And finally here is Big Girls letter
Hello my name is Big Girl
My mummy has put together this little booklet to help you understand me.
In 2010 I came to live with my new mummy and daddy. I’ve had a very difficult start in life and this has meant that I’ve developed a little differently to other children, I’m emotionally and socially very behind so I might need you to be extra considerate of this sometimes and not expect me to be the same as the other children my age. I’m also have a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder which Mommy says makes me very special as I get to see the world differently to everyone else.
Sometimes the adults that were in control of my early life did things to make me feel scared and frightened. This has meant that I find it very hard to trust adults and let other people be in control. I’ve been finding school very difficult, and I don’t always cope with this very well. Sometimes I might still feel scared and frightened, but I won’t know how to tell you this so I need you to keep a close eye on my behavior and my mood, I’m exceptionally good at pretending to be ok. If you’re unsure of how I’m feeling I probably won’t tell you what’s wrong even if you ask me. I only tell the people I really trust to keep me safe. Mommy says gaining my trust is the most important thing in the world ever and that Math and English will be easier for me once that’s sorted.
Classrooms can be quite scary for me. There are children all around me making noise and moving about and people walking around outside and up and down the corridors. Please help me by sitting me close to you and with my back to a wall and not to a door, that way I don’t need to be worried about what’s going on behind me. I also don’t like being too close to other children, It makes me feel squishy and I don’t like that, If I feel squished then I can’t think about anything else. Mommy says I need my space because I don’t like to be touched/nudged/knocked. My hearing is really good, I developed this early on as a way to keep myself safe, I can hear danger from miles away my mommy says. This means that I become easily distracted by other noises inside and outside of the classroom so concentrating is really tricky for me and I might not always hear what you’re saying, but I will always try to keep you happy ( as that’s when I will feel safest) so just because I say I understand what my work/homework is, it doesn’t mean I really do, I just don’t want to annoy you or let you down so please make sure I really have understood what you’ve asked me to do by asking me to explain it back to you. I might also hear conversations that are not meant for me, Mommy is always telling me I need to stop listening to adult conversations, please don’t be annoyed with me though, I can’t help it, I’m just trying to keep myself safe.
I don’t have much confidence and mummy says my self-esteem is rock bottom, so sometimes when you ask me to try to do something new I’m so scared of getting it wrong and upsetting you that I choose not to even try. I will need you to gently encourage me, but please don’t try and force me as this will scare me. Sometimes when it looks like I’m having lots of fun and behaving ‘silly’, I’m actually very anxious and need your help to calm me down and reassure me that everything is ok; this is usually when we’re doing something unstructured Mummy says, she says I need routine and lots of structure to feel safe.
I don’t want to talk about my past and my adoption in school, some of it is very upsetting and sad, Mommy says it’s probably because I’m not feeling secure enough yet and when I am I’ll be happy for the children to know more about me. Mommy says it’s very important that all the staff in school know that I’m adopted because otherwise they might accidentally say something that could upset me and that could be upsetting for them as well as for me.
I might worry about new topics, new tasks and tests. I’m always worrying about getting things wrong mommy says. I also might get worried if someone new comes into the classroom or even if I see a new face in the corridor, I might worry it’s a social worker coming to take me away or that something terrible has happened, my worries can be very dramatic mommy says. I might get upset if we do any work or topics on families or about when we were babies. Some of my memories may be difficult for me to think about as well as talk about, there may be things I don’t know about my early years making it even more difficult for me to take part. I might get worried about trips or new activities and will need you to explain to me exactly what is going to happen and what I will be doing and who will be keeping me safe, but if you can, please don’t tell me about things too early as I will worry about it at night when I’m trying to sleep. If I get really anxious, please let me know I can ring my mummy, sometimes just suggesting it is enough reassurance to let me know I’m safe and it’s all ok. My mummy is my safe base and I need to know she is there for me.
I really need you to help me this year to make some friends. It’s very difficult for me to be a friend because inside I don’t think I’m a very nice person so I think all the other children think that about me too. I very often have no one to play with and feel very lonely, this just makes me feel even sadder and more rubbish about myself. I find the playground very scary. I won’t always tell you I haven’t got a friend though because I’m very ashamed of this. I don’t really know how to make friends and I’m scared that if I try to be someone’s friend that they might not like me. There hasn’t been much in my life that I’ve been able to control so I prefer to do things my way as that’s when I feel safest, the other children don’t always want to do things my way and I find this frustrating and sometimes get angry and hurt myself in secret.
I don’t like telling my mummy when I’ve had a bad day as I worry she might be disappointed with me. So when I go home Mummy doesn’t understand why I’m so upset or angry and struggles to help me. It would really help my mummy if you could tell her about any upsets, sulks or strops I have at school even if they seem really insignificant, Mommy says I can make a mountain out of a mole hill with my worrying. Mummy likes to help me when I’ve been finding things difficult by keeping me close and calm and letting me talk things through so I can feel safe again and sleep at night.
My mummy has also put lots of useful information in this booklet, please copy anything you might want to refer to again or keep as a reminder but please give this book back to mummy when you’ve had a good read so she can update it and give it to my next teacher next year. If you want to talk to my mummy about anything in this book or anything you see me doing or hear me saying, she will be happy to chat, she can talk about me for hours and she knows me better than anyone else. Mommy says if there is anything she can do to help you, help me, she will.
I hope we have a lovely time learning together.