Tag Archives: primary school

No… My Son Hasn’t Become Addicted To Gambling Because He Won A Raffle

25 Jan

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If you read the blog regularly then you will already know that little man won an iPad mini just before Christmas with Vivo miles (his school reward system). If you didn’t read my blog post about the win, you can find it Here!

So… Recently, well a few weeks back in fact, I came across an article (well more than one actually) regarding the online raffle that my son won. The article told how a parent had reported Vivo Miles to the Gambling Commission after the parent accused the popular school reward scheme of encouraging gambling when they allowed pupils to take part in a raffle for high-tech gadgets.

Pupils were able to purchase raffle tickets from the points they had been awarded by their teaching staff. These tickets are paid with by points but worked out to the Equivalent of around 5p each in money.

It is said that the parent complained having discovered her son had taken part in the raffle without her permission. She was concerned about this and complained that her child had been allowed to gamble, spending his well earned points on an online lottery!

Now, before I go any further, I wish to make a few things known and noted…

Firstly… Yes… Little man did win an IPad mini on this very raffle, and No… this has no inference on my current thoughts and opinions on the subject. I have read the articles, given it some thought and done some research.

So, the articles are not that positive, the papers and online sites did well to highlight the less then positive factors within this story! As always things could have been better explained and other important factors included… But hay, where’s the juice in that?

Now… I understand the parents concerns, especially if she had no indication of her sons entry into the online raffle, but what everyone is forgetting to ask themselves is why didn’t she know?

As mentioned within the articles, shools pay to join the Vivo Miles reward programme. What it fails to mention is that each school receives a programme tailored to its specific needs and more importantly… budgets. The schools independently select items to be placed on the they’re schools profile. Pupils can then make selections from the school’s rewards and exchange these items for their points. Every item is pre-selected by members of staff within the school, So, this therefore includes the inclusion of the raffle itself.

The staff in charge of managing their online profile are the ones who have a duty to inform parents of the raffle… Not Vivo Miles. Vivo deal directly with the schools, even the rewards are sent directly to the schools as opposed to pupils home addresses.

I wish to add that Little mans school informed us, the parents! About the online raffle as soon as it went live. My daughters school (Mainstream Primary) don’t use Vivo miles but do always ran a school Christmas raffle! Here’s the difference….

My son’s school informed us by letter. They explained ticket prices and how the raffles would be run.

My daughters school also sent out letters stating the school office had raffle tickets for sale. The note states the price and suggestion that we give our children money to buy tickets when at school!

In many ways I struggle to see the differences! Only that little man would act more independently when deciding how many of his points to spend on tickets. I actually think this teaches some independent and decision making skills to the child.

Yes… The prize was nice! But also educational! For a child like little man on the autism spectrum, an iPad mini is a great tool, one that many schools are actually giving to pupils to use at school (costing them large amounts from its budget).

My daughters school also had great prizes on offer, some more expensive than others.

I also checked out some other school raffles by doing a google search and discovered that some schools were offering really elaborate prizes, such as hotel stays, bottles of champagne and games consoles. Again most of these schools wrote that children could come into school with the money to buy tickets. The only difference here is that parents know what they are sending the money in for, but its still an exchange of money and if anything a more realistic form of gambling due to the visual aspects of it! I was fully informed about the Vivo raffle and could have therefore stopped little man joining in anytime, just as I could have chosen for my daughter to opt out by not supplying her with the funds for the ticket (regardless of if its her pocket money).

The biggest issue I see is the schools mistake of not informing this parent of the Vivo Miles raffle (as it seems they didn’t).

I wonder if the parents who did have an issue with the online raffle feel the same when it comes to school tombolas. Kids can spend their pocket money on 3 tombola tickets for a pound. They can do this without a parents consent. Children open the tickets in the hope their raffle ticket ends in a 0 or a 9 to have their pick of prizes from the table. There is no limitation on the number of tickets kids can buy and although the prize is not an ipad its a relevant, its taking a gamble all the same! I my opinion its worse as the temptation is laid out before their very eyes.

