Tag Archives: abusive language

The Transition To Secondary School For A Child With Aspergers Syndrome

6 Sep

So, the time finally came, Little man’s return to school as a secondary pupil.

I noticed that in the run-up to the big day, Little man’s anxiety levels rose and as a result we did have a rather difficult last few weeks of the holidays.

I was dreading the whole “getting him up in the mornings” scenario. He tends to be the ultimate nightmare to wake, given he usually doesn’t go to sleep till the small hours. Unless you experience such sleepless nights paired with early mornings, you can only but imagine the utter tiredness his experiencing. Consequently I do understand… After all someone needs to keep a watchful eye on him over night.

I’ve tried my best to maintain his bedtime routine during the holidays (that’s if you can really call it a routine)! He usually goes to his room and just doesn’t shut down. His like a long life battery. Melatonin isn’t something we rate highly, and even through the slow releasing type sometimes has a small effect every now and then, it’s far from a reliable answer to the problem. On a high note, little man is more wary of the problem and understands that bit more that it’s this situation leaving him feeling crap throughout the day. He now gets rather upset when struggling to fall asleep and by 3am his almost certainly at the point of tears. When it isn’t a school day and his little eyes haven’t closed till 4am, I’m tempted to leave him to sleep throughout the day. However, as one would expect, this is no solution! Things just become a million times harder in the long run.

So, back to my original point… I was dreading getting the Little man up and ready for school. The nasty insults that fly out of his tired mouth are nothing… I’m used to these! It’s just the whole destruction it causes to the morning. He will often refuse to wash for sensory reasons and once he has I’m faced with the struggle of convincing him to dress. The taxi can be sat outside while the escort is stood at the door and he will still be in his pants. Not ideal but something you get used to.

His first day back was in-fact yesterday (5th September 2012) and to my utter surprise, the morning wasn’t as bad as expected. He almost seemed excited about his day. Tuesday I took little man and the tiny tot to Drayton Manor Theme park and zoo. It’s the home of Thomas Land and we were there to review a new Thomas film just released on DVD, and of course the park itself. Little man had an awesome day and didn’t experience a single meltdown while at the park (in the car was a different story but given it’s a 3hr drive each way, he can be forgiven). I think it was a combination of the long car Journey and the whole day spent at the park that resulted in him actually sleeping before midnight.

He woke Wednesday morning with a somewhat positive outlook towards the day ahead and given it was his first day back, this left me astounded. The fact that Little man had spent the last two weeks of the last term before the summer holidays integrating from the primary building into the secondary department, had obviously helped him a great deal. Now he was better prepared mentally! Yes their was lots of anxiety still, but at least he wasn’t just stepping into the unknown. Anxiety seems to be a pretty common trait for those with Aspergers Syndrome and for me It’s one of the hardest issues to tackle. It’s both heartbreaking and worrying seeing your young child so stressed, especially when the cause is beyond your control.

Little man had his new stationary that was kindly given to him by STABILO all packed and ready and his lunch loaded into his lunch bag when the escort knocked at 8.30 am. He was quite literally ready to go as soon as she arrived. I’m guessing this was something of a surprise to his escort… But a pleasant one all the same!

Throughout the morning I received no emails or calls from the school highlighting any concerns. Any parent can tell you, especially those of a child with SEN, this is always a lovely sign that things are going well.

Come afternoon however, I did receive an email from the class teacher! Luckily this wasn’t to report some challenging behaviour or other equally concerning matter! It was just in-order to let me know that as from the next day, little man wouldn’t be allowed to bring in his chicken burger as they will no longer be heating his food in the microwave! Little man’s school has such a small number of pupils that school dinners are not practical, and even if they were, I’m guessing so little children would opt to have them. Little man wouldn’t even entertain the prospect of even trying school dinners during his time spent at his old mainstream primary school. This wasn’t a huge concern as living 2 minutes away, I was able to collect him, feed him, then drop him back.

Little man will not touch a packed lunch regardless of what’s in it. He may eat such items at home but as soon as your packing it, his not touching it. Warm wrapped sandwiches, warm yogurts, and warm apple juice don’t appeal. Putting it in the fridge doesn’t seem to make much difference, the issue that it was put into the box more than an hour ago seems to be a big no-no for him.

It was decided last term that he could bring a chicken burger and heat it up in school. He has no cheese, sauce, or anything else. Just a flame grilled (not breaded) piece of chicken in a bun. He also has lots of fruit and a drink. His concentration levels were therefore reported to be better in the afternoon as he was finally eating, and I was pleased that I was no longer being presented with an untouched lunchbox at 4pm… I couldn’t afford to keep this up!

