Tag Archives: disability discrimination

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.

REINTEGRATION INTERVIEW

25 Mar

It’s Monday 22nd March, Little man is on his last day of exclusion from school. This means that at 2.45 pm today a reintegration interview/meeting  at the school will take place. I can’t Wait!

Yes I am willing the day to go faster, 2.45 pm can’t come quick enough! I have been trying to get a hold of this Head teacher since we left school Thursday afternoon. For those who haven’t read my latest post little man was not only excluded for the second time in two weeks but he had also been restrained and humiliated. No I was not informed that restraint was used on my son, Why I don’t know as I had just stood and spoke to the Head teacher and nothing was said. I spent most of the day with my hand and ear stuck to my mobile. I wasn’t getting anywhere and when I collected my daughter Alice I was again told that yep his busy!

Come Friday despite taking and collecting my daughter from school I still haven’t seen the Head teacher. I knew he was lying when he wrote on the exclusion letter that Little man had been throwing playground equipment ( DANGEROUSLY I MUST ADD ) Why had he not given me this reason when I had collected him from school? Surely you would tell the parent the child was excluded for the most serious reason! Well I would have my answers pretty soon.

2.45 pm Me and little man are at the school. The Head teacher calls us into the office where I turn to see the Senco sat with her pen and paper to hand. Didn’t expect her to be there but was pleased it meant both could hear what I had to say! This was an important meeting for me, I considered this to be my opportunity to express my concerns and I wanted an explanation in regards to the restraining of my child. The Head was acting anxious but also a tad rude. This wasn’t unusual but something just felt funny. He repetitively said now we must be quick. He kept looking at his watch and was displaying a certain awkwardness. We had only just got through the office door yet he was rushing. I knew what was happening here! It was becoming more apparent that he was worried that little man had told me about being restrained. Either this or the man was just acting like a dysfunctional human being! He said that the meeting was to make sure we all understood that little man was to return to school in the morning and what would be happening in regards to little man rejoining his peers, And if little man understood why he was excluded. Bull!!! It was my understanding that the purpose to the reintegration interview was to discuss maters concerning the reasons surrounding exclusion, Whats been put in place in the way of provisions to help prevent misbehaviour and exclusion. Reach agreement on how the child’s education should continue, how best they can reintegrate and lastly explore wider issues and circumstances that maybe affecting childs behaviour! So as for the whole rush, rush thing I really couldn’t see it happening. I was to collect my daughter  from the infants at 3.25 pm and I was planing on being here till then. The Head told little man he would need to be here for the first part and then wait in the reception area why I spoke to him. Little man rolled his eyes crossed his arms and told him in kind of aggressive manner “WHAT EVER LIAR” The Senco turned to me in away to say are you going to address this rudeness. Reason I knew this was because of a pervious incident where little man had used bad language and swore as he walked through the doors when I had collected him early from senco’s office ( He was ongoing internal exclusion at this time ) Other parents stood waiting for their children to come out. I just wanted to get my daughter and get out of there before the upper bell went. I Removed little man away from everyone and as we walked around the side of the school to collect Alice I told him that his inappropriate use of language hadn’t gone unheard and words would be had once home. Well as I walked towards the gates Senco called after me in order to address my parenting skills! Hell yer I had steam shooting out of my ears and now little man was shouting abusive language at her as he ordered her not to bully his mum. I was appalled  That she had acted in this way. After all his behaviour at home was not longer an issue! Maybe teaching skills needed to be analyzed. Oh well I could now address the matter! I should not have to explain what strategies I have in place to manage little mans behaviour but I wanted to. I explained that in removing little man away from the situation and then addressing his unwanted behaviour was my approach that I had inforced over the last few months and it was now working nicely. I explained that by doing this little man would not have a meltdown in front off the other children and parents! And as the Head had put him on internal exclusion for misbehaviour at the end of the school day which was witnessed by parents and children then I felt it best to avoid a repeat of this unwanted behaviour! After all I was here collecting him early as the Head teacher wanted Little man off the school premises before his peers.

Once I had got that of my chest we carried on with the matter in hand. Little man had written something ( What he called complaints! ) He asked to read out what he had written! The Head teacher didn’t seem very impressed but what choice did he have. This was a 9-year-old child who wished to state his case.  However I myself was a little worried reason being was I hadn’t yet seen his five pages of complaints and as most may already know little man liked to tell it how it is. To use the word blunt would be an understatement. I also wondered GOD HOW MANY SWEAR WORDS HAS HE WROTE IN THAT! Well I was to be surprised! Not one, Not a single swear word. His wording was formal and in no way rude! It made me almost cry but also made me want to get up and kill um!! How dare they treat my child like this! He was my son and they were treating him as if he was worthless. As he read out loud the Head and the Senco looked shocked! And not at any given time did the Head teacher defend nor correct little man on what he read! Instead they sat silently with mouths wide open and expressions of worry spread across their faces.

