Tag Archives: educational needs

A Bright Star No Longer Hidden

22 Jun

The annual review, a time for meeting with your child’s teachers and discussing progress, struggles and ideas. A meeting centred around your child’s special educational needs and the statement they hold.

Last week it was that time, the time for the Little man’s second annual review since attending his special independent school specifically for children on the autism spectrum. Lately, Little man’s attendance has been a little off the wall! Despite his love for his new school he continues to struggle to sleep of a night, often getting just a few hours sleep or none whatsoever. As one can imagine, mornings are becoming one huge battle us! For this reason alone I expected to hear how my son was falling dangerously behind that of his peers, what with his last school (mainstream primary school) insisting he had a reading age of 7, reception age writing skills, poor understanding of science and history, plus 2 levels below in maths and more besides. He was 10 at the time and I protested that my son wasn’t this far behind, especially in maths. His bedroom wall looked like some kind of number puzzle where he would cover it in mathematical problem solving and coding to a complex level (one even I struggled to understand)!

You see it was my conclusion that he was much brighter than he let on, but wasn’t showing this due to his unhappiness while attending a school who seriously struggled to meet any of his needs, both educational and developmental. It was during this particular annual review meeting that I realised just how right I was back then.

Here it comes… A seriously proud mummy moment…

Little man is two levels above his expect national curriculum level in maths. He is in year 7 and currently has a level of a child in year 9 on his way to year 10.

His also above in PE, Reading and more besides. He science levels were that of his expected age. English as a whole is also what is expected which just goes to show that my boy and any other child on the spectrum has the ability to shine given they are in the right environment to do so.

He has a great new system in which he can remove himself from the classroom to shake of any problems and excess energy with a run around the playground. He only has the ability to use his “Get Out Of Glass Card” twice for each lesson and teachers have reported that sometimes he finishes class having not used one. This may seem like such a minor thing but to a mum like me its pure music to my ears.

He also has a great reward system and school are working hard to try and discourage his swearing. Despite episodes still happening on a daily basis the improvements are slowly taking place and little man’s learning a little self control.

Proud… Oh yes, seriously proud! When your so used to being told the negative when it comes to your child’s education, you forget what its like to hear anything positive. This was a great example of this, it was the proudest I’d felt for a long time. I just wanted to shout about it from the roof tops.

Was I tempted to take a little walk through them office doors of his once mainstream school, the one in which his younger sister attends? Did I feel to wave his report in the air while shouting “Yer… Get a load of that! Thats my boy they are writing about!” Um maybe I did, just a little…I can’t lie. However, I don’t care what was once said! All that matters is that I have always believed in him even if those others who should have, instead made it their mission to write him off as a lost cause!

Well… Eat My Shorts!

My boys a star, a star that shines bright because his no longer hidden.

So, if you have a bright star that is currently struggling to be seen through the clouds then don’t give up on them! Believing is the key to your child’s educational success and as long as you believe others will follow. Never give up, fight for them to be seen as the star you know them to be.

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Wear It For Autism: Nominations Now Open

20 Jun

Has your life been affected by autism or do you know someone whose has? Do you know someone who is always putting others before themselves and deserves an extra-special treat? Nominate them now and they could be part of Wear It For Autism.

Wear It For Autism is looking for mums, dads, children and carers – who either have autism themselves or care for those living with the condition – to have a full makeover and take centre-stage in a stylish fashion event at London’s Vinyl Factory on Tuesday 10 September.

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Nominations are open now until Sunday 23 June 2013. Celebrity judges, including Gail Porter and Adele Silva, alongside Maggie Paterson, Principal of Pineapple Performing Arts Covent Garden, will select winners from across five categories – mums, dads, young carers, children with autism, and adults with austim. All the winners will be treated to a top-to-toe makeover by styling experts and take part in the Wear It for Autism catwalk show.

Anna Kennedy said: “The idea behind Wear It For Autism was to spoil those who usually never get a chance to treat – or even think of – themselves. Living with autism can be challenging and extremely demanding, so we wanted to create a special event that will be fun for all involved, as well as raise vital funds to campaign for the rights of those with this disability.”

If you know a parent, carer or child affected by autism, or if you want to take part in Wear It For Autism, nominate now at www.annakennedyonline.com

Tickets for the show are available now, priced £25 each. All profits go to the registered charity Anna Kennedy Online, which supports UK families affected by autism, including providing small grants for educational and domestic resources

Sponsor’s for the event are, Littlewood’s,Toni & Guy, Pineapple Arts, London Beauty Queen and Mahogony

EXCLUSION TWICE IN 2 WEEKS.

20 Mar

I’m so disappointed, upset and angry that I found myself writing this.

Little man has now been excluded for the second time in 2 weeks. It’s outrageous that a pupil on the autism spectrum and with educational needs is being treated in such a disgraceful manner. It is now in my opinion that this is discrimination only problem is proving it.

Reasons given for his exclusion  as stated in letter from the Head teacher.

