and that she’s processing her world through watching and copying others.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d see that her lining up things and having collections is super calming for her – not funny or odd.

If you knew she was autistic, you’d know that when she’s screaming on the floor and I’m not cuddling her or touching her it’s because she doesn’t like to be cuddled or touched when she’s upset, it’s not because I’m a bad parent.

And finally: if you knew she was autistic you would know that when she smiles – it’s authentic, when she laughs – it’s from the heart, not just there to please you or make you feel recognised. When you see her for who she is rather than what you’re getting out of her, you’d realise that she is so much more than just “grumpy” – and you’d put your judgement aside.

 

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