The child behind the mask.

8 Jul

It’s been a while since I last posted anything and if the truth be told I’ve just been so tired and not in the mood to blog. It’s rather annoying when your head is willing and happy to blog but your fingers and rolling eyes can’t keep up the pace. Nevertheless here I am with a head full of stuff that I need to write. I think its wise to start this blog by letting you all know I’m still alive and then jumping onto what’s been happening in terms of little man and his floundering education.

Since last time I posted thinks have progressed in some ways but have become progressively worse in many others. It’s so soul-destroying knowing your little boy is not being seen for the true bright child that he is. I’m not blaming the staff for this I’m blaming the educational settings in which I chose to place my son within only to find it the battle of my life to remove him from them.Yes, I can pull my child out tomorrow but any parent going through what we are will understand that without a statement I will be forced to place Little man in yet another mainstream school which in itself will only cause him heighten anxiety. Yes, maybe another mainstream school better suited to his needs, more understanding and willing for the challenge is out there! But how many schools will we have to send him to in order to discover it? Well, I’m hoping that at last something positive will happen and somehow the right steps taken. The reason for this small hope that I cling to is one my Solicitor has put in my appeal for a statutory assessment and two because the school have decided to put in the Assess one form with a number of professionals evidence to prove his current place of school is not the right place for him after all. To many this sounds extremely positive and yes it does to me too but I’ve learnt that with the educational system nothing is set in stone and sometimes the outcome isn’t what you expected nor wanted it to be.

The meeting that was held at little mans school on the fifth of this month was not only the largest we have had yet (In terms of the number of staff and professionals that attended.) But it’s also the one that’s had the most positive outcome. What I didn’t expect from this meeting was for it to be an incredibly emotional one. I was only in the room a few minutes before I could feel myself getting upset. I’m unsure why I hate showing my emotions when in the kind of situation I was in, I just do. I already knew that certain people were attending and I found myself nervous for the best part of the weekend. Every meeting I’m the same but this time it was more than that. I think it was because I had a certain subject to raise and wished I didn’t have to because the communication with the school had improved a little and also the fact I would hear everyone’s opinion on my child. Little man has a range of difficulties and I’m aware that many of these will cause a problem in the setting he is placed in. I am his Mother who has stressed my concerns for such a long time without them being heard. Yes, once I finally got little man the referral to CAMHS they were great. The first clinical psychologist little man worked with was the one who first made Aspergers known to me he was the one who handed me tissues to wipe my tears and gave me a ton of reading material to get stuck into. But what I’m most grateful to him for is being that first person to listen and tell me CLAIRE IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! These are the words that I still tightly hold onto through everything that has come our way! The battle to convince school that something was wrong, the many assessments, the oh so familiar looks from strangers, the diagnosis, two court cases for attendance and like many this very meeting. Sadly this psychologist left for a job in the sunnier parts of the world but we met other understanding professionals along the way and we were very lucky to meet a great specialist teacher who would also attend this very meeting. Others that stand out from the crowd is his morning teaching assistant a person that has better skills than most and In my opinion could do with a raise. She really should train and find herself a placement working with children like Little man as her support and dedication to my son is a rare gem to unearth and when Little man has finally left his current mainstream school she will be sadly missed by him. It was the statement written and read by this teaching assistant that was very overwhelming. To hear someone other than yourself speaking about your child and at the same time expressing concerns that have been your own concerns for many years can bring about a roller coaster of different emotions. I felt sad, worried, helpless, and surprisingly a little relieved. I went through one extreme to another and found that for once I didn’t have to convince any one person in that room that my son did in fact have a range of problems that were down to a diagnosis of Aspergers. His teaching assistant stated that Little man is for ever anxious and for this reason he is very unpredictable. Little man often lashes out and children are scared of him but have in time learnt ways to ignore and deal with certain behaviours. Wow can you blame me for becoming upset. My son was seen as some kind of aggressive monster by other children. All I could see was this little boy who himself is faced by fear as his scared of the world he lives in. I also heard from an outreach worker who works with little man once a week. She was the one who opened the meeting by stating that although she could see a gentle polite child she also saw an anxious one who is unpredictable and once she loses his attention it’s near on impossible to get it back. She finished by saying working with Little man was like walking on eggshells. This is a statement that I myself have used to describe the behaviours displayed by Little man.

A number of other people spoke and in turn I see a clear picture emerging of a child who was constantly trying to be someone he wasn’t. Hiding his interest in fear of them being seen as stupid by his peers. He was wearing this mask and with it he became a ticking time bomb. My little man had become a child that others feared, others liked, and others were unsure how to approach. All this because he just wants to fit in he just wants to be liked and seen as what he calls “NORMAL” The front door to our home closes and outcomes this child who just wants to relax and be himself. He grabs his pencil or my glasses and then will corporate these unusual household objects into the game that he will often play for hours. My son has transformed himself into a real moving, talking and beeping London bus. Whatever you do don’t try to ask him how his day went nor what he wants to eat for dinner unless you want abuse, tears or an overload of emotion displayed in an undesirable way. Now is his time to offload the stress of his day. This is his coping mechanism as well as his favourite thing to do. This is when little man removes the mask that he has created for himself! This is when his HAPPY.

The meeting went well and although the topic of school trips was brushed aside by the Head till after the meeting, I was still pleased with the outcome. Meeting the ASD outreach worker was extremely helpful and I only wished I had met her sooner. However we do plan to meet soon and I’m looking forward to gaining some more advice from a lady with her expertise and knowledge of the spectrum. We now play the waiting game to see if the LEA assess and if he will be assessed at his current school or in an emergency placement in a specialist school as advised.

In terms of the discussion surrounding school trips (Allotment gardening project) and my upset at little man being excluded from a number of them only to now be told he will no longer take part did happen but it was after the meeting. However I am pleased my Mother was present and that the discussion did happen. All I will write on the matter is that I do believe little man has been discriminated against in terms of not being allowed to attend and take part in the project just like his class peers. Anybody who is a parent will understand my upset and concern on the matter but although it’s upsetting I have decided not to write about it leaving the matter to be addressed by my solicitor.

2 Responses to “The child behind the mask.”

  1. fiona2107 August 9, 2010 at 2:44 am #

    Your courage and positivity even in difficult times is so amazing.
    You have certainly been through a lot but I TRULY believe that you will come out of it a Supermum!


  2. fighting for my children July 9, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    Wow, sounds like you have been though alot and I dont blame you for being emotional. It is hard to stay calm and collected at those meetings at times.

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