For me the term lottery is a strong one!
As far as I’m concerned proceeds from the raffles that were in its 3rd month of trails were donated to charity.

Vivo also encourage children to donate points to their chosen charity & our kids are free to do so if they wish.

Now, I did hear that during the trails there was some sort of mix up. It has been stated that Vivo Miles insisted the raffles were only open to pupils in the 500 secondary schools subscribing to the scheme, but admitted that two primaries had also “inadvertently” been included.

What can I say… This is a careless mistake but one that both Vivo and the schools in question need hold accounting for.

It is rumoured that the parent who made the complaint is a parent to a primary school child aged 7 years. It is also noted that she was surprised when her child had told her he had participated in the raffle. All I want to know is why no one felt the need to monitor this child’s Internet usage. A child at 7 could run into allsorts of trouble, what with inappropriate website and child grooming! I for one would be monitoring my 7 year olds internet usage. Was this mother not regularly checking the sites her child visited and did she not feel the need to view her child’s Vivo profile at all. I have even seen a thread on a forum where it is said that primary aged children were making comments on the Vivo Facebook page, yet Facebook is a social networking site for children age 13+. In one sense these parents are rightfully complaining about their child taking part in an online raffle but in another sense happy for them to have free run of the net and chat on Facebook? Its our job as parents, along with those teaching our children, to protect them and teach safe Internet usage.

There is yet more rumours, one being that Vivo miles didn’t plan on giving all the money to charity. I was told in writing that the money would go to charitable courses when I was informed about the raffle. As of yet I haven’t had any reason to suspect otherwise.

Lastly… As noted, my opinion have no bearing on Little mans win. I spent a long time in a relationship with someone addicted to gambling and it tore apart my life for sometime. If I believed I was allowing my child into that world then I wouldn’t have allowed him to participate.

Since his win, my son has not become some over compulsive gambler. He doesn’t cling to me, dragging from my legs kicking and screaming begging me to buy him a scratch card or anything! His iPad has become a great communication tool, a place he can store a visual schedule that’s totally mobile and personalised to his needs, somewhere to store notes to remember important information, a learning and resource device, and of course a place to play Mindcraft… (Com on his got to let of steam somehow).

I’m confident in stating that little man has become much more independent since using Vivo miles. Having attended schools who’s past reward systems failed (let’s not forget this little boy with aspergers was left with no school as not one mainstream school said they could meet his needs) he has now been lucky enough to have discovered a programme that works for him.

Since attending special school his never again been excluded and considering this was a weekly occurrence, it would seem evident that Vivo mile, along with good teaching has given my son the opportunity of educational success.

Little man actually brought all the family small Christmas gifts with his points before buying any raffle tickets (see… he was budgeting). If Vivo miles were able to have continued the raffles would he have entered anymore? Maybe, maybe not! He hasn’t mentioned wanting to and if he wants something he knows how to bleb on about it. Why am i so confident that Vivo Miles haven’t created a gambling monster? Given he entered just the one raffle out the 3 or 4 that were run and the fact his not searching for more makes me confident. His plan has always been to save his points for next years Christmas shop… Now does this look like the ideas of a newly formed gambler?

No… It doesn’t!

He won a raffle, lots of kids do and will continue to do so for years to come!

We won’t apologise for that and I won’t admit to allowing my 12 year old child with Aspergers gamble… Because that is simply not the case!

Reference: Related Mumsnet forum thread

Also another blogger from across the pond has some interesting points on this story: Chellie’s World

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Why I’m not looking forward to my toddler starting school

8 Oct

Who said it was meant to be easy.

They stand in little groups chatting to one another about their wonderful children. They sound as though they are almost in competition, yet desperate to impress one another.

Do I wish I was stood there with them. One of the mums who gets invited around the chief mummy’s house for a cuppa and a biscuit… No, not even for one minute!