The new teacher has stated he needs a healthier lunch and I’m lost at what I’m going to do. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the school have their reasons and I’m in no way stating they are in the wrong, I’m just at logger heads at what to do! Today little man arrived home with an untouched lunchbox. I don’t even thing he touched his drink.

20120906-183846.jpgLittle man’s untouched packed lunch.

He was really upset yesterday. Having received the email I had replied stating that I wished the school to inform him of this change, I knew he wouldn’t be happy and I didn’t want him thinking it was my doing. Of course when he arrived home screaming and yelling, I had to support the school in-order to be consistent! He would otherwise struggle more with this decision and a challenging child at school was the last thing I wanted. However he did cry on his return yesterday, he protested that he had done all his work, tried his best and behaved appropriately! He felt as if it was some type of punishment (as always I blame the old school for such a way of thinking)!

We obviously had some difficulties this morning but despite his upset and empty tummy, I’ve received an email from his teacher alerting me to the fact he has had a really good day. His reported to be doing great in secondary and is settling into the routine better than expected. She also informed me that they had a chat about lunch and suggested maybe taking a flask of soup or pasta. We will try this as on his return today his eaten half the contents of the fridge which for me is much more unhealthy than the burger.

So… There it is, an update of little mans first few days as a child with Aspergers attending secondary school at an independent special school. How I’m relived to have gotten him out of the mainstream education sector in time! I’m convinced that this post would have contained content that displayed nothing but heartache if I hadn’t!

Advertisements

Summer Dreams

3 Jun

Summer dreams… I’m lying on a sun lounger some place hot, the sea or pool ( I really don’t mind which) is a stones throw away. I have a generous Glass of pims in one hand and a good read in the other!

So… Ordinary, wouldn’t you agree?

I used to have summer dreams like that of the one above. But dreams change, they no longer seem like dreams, more like desires that I long to achieve. My dreams are simple in theory but often unreachable in life. Not because they are not possible, they are… If I give it all I have to live them.

Now although a holiday is much needed by all, it’s something that I’m sure will not be happening this summer, so as the days draw on I begin to kick my own backside and remind myself that I have a dream that needs fulfilling, that dream… To have a well plan out and organised summer!

Sounds boring and yes somewhat pathetic, but for me it’s the key to a long and happy summer. Doing things on a whim is a speciality of mine but such a skill is unethical when your a parent to a child with Aspergers Syndrome.

Some days you wouldn’t know my son was on that Autism Spectrum. Like everything some days are more difficult than others.

Little man is currently on half term as is his younger sister ‘Alice-Sara’ (I’m bracing myself for plenty of sibling wars!) Now, although this week will get little man into a bit of a mess with the lack of structure and routine, (Yes, I do try but I can never complete with the structure of school) the summer holidays are for a much lengthier time period, this huge change and the pending anxiety about the coming new school year (new class, teacher, ect…) can mean an explosive 6 weeks.

So, what’s the solution? Well, I wouldn’t call it a solution, but a semi one at least. Organising activities in advance, making little man aware of where and when we’re going, good organisation and structure is the key to his and of course my own sanity.

You would think that I have learned my lesson by now.There’s been plenty of trips and occasions that haven’t been planed as well as they could have been. We’ve had our fair share of meltdowns as a result.

I maybe a mum of a child on the spectrum, but I’m in no means perfect and the whole organisation thing is not my strongest trait.

So… Although the dream of a day spent soaking up the sun’s ray, while relaxing on a beach some place inviting, still exists, it’s in the back of my mine it will stay.

If all is organised and I start booking trips and planing days out now… My summers dream could go something like this…

A day out as a family some place nice, we would laugh and smile, eat a picnic fit for a fussy eater. The children would run around having fun, playing games together… No screaming, arguing… No violent meltdowns, abusive language! There would be no tears, no anxiety, just enjoyment being had by all! And If I could control the weather and public transport I would!

Ok, almost, because life isn’t always so simple, anything can happen! A sensory related trigger, a delayed train or even a wrong turning (getting lost is my little man’s pet hate)! But I will try as by planning and preparing that summers dream will be that much closer to a summers reality!

20120603-125100.jpg

This post was inspired by this weeks Britmums blogging prompts! If you’re a blogger why not check them out and join in.

NEVER EVER AGAIN

14 Dec

This is the post where I try to explain why I never want to take my child with Aspergers on holiday ever again.

