Start Here – a transitions diary: MARCH

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

Pizza, progress and a PA!

Harry’s art project maquette

The story so far…

Harry received funding last summer to employ a Personal Assistant to work on independent travel and life skills, but getting this up and running was delayed significantly by the recruitment process and delays over disclosure checking. With the end of lockdown on the horizon and 3 months to go to the end of the school year, the family still feel they have more questions than answers.

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

March 2021

The long awaited PA started this month and Harry was so excited! He counts down the days till his PA is coming – it’s the highlight of his week.

His PA is a lovely man who works during the day in education supporting children. He is also PA for another family and has volunteered in the past in the disability playscheme, so has lots of experience and a very calm manner.  

The hours so far have been spent supporting Harry to prepare, cook and serve the family meal on a Thursday evening, which the PA shares with us. So far, we’ve had Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice, Pasta Ragu Bolognaise and Mango Chicken with Wraps. These have all been from scratch but following recipes from a food box that we get delivered. 

This week will be the test – Harry is going to make individual pizzas – so we have a variety of toppings to choose from. The age old question, does pineapple belong on a pizza, will no doubt be hotly debated!

The PA has also spent some time supporting Harry with his art project. He is currently working on a maquette, which is a small scale model, and he’s going to have a practice run at making an easy read “How to…” Guide. This is part of the qualification and is a skill share with another member of his group.

College and the joys of travel

On the college front, we have heard that Harry’s course is moving campus. This will be further away from home (about an hour on the bus) but Harry is delighted as he knows lots of friends who left school last year who go there and although they won’t be in his class he knows he will be able to connect at lunch and breaktimes so he’s quite happy. 

We haven’t quite figured out the ‘how’ of getting him there yet … up to now Harry has received transport from the local authority to get to school, but obviously there is an expectation that he will be able to self-travel. And he most probably can – if it was a learned route. 

The big worry for me as his Mum is what happens if the bus breaks down – or with the recent spate of attacks on buses? What would Harry do? Maybe Mum’s Taxi hasn’t hung up her hat just yet!

Lifting lockdown

We’ve also just heard there is a possibility of joining (virtually) The Big Plan run by the Thistle Foundation – so hoping Harry will get a space, as he didn’t on last year’s programme with his peers from school (not quite sure why).

Exercise … that’s been a slow burn … literally. Managed to get Harry peeled off the XBox and onto his bike for a ride once. He managed about 15 minutes then was exhausted.  I guess we just have to get out and do ‘small and often’ journeys.

Finally, the 2 days at school a week is nearing its end, and I’m really grateful! Trying to get Harry motivated to do anything much more than Sumdog or Readingwise is like getting blood out of a stone. The way things were going with Covid-19 I really wasn’t sure if he would get back to school before it was time for him to leave but I’m grateful that he goes back full time on 20 April!  YAY!

It doesn’t feel like much has happened this month and progress is painstakingly slow. But hopefully April will give us more answers than questions?

Harry’s Mum