Tag Archives: mediation

Compulsory Mediation – Good Idea?

17 Sep

So the draft legislation has been out a few weeks now and one of the biggest changes that has stood out most to me is that of Compulsory Mediation.

As things stand at the moment, A parent can lodge an appeal to the first tier tribunal as soon as the local education authority (LEA) has written to the parent setting out a child’s proposed provision in the form of a draft statement. If the parent doesn’t agree with the provision offered they then have the instant right to appeal. This is done by making an application to the first tier tribunal. In the meantime the parent can request that the LEA meet for Mediation which is conducted by an independent mediator. However, the appeal process is still well underway and most will find that this gives the LEA that much needed kick up the backside.

The draft legislation which has been written to assist the changes in SEN provision in the near future states…

… Mediation: This section applies where a child’s parent or young person intends to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal under section 28 in respect of anything done by a local authority, or the content of an EHC plan maintained by a local authority.
This section does not apply in respect of an appeal concerning only of

(a) the school or other institution named in an EHC plan;

(b) the type of school or other institution specified in an EHC plan;

(c) the fact that an EHC plan does not name a school or other institution.
The childís parent or young person must notify the authority of his or her intention to appeal.

The local authority must then arrange for mediation between it and the parent or young person.

The child’s parent or young person must take part in mediation under this section before making an appeal.

The authority must arrange for the mediation to be conducted by an independent person.

For the purposes of subsection (6), a person is not independent if he or she is employed by a local authority in England.

At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator must issue a certificate to both the local authority and the parent or young person
(a) setting out what has been agreed by the parties (including any agreed time limits), or

(b) stating that no agreement has been reached.

The parent or young person may make the appeal only if

(a) no agreement has been reached, or
(b) the local authority does not act in accordance with what is set out under subsection (8)(a) before any agreed time limits expire.

Regulations may make provision about mediation under this section, in particular
(a) about giving notice;
(b) imposing time limits;
(c) enabling a local authority to take prescribed steps following the conclusion of the mediation;
(d) about circumstances in which mediation under this section is not necessary;
(e) about the circumstances in which the parties to mediation need not meet face-to-face during the mediation;
(f) about the consequences of failure to take part or properly take part in the mediation;
(g) about who may attend the mediation;
(h) where a childís parent is a party to the mediation, requiring the
mediator to take reasonable steps to ascertain the views of the child;
(i) about the provision of advocacy and other support services for the
parent or young person;
(j) requiring a local authority to pay the other partyís reasonable travel expenses and other expenses of a prescribed description, up to any prescribed limit;
(k) about the training, qualifications and experience of persons who may act as a mediator;
(l) requiring a parent or young person to take prescribed steps when appealing to the First-tier Tribunal under section 28 after mediation;
(m) requiring the First-tier Tribunal not to determine an appeal under section 28 if requirements imposed under this section have not been met.

Appeals which only concern the name of a school, college or other institution specified in the Education, Health and Care Plan or the type of school, college or institution specified in the Plan or the fact that the Plan does not name any school, college or other institution can be made without going to mediation. This is because the parent or young person will already have been able to request a particular school or institution in the further education sector, and had discussions with the local authority about which institution should be named on the Plan. Requiring mediation in these circumstances would involve repeating the same discussions. The clause gives the Secretary of State regulation-making powers concerning mediation as listed in the clause.

So, what does this mean exactly? Basically parents will not only have to agree to mediation but undergo it before lodging an appeal with the tribunal.

This seems somewhat odd to me. There is no mention of tribunal timescales which will need to be adjusted to fit the proposed changes. The only timescales mentioned are those agreed during mediation.

Worryingly, from what I have read this new legislation will only make the appeals process longer than it currently is which in all honest is already far too long! I understand that we need to reduce the number of appeals reaching the tribunal but this should only be due to the fact more children are getting their needs met and therefore no longer require the help of a judicial decision to ensure it happens.

Let’s be honest here! For most parents it’s only the lodging of the appeal that makes the LEA that little bit more active when it comes to communicating with parents! Most parents will request mediation but the majority of LEAs will take forever to respond. I understand that the legislation states the LEA must arrange this but as mentioned there is no mention on just how long they have to do so.

