Tag Archives: library

Holy Macaroni Its A Panda

29 May

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″

“I’m never going back to school, ever”

22 Feb

Last week I received a call from little man’s tutor requesting that I collect him from the library early (This was an hour before he was due to finish)

Turns out the little dude had a mini meltdown why getting lunch at the supermarket. Reason… He thought the security guard was laughing at him!

Yep, his tutor who I refer to as James for the purpose of this blog, was having a friendly chat with the security guard while little man grabbed a drink from the refrigerator. He called out to his tutor and just at that same moment both the tutor and the guard began to laugh about something totally unrelated to anything Little man was doing. However Little man didn’t know this and as he often does, he jumped in at the deep end.

Of course the guard was unaware of the little mans AS and I don’t think the tutor even had time to warn him. Of course Little man was somewhat confrontational requesting an explanation from the guard and the tutor on what it was they found so amusing. I don’t think he was as polite as he could have been and I’m guessing that the use of inappropriate language may have been used somewhere along the way.

I’m very thankful that his tutor James is somewhat understanding of AS and this isn’t really a massive deal as it is only the second incident in the six weeks they have worked together as opposed to the daily calls I received from his mainstream primary school, regardless it was a situation that needed dealing with.

To cut a long story short I didn’t need to collect him early as first requested as James called me back to say that they were now back in the Library and things were a lot more calmer. Nevertheless he asked if I had a spare half hour when collecting him as some other concerns needed to be discussed.

Sat on the bus I had all sorts going through my mind, “Other concerns, what concerns” this was a constant niggle in my head. I kept thinking what if James no longer wishes to educate Little man. How will little man deal with yet another rejection! I don’t know why I thought this as James is very understanding of Little man’s needs and has told me that he considers him a pleasure to teach. He thinks he has a great mind and personality if given the time to get to know him. Like I’ve already mentioned this is only one of two incidents… So surely not! I think it’s just going to take time for both myself and the little dude to get over the whole mainstream thing and trust people again as I feel little man worries about how things will plan out, where I just feel like we have been failed by the system to many times.

I finally arrived at the library and to my surprise but also delight Little man was clam and relaxed, showing no indication of his not so long ago mini meltdown… He went off and scanned some books while I chatted with James (Oh yes he adores the library’s self scanner)

Well, at last I could finally relax… It turns out James had concerns in relation to the ongoing statementing process and pending transition to a “Special” school that would someday be upon us, as opposed to that of little mans tendency to display challenging behaviour. He stated that every time he even tried to raise the subject of little man starting a new school one day in the further he would become extremely anxious and find a number of ways to not talk about it! This included shouting over James as he spoke, walking off or just shutting down. I explained that I was still trying to contact the caseworker in relation to the final statement, James said we have to come up with a transition plan even without a school place just so little man would always know it was coming.

I defiantly agreed!

The second thing was in relation to his fine motor skills. Yes, he was making zero progress in his writing. He was still refusing to write and near on all his work is done on the computer or is somehow practical… Like science projects and discussions.

His tutor James knew this was one of my many objections to the proposed statement. When first meeting James to discuss what Little man likes and dislikes, what his good at and not so good at in preparation for teaching him, I explained the issue of messy handwriting, fine motor skill problems and the reluctance he displays when it comes to him having to write. I felt that this was an important issue that James needed to know in order to teach him, and this just shows my concerns were valid.

With this I contacted the LEA caseworker who happens to be situated in the very same building as the library. Although I have had dealing with the caseworker a good six months now it was the first time we had met face to face.

I think she was a little worn out after our conversation as Little man would not give her a break when firing hard fast questions at her in relation to the elevator that he saw her come down in. He stated that members of the public should be allowed to use it too and wanted to know the reasons for such a ban! (He just loves an elevator my son)

So the outcome of our little chat was… She requested that I ask Little man’s tutor to write his concerns and for me to forward these on to her as soon as possible as it is going to panel again in order for the LEA to decide if they will make any of my recommended amendments and name my preferred school in part 4 of the statement (Which happens to be independent so I’m not holding my breath) The panel will have the meeting after the half term and the final statement should follow sometime there on after. The Caseworker was in agreement on one thing, and this didn’t require any form of panel meeting! Little man does needs a school… FAST! She had just 15 minutes in his company before she quickly agreed *giggle* He really was talking for England this particular afternoon. With this she agreed to look into my parental preference for an independent school, mainly due to the fact that all the maintained schools have said that they can’t meet his needs (Shock will be had If I’m not required to fight my arse off for it)

Once I had got the Little man home we sat down for a chat, topic being, “SCHOOL TRANSITION” He ran away to his room, on went Bruno Bloody Mars full blast (No offence Bruno) and he remained there in till we left to attend my nieces first birthday party ( Bruno Mars album came too) Once at the party he avoided me big style and with that I decided that the conversation will have to be had another day.

The day after Little man had the day of as the library had closed due to health and safety reasons (angry protest happening outside) So with this I went in for the kill and attempted the school conversation! Again this wasn’t a great success. However this time he didn’t run but instead informed me that his “NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER” going to school again” From now on he will be learning in the library with James Monday to Friday, 9:30 am till 2:30 p.m. and that is final.

I guess that told me!

I will just have to keep trying while praying that when a school placement does come along it’s the one we want or a fantastically understanding one in its place!

