Fionn wrote this over 3 years ago- he is now aged 17. And is continuing to learn how to manage in that mainstream world.

He is currently in at his first A-level module. He struggled in year 11 with the VARIETY of tests there were-

  • some were timed,
  • others were word counted,
  • some with calculator,
  • coursework,
  • some not warned in advance,
  • some called controlled assessment,
  • and some just class tests.

It was a difficult year.

An academic “transition” in changing from a Junior to senior, and an introduction to statutory exams which  was harder to manage than the move into the second level school.

He came to me last night from where he studies, and plays music, and more music, and a bit more study LOL….but he knew he was in need of a bit of support. He KNEW he was nervous, yet could remember that from last year…so he was a bit surprised with himself STILL feeling like it was a new situation

So i reminded him of how many “exams” he had already done.

And reminded him that his school had put in exam support for him which was PERFECT – so i reminded him it was same room, same rest breaks, still him and Mrs D (his school assistant) in the same room, his BIG table, his water, his own learning support room….and after a HUG i watch him man-big walking away a BIT more relaxed, but with that wee crooked mouth, the wee “nervous” marker he has always had.

So i called him back, reminded him that we (or ME-meningitis) had survived a tough year, and “what is the worst thing that can happen?” -it would at its worst tell you you are not studying effectively, and you change that…but NOBODY dies. I reminded that he was sitting papers generated for “normal” thinkers, and that he was succeeded by SITTING those.

He came in and said goodbye this morning. A bit pale, and a bit of a crooked smile, but saying he wasn’t too worried now…. I will be relieved when he comes home. First one done!

Helen (mum)

i know i did a post on revision a week or two ago.
i know i am doing my work and everything but i HATE the words EXAMS and TESTS.

i KNOW there is a REASON for tests. it is to show how much a pupil shows and understands. It would also show each pupil what they need to improve on. It also shows a teacher if she has taught it right.

but the words are HORRIBLE!

teachers at the minute don’t usually give homework but they do tell you to revise and they say things like “homework is to revise for your tests” i kinda go ughhhhhhhh!

my friends all probably get nervous too but they probably don’t need to keep revising all the year like me. Some of them say they haven’t even yet started revision. They say they will start it within the 20 minutes we get before each test. I believe some of this but i don’t believe all that for a sec. i think i might believe easier that some people haven’t revised very much but they all have probably revised a bit by now. I think it’s pointless saying that you haven’t revised cos it will mostly show when they do reasonably well on their tests- 60 or 70% – it annoys me sometimes cos even though i revise a load and they might not revise a lot they do as well as me if not better.

but when you have aspergers all your emotions are different than “normal” emotions. So nervous is for an aspie it is exceptionally nervous. Anxious for a normal is exceptionally anxious for an aspie. And if a test goes badly for a normal person they may feel just a tad bad but for an aspie they feel like its the end of the world….its a stress implosion.

my revision is always kinda up to date cos if i fall behind when we cover new stuff then i would easily fall far behind. So my parents keep an eye on the work i am doing in school and help me figure ways to stay up to date and learn new stuff.

some subjects are ok and don’t really worry me- such as home economics, music, languages, english, religion….

some subjects catch me out especially maths and science. and history sometimes cos there are so many dates to remember!. Maths and science really annoy me cos i feel like i KNOW the stuff, but when i see the test i can’t get the right tools out of my brain – that’s how my mummy puts it. She says even if a question looks different i should look at it and see what i do know, or what is similar…and i have tools to do this! BUT in the exam it is really hard to get the right tool – especially cos there is nobody there to prompt me with which bit to do first, and then what next etc.

if i DO get myself stressed now i know what to do…i found that out in my last science test. I got really freaked cos it LOOKED really difficult. So before I had even done the test i was just thinking in my head “oh my God” and i got more and more angry and upset. So i had to leave the room and talk to my classroom assistant. She tried to calm me down and get me back in there. And i did go back. And i got some more of the answers cos i had calmed down a wee bit but i was still very stressed. I think if i had got out a bit earlier before it had built up like it did i probably could have done a bit better.

mum ALWAYS does this question thing

– what is the worst thing that can happen?
– and what could you do then?
– when did that ever happen you?
– so what proof have you that you could do awful?
– if you get 0% what happens then?
– so what do you do then?