The draft legislation also states that the Mediator must be independent (not work for the LEA)! This is already meant to be the case and most mediators work for independent charities. However, it’s my experience that most parents feel bullied by the LEA even with a mediator present. The majority of SEN case workers come armed with a legal representive for the LEA as well as half the council. Most parents can’t afford to do the same and it’s often the case that only one parent can attend.

It was my understanding that the proposed changes to SEN were being put in place to not only help the child but lower the stresses put on parents. The Government should be confident enough that the proposed changes are enough to reduce the number of cases being brought to tribunal. Compulsory mediation is just another hurdle a parent must overcome before getting their case heard by a tribunal.

Why not state that LEAs and parents must take part in mediation before the case is heard by the tribunal. Stating the parent has to overcome all these hurdles before even lodging an appeal is nothing other than barbaric. It just seems like another way of putting parents off.

I’ve read the entire draft and there are a number of areas that concern me. Nonetheless there is only so much writing I can do tonight!

So, are you a parent of a child with SEN? Have you ever undergone mediation with the LEA? Have you ever take the LEA to the tribunal? What do you think of the proposed legistation in regards to mediation?

Check out the draft legislation here

My contribution to the world of SEN

11 Sep

A while back I came up with the idea of creating a number of information sheets, that contained information for parents regarding special educational needs (SEN). These would be first published on the blog with the option of a download via my, ‘Goggle Doc’s’. 

 Like always, I took this plan and laid it out bear, for all members of my facebook page to see! This was in the hope of gaining constructive feedback, and establishing just how many people within one group may benefit from such information! The feedback has been overwhelming, with all that responded requesting I push on a head as many are at their wit’s end.

 Bearing in-mind the, ‘Green paper’ and the impact it would have on the way an LEA statemented a child, I was unsure whether It would now be a waste of time to go ahead with such an idea. However, given the response and the fact I’m still seeing a mass of parents visiting the, ‘Boy with Asperger’s facebook page’ on a daily basis, all with the same concerns, relating to the SEN system, especially that of the statementing process, (how it works and what rights they have). I decided to go ahead! 

 Of course these documents will need a complete overhaul, once the new system comes into play, but for now, they may be very beneficial to somebody who is about to, or otherwise already on, the Special educational needs roller-coaster.

 It’s a big old jungle out there, meaning there is a huge amount of information you will require! So… this is how if decided to deliver it!

I will create three sections, these will be… section one,‘Understanding Special educational needs’ (requests, assessments, decisions). Section two, ‘Tribunal, the right to appeal’. Section three, ‘Preparation and the hearing’. Section four, ‘Maintaining a statement of SEN’(annual review, requests & decisions) Section five, ‘Disability discrimination

 Now you know what Sections will be covered, here’s what each will contain!

 Section one, ‘Understanding Special education needs’ (request, assessments and decisions):

  1. Introduction to Special educational needs (SEN)
  2. Stages of SEN & Is my child receiving the right support
  3. Request for a, ‘Statutory Assessment’
  4. Decision to make a, ‘Statutory Assessment’ (Process & time-scales involved in carry out an assessment)
  5. Decision to Statement (Delivered in three sections 1) The proposed statement, 2) Parental choice (type of school, including a break down of options) 3) The final statement.

Section two: ‘Tribunal, the right to appeal’

  1. A refusal to carry out a statutory assessment
  2. A refusal to issue a statement
  3. Appealing the contents of a first Statement (including the school named in part 4)
  4. Appealing the contents of an amended statement
  5. A refusal to amend following a statutory reassessment 
  6. A refusal to change the school named in part 4 of a statement
  7. An LEA’s decision not to amend a statement of SEN following an annual review
  8. An LEA’s Decision to cease to maintain a statement

Section Three: ‘Preparation and the hearing and decisions ’

  1. Mediation 
  2. Witnesses 
  3. Working documents
  4. Representation
  5. The hearing
  6. The decision

Section four: ‘Maintaining a statement’ (annual reviews, requests and decisions)

