Monday, 31 August 2015

New academic year, new beginnings

I thought as everyone is back to school/college/uni/work (delete where appropriate) in the next few weeks after the long summer (dreading those early morning get ups) I would write a blog and hopefully give some advice to help calm those new academic year anxieties we all get. I know quite a few people approaching new transitions too so I hope this might help too. Even if you're not having any changes or not dyspraxic/dyslexic, I hope my blog might help you too.

The thought of going back after after a long holiday has always throughout my life been a bit overwhelming for me, the thought of all things new and fear of the unknown. Like many people with dyapraxia my brain likes routine, with the unpredictability of our movements and how literally anything can happen, I like to know what I'm doing when and where and with who, the thought of that all being unfamiliar makes me feel a bit uneasy, but I'm determined to hopefully develop some strategies to make sure my anxiety doesn't get too unmanageable. I know I will be meeting new students, all with different needs, be in new rooms with new tutors and have completely new paperwork to fill in. It's really easy to put too much pressure on yourself so everything goes right and to plan and beat yourself up if it doesn't. I'm trying to this term have a go with the flow approach and try my best to try and feel excited by these changes and not petrified, and not to beat myself up if I do feel a bit lost (or literally get myself lost.)

 I know a lot of parents will be feeling the back to school anxiety worried maybe about their child getting the right support, whether the teacher will understand their child's needs or worried maybe about getting an assessment. The best advice I can give to that is keep fighting and pushing and hopefully someone will listen, the most important and key thing to remember is however hard it gets you're not on your own with this. Often anxiety can make us think the worst possible situation in our heads, in reality you never know what may happen, see this new academic year as a new beginning.

Advice and strategies

Try and lie out your/your child's clothes or uniform the night before and have it in the order to be put on to try and save time in the morning running round like a headless chicken.

As a little girl my dyspraxia meant I struggled getting dressed independently, even when I did it would often be inside out or the wrong way round, my mum used to find clothes easy to pull on with elastic and with not many fiddly buttons etc, these days you can get elasticated shoelaces etc. Even as an adult I try and buy clothes which are easy to get on and off, and ones which I know my body isn't sensitive to the texture of.

Start the day in a positive way, have a healthy breakfast, find maybe a positive quote or mantra to help you feel positive about the day.

Make a visual timetable of what has to be done on a day to day, use pictures, colours whatever will help you remember important things and the routine of what might be happening and make the most of calendars on phones/I pads etc.

Have a place for important things like keys, phone, purse, bus pass etc easier said than done I know, the amount of times there's been chaos and me throwing clothes around the room because I can't find important things, then realising I'm running late.

Write down important details which you might need to remember on your phone in simple form and have a few copies either saved on your computer or pinned up to help aid your memory.

Find out what assistive technology there is out there and might help.

Find out what support is available for you/your child, having the right support can make so much difference, sadly many people have to go though so many battles to get it.

As our brains/bodies are working 10x harder to do the little things  & also have difficulty processing the world around us, which can lead to fatigue, low energy and exhausting ourselves, find a way after you have finished for the day to relax yourself and your mind, have a nap, listen to relaxing music whatever helps you feel calm.

Amongst so much change, find something which is like a home comfort to look forward to afterwards it might be something related to a specialist interest, favourite music, spending time with a pet, something to make you smile.

I always find the thought of meeting lots of new people overwhelming, I always worry about what I might say or do and overthinking situations but this term I'm going to really try and boost my confidence and self esteem.

Remember you are an unique individual, worthy of happiness and sucess, be kind to others but most importantly be kind to yourself.

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