It’s often the case for me that the anticipation or build up is worse than the actual event. If you’re a ‘glass half empty’ person the tendency can be to imagine the worst case scenarios and worry over things we cannot control. The ‘unknown’ can feel scary.

When parenting children with SEN the unknown element of how my child will cope in a given situation causes stress and anxiety. Even with things that should be fun and exciting! 

The week before…

The week before school started, everything in H’s behaviour indicated anxiety. He never told us he didn’t want to go, gushed about loosing his INA or even cried about it. The signs were non verbal and only living with him really showed the reality.

Repeation increased, morning wake ups got earlier, his patience decreased and meltdowns were aplenty! 

H’s anxiety is very obvious to us but it wasn’t till I dropped my boys off on Tuesday morning that I realised how anxious I had been. As adults we are better at hiding it, even at home. 

There are some strategies for helping H in the build up that I may have mentioned before. Visual countdowns, social stories and being prepared to repeat yourself ALOT! 


H’s school take time and energy to manage transition and although nothing is foolproof there’s lots they do that helps. Keeping classes the same also really helps as the children are familiar when the staff and routine change. Another shout out to the amazing children and parents in H’s class – they are fab!

Good news, in this instance the build up was a lot worse than the reality! I am sure it certainly wouldn’t of gone so well without the preparation. It’s hard – the preparation can trigger H’s anxiety about school the week before, but it helps him when he gets there!

For some the reality of a new academic year will have been as bad as or worse than the build up and my heart goes out to you. Do know you’re not alone and it doesn’t have to be perfect straight away. We are not out the woods yet as the novelty may wear off, this journey seems to often takes me by surprise.

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