  1. The LEA’s duty to deliver the contents of a statement (required steps if duty is not delivered)
  2. The right to request the school named in a child’s statement 
  3. Requesting a Reassessment of your child’s special educational needs
  4. The Annual Review process (Including information on an interim review)
  5. The Annual Review Year 9
  6. Annual Review Year 10

Section five: Disability discrimination

  1. Admissions
  2. Every child’s right to education
  3. School trips and education & additional activities (including playtimes, assembles, after school activities)
  4. Unofficial exclusions
  5. Exclusions
  6. Alternative education
  7. Permanent exclusion
  8. Raising complaints
  9. Claiming Disability discrimination and the Law!
  10. The order of the tribunal

 Each section will come with useful links and contacts. Section one, (a) will be posted on Monday the 12 th September. This post will be copied and added to the SEN, Know how! Page (This page will list all the post already published, providing a link for easy allocation). This means you will be able to locate your desired section and its content whenever you require it. It’s a challenge to bring you, my readers, all of the above. But those that know me, even in cyber-space, will know, I love a challenge!

My plan is to cover all the above, depending on how fast I can do so, is yet to be seen. Remember the laws and procedures applying  to Special educational needs are all gearing up for a change (I will adapt this as need be, in-order to fit in with the new Education, health and Social care plans as of when it arises). As for how often I can publish each section and what it contains is random. I’m not prepared to tie myself to a certain day of the week, for one, this would be far to many weeks and at times I may decided to write two at once, or three a week, other weeks, I may have no time to write non at all. SEN is a complicated process, you really do need to be in the right frame of mind to get this out there. You should also remember I haven’t personally been through every single one of the listed above. However, I have been through many, and have read and studied a great deal in the subject. 

 Disclaimer: The information provided, has no bearing on my role as a tribunal adviser with NAS, and the advice provided is given on an independent level through my own choice to help others dealing with the listed issues and is created to form an additional feature to this blog and my facebook support page. Each post will contain a link that enables you to download as a fact-sheet via Goggle Docs. Copyright still remains the same! No one should copy or republish the information without given credit to the author and providing a Link back. If you require the use of this informational for anything but personal reasons, full permission must be sought. Please do not edit any of the wording in any of the post or the downloaded documents (these are provided for personal use only)!

The Highs and Lows…… 2010 in a nutshell (Part2)

5 Jan


Hello everyone…. Happy New Year, Here’s hoping 2011 is the year for all of you (Myself and little man included)

As you can see… Me being me, this post is a little later than first intended! I really did mean for part 2 of my blog to be posted on New years eve so it would be my final post to the year. Well things didn’t go to plan and with a zillion other things to do, It just never happened…. Well as I’ve often been told… Better late then never. With that I will leave you with part two of the post, “The highs and lows… 2010 in a nutshell”

July….

July was a month made up of tears and meltdowns… It was a crazy one. Another multidisciplinary meeting was held at the school, I had finally received  the letter from the LEA refusing to carry out a Statutory Assessment of Little mans special educational needs… This meant I could finally prepare and lodge my appeal to the sen first tier tribunal. The overall outcome of the meeting was for the school to resubmit the Assess 1 (Which basically means… again requesting the LEA carry out a statutory assessment, only  this time the school will be do the requesting, rather than myself. Little man had now been observed in school by a number of outside agencies who were all in agreement that Little man could not cope in a mainstream school and would require a statement of Sen and a placement in a Specialist school. It was decided that when the school request the assessment they should also request that the LEA find Little man an emergency assessment place at a “special school” better suited to meet his needs. The meeting was a highly emotional one for me, I hate crying in public, but I spent most of that meeting in tears! What was read out by his 1-1 teaching assistant and his outreach worker was heartrending to have to listen to. There was one part that even stated…. “Other children are afraid of him! I really like his TA and know she was just stating her observations, but I felt like screaming “His just a little boy… Not a monster”

