It’s around 1 P. M Friday 27th, May and I’m applying the last coat of mascara In my desperate attempt to become something of a yummy mummy, though human will properly do just fine (no sleep the night before makes this a challenge). The plan is to make myself somewhat presentable in-order to escape this house and the housework that comes with it and instead hit the shops before my little “cherubs” return home from school! As I grab my handbag and a pair of lifesaving oversized sunnies (recommended for any tired mummy for hiding a multitude of sins ), I set off for the door where I’m greeted by our “ever so friendly postman”.
Bills, bills and more bloody bills… Hang on what’s this??
Err, I hate surprises, in my experience surprises put through my letter box are not usually the welcome type!!
I tore open the envelope and began to read… blah… blah… blah… “Holly Cow!!” I couldn’t quite believe it! I read it again, then again, then yes, you’ve guessed it… AGAIN!
My eyes start to blur, a tear drops onto the paper, closely followed by another, they rapidly increase in-till the words written within the letter are no longer recognisable.
For once these tears were not caused by sadness, but joy, relief and gratitude! Throwing my head back, I looked up above and said aloud, “Thank you god, thank you!”
My Little man had just been given a chance, a way through, a future!
This letter was from a school, not just any school but one that I have been keen for little man to attend for some time. (Keen being a slight understatement!) The school is fully independent and even better it’s an autism specific school.
Holy-Macaroni… Its so long since anything went right with little mans education that I was a little unsure how to react. Is it appropriate to give it some… “Woo-hoo get in there my son!!” (Quite literally) How about engaging in a little victory dance? One things for sure, as ecstatic as I was, something seems to be holding me back from doing either!
It’s Just a school placement right!
It’s so much more then that for us, for Little man! It’s his chance! Shamefully it’s been a hell of a long time since anyone had been willing to offer my son such a thing!
Do you know how it feels to suffer rejection over and over again? Maybe you do! But how many people can honestly say they knew that feeling at the young age of ten? I’ve watched every last inch of Little man’s self-esteem fade away, I’ve seen & wiped the tears from his eyes, I’ve spent days and nights giving him reassurance, trying to repair the damage and help him gain back his confidence… only for someone to come along and undo it all again, all them hours, days and weeks to make progress… vanished in seconds.
The worse thing of all is the questions projected at me! I’ve had to answer questions no mother would ever expect nor want to answer when their ten year old child asks, “Mum, why can’t I just be normal” or “If there is a god, why wont he help me fit in?” These are a selected few… There are sadly many more, some I find I am unable to write, by doing so I become a broken mess with questions of my own! This accompanied with his tendency to self harm by throwing himself into brick walls or his scratching his arms till they bleed is the extent of damage been done at the hands of those that should have provided an education suitable to his needs while ensuring his emotional and metal well-being was protected from harm, but instead taught him that, “it isn’t OK to be who you are!”
My son went through something I wish for no other child or adult! He was discriminated against for being the person he is, because it wasn’t what was considered “Normal”, what society expects from a child! As his mother I felt somehow responsible for this after all it was me that placed him in this mainstream primary school! I finally did remove him from at the beginning of December 2010, which felt amazing for all. Being a parent who has a legal duty to ensure their child is in school has been a nightmare for me! I have a child with social communication difficulties who developed school phobia (Yet no one told me such a thing existed) why ever not? After all this landed me in court.
The above was a situation I was placed in twice and of course this was before his behaviour became unsettled & challenging in the school environment.
It was towards the end of year three that things change! Along came a string of both unofficial exclusions (aka Illegal exclusions) and fixed period exclusions with added threats of the permanent type on a regular basis. There was even an unsuccessful push towards a pupil referral unit (PRU). I decided to get myself educated on education law… More particularly that of ‘Special educational needs‘
When your child is excluded or removed form every school trip/activity, isolated and hidden on the day of inspections, then you know there is something very wrong happening! Just before our tribunal hearing for the case of disability discrimination, I finally agreed to settle. A formal letter of apology was given to myself and Little man, review and adaption of policies was agreed, and most importantly staff training in special educational needs and discrimination would be carried out by July this year! Having removed him from the mainstream setting he has now been out of school since early December last year. Yet before this time he was only in half days taught in isolation (himself and a TA) this or exclusion meant he was educated at home more then in school. Since January he has received home tuition, on a part time basis of five hours per day. During this time and also on this very day I have been battling for amendments to be made to Little man’s final statement of SEN. This had been so badly written and lacked so much provision it wouldn’t be worth having (In other words it was no worse then not having a statement at all) Of course the LEA wouldn’t agree to the high fees of the independent school and firmly stuck to their guns, Well… they did up in-till time started running out. Having searched high and low for a state run special school over an area of around four or five boroughs, with all schools claiming they could not meet Little man’s needs. The LEAs response to the tribunal on the 5th of this month therefore stated that they are no longer in a position to oppose pt 4 of the statement, “My request for the independent school” as they were unable to secure a placement anywhere else!
Wow.. This meant that the LEA had approached all the school’s they felt suitable for little man, yet all refused… Although I wanted my Little guy at the independent school, it was still disheartening knowing no one else were willing to give him that chance
The school had assessed Little man in the library setting on the 16th and just this week he took a tour of his soon to be new school. Although he states his never going to a school again and his now really attached to his tutor, something magical happened as he liked it so much he asked, “So, when do I start?”
A slow transition at little man’s own pace is planed. This will involve his tutor attending alongside him in the beginning gradually reducing the support as his confidence grows.
I won’t lie and say I’m not scared, I’m petrified! Yet something tells me to put my fears aside because this is where it all begins, this is where it gets better! I have the pleasure of seeing my child happy as over-time he rebuilds all that’s been lost and damaged along the way, while achieving his dreams & showing everyone that never offered such chances or failed to see him as more then a child with difficulties… what they missed out on! An Amazing boy With Aspergers
Oh, in cause you’re all wondering… Did I make it to the shops? Yes, I did, though I wished I had looked in the mirror before setting off! All that crying had me mistaken as a Panda bear that or battered woman
Remember if you like the blog and think me and the little guy deserve a nice shinny award then please vote us the most inspirational blog at the ‘Mad blog awards 2011″