Non Uniform Day

I cried myself to sleep last night. I was so worried about school. I thought I would rather be dead than go today. My mum held me until I fell asleep.


She woke me up this morning and I remembered I had to go to school. My heart sank.


Its non-uniform day today. That doesn’t make sense. You wear uniform on school days that’s why its a school uniform. Non uniform is for non school days. I don’t like the idea of not wearing my uniform and mum says I can wear it anyway if it’s easier but I also hate people looking at me and they will if I wear my uniform.

I don’t want to get dressed. I sit in the corner of my room and cry. It’s too much to ask of me to put the wrong clothes on.

Mum helps me and calms me down a bit. She tells me it’s ok because it’s just the same outfit I wear on Saturdays but I’m scared because my shirt has stripes and what if stripes aren’t right? Mum finds me a plain T-shirt and makes me some pancakes to cheer me up.

It gets closer to time to go and I start to feel scared again. I go and hide in my sensory room.

Mum says I have to go to school but my legs don’t want to and neither does my head. They decide to stay behind while my hands hold onto anything they can find.

I fight. I scream. I don’t know how to say what I’m feeling and it’s getting too much now. I hold onto the lamp post and cry. I kick my mum and then I feel really sad because I hurt my mum and I cry some more.

We have got to school now but I don’t want to go in. What if the teacher looks different today? The children will all be different. I am different. I’m not wearing the right clothes. I hold on tight to my mum, maybe she will take me home. I want to go home. I say that. I say it over and over again. That’s all I can say right now.

My teaching assistant holds on to me and they lock the door. My mum walks away. I panic, I know the other door is open and I want my mum so I run away. As fast as I can. I run out the door by the office and I run to my mum. She holds me and she is saying words but I can’t listen now its just too much.

My mum takes me back to my teaching assistant and she holds on to me. This time my mum is gone. The teaching assistant takes me to the classroom.
I can’t go in. It’s too busy. It’s too noisy and it hurts my ears. The lights are annoying and the teacher doesn’t look right. He’s wearing jeans!

I’m not going in. I can’t do it. It’s too much. I start to scream and bang my head on the wall. I bang it again. And again. I try to make it all go away.
I feel people grabbing me. I don’t like being grabbed. I start to panic and hit out. The next thing I know I’m on the floor. I’m being held down. I don’t want to be held down. I can’t move. I try to hit them away. I want my mum! I hear voices but I don’t know what they are saying. It’s too loud.

There she is! Mum runs towards me. I think they rang her. She holds me so close. I’m safer now. I’m still crying. I want to go home. I say it again. Again. I want to go home.

Mum tells me it will be alright. She tells the teacher I’m going with her. She holds my hand and takes me away from that place. We go home.


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Published by Autism Kids on Tour - Autism without limits

I have two kids and love to show them the world. We dont let autism limit us in our adventures! I write about our adventures and include tips on how suitable activities were for children with autism. I also write more autism specific posts.

32 thoughts on “Non Uniform Day

  1. Oh wow, this is heartbreaking. I have never thought of it in this way. Very powerful writing that really captures the fear and confusion of a child struggling to cope.

  2. Gosh this is just heartbreaking, I love how you wrote it from the childs perspective but how emotional this was to read. Thank you for opening my eyes to this.

  3. What an interesting story as well as perspective. The narrative was very well written and really portrayed the range of emotions the child was feeling. Good job!

  4. It’s alarming how many children hate going to school. I’ve been there. It just shows how bad the system is. And it doesn’t just happen in a specific place or country. It’s a problem being experienced worldwide with so little attention!

  5. Gosh is this for real…. I have never read a more heartbreaking day at school as this. Does your child have a reason for hating school so much? Is there someone there that has scared her/him in some way? …..I really hope you find a solution to this dilemma.

    1. Thankyou. Yes this is real for a lot of children unfortunately. My child has autism and sensory processing difficulties. Changes like non uniform days can be very difficult.

  6. I used to teach autistic children and as much as I really enjoyed it I used to think how hard it must be for the families and the children to face struggles that others don’t have to face on a daily basis and others just don’t understand. This beautifully captures one of those moments.

  7. Oh that is so fearful! I never thought of such a feel – hating school so much! The same problem is present in some Indians as well. Serious problem.

  8. My goodness, huh. This is heartbreaking and I can’t imagine. Is there something that happened (or is happening) that makes them not want to go? I truly hope you can get it sorted. x

  9. You do a beautiful way of describing those exact feelings of fearing going to school where things are different and scary. I could totally relate to this completely.

  10. Wow. This is powerful. I usually don’t like uniforms, to be honest, but this was a different valid spin on it that I hadn’t heard before.

  11. I started at junior school in 1943 and uniforms were not even mentioned. Rationing was in full swing and there was no allocation of coupons for school uniforms. Most mothers had sewing machines and were able to make childrens clothes from whatever materials were available. I first came across uniforms in 1949 at High School. Ours was a green blazer made from a cloth that my parents thought was rubbish. My parents were both tailors. My blazer was made from a dark green baize material normally used for billiard tables. These days I would expect an instruction for a No Uniform day to be greeted with large numbers of girls in their underwear.

  12. It can easily understand how annoying disorienting if a routine was changed on you. I’m sure I wouldn’t be happy about it either. I love the perspective of this. It’s great to read from this perspective. It helps the reader understand.

  13. You’re writing grasped the deep challenge. In this few minutes reading I could understand this trauma perfectly. Yes, it is sad. But important for others to understand as well, to get out of some notion of normalcy, that doesn’t even exist.

  14. I was lucky enough to never have compulsory uniform, though I struggled with sensitivity in many kinds of clothes and with routines in other ways, now my problem is the opposite way around. Selecting secondary schools for my son that all seem to have ridiculous uniform policy. It feels very wrong. Like sending him to war. I don’t know why we have to do it. Then it wouldn’t be different. You have a choice in accepting workplace conditions atleast deciding you have to take that job.Buttoo few people with autism get even that chance. Whatever they can do.

  15. Reblogged this on School Refusal Families and commented:
    Many, many children who school refuse are on the autistic spectrum (either diagnosed; suspected, but awaiting a diagnosis; or unrecognised), this blog post provides an insight into their thoughts and experiences.

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