I tried to raise my concerns over trips but….. I was told that we could discuss this after the meeting! ” Why couldn’t we talk now?”…. This month it all got to much and I felt I had no choice but to lodge a discrimination claim with the tribunal. I did however offer plenty of opportunities for the school to simply apologise and change things so we can fix this sorry mess and concentrate on my Little mans floundering education and emotion well-being being. I heard nothing and instead felt ignored. I was angry that they felt such treatment can be justified… No matter if we win or lose the tribunal, I will be able to hold my head high knowing I did what I considered to be the right thing for myself and my child. It’s not about hate or bitterness…. It’s about a ten-year old that now has no school placement and has been placed in this worrying position because the early interventions, we so badly needed… Were never there! Who listened when I expressed my concerns four years back? Not one off them… Now we are here and my son is a ticking time bomb:( I would do anything to help others avoid such a stressful situation…. No child should be in this position, nor should their parent(s)

The Relationship between myself and the school has become incredible strained… I hate it… Every time you take your child to school you feel that awkwardness floating in the air…. Horrid, horrid situation to find yourself in! It’s just not productive at all!

One a higher note I was contacted by the TSS (tribunal support service) Where I was offered an interview for the training programme that would enable me to become a TSS adviser. First I would need to pass the interview followed by the first module…. If I passed I would then have to pass the following nine for an invite to the two training weekends …  This was fantastic news, and was made even better when I  passed the interview… Yay!

August…

August I’m jumping for joy… Literally jumping up and down like a crazy woman! My reason…. School summer holidays of course. Yes Little man is hard work but then again his sister has a cheeky side too. I would take anything god threw at me right now as long as it isn’t school related! I really don’t think I can contend with one more day of it!

We went on plenty of day trips… Some of these trips little man coped with brilliantly, others were not so good. Of course we indulged his special interest and went bus riding a number of times, But we also embanked on a number of other fun trips. One was to Southend On Sea with my mother and younger sister It was fantastic…. All three of my children loved and the stinky Southend sea air must have got my little man in a pretty good mood as he was happy chap throughout the day. This was also the month that we went to Chessington World Of Adventures, courtesy of Merlins magic wand…. Who we are most grateful to for making our day so brilliant. We were not made to queue for rides and was shown on each one using the rides exit entrance. This was great as it was two hourly waits on most rides and can you imagine that! Little man would be abusing the whole theme park within ten minutes and that’s being generous. Despite this Little man had two mini meltdowns…. One on the train & one on the way there, and the last while in the park. But on the whole a great day was had by all.

August was the month the LEA sen team wanted to play silly buggers. First the tribunal refused our appeal in relation to the LEAs refusal to assess… As we just missed the deadline… But thankfully five days after this, the decision was revoked and overturned. With this the LEA suddenly wanting a mediation meeting…. “Funny how they ignored my calls when I was requesting mediation… Just goes to show, how they operate…. So carless and thoughtless… It all boils down to money.

I also made my discrimination claim on this same month.

Oh… I passed the Module, so on the training programme now. nine more to go and pass.

 

September….

So the day I had dreaded arrived… The children’s first day back at school was here! I felt apprehensive about what lay in store for little man. Anyone would think given the children had been off school for a long six weeks and little man seemed to be at home more than school in general… I would be pushing them out the door, with an over enthusiastic wave & a smile! That so wasn’t the case. Little man wasn’t sleeping till the crazy hours and I knew he was worried about his return to school. I also knew that given the fact he had made one or two friends with his peers, he was also quite eager to attend. I held onto the comfort that he still remained with the same teacher whom he had the year previous, “At least that was one change he wouldn’t have to contend with” I was hopeful that the school had changed their ways…. As since we spoke about my unhappiness… The exclusions had faded, fewer calls were made. Things seemed to have calmed to some degree. Little man worried himself sick about other changes that were to take place. Some being…. New Class room, his workstation being moved, and the biggest…. The introduction of school uniform!

First day back his visual schedule was not in place causing huge meltdowns at home and school refusal on just day 2 of the new school year. If this wasn’t bad enough, Sensory overload was now an issue… The school shirts were driving him potty, yet it kept being insisted that he tucked it into his trousers… To which he would bluntly refuse. This situation became tensed and once more he had to be kept at home. Then all of a sudden the phone calls started once more and sadly so did the exclusions. Again these coincided with trips and activities…. YES ON ALL THREE EXCLUSION! Another chain of three just like those in March! However these were much closer together…. 17th, 22nd, 28th…

October….