Its strange, we see these social gatherings happening when we were at school! Yet some 15 years on its almost the same. Even stranger still is the fact that half of these social gatherings consists of the exact same people only older. They are now mothers themselves yet still raise their snobby little noses just as they did when we where teenagers.

I can’t sit here and label all mothers in this way… After all I know I’m not. And I’ve seen others who give a friendly smile and a node as they walk on by. But on the whole they keep themselves to themselves.

I have nothing against the mother who easily befriends every other child’s mother in their child’s class! However I do have something against the ones who make the business of other mothers their own and everybody else’s for that matter. Worse still they never normally seem to get the gossip quite right, resulting in some top notch bull shit or another flying around the community you live in.

I once read in the paper about two mothers kicking off at the school gates with their children present and of course everyone else’s. One mother was so badly attacked she was hospitalised while the other was taken of to the cells for some cooling off time. Another horrendous story I saw splashed all over the national news was that of a father attacking another father during their children’s Christmas production. The guy actually bit of the other guys finger and spat it out like some sick animal. I only hope they got the children out of sight because that’s the stuff of nightmares.

I’m not worried about having my finger bite of or anything (though that wouldn’t be fun) I’m just expressing my point which is “School playgrounds can be hellish places, not just for the pupils but for that of their parents too!”

So… Why am I banging on about all this now?

It’s simple… I’m already fretting about the day that will come and see my youngest child take that giant leap into education. His now almost 3 years old, and the time so far has just flown by. Before I know it I’ll be there… And again i’ll be stood in the playground with a new group of mums.

20121008-134937.jpgmy youngest Harley almost 3

As regular readers will already know, When it comes to schools I seem to always have some kind of crappy issue. History is my proof.

I know that my eldest child being on the autism spectrum meant he didn’t fit in with his “Typical” peers and this therefore meant that I as his mother failed to fit in with their “Typical” mothers. Well, lets be honest here… I never overly tried! Friendships just happen and don’t need to be pushed (some need work but these are existing ones). If I don’t instantly click with someone then its 98% chance I never will.

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I remember when we’d be stood waiting in the infant playground for the bell to ring indicating the start of the school day. Up in-till that point, little man would be running around like a rabbit with headlights. He’d bump into everything and everyone. Some may think… “And what? Isn’t this what boys do?” And to a certain extent, yes it is! However, little man had no regard for boundaries. He’d just roar into another’s conversation… Speak his mind and therefore say the most inappropriate things (normally stuff I’d actually be thinking but never likely to say aloud). He’d run and grab footballs from the ground while others tried to play a game and many peers therefore saw him as a really big pain in the butt! Me, I’d be dashing about after him like a crazed headless chicken, failing miserably at any attempt to catch him let alone control him. Mothers would stare, some shaking their heads and tutting, others turning to their friends in disgust. Whenever Little man dared attempt to approach their child they’d quickly be dragged away and warned “Don’t play with that child, you hear me?”

I hate it when parents act like my child is some sort of diseased being. They look at him like his some little demon child who could potentially convert their child into something similar. I used to let the ignorant stares upset me and remember that at one stage what others thought meant a big deal to me. But in all honesty you cannot spend each waking day like this. Yes you can advocate for your child but running after every parent who looks at you slightly funny probably means you’ll be spending most of your life running. Yes, I’d be a lot fitter but I don’t fancy it all the same.

So, there you have it! This is one of my many reasons I’m dreading the toddler starting school. I just wished he stay little forever.

20121008-134721.jpgLittle man just about to melt down.

Blink and I’ll sleep for a week!

18 Apr

Life right now is nothing short of manic. There’s simply no other word to describe it!

April has been one incredibly overwhelming month and we are just past the half-way mark.

I feel I’ve been put through my paces and had every emotion in my body put to the test. Some days I’ve been in fighting mode, others I’ve been so exhausted I’ve just wanted to crawl into my bed, hide away from the world while indulging in some longed for sleep. 