The first issue little man rose was why didn’t you tell mum you grabbed me? Why didn’t you tell mum that you carried me? Why did you lie and tell mum I throw playground equipment? With this I butted in asking little man if he did throw anything. As you can guess he said no explaining that their wasn’t any playground equipment to throw! Turning to the head I ask the same question. Once he manages to get his words out he tells me that yes there is these little green and red things that he can’t remember the name off. With this the Senco butts in and tries to help him with his fiction! Sadly they both ended up looking like a pair of big nose fibers. Little man was shouting Liar, Liar and shaking his head. I could think of a better name to call them but remained from doing so as hard as it was. Then I asked if himself and TA had grabbed and carried little man to the office. Again after a struggle with  his speech he tells me yes but followed the restraints guidelines with in schools restraints policy. I asked if little man was throwing the so-called playground equipment at the time. He told me no he was running and swearing! Little man told how the TA grabbed him and the Head teacher laughed and said good job I will get his legs. He went on to explain that as he was carried through the playground he felt humiliated and worried about getting hurt! He also asked why he never had lunchtime like his class peers, Why he was given one 2 one at lunch only for it to be removed as punishment. He told how he felt angry because they made his mum cry and lastly he expressed that exclusion made him feel hated. You can only imagine how angry I was! I looked at them both and waited for one of them to explain or give answers, after all these were questions he wanted answering. Many of his sentences finished and started with the word WHY? Still their failure to offer explanation said it all. Little man picked up his rucksack and walked to the door in order to sit in reception and wait for me to finish. On leaving he told the Head teacher to keep the sheets of paper that he had left on the table! He would need to read them so he could see what needed doing to make the school better because it’s really S**t right now! Ops there it is! I knew a swear word would have to be expressed sometime soon.

When Little man had left I stated my concerns not only for my son’s education but wellbeing. I let it be known that restraining my child or any of my children was not allowed! I asked why he had not informed me of the restraint incident after all I had collected little man from school as he was excluded. Himself and the TA in question were in the office with little man when I had arrived. He told me he was sorry he must have forgotten. Is this man who is paid to look after my child for six hours a day under the illusion that his explanation is in any way good enough? My expression must have said it all as he went on to tell me that he will be sure to in future! Is this man trying to get me on assault charges? I was very close to introducing him to my left foot. I repeated that there wouldn’t be a next time.  Other concerns I raised were his use of exclusions. He had a lot to say on this matter! He had well and truly found his tongue. He almost sounded aggressive as he defended his actions. I asked if there were more constructive forms of punishment? After all my child was on the autism spectrum he needed structure and routine. It had taken so long to get this far and now it was as if it didn’t matter. There were no accommodations made for little man the provision that was in place had only been there a few months some days even. When I spoke in addition to his unofficial exclusions The head kept asking whats My point? He wouldn’t let me finish in order for me to reach the point! Instead he continued gruelling me. He asked me to give him the definition of  unofficial exclusion. Was this a test to see if I had done my homework on the laws surrounding exclusion and education? Did he also want me to point out the inadmissible evidence I had to prove his incompetence in being a respectable Head teacher? Further more did he want me to do it in front of the Senco? By using the term UNOFFICIAL I meant that on two occasions you have asked me to collect little man from school and chosen to not document this as an exclusion! Therefore this is considered to be unlawful. Wow he was shaking his head like the Churchill dog. He told me I had misunderstood! He wanted me to come in and help little man work but as I had the baby ( Yes my son 2 months old at the time ) I said it would not be possible! With this I asked to take him home. Not that I doubted my son in any way what so ever but the head teacher had just given me a fantastic insight into how capable this man was of telling lies. He was not only capable but also seemed to do it with ease. The Senco I must add never sat quite this whole time it was just that I found what she had to say to be compleat rubbish it was clear she was licking his butt and by doing so I perceived her to be as much a liar as he was. I stated that no matter what! He was the Head teacher and he let little man go home therefore it was his decision to do so making it illegal. We discussed internal exclusions which he also lied about when I brought to his attention that giving little man an internal exclusion that takes place in a special needs unit, room or other was also wrong as it had to be seen as a punishment. He had to stop using provisions as punishments and treats. It’s disgusting! He wasn’t getting one 2 one in class but was while on internal exclusion.

Much more was discussed but as you can see if this post gets any longer I could find myself in trouble with the blog police. So to round things up! Meeting went well, I learned that no matter what authority will always stick together. I asked to see incident sheet on the restraint and control that took place on the 18th March. I have also asked for access to his educational records within 15 school days, I want to see school polices on restraint and behaviour! My god he quotes them a lot. The big meeting will take place at school on the 29th. I will ask to record the meeting and someone will attend with me. I’m hoping that all professionals I have requested to attend will do so but I don’t hold my breath. Lastly Little man was meant to return to school the day after this meeting Tuesday 23rd March. This didn’t happen due to little man being up all night finally settling at 4am. I consider him to now be anxious about school then again who can blame him?

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