The last exclusion of September was for a period of five days but they had no intentions in having him return, what with no reintegration meeting booked but instead a meeting at the local pupil referral unit with its 50 foot high prison style fences and what could only be described as security guards that walked up and down with keys hanging from their belts like prison guards. I went with my mother, they visited us at home, then lastly I took Little man. Lets just say…. “He didn’t wanna go!” and that was good enough for me.

Little man also celebrated his Birthday on the 1st- October while on exclusion. His father took him out for the day doing his two favorite things! “Bus riding and shopping” the latter only counts if it’s shopping for himself!! Later that evening we had a few people round one being a boy from his class, who stayed for tea and Birthday cake.

As we had no date for Little mans return to school… And the fact he was now on day 7 of his five-day exclusion I decided enough was enough and took him back. The LEA had decided to carry out the Statutory assessment of little man special educational needs! “*Fan-bloody-tasic* at long last some excellent news” This also meant we were done to one tribunal date as opposed to the two. The Educational Psychologist came in to observe Little man in his class the day he return following a conversation I had on the phone with her the night before. However the school wouldn’t allow her to observe him in his classroom alongside his peers so this was carried out in the school library with myself present. He was like a caged animal being hidden from the world. After the assessment from the Psychologist I spoke to the Head teacher who suggested that it would be better to take little man home for the remainder of that day, and to bring him back the following one. It was also suggested that he should be isolated all day (work alone with a TA in the den) this had been agreed for the mornings  as to allow him time to reintegrate back into class, however the whole day was out of the question, and with that I started flexi schooling (homeschooling from midday)

Over the month things began to worry me! Certain little things Little man said, his sudden outburst of anger, but most of all that look on his face every time I had to break his heart and tell him “No you wont be attending this trip or that activity… I’m sorry” The worse was the trip he was made to miss at the end of September (He was only excited as it involved traveling on a coach) Little man spent the week policing children as an attempt to make sure the trip would not be removed from his grip! Only to end up the only child not going!

After this emotionally tiring month it got that bit more depressing when….. A large section of our ceiling came crashing to the floor just as it did less than one year before. The ceiling and walls had only been fully repaired a few short months ago. Turns out the plasterers had gone through not one but two water pipes that connected to the radiators in the above bedrooms, when he had attached the new plaster-board. This resulted in the pipes slowly leaking for a year…. “And boy did I know it!”

regardless of these horrors above…. Some good finally came… I PASSED ALL MY MODULES! I had struggled to get them done what with my crazy home life and often did them throughout the night. I never expected to do as well as I did.

I will now attend the training weekends on the first weekend of November and the end of November.

Here’s my good news email…

… Hi Claire,


Hope you are well!

Just a quick e-mail to let you know your module results which were as follows

mod 1- 99%
mod 2-98%
mod 3-98%

mod 4-97%
mod 5-98%

mod 6-100%
mod 7-98%
mod 8-100%
mod-10- 98%
mod 9- to follow as not yet marked

Extremely high marks across all modules, well done!-just one or two marks knocked off for lack of details on a couple of q’s and Re-module 10, question 6- It actually does matter who makes the request for statutory assessment, it is only if it is the parents or the school  make the request that they have a right to appeal the decision-if it is a social services or request from a medical professional they don’t ( although to be fair it is nearly always the parents/school who make the request) section 329 and 329A of the 1996 Education Act.

Sorry all… *giggle* you must think I’m a girl with a bit of a large head! I really don’t mean to be… It just couldn’t have come at a better time! It picked me up and made me feel that at least all that hard work and long nights were not for nothing.


November…

What with the LEA deciding to carry out a statutory assessment, you would think things were looking brighter! The “Special school” we wanted Little man to attend on an emergency assessment basis, stated they could not meet his needs nor had space to do so. I had viewed the school and all I had been told was there wasn’t space! Well as some may already know…. If a school refuse on the grounds that they do not have a place to offer due to space the LEA can override this as it is said that no school is actually full. So I guess the logically way out is to claim “We can’t meet his needs”  The school refused to take him three times before the LEA gave up! Every other school that was approached some, even those that were so far out the area stated they did not have the space or cannot meet his level of need. It’s the school situation that is fueling his fire and I feel like I’m powerless to control this.

