Sawyer’s EHCP planning meeting will take place in early September, and the anticipation is difficult to stomach. Despite our positive meeting with the Educational Psychologist, I find myself poised and ready for action, my armour still very much in place. I feel I am staring at the No Man’s Land of autism – desperately hoping to see poppies.
There are many downsides to this funding process landing smack bang in the middle of the summer holidays, not least of which is the school being closed. But as with most downsides, if you look hard enough then you can generally find the upside hiding obscurely somewhere in the hedgerow. And I found it. In our case the upside to this long summer break, has been the distraction of adventure.
A few weeks ago we set off on our Spanish getaway. Any change of routine is difficult for Sawyer, and so a lot of forethought and preparation had gone in to the planning of this trip. I booked Meet & Greet parking at the airport so that there would be no waiting around, no shuttle buses to catch and no extra time added to our journey. Happily, it worked a treat! We pulled up in the car park, drove to our bay, dropped the car key off at reception, and that was the end of that. Before we knew it we were inside the terminal and ready for the real fun to begin! Busy spaces like airports can be a sensory nightmare for Sawyer, and so his ear defenders were a saviour as we made our way through check-in and over to security. With Sawyer stood behind me, instructed to wait for my call, I walked through the metal detector without issue, and was ushered over to the left hand side to collect my belongings. I turned with a huge smile to Sawyer, and nodded at him to follow me through the detector. We had been very cautious to ensure he had no metal on him at that point, but what we hadn’t realised was that random spot-checks were a thing – and unfortunately for us, Sawyer had been ‘spotted’.
The Robot Security Man ushered Sawyer over to the right hand side to stand in a queue of people he did not know. I immediately approached and asked if I could stand with him, to which I was plainly informed it was not permitted. Now, is it me, or should ANY 6-year-old be accompanied by an adult through a process like that? Let alone one who has autism. I calmly explained the situation and, irritated, Robot Man told me I could stand with my son but that I would have to go through the security check. Swiftly, I hid my explosives in my boots and hoped for the best.
Who remembers the days when being flagged at airport security meant a quick pat down on the way through? My Dad has Type 1 Diabetes and I swear even with a bag full of needles and drugs he was generally waved through without issue. These days there’s a Tardis. A bloody Tardis, I kid you not. But luckily Dr Who seemed incredibly sweet, and when I approached him to explain our situation he crouched down and softly, calmly explained to Sawyer that the Tardis was in fact just a photo booth, and that he only needed one quick picture. I wish I’d taken Dr. Who’s real name so that I could thank him properly. Let’s just hope one day, somehow, he reads this.
Finally, we were through security. Hot and bothered, but just as excited, we made our way along the corridor. I had called my sister (who was already through on the sensible side) and asked her to grab the children drinks so that they could refresh once we found them. Everything was suddenly back on course.
And then the fire alarm went off.