With each passing day I’m one step closer to hearing my little man’s fate, and no matter how much I try to prepare myself, I somehow feel that we’re hanging from a cliff top ready to drop!

Little man currently has no school placement for the whole of our borough and those that boarder us have taken one look at my sons papers & decided that they don’t have a placement available or lack the resources needed in-order to meet his level of need. 

Each day his left without a school is one day closer to him never going back! This shameful situation has ultimately made him regress, causing his social skills to decrease, and his dislike towards school to heighten. My ten year old son is now so anxious at the prospect that he will one day be expected to step foot in side a school along side other children that he will now require a tremendous amount of support when that day comes!

Whoever said that children on the higher end of the autism spectrum, have less complex needs were delusional! 

Just because my son has a reasonably good vocabulary and met most of his milestones doesn’t make his needs any less complex. However I don’t need to go into that, I don’t have to try and prove such a fact anymore, the system finally took note, it just did so a little later then needed!

This past year or so, my family has been left dangling from a string, I often ask god when that string will break.  April has come around so quickly, this time last year we were at the beginning of the tribunal process. However this wasn’t a special educational needs appeal but sadly a disability discrimination case! At that time and for a significant time thereafter, Little man endured so much. Fixed term exclusions that subsequently occurred one after another, removal from nearly every school activity, including educational outings, school plays, Christmas assemblies , etc. He has been illegally excluded and subjected to long spurts of isolation (received 1-to-1 teaching, just him and a teaching assistant in what was known as the den), he would only attend from nine till twelfth, and was made to play in the infant playground with children of a much younger age. My little man was classified as a potential health and safety risk that was a threat to children and staff! Can you imagine how that impacted on a little boys self-esteem! In December 2010 I eventually made one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my son, ‘ to remove him from the educational setting that was impacting hugely on his mental well-being!’  As a parent I could not stand by while he was subjected to such treatment. 

During the beginning of October 2010 at the height of the discrimination the local education authority (LEA) finally agreed to undertake a statutory assessment of Little Man’s Special educational needs that he so desperately needed! In all honesty this couldn’t have come at a more convenient time! I was quickly running out of ideas and needed my child in an educational setting with staff equipped to meet his needs. 

Believe me, I was under no illusions that this was now plain sailing… some may say I’m somewhat a pessimist but as I’ve stated once maybe twice before that I prefer the term ‘REALIST!’ And as expected the LEA didn’t wanna play fair!

In January 2011 I received the proposed statement of special educational needs but instead of providing a statement that held the potentiality to see him progress, I instead received a proposed statement that provided nothing more then, ‘GOOD OLD COMMON SENSE!’ This statement was made final in March and delivered with a covering letter explaining that the statement had only been finalised to meet time-scales and would be amended to include my suggested amendments…. YES, I’M STILL WAITING!

In February 2011 just a few days before the disability discrimination hearing we eventually came to a settlement that saw his ‘old’ primary school review its policies, train staff in disability discrimination and a formal apology was given to myself and of course little man. 

Little man is currently being educated in a library on a 1-to-1 part-time basis by a tutor his now overly attached to.

Why? Because no ‘special school‘ will offer him a place.

On the 3rd of June our appeal against parts 2, 3 and 4 of little man’s statement will be heard by the SEN first tier tribunal. I will need to prove that the one school I’ve found that can possibly meet his needs, an ‘independent special school’ should be named in part 4 of his statement. I will also need to prove that part 2 does not list all his difficulties and that part three needs amending as to provide the right provision needed for him to succeed, such as… 1-to-1 support from a learning support assistant or at least a teaching assistant, as-well as occupational (OT) and speech and language (SALT) therapy.