What with Little man being flexi schooled, and given how much his missed out on… Mum turned teacher (over night) decides to take her little man on my vision of a school trip! That’s right… I need to do something to bring him up as his self-esteem was so low and he was stating, “It would be better if I wasn’t born” Desperate to turn things around we embanked on our very own special school trip to the transport museum. He was in bus heaven! Remembering my own school trip days… I used the trip as a way to engage him the following day. He actually created a huge project with pictures, cuttings, bus tickets, pictures and drawings…. He even filled the sheet with interesting London Transport facts. extremely pleased was mum:)

It was in the first or second week of November that little man started going to school fall time for three out the five days. The next step was the whole five days. He was still in the den (nice world for isolation) in the mornings but afternoons he would be in class. We got to the middle of the week (Just three days in) When I got the dreaded call that I knew was going to be made that very day. It was the call to inform me little man was to return to isolation all day or if I didn’t want that, then the return to flexi schooling. How did I know this was coming? Because the following day Ofsted were visiting…. That’s how I knew! We reluctantly had to flexi school once more.

This was such a mess, and wasn’t of benefit to anyone but school.

MY high in November was attending the two training weekends… Not only did I have a bit of selfish “Claire” time but i felt like I was doing something to help those families that are experiencing what I have. “Support is like a rare gem… Once you get your hands on it you hold on as if your life depends on it”

I made new friends, and learnt a great deal. Best of all I passed the entire programme, so could now spread some love by doing my thing:)


December…

December is meant to be a month full of Joy & Christmas spirit. I wasn’t seeing much spirit being thrown in Little mans direction. Not when his being isolated from Christmas! This for Little man, For me, and for the family as a whole… Was the last kick in the teeth. We were not prepared to take this any more! This nightmare was being brought to an end. School placement or no school placement, we couldn’t afford to stick at it another minute! We were well and truly beaten down, then trod on! They had allowed for Little man to attend the after school Christmas party… However the few friends he had were ban from attending. I was told he was well-behaved during the disco, he had just walked around the dance floor 😦 So please explain your reasons for not allowing him back in the classroom for his class Christmas Party… For just one afternoon…. AFTER ALL IT’S CHRISTMAS! The best he was offered was a visit from a few of his class peers… By this I mean they come and observe him in his “caged environment” I have a lot of respect for his Teaching assistant as she understands him so much more than the others and if it wasn’t her in the Den with him them mornings…. Fear would have over taken over me. All though he likes this TA he had still become very low due to never being able to join his class. We got told at the meeting we attend this month that there was no intention of him EVER returning to that classroom… I could keep him in the afternoons if I still desired. It wasn’t in his best interest to go into the classroom and “enjoy” himself… Of course it wasn’t said in these words… but I don’t have ASD and can read body language a treat! They were clinging to the hope he is offered a placement in January, but if not he will have a new TA and remain isolated… “FUCK THIS!” (Pardon me) These people really don’t have his best interest at heart, Is it easy to sleep at night knowing that Little man is stressed like no ten-year old should ever need to be.

So we left and that was that!

We were told the purposed statement was being drafted and would be with us sometime the following week. Well that was the beginning of December and it’s not yet her today on the 5th January 2011. I’ve spoken to the Sen caseworker who has informed me It was posted today.

Tribunal is set for January for this reason I had to submit the evidence on the 6th December the day my sister was attacked. This resulted in some mad rush and high blood pressure… I scanned, emailed, and faxed at once…. It was pure craziness.

The end is a whole lot happier…. Aww… Christmas was beautiful…. A tad stressful but like dealing with a pussy cat compared the school or a meltdown Little man style.

So there it is… In black and white (With a touch of pink and grey) Our year in a post…. A nutshell was somewhat of an understatement I think!





Tears, Buses and awards

9 May

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated on the subject of life at home and school. So heres the latest.

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The behaviour chart seems to now be having a sight effect on little man. He didn’t really care about stickers before but since his sister Alice got her bonus reward of £10 on top of her normal pocket-money little man has sat up and took note. But my did he go on and on with his blandishments and pleas for the same reward as his sister! Yep mummy was a BAD MOTHER and he went on to more inappropriate name calling, So much so it’s better I don’t write them down here in the event I may offend others. He spent the whole day till the next day swapping from one technique to the other. None being particularly helpful to his case but nevertheless he consider it to be wroth a try! Well I am exceptionally pleased to report that despite his tantrums escalating into full on meltdowns and me heading to bed early hours with a pack of painkillers in hand due to receiving a verbal head bashing for hours  I stood my ground showing no mercy and indeed not giving in.

Little man has decided to put us through the hell of bedtime once more. As most know already getting little man into a bed time routine is hellish. Yes children with ASD like structure and routine but when it comes to bed then well a lot of that flies out the window. It’s like the Melatonin has stopped working. I know he can over ride the medication but he often goes with the flow resulting in him getting some much-needed sleep. The thing with children like Little man is there tends to be no in between. Your tired or you’re not! Your staving hungry or not hungry at all. There seems to be no build up to anything little man does. When he goes to bed and to sleep he just goes, One moment his wide awake the next his sleeping. And when his awake well it’s the same his WIDE  awake. Being his parent  who is observing his recent changes in behaviours and reluctance to sleep I have come to the conclusion that the worries little man faces surrounding school and his continued obsession with buses are both contributing factors. School is up and down for the little man right now. He recently had a physical fight with his “best friend” Alex that had escalated as a result of a play fight which took place in the classroom. Little man ended up with a pretty nasty mark behind his ear. I will write more regarding school a tad further on in this post right now I want to write a little more about Little mans obsessive behaviours and how these are now beginning to affect everyday life. Little man used to like both Trains and buses but it’s easy to see that now buses are top of his interest list. He lives and breaths buses. I’m not extracting when I say buses are his LIFE. From the moment he wakes till that last moment of conciousness they are fixated firmly  on his in brain, No wonder he has trouble working in school. It’s become very intense and he is very focused on anything resembling buses. His Father got him up and dressed and out the house for school with only minor problems. All this because of a promise made by Dad. Get up and ready for school and I will take you on the bus. Not just any bus but the 194 to west Croydon and back after school. How in god’s name he got through the school day with that extent of excitement mounting throughout the day surprises me. Don’t get me wrong I’m pleased he has an interest and what the hell buses aint that bad a thing to like BUT it’s just very over powering at this present time. Yes we can use the buses as a reward to engage him in displaying good behaviour at home and school but at times I wanna scream “SOD THE BLOODLY BUSES” No I haven’t done this but I’m not denying the moments been close. Having an important conversation with your child only for them to start beeping like bus doors is more than annoying but please go into any conversation with little man with caution because the possibility of him dominating it with his “special interest” is pretty likely. I have been lucky enough to be excepted into a course which I think is run by the ASD outreach in my area called Early bird plus. It’s a new course as it used to just be the early bird which was for parents of very young newly diagnosed children. Now its up to 8 years ( Little man is 9 but thankfully It was over looked ) It is fantastic it’s a small very personal course with about 10 parents but we are all given the opportunity to take two others one being family or close friend the other being a professional from school. I have researched and read a ton of books relating to little man’s Aspergers in order to educate myself but there is always room to learn more. It’s great meeting like-minded parents and the organisers are so nice and more than understanding. I loved that you could see it was more a passion to bring awareness then a job. I got to voice my main concerns at present when It was my turn to speak about my child. Well as you may have guessed School and obsessive behaviours were at the top of my list. These were followed by concerns of bullying towards his sister and use of inappropriate language already after the first class I feel a much more positive person and parent. Looking forward to the coming Tuesdays when I plan to attend with a close friend who relates and is non judgmental towards my little man.