At the time the questions DRIVE ME CRAZY cos she is ALWAYS saying them. but the truth is the worth thing that would happen is i would get a bad grade…it is not the end of the world by any means. It would show a topic i need to work harder at so really it is just a piece of information about something i need to work on.

So it is NOT the end of the world.
It is NOT really worth all the fuss or annoyance and anger.
It is something we all have to do.
My brother has TESTS too…
so it happens everyone.
I just need to keep an eye on my revision and control my MELTDOWN feelings!

by Fionn

This is my post on REVISION from last month.

It is MAY.

it is nearly the end of year 9.

That might not seem difficult to others but it is difficult to me.

In May all the teachers start talking about REVISION and TESTS and END OF YEAR coming soon.

In my head that makes me nervous.

I know everyone is nervous.

But i am especially nervous.

AND i am programmed very badly ORGANISED! – some aspies are freaky organised…i am just freaky unorganised…or disorganised…whatever you call it!

Sometimes i know the stuff really well but the questions look different or the diagrams look different. That makes it hard for me to think properly or “process” it. And i get annoyed cos I know that i do know the stuff but i can’t think it.

Mum always tries to get me to think like my head is a “tool-kit” and i have to figure what is in there that i COULD use to fix the problems or figure it out. But usually i am too annoyed to really use this method.

After Christmas mum was in hospital for a few months.

That would be difficult for any ASPIE, but for ME mum is like my “revision aide” – the person who helps me to take notes properly, make summaries, make diagrams, key points, neat writing to learn from (cos my writing is awful scribbly!)…

but i DID okay-ish when mum was away.

My classroom assistant always writes down detailed information on work and homework and that helps A LOT!

I kept up to date as much as I could . But it wasn’t the same as with mummy. My note talking was far to detailed and in the end i was writing down far too much.

But i did manage independently – i even blogged about that… https://autisticandproud.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/i-am-learning-…e-we-proved-it/

in year 9 I have been finding school harder and i find it hard to listen as much as i have to. So i miss out on or don’t understand the work as easily in some subjects.

Because my revision isn’t TOTALLY up to date its harder to keep track – like even if i miss a day there seems to be SO MUCH WORK to catch up on.

that means less understanding in my head.

Tonight we printed out a REVISION TIMETABLE.

That is a start.

Last week we did some work on Irish – and I felt much more tuned in after it.

and more time spent with mum on revision cos i didn’t understand verbs enough.

Compared to last year the subjects i find harder and faster are ones i tend to not understand straight away – maybe new information.

Mum and I were chatting and i told her my friend has a revision timetable and he is just starting tonight – and he has to do 2 hours a night.

My head couldn’t MANAGE all that in a few weeks…so we do wee summaries and revisions in a revision book for every class test.

Mum helps with writing it- cos she gets how to space and set it out.

I read it to her and we go through it together.

After its done i read over it a few times and it sinks in!

We make notes a bit short and snappy.
We use colour in notes so bits stand out.
We will now HAVE to try revise a bit every day.
We always add in new bits when they come around.
MUM’s writing is waaaay easier to read than mine!
We summarise only the main points
We use acronyms that are a bit fun to remember and hard to forget.
When we get new vocab in languages it goes in the revision book PLUS i copy it out in my pad to get spellings learned.
We do maths one step at a time and we ALWAYS show our working out
When its a learning homework me and mam sorta go through the revision notes together.
i TRY the independent revision but i find it harder.
I have brought my revision book into school before our class tests, and all the boys were jealous…saying “I wish I had that!”..and one of my teachers said how helpful it was and she was gonna buy things for her GCSE guys!

I am SO LUCKY to have a mother like my mother, cos she is always helping, and thinking of ways to help me learn, and makes time every day to help me. I think she might have hidden aspergers under there- cos she definitely can think outside the box of ways to help how my brain is wired! She GETS science and maths and most important she GETS ME and how my brain works. She can think of different ways to write things down in each subject to help me remember.

I manage to do well in school the way we do homework.

When i am up to date i won’t be as anxious…i hope. BUT i know that there are lots of boys in my class who leave revision til the night before. that would NEVER work for me. So I am in a pretty ok position.

Thanks mum!

from Fionn