Start Here – a transitions diary: APRIL

Follow Harry* and his mum in their own words through his final year in school, planning and preparing for his next steps.

*Names have been changed

Back to school – for the last time

Life skills – yum!

The story so far…

We’ve been following Harry through his last year of school, with the ups and downs of getting planning and support in place – and the added complication of a pandemic thrown in! Progress has felt painfully slow at times. Will the pace pick up as his last ever school term gets under way?

Read previous instalments here: August; September; October; November; December; January; February; March

April 2021

I’d say April has been a month of action – considering two weeks of it were holidays!

April started with the Easter holidays and sadly due to COVID, like most folk we had a staycation. Last year it stymied us going to a favourite haunt of ours in the Highlands – a  beautiful holiday home that has a lovely garden and its own swimming pool. The hosts kindly rebooked us for this year, which sadly of course came to nothing – and they are fully booked for the summer – so we will just have to wait and hope we can get up north for Easter or summer holidays next year.

Our staycation week was a mix of activities from the Epilepsy Scotland Youth Group, who have been continuing to run twice weekly sessions on Zoom. They organised five sessions for the first week of the holidays – short sessions which were just a check in for a bit of a blether, and then longer sessions that had an activity focus. 

Harry enjoyed making armpit fudge (sounds disgusting, but you place the ingredients in a bag and carefully squash it under your arm to mix them), a trash drumming music session, yoga, invisible ink messages and the famous film night on a Friday where all the members of the group connect on Zoom and watch a film on Netflix together (plus snacks of course!). Popcorn is essential, Harry informs me.

Developing life skills

We were able to have a few extra sessions with the support worker where they decided to go off out Pokemon hunting and taking a trip on the bus. He’s also been cooking up a storm – burgers from scratch. He was very proud of himself (and rightly so), even if mixing the burgers together was a bit of a sticky job!

The second week of the holidays brought a call from the Local Area Coordination Team (LAC) to have a chat and to meet Harry’s worker. He duly came out and had a little chat and then they went for a walk round the block and made some dates to start on Harry’s official travel training. The LAC worker noticed that although Harry knows what to do when getting on the bus he was flustered getting his bus pass out of his wallet, so he suggested Harry got a lanyard for his bus pass – we asked Harry if he wanted a specific design and he chose a Pokemon lanyard which he is delighted with.

Staying in children’s healthcare

We also had a phone appointment with the neurology consultant for Harry’s seizure clinic. She explained he will eventually transition to the Learning Disability and Epilepsy adult care team but that won’t be happening yet – for now he will remain within children’s services, and with COVID there is a bit of a backlog. I felt quite reassured as we’ve had the continuity of care since Harry was a toddler and I’m just glad that we are still in that service for a while longer.

Harry completed his Bronze Arts Award by watching an online production of “An Elephant in the Garden” by Michael Morpurgo and doing a review of it. He also finished his model, did his skill share and took part in the celebration at the end of the holidays on Teams.

Back to school

School started back on 20 April.

Harry has very mixed feelings about the fact this is the LAST TERM EVER of school – he’s  feeling nervous about college and about leaving school in general. But he was happy to get back to some kind of ‘normalish’ routine.

We had our first Big Plan session virtually with the Thistle Foundation, and Harry was pleased to see a few familiar faces but also to meet young people from other schools who seemed as nervous as he was. One of their activities involved trying to build a tower of wrapped fruit chewie sweets with a mini grabber tool – it’s not as easy as you’d think!

I then got a call to come for my next COVID vaccine so I took the plunge and asked when Harry would be able to get his? How about today at 4pm, was the reply?

I was very proud of Harry as he doesn’t like needles at the best of times but he rolled up his sleeve and on the whole seemed OK apart from a bit of a sore arm afterwards.

Finally, we got a call from the college to double check the course Harry has applied for – as he has some Level 2 qualifications they were unsure if he would be happy enough on the Level 1 course, but after a discussion with me and Harry the lecturer could see why school had pointed us in that direction. She promised to follow up soon with more information about the course which is reassuring.

So I guess May could be GO, GO GO!

Harry’s Mum