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How to Survive the Dreaded School Report

Do you remember the days when you got your school reports?  I remember our school used to post them out (I guess they woke up that students may not have passed on those dreaded school reports to parents) and we used to watch the mail like hawks.  Then when they were handed to our parents, we used to go hide with sweat dripping down our face, until we heard our names being called.  I loved the reports that were clear that the teacher had no idea who I was and got me in trouble.

Now that I am a mum, with two girls with ASD, I am now in my parents position of reading their reports.  I have been thinking a lot about my own expectations which could be placing unnecessary pressure on the girls.  Have you ever thought what your expectations are?

Strategies which will help you to survive the dreaded school report are

  1. Be aware if your expectations and where these expectations originate from.  Be aware that you have made up these expectations and that you can change them.  You do not need to put your expectations onto your child.
  2. Replace the phrase “try your best” with “do your best” because we want your child to actually do the action.
  3. Always look for your child’s strengths.  We tend to focus on the weaknesses as they are the areas that our child needs help with.  However as an adult we focus on our weaknesses, we focus on our strengths.  By focusing on the strength areas, you may find different ways to improve the areas that they need help with. We also have to think outside the box.
  4. Do not compare your child to other children and their reports.  This is one thing I hate seeing in the playground. Parents comparing their child to other children.  Every child is different.
  5. Celebrate the small things rather than looking at the whole picture.  Think about where they were at the start of the year and celebrate the achievements big or small to get them to where they are now.
  6. Always remember that we don’t need those reports in later life.

What Future Does My Child With Autism Have?

A few clients have asked me this question “what future does my child with autism have?”  You might be reading this and wondering the same question but have never said it out loud.  I know I have asked myself this question especially in the early stages after diagnosis.

Ellen Notbohm in her book “Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew” summoned it up perfectly.  She wrote ‘In the long run – and it is a long run – what you choose to believe about a child’s autism may be the single biggest factor affecting his ultimate outcome.  Consciously or otherwise, you make decisions based on your perspective hundreds of times a day. Losing sight of your whole child behind a label makes your life and his/her more trying.‘ (Page 31).

Every child, no matter if they have autism or not, have their likes and dislikes.  Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and we want to encourage all children to develop their strengths.  When teachers hears that your child has autism, they already start with a picture of what they think your child will be like.  Grace’s teacher was astounded with how well she could read and spell which she was not expecting at all.  When Grace did calisthenics for the first year, we did not predict that in her second year she would be out the front of the group and leading the group in competitions.  Never count your child out from their strengths and where they can go from there.

A label will get your child the assistance they need and if you start early your child can have a bright future.  We just got to look at their strengths and possibilities will open.