 

I’m thankful for the fact that I’m a trained tribunal support adviser and volunteer caseworker for the NAS. This has obviously given me a greater understanding of the SEN law and tribunal process, nevertheless emotionally it’s no easier! I’m still a parent who has had to watch her child regress. Of course I feel a certain amount of anger towards this horrid system that has allowed such a situation as ours to reach this point (let’s not forget that I’m a mother who has been taken to court twice over her child’s school attendance, no one wanting to investigate the underlying issue nor listen when I pleaded for someone/anyone to help! I guess to some prosecution was the more appealing option) However it’s this past resentment that keeps me fighting and empowers me to help others who are walking the path I’ve walked!

So here we are now in April 2011 and as mentioned it’s been incredibility pressing. I’ve had a Birthday that saw me turn twenty-nine, I’ve been busy with my volunteering duties and contracted Pneumonia which I’m only just beginning to get over! I’ve been preparing Little Man’s appeal while also going a tad insane as a result of the Easter holidays & if this wasn’t enough… MY HOUSE LOOKS LIKE IT BLEW UP!

Despite all the above there is something else that has happened these past few weeks in-which I consider to be far more significant then anything I’ve already addressed! Its something that happened within me, a realisation if you like! I’ve had my eyes opened and although I knew Little man hand significant complex needs that admittedly have been made somewhat worse due to his lack of a suitable education, I’ve got to see his difficulties and what scale these are impacting on many areas of his life. The proof that without early intervention, an understanding environment and the right support, the effect on the child with Aspergers can be detrimental. 

On the 4th and 15th of April Little man underwent two independent assessment. One was carried out at our home by a fantastic independent psychologist (EP) who had her work cut out for her, commenting right from the start that Little man was a hard child to assess! The second assessment was carried out in central London just off Harley St, but this time by an independent speech and Language therapist (SALT) who again was a pleasure to met. Both assessments were carried out for the purpose of the tribunal. I needed independent assessments in order to gain reports detailing Little mans current difficulties and suggested provision to be added to part 2 and three of his statement.

On the 4th of April I sat and watched him struggle to cope with the assessment process that was carried out by the EP, his concentration was noticeably low and he found it near on impossible to focus on anything he was given! His anxiety levels were scoring. The Ep worked so hard with him and after four long hours she managed to gather enough information to write her report. 

On Friday we hit Central London for Little mans SALT assessment but even in a different setting from the home Little man found it hard to participate. With much persistence and an offer of a chocolate egg from the therapist we eventually got some off the testing done. I had of course realised that an SALT programme would be needed, but sat there listening to him try to make sentences with the inclusion of a word given by the therapist while looking at a picture in a book. It proved that despite his vocalness, his ability to put what he sees into words is somewhat a struggle for him. His literal understanding was also very apparent on the day!

Both therapists mentioned the possibility of an underlying condition which of course was ADHD and the EP is also pretty sure his dyslexic ( however she was in agreement that his mathematical skills are great) It was also recommended by both that little man undergoes an independent occupational therapy assessment (OT) due to concerns with both his fine and gross motor skills. I’ve also stated with certain task Little Man is like an elephant playing football.

After the SALT assessment we spent the day indulging in Little mans special interest (transport) Visiting London land marks by train, tube and bus. We visited Greenwich market where Little man met a magician which bowled him over before spotting a vintage model bus which after a little begging I reluctantly brought him. We hung out at the O2, visited Canary Wholf (that he didn’t enjoy and got the message across by bending his body into a ball and screaming that the tallest building in London was falling on-top off him! Well, that’s a post for another day) We also took the clipper (fast river boat) along the River Thames. He had such a blast and he smiled almost the entire day, with not one meltdown in sight!

 As I sat on the Dock-lands light rail (Yes we commuted on many types of transport that day!) I watched him shuffle awkwardly when another child sat by. He was obvious to the battle that lie head and maybe it was better that way!   

picture of  Little Man and Mr Magic

My little man, is just that little! His a ten year old boy and it’s not to late to give him what he needs! I hope that the professionals within the LEA and those employed by such a service read this and realise the effects their decisions, treatment and all to often delays have on the child and their family as a whole. Yes it’s your job, but this is mine, “to see that my child gets what he needs, is given the same opportunities as his peers and gets the adequate education he and so many others like him are entitled to” 

“Yep, you may not like it ‘LEA’ but this mothers on a mission!!”