SCHOOL

Well we had the Meeting and lets just say it wasn’t what I expected but then again what did I expect? What I was most disappointed with was the fact it was only the headteacher , the Senco/assisting headteacher and Little mans class teacher who I must add has always been extremely happy to discuss my sons progress and he really seems to care what happens to him. What a shame he has a classroom of 30 something other children. I took a friend and some on from the parent partnership service. Yes I expected a good deal more professionals to attend, We had already postponed and one of the reasons was in order for it to be convenient for others. Regardless of this disappointing turn out the meeting went a head as planed. There was a lot we didn’t agree on and a reluctance to discuss past events given some were only weeks if not days ago. I do wish I had been so much stronger as at the very end I did cry a little. I tried so bloody hard not to but I’m just human at the end of the day and this is my child we are discussing. It’s not easy having him excluded and as his mother being powerless to stop it. The parent in partnership worker felt the meeting was extremely tensed we were in need of someone outside the cycle to help the strained relationship rebuild as yes it was clear to all there is a huge breakdown between myself and the school. She did suggest a mediator which I’m good with however the school seemed a little less keen but you never know maybe. Well the good news is that little man now has good provisions and accommodations in place. He has his own TA for the best part of his structured day ( sadly not much of unstructured time where I consider much of the problem to be ), his own workstation with laptop and visual timetable. He has been taken of the going for gold system as it isn’t working for him. The going for good is a system setup for every class. Each child starts on a gold card and throughout the day can have it turned due to bad behaviour, Once your on RED your out that class and mum and dad are getting a phone call or letter. Well as you can guess little man hit red a lot of the time. I would go as far as to say he sometimes had his card on red before morning play. So he now has his own behaviour chat and with it his own rules which to me seems better for now. We have also started a contact book which seems a good move as I can warn them of his morning moods and report anything I feel will distract his day at school. I also get to read how things are going and see his progress daily. This is something I wish we had started long ago. So yes at present the level of support is good but the Headteacher said the problem is that the current level of support on offer is not for a long period as the resources and staff it uses hence the reason an educational assessment of needs is needed. But the likely hood of this being grunted is low and this was something we were both in agreement on.

In relation to exclusions have they stopped? Well I really thought that progress had been made and yes exclusion were being avoided. On the return from the Easter half term things seemed pretty good but nothing lasts forever and he was excluded on the 5th May for hitting the teacher. It was said he threaten to hit her then swung his arm and his hand hit her face ( This is what the letter stated ) And then there was a number of other reasons basically the same ones as always so lets skip that and go back to the hitting afterall that’s pretty massive stuff. Little man again got upset claiming to be playing with the teacher he said he threaten in a playful way and the teacher was laughing he said he did put his had on her face but didn’t slap her it was soft just playing. It’s my opinion that my son has problems relating with adults in a different way from children. He don’t see a difference and if anything sees adults as peers. He regards a certain TA as his buddy. This lead to another exclusion where it was said he hit them, Again he says it wasn’t meant this way he was playing. The only positive thing is that it’s for the shortest time possible this being just one day. Still will exclusion have a good effect on little mans behaviour? I don’t thing so, It hasn’t so far, why now? We still have to reintegrate him back into school which is always a difficult one as he has to attend part of the reintegration meeting which mostly gives him the hump as he wants to go to class and not sit and discuss past behaviours. Needless to say this has to be done and is an important part of reintegration but that still don’t make the situation any easier.

So school has been a very mixed bag these past weeks but I do wish to end on a positive as often this isn’t the case. Well Little man received an award at school for his mathematics. The ward meant a certificate which stated Math genius. It was presented in school assembly a place little man often struggles resulting in him shouting out and disrupting the whole school, so it was nice knowing something really positive was taking place. I was so proud I almost cried when he showed me. Ok that same day he had a classroom fight and kept leaving the class without permission and was a bit disruptive in class but to say I was proud was an understatement. To see him with that certificate was so much more for me then it maybe would have been to another parent with a child presented with the same award. I’m not saying they wouldn’t be proud of course they would but for little man its massive! I can not tell you the last time he brought a certificate home. His sister yer all the time which made this extra special it was like a rare gemstone. I have displayed it proudly on the fridge and I’m hoping it’s given some company really soon.

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