At first when I woke Joshua up for breakfast, I though that he was much improved and could feasibly go to school to share in the Sport Relief antics. But as soon as I mentioned school, he hid under the duvet and told me to ‘go!’ in a determined voice. I asked several times if he was ready for school and always got the same response, so he stayed at home with his Dad while I went into school without him. It was our Parent Coffee morning and so I wanted to be there. I took along homemade flapjack, parkin, shortbread and chocolate brownies, which all seemed to go down well.
On the way into school, I was saddened by the news headline that autistism sufferers tend to have a shorterer lifespan than ‘normal’ adults – 12 years earlier if they have no learning disability and 30 years earlier when they do! I reflected on the struggles that so many autistic children have throughout their lives, struggling to cope with everyday events and situations. Then the next news headline related to the proposed changes to disability benefits, which was causing an uproar. So both news stories gave us plenty to discuss over coffee and cake at school as most had heard the same headlines.
But as well as national issues, we chatted about more personal challenges that the families were facing and collectively tried to help with suggestions from our own experience. They were pleased to hear that we are going to have a Parents Noticeboard where parents can communicate with each other directly. I was delighted to welcome two new faces along for the first time and hopefully they found us a welcoming, friendly group to join and that they will return again and hopefully encourage friends to come too.
Most parents stayed for the full three hours; my husband asked what we found to talk about for a full morning, but the time flies I find and it has never been a struggle to find topics to discuss and I also drink a lot of tea. But it seems to give everyone a boost, as it is a morning just for them and it sounds rare that many of them sit still and have a cup of coffee served to them ordinarily, so it is good to treat them on just one morning in a month.