 Most of you will know me as the mother who is first to state that, ‘Just because a child is on the autism spectrum, doesn’t mean they should not be given the opportunity to enjoy life’s pleasures such as day trips and holidays’ I stand by this, really I do!

 Now, I will try my best to put into words what I can only describe as one of the hardest, emotional draining and tiring, three days of my entire life.

 This past weekend saw me on the edge of a breakdown as myself, good friend Donna and three children (Little Man aka A boy with Aspergers, Alice-Sara & Harley) embanked on a mini weekend Christmas break at Butlin’s Bognor Regis.

 I had been extremely lucky to be invited to the tots100 Christmas party which meant an awesome deal on accommodation and presented me with the opportunity to also bring along the family. I will talk more about the Tots100 Christmas party and Butlin’s itself in another post, right now I need to get this out my system!

 It’s never easy taking Little man on days out and its even harder trying to embark on any type of Holiday no matter how short or long it maybe. The change and the anxiety mixed with the unknown often brings about havoc, and if you have ever read any of my post relating to such event’s you will already know this (remember the camping trip or even the day trip to Chessington)? 

 Nonetheless, when stating like many do “Never again” I somehow never really mean it and with passing time I find myself trying to do it all over again! Why? Because his my son and I don’t want to leave him behind!

 Despite things starting reasonably well (his delight over the funky hotel lighting which was a sensory pleasure was most welcome) things soon turned sour and within an hour or so all hell had broke loose.

 OK, Ok, I half expected this! After all we have just arrived, everything is different and a mix of both anxiety and excitement fills the air. 

 After a soak in the bath, just before heading to bed he started to argue with his sister. I know arguments between siblings are the norm with most children, but these really are over the top, Little man becomes far to angry and loses his temper rapidly. Worse still his now able to throw an almighty punch. On trying to break up yet another blow up that had become somewhat out of hand, Little man thought he would also hit out at me, not only punching but kicking me too. His not a baby anymore and his growing which I guess kind of worries me if I think about it!

 No, this isn’t good, I don’t show him that I’m frighten of him, I’m actually not, I’m just worried that one day he will go that bit too far!

I don’t like having to restrain my own son but it did have to be done before he hurt himself or somebody else, it was then he spat in my face and then laughed inappropriately. 

 The fact that his violence stopped and I thought we were over this hurdle makes this so much harder.

 After lots of tears Little man finally slept and I convinced myself that as the days went on things would get better, however they didn’t and despite trying to structure all the activities his need to control everything and everyone around him was just too much. Yes, I know things are hard for him, but there were stages of that holiday that I felt like running away especially when he carried on hitting out at me leading me to seek first aid for what was a suspected broken finger (I had pointed at him and he had hurt my fingers so bad I had no choice but to get them strapped up). This was the last day and in all honesty I was so thankful it was. By now I had cried till my eyes were sore and seriously felt like smacking my own head repetitively against the wall. 

 Harley also spent the best part of his second birthday amongst meltdowns and my pleads for a little respect and if anything a five-minute break. I know many people will think, “It’s hard for him too” Believe me I know that, of course I do! I didn’t care about the disapproving stares as Little man hauled abuse at me, I did however feel terrible for the children stood in ear shoot of his language. There was even one episode that resulted in me having to leg it out of a local fish restaurant leaving my poor friend with three kids, one who wasn’t in the friendliest of moods. 

I sat on a bench looking at the sea and really felt like I couldn’t return and carry on with this job called “Parenting”. I left a message on my Facebook page which read, “I don’t think I can cope with Little man’s behaviour anymore” and at that moment in time, I really did feel this way.

 My friend said something to me as we sat talking in the hotel once the children were finally sleeping, she said “I can honestly say I have never seen Little man 100% happy unless his indoors” I thought about this and realised just how right my friend was.

 Once we did finally return home, a lot later than expected following unexpected car trouble (the word unexpected is not one little man favourites) I noticed how his mood calmed! Yes, he fights with his sister in the comfort of our home and yes he can still be abusive, but as I sat watching him cuddling his younger sister watching the end of Eastenders (yes, cuddling, the cheek of them, I know) I realised that in-order to parent and parent Little man well, It needs to be at home (well, at home meaning not on holiday)! I’m not stating I’m NEVER TAKING HIM ON HOLIDAY AGAIN! Though I did state this more than 1000 times during the course of the weekend, I’m just stating that for now, and in-till there are clear signs of improvement in this type of challenging behaviour and yes, my ways in coping and dealing with it, I will not be booking any family holidays in the near future… and that my friends is a ‘FACT’!

%d bloggers like this: