Joseph in his school uniform

The long summer holidays are drawing to an end and we’re all preparing for the return to school. Some children embrace the return, but if your child has autism, it could be a transition you need to manage. Tina Medlock, Winner of the BAPS Newcomer Award shares her experience of her son, Joseph going back to school last year.

Following Joseph’s first day at school, I was pleased that he hadn’t cried about going back to school. I was slightly disappointed that he had spent a brief period in the cupboard that masquerades as a cloakroom before venturing into the classroom, but overjoyed that when I went to collect him I found that he had not kicked the shit out of anyone. There was a brief episode earlier in the year where his behaviour had been less than desirable.

And then the feeling hit me like I’d just been kicked in the stomach and I couldn’t understand why I felt this way.

So, in typical me fashion, I tried to analyse why I couldn’t be content that he’d had a great day without worrying about the next hurdle. Then I figured out why…

Imagine training for months on end for a race and you had put every ounce of energy into perfecting your training so you could produce a brilliant performance.

Incredibly, you deliver the performance, but when you finish, your body is exhausted and you are mentally drained due to the months of physical and emotional energy you have invested.

You are elated at what you have achieved, but you are already worried about the next race and whether you’ll execute it as well. All you want to do is lie down and rest.

And that is where I am right now. For me, I’ll always be on a treadmill and whether we’ll be running on the flat, uphill or downhill it’s anyone’s guess. I know there is no significant rest period and there will be another run tomorrow.

Maybe it won’t be the event of the year and it won’t get the coverage the big run today has, but it’s another run and I hope the training will suffice.

I have a love/hate relationship with running, but I will kick this ‘marathon’s’ butt.

Back to school tips

Do you face this marathon feeling? Have you spent the past few weeks preparing your child for the return to school? If so, Ambitious about Autism has a useful set of Back to School Tips for Parents/Carers that might help you with the transition from holidays to school.

Struggles with school

If you missed it, last year Lisa Williams shared her daughter’s struggles with school and how she has tried to overcome the situation.

If you’re looking for some support with schooling, or if a placement isn’t working and you’re considering a change of school, our Directory has details of a number of schools and colleges that might be a better fit.

And, if your child is in Year 9 or higher, take a look at our Transition Event East, where you can hear speakers talk about how to help your child achieve their best possible future, including education options. There is also a full exhibition of products, services and organisations.

This story from Tina was originally published on her blog Joseph and his Amazing Spectrum Coat. Check it out!

What are your experiences of back to school? Share them below or drop us an email at