On top of the world

19 Jan

So this morning little man leaped from the comfort of his bed, washed without my pleas and got his clothes on super fast, “Ok most items were back to front or inside out” but when I told him so, there was no swearing or exaggerated body movements just a little boy who giggled and started over again. You see mornings like these have been far and few between… In actural fact they have been absent for some time. Yesterday morning little man was filled with excitement with a scoop of anxiety for he was about to embank on a journey, a new routine that no longer involved the mainstream primary school he had attended since he was five, the place he had grown to trust only to have it all fall apart and his spirit crushed. He had started to believe that he was so different from others that he would never be accepted. He started to state he wasn’t “normal” and created this image in his head of what he considered to be “normal” sadly in his eyes he didn’t fit into this image.

This hasn’t changed, I think it will take sometime before he excepts who he is (my fantastic little man) but on day two of his home tuition his already making progress. It’s very early days but I already see a child who wants to learn, a child who packs his school bag the night before and looks forward to the following days learning. So… Many parents take that for granted Not me and though I know this can change as quick as it started I hold onto these days with both hands and remind myself of them whenever things get bad.

Well, Friday was the day we first met his tutor (as not to disclose his indentity we will refer to the tutor as James)
We met at my home around 5pm. Little man sat looking at the tv he had refused to Switch off. He made little eye contact with James and instead of acting silly or rude like he often tends to when his anxious or just in a new situation, he was instead quite not saying much at all. We spoke for a while, discussed little mans needs and how mainstream school dealt with those needs. We talked about the effects isolation had on him and work we had been doing at home. I like to think of myself as a good judge of character… as I had a good feeling about James, I didn’t feel as if he was sat judging me or little man. James had already read the proposed statement (that is in need of amendments) and also read the appendices which included my ten pages of parental advice. He has experience of working with children on the autism spectrum and didn’t seem worried about teaching little man a job many would refer to as a “challenge” towards the end of the meeting James asked Little man if there was anything he would like to ask. Little man rolled his eyes and pulled his thinking face. Having thought for a few seconds replied, “fancy educating someone like me in a library!” He turned to me and said, “mother I will do my best to be quite” bless him… Though he was making a some what valid point as he is naturally a loud speaker, tending to shout as opposed to talk. Jame’s response was great… He made no big deal and said that all will be cool.

During the weekend little man seemed less anxious about Mondays leap back into education and getting him to sleep Sunday night wasn’t as hard as first expected. He had again been awake all Saturday night not sleeping till the early hours of Sunday morning… I didn’t let him sleep the whole of Sunday daytime and though it was hard work and resulted in a crying moaning monster throughout the day I managed to keep him awake. So after a few melatonin and a warm drink and bath, he slept on Sunday night (Ok it wasn’t till 1am and was my bed he slept in not his own… But this was good enough for me!)

It was pouring with rain on Monday morning, I mean pelting it down bucket loads, For this reason I changed the clothing I had already laid out for little man as I knew the jeans would get wet and rub on his skin causing a sensory related meltdown. I waved my daughter off at 8:30 am and set about the morning challenge one I hadn’t had to do for weeks (near on a month) waking little guy up for school. To my surprise little man rose to the challenge and with plenty of reassurance got ready for his big day. We got a lift with the promise of taking public transport the following day (which put a smile on his face) As I waved him off it felt totally strange… I was leaving my little man with a complete stranger, who I was trusting to take good care of my child, to have patience and understanding when it came to his “odd” or “challenging” ways… I felt that same sickening feeling in the pitt of my stomach on his first day of school I wanted to cry then and wanted to cry now.

Most of the day I was on edge… Everytime the phone rang I held my breath, “please don’t be James” I would think! But the call never came and to my relief on collection from the library little man was smiling. We took the train home and little man didn’t stop, “James showed me this, James told me that, James said this, James laughed at that” he was the happiest I’d seen him in ages. The only downside side to his day was the headache he had brought back home with him. He mentioned the lighting was some what strong and flickered at times. He also told me all the lights were different… Some brighter then others. With this and the fact he had engaged in work throughout the day his head was paying the price. However he still spoke about James all the way home and once back indoors… That was in till he sat on my bed only to fall fast asleep. This was at 4 pm and he wouldn’t even wake for dinner!

So yes the next day was just as postive if not better. His father took him on the train and I got a lay in:-) well that was in till a certain cheeky one year old woke me with a slap in the face!
His home book stated that the day was perfect with little man having had engaged in plenty of work. Once home he had continued in learning mode and was on the PC creating a presentation on bullying.

I really do hope that things continue to go as well. I am worried that little man will have problems reintergrating back into a school environment and the effects his mainstream school has had on his confidence and social skills… But for now I’m just going to enjoy seeing my little guy smile.

Positive Statements made by little man these past few days…

“I can’t wait till tomorrow”

“I think James likes me because his kind to me”

“Mum did you know James never shouts”

“James understands me”

“We went tescos together and we even got a trolly”

“He trust me and don’t mind being out in public with me” (effects of never going on school trips)

“His my friend and my teacher”

“I like being with James he treats me like a normal boy”
(breaks my heart knowing he often feels so different)

Positives I’ve noted in two short days…

Lots more smiles

Keen to learn

Less tears

Positive feed back in his home book… Day one stated how well they got along and little man even tried hard and completed some work. Day two even better… He engaged in all his work and was a joy to work with.

Comments like these were sure to make me cry. I couldn’t help it! I had waited for what felt like forever for some positive feed back on little man. I’m so proud of him and very thankful to his new friend james.

My little man is on top of the world and it’s been a long time coming!!

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