This year seems to all be about CHANGE in our family. Daddy transitioning from university to work, younger sister transitioning from pre-school to primary, mummy transitioning from part-time work to university and finally Neave transitioning from ‘The Butterfly Class to ‘The Deer Class’.

Neave has been in The Butterfly Class at her Special Needs Primary School for the past 2 years and it has been a long bumpy ride with good and bad days to boot. The last year has been a true journey of discovery and one that Neave has thoroughly enjoyed. She has developed a wonderful relationship with her teacher ‘Big - Sarah’ and forged an even closer relationship with her TA ‘Carer - Sarah’.

Neave has won a medal for swimming. A badge for horse riding. An award for running in a fun run. Learnt to write her name all by herself. Read some words all by herself. Has started to learn to tell the time…. in fact a multitude of life skills that we weren't sure if Neave would ever learn - what a productive year Neave - Well Done!

Neave has spent two weeks of the summer holiday at a Holiday Play Scheme and this has been an absolute god send for both Neave and us as parents. Neave wants and needs to be active - both physically (as much as she can) and mentally - doing something and just being mentally challenged is a necessity, that’s why this year we opted for a few weeks of an activity based scheme with one to one support - Neave has absolutely loved it and at no point have we heard the dreaded words - ‘Mummy I’m bored’.

And so after all that hard work it was time for a summer holiday - some time to rest our weary minds. Summer clothes and shoes purchased, five cases and bags packed along with a few toys, buckets and spades and our obligatory scooters. We decided to pack our little car and head on down to Newquay for a few days and fill our time playing at the park, riding on a big red bus, having dinner by the ocean, running on the beach, building sloppy sandcastles and visiting some large marine life at the National Marine Aquarium. So although we set out for some much needed rest it seems as if life had other plans for Neave and her family.

And now the holiday is over and it was a bump back to reality when we arrived home. Thankfully no school uniform to buy for Neave this year as uniforms are purchased when the growth spurts kick in rather than at the end of term. Although school uniform is always a contentious issue as Neave just likes to wear what she likes to wear every day. This is her way of expressing herself, having a spark of individuality other than her SEN uniqueness, and just generally feeling like a pretty little girl - who would want to argue with that? Well, in essence Neave’s school does. A strict uniform of black trousers or skirt, green jumper or cardigan and white polo top are the standard - although a little flexibility in the shoes department is necessary due to some of the children having leg braces or being wheelchair bound, so a nice pair of bright green boots or some floral plimsoles can brighten up any dreary uniform to some degree. Neave is not looking forward to wearing her uniform at all and I am sure that she would absolutely love to get some more wear out of her plethora of summer dresses and pretty purple skirts. However she is looking forward to her new school bag, which we are still to shop for, but she has had her eye on a bag decorated with butterflies in commemoration of her departed and much loved Butterfly Class.

So we have the uniform, we have the brightly coloured shoes; we are getting the bag, gym gear - check! Transportation to and from school - well we are in walking distance of school and Neave’s sister is starting big school in September to a school which is positioned back to back to Neave’s school - Perfect - bikes and scooter all the way.

Now it’s just the preparation for the new, different class and new and different teacher. Well perhaps not!

Prior to the summer holiday’s Neave’s school decided that it may be a good idea to have an end of year party a week prior to the end of term and to start their new classes before rather than after the school holidays. Neave is now aware that she is headed for a new class and a new teacher, but sadly with some of her old class mates. I can see the psychological benefits of such a choice and it has helped Neave to transition from the usual to the new with much more ease. Learning that in life there are beginnings and endings of all things and at all times is a challenge for most children, let alone SEN children - so this has helped to some degree. Having the same group of friends would have been an added bonus, as would the wonderful teacher that she learned to love last year….but maybe mummy needs to learn to live with change as much as Neave does……

Read more about Neave and Natasha at Bare Foot Vintage