Updated: Apr 26, 2021
Starting school can be an exciting time. Starting school can be a fearful time. Thankfully for ourselves as parents, our eldest was looking forward to it. Many of his creche classmates were going to the same school, I think there were 6 or 7 in total and 3 or 4 in his class.
Our lad is a talker, almost non-stop, we thought that this might help him making more friends but also may be an issue, we felt comfortable though that the teacher would probably be able to help him. At this stage, we weren't aware of ASD or ADHD - we just knew he was very active, had his own way of doing things, was a very strong personality and would possibly test teachers patience and possibly his classmates.
Around this age, more than once, other parents would comment on our eldest's communication and negotiation skills. Everything was a barter, everything was open for twisting and turning so that he was comfortable. Other parents at this stage talked of how they were working with their own children to try and encourage them to be confident and come out of themselves. Our lad had no filter. It didn't matter who you were, if he was comfortable with you, he'd talk to you and negotiate with you.
School started well. He quite was sociable. He knew the teacher's name, knew the name of everyone in the class, knew where they sat and who sat with them by the end of the first week.
After a few weeks the teacher commented on his moving and talking. After another few weeks the teacher spoke about his fine motor skills. Using scissors, his pencil grip and his modelling clay. A few more weeks passed then it was his turn taking, especially in conversation. By time Christmas had come around he was complaining to us himself that he had no friends in school. His friends had gotten other friends and didn't want to play with him. We spoke with the teacher, who said he was very sociable and didn't seem to have any issues in the playground at breaks. She observed a few days before coming back to us. She was however, a bit concerned about him paying attention in class.
Come near the end of Junior Infants at the parent and teacher meet his teacher discussed with us his attention in class and his pencil grip and a plan was put together for Summer work - colouring in and drawing etc. to try and work on his pencil grip. His attention in class was unusual the teacher said, he'd be staring out a window not listening but when asked a direct question would repeat exactly what the teacher had said. We suggested that this happens with him when he's bored and feels whatever the activity was, was too easy (based on our own experience with him). Teacher said it could be that but she suggested to see, if it was possible for us to keep a really close eye on him and his development. She'd speak to next year's teacher regarding her concerns to see if they worked themselves out.
She was probably the first person in authority with our lad to suggest something might be amiss, though not in so many words.
Anyway, that teacher left the school that Summer and no conversation took place with the new teacher for Senior Infants. Senior Infants was the beginning of issues coming out and being handled in a very different way. Junior Infants is learning around play - Senior Infants the same but it's much more structure, trying to introduce the children to a stronger routine.