Going back to school means a lot for me and my son. He has been in specialist education from the age of 2. At 2 he attended a charity based pre-school called ‘First Steps’ which helps any child under the age of 5 living with a disability or social and communication difficulty. From First Steps he went on to a specialist nursey at the age of 3, this was called Bridge Nursery. For some kids it bridges the gap between specialist and mainstream schooling and enables staff to prepare a child with special needs for ‘big school’. For other children, including my Bowie, it gives a strict structured 5 mornings or afternoons a week worth of schooling. These hours include intensive interaction, TAC PAC, soft play, work stations, circle time and more, and my boy loved it! It was during this time of his life that we really realised how much education meant to Bowie. He loved to learn, he loved to count and he loved stories. Bridge Nursery didn’t bridge the gap for Bowie but certainly brought him on leaps and bounds. He then got a place in a specialist ‘big boy’ school called ‘Corbets Tey School’ in which he entered reception at the age of 4, and what a difference this school has made to his life. This is the place where he said his first word; he developed a talent for mathematics and also learned to communicate with an iPad to help enhance his speech!

Bowie loves routines and lives by them. 5 days a week, 6 hours of schooling a day is perfect for him. He often asks at the weekend ‘school today?’ in which I have to explain it’s on Monday. So you can imagine my anxiety as the 6 weeks approached. Well, it’s now coming to the end of the 6 weeks and I can honestly say it’s been the hardest 6 weeks’ holiday yet. Bowie has had countless meltdowns, the worse he has had in months, he has self-harmed, he has hit out at me and he has lashed out at his room. Public meltdowns have led to him running down the road to try escape, lying on the floor refusing to get up, and resisting getting in the car. Don’t get me wrong we have had some lovely moments over the 6 weeks including Bowie’s 5th birthday, but there have been more downs than ups.

So Bowie going back to school on the 7th of September means normality! It means routine! I can finally see my little man extremely happy again back in the place he loves most and this is what makes me happy for him to go back. There is nothing I would love more then to be able to go on countless adventures with him during the 6 weeks but unfortunately Bowie would not cope. If school is where he feels his best, then I cannot wait until that first morning back when I can put his uniform on him and see him look at me and say ‘school today?’ – That is the moment when I will feel like the battle is finally over.

Fay is an autism parent to son Bowie, 4 years old. She is an avid campaigner/activist for autism awareness and has her own foundation 'Awareness For Autism' which raises awareness to the general public and gives support to families living with the disorder. Through her campaigning and awareness Fay was nominated for 'Most Inspirational Volunteer of The Year' award at The NAS's 2016 'Autism Professional Awards'.