  • Being foul and abusive to both children and adults.
  • Being severely disruptive in class
  • upsetting children.
  • Dangerously throwing playground equipment about.
  • Refusing to follow instructions from a range of adults of adults.

The exclusion will be for the fixed period of 2.5 days commencing from Thursday 18th March and ending on Tuesday 23rd March. During this time it is my responsibility to make sure little man doesn’t enter onto school premises ( hard considering he has a younger sister I need to take and collect from school ) I am also not allowed to be seen to have him in any public place during school hours. Regardless of his exclusion if found to be in a public place with or without me I could face the prospect of a £50 fine. What a disgrace. Not only must my son miss important education but also remain on house arrest why doing so! Then their is me. Am I supposed to put my life on hold with every exclusion? Do they forget that I’m a mother of not one child but indeed three. My youngest is just three months old. Clinic appointments are a must.

I felt that when I arrived to collect little man the Head teacher failed to discuss his reasons for exclusion in a reasonable manner. I found the conversation to be rushed and unsympathetic. Understanding is needed that way better behaviour management techniques can be used resulting in little man remaining in school. I’m the mother of a child that is expressing unwanted behaviour in school and the staff within school lack understanding and due to this I feel as if I can’t make plans or go to far in case I am needed to collect little man if these problems arise. Then once home I’m then expected to stay in doors in the fear of being fined. Where is the right in this? You can a least have the decency to look at me, and not rush a conversation that I find important. This is my son’s education and your not taking it serious! I told the Head teacher who at the time had a TA with him that I would expect the reasons for exclusion in a letter by the end of the school day. He had already briefly told me ( leaving out the dangerously throwing playground equipment out ) but I understood this to be my right and his obligation as a head teacher. I didn’t want to take chances with this school given the past.  The Head teacher had also had me collect little man on two other occasions. I wasn’t aware of mine and little mans rights at the time and being upset with the situation I just did what I felt was expected of me. It was after contacting ACE that I discovered It was illegal to send little man home without pursuing the relevant regulations. It turns out this was called unofficial exclusion. Regardless of parent consent it was still not lawful. This made me feel like he had taken advantage given that he knew I didn’t know the laws surrounding exclusions. It was this incident that pushed me into educating myself on the guidance on exclusions and the SEN code of practice. I also started reading the laws regarding disability rights.

When we left little man told me what had happened. He said he was to miss some off morning break and half hour of lunch break. For being rude to a member of staff the previous day. Didn’t they see removing him from breaks as punishment was not working. The unwanted behaviour he was showing was getting worse not better. It was my feeling that inclusion within school wasn’t happening. I felt it to be more for the benefit of playground assistants due to them not being able to cope with challenging behaviour. This to me is a form of discrimination it has to be. The decision to remove him from breaks and class was something that was happening on a daily basis. It was easy to see that he seriously struggled to cope with unstructured time. presumably due to difficulties with sensory overload, his environment, frustrations with lack of order. It’s clear to see that intervention is needed to assess his needs and work on discovering what triggers his challenging behaviour. Strategies are then needed to help avoid meltdowns before they have occurred.

But this was not it! The worse was still to come. Little man explained that when he stopped  running way he was speaking to the Head teacher who was ordering him to go to his office when a TA run up behind him and grabbed him. The Head said good job as he took his legs and they both carried him from the busy playground to the Head teachers office. He said he felt silly as the children laughed. He waved at them as he was carried as he didn’t want them to think he was sad. But he was sad and he was scared that if he tried to get away they may hold him tighter and he would get hurt. He said he told the Head and TA once in the office that mum would be cross as they grabbed him. Apparently little man was given a shocking response when he replied WELL GIOVANNI YOU LIKE TELLING STORIES. Now can you imagine my anger.This was emotional abuse. I was appalled that a pupil Aspergers or NT could be treated in such a disgusting way. I phoned to be told he was at lunch. I continued calling with no success. When I collected the letter at the end of the day he was still unavailable. The avoidance just made me more upset. Then when I saw that one of the listed reasons was dangerously throwing playground equipment. I knew they were attempting to cover themselves. Little man admitted to all listed reasons for exclusion but this one he strongly deny. I also remember that when I collected little man from school this was not a reason that the Head had listed to me in our conversation. It was pretty easy to remember this given that the conversation was short, rude and unhelpful. Even if he had thrown things in the playground why restrain and carry him to the office when he was stood speaking with the Head I see no danger there! And secondly why have you chosen to not tell me about it?

I am still waiting to hear from the Head. It looks like my concerns will have to wait till we meet on Monday to discuss little mans return to school. In the meantime I have emailed and written to the LEA, Educational Welfare Officer, Governing body, Exclusion officer.

I also plan on contacting local newspaper and radio. The sooner the LEA make a decision as to  whether  a statutory assessment is needed the better. Provisions need to be put into place in order for little man to receive the educational  and emotional support he needs. If this means moving him to a school better suited to his needs then well be it.

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