SO SENDING YOU ALL A MASSIVE VIRTUAL HUG FROM MYSELF AND THE LITTLE MAN TO SAY THANK YOU, YOUR TRUELY THE MOST WONDERFUL READERS!

“Hidden”

9 Dec

A few weeks back I came across an article in the Guardian… Unruly pupils ‘hidden’ from Ofsted inspectors!

Was I surprised? This isn’t news! Well at least not to those parent’s of the “unruly child”

Headteachers are employing an arsenal of tricks to keep naughty pupils hidden from inspectors, MPs were told today.

Unruly children may be temporarily suspended before Ofsted teams arrive, or supply teachers brought in to cover “terrible” classes of disruptive pupils because inspectors are known to be unlikely to observe those lessons, the education select committee heard. As a result, witnesses claimed, inspectors underestimate the extent of bad behaviour. The Guardian 18,11,2010

I should count myself lucky as my son wasn’t part of the statistic… despite his constant exclusions and isolation! There was one occasion I thought little man had been excluded for the benefit of gaining that oh so great report! However it turned out to be normal everyday inspectors… Well that makes it Ok then!

Well this hit the headlines on the 18th November 2010, and at that time as mentioned above Little man had not yet been “hidden” But how things were about to change! On the 23rd November, just a few days after commenting on the article I received a letter…. Ofsted were coming to the little dudes school on the 26th and 27th of November.

I just knew, from the moment I saw that letter that my son would have yet another crawl exclusion or sprint in isolation.. Like some kind of caged animal. Little man had only just returned to the classroom in the afternoons and back into school on a full-time basis while awaiting the decision on a statement of Sen and a placement in an “autism specific school”

Monday when I had collected him from school he wasn’t waiting in the office as I was told he would be. Instead he was in the hall hiding under PE equipment. He had hidden there purely because he wished to finish school at the same time as his peers. Not aware of the time due to him leaving his watch indoors, he had got in his hiding place far to early, meaning he was sat down there for sometime all in an attempt to stay with his class that extra ten minutes.

Tuesday we visited Camhs. It was near on impossible to have a conversation with the Dr, Little mans anxiety levels were scoring and it was heart breaking to see him so distressed. However he went to school that afternoon and joined his all time favourite lesson… French! He seems to have a bit of a thing for the French teacher bless him. That afternoon he didn’t need to hide. He stayed till the end and left the classroom side by side with his peers. Little man had a smile so big it lit his face and in his hand he held a plastic trophy and a small packet of sweets, prizes he had won from the teacher.

Wednesday again little man wasn’t in the office but in his classroom. The bell had not yet gone so I walked down to his classroom and waited outside alongside the other parents. Did they even know who I was? It had felt like forever since I stood amongst them all. Lucky for me I knew one or two so chatted in till the bell went. I noticed that the teacher wasn’t somebody I had met before, but a supply teacher. I worried that maybe things hadn’t gone well, so went in for the kill and asked her outright. I was told that all though she had not been in the class the whole afternoon, he was Ok… Just a little swearing. While speaking to his friends (Partner in crime) father, his class teacher appeared. After telling little man that he was still recording his behaviour (little man was becoming impatient with waiting and was banging the back of his foot against the wall) I asked about his behaviour and was told that it was not perfect… However most of the afternoon that he was there it wasn’t to bad and he had even produced four pages of work. I’ve been told he isn’t on the gold card system anymore yet the teacher pointed out that little man had turned his card but not to red 🙂

When leaving the school with little man’s partner in crime and his father, before waving good-bye I said to his father that I could see one-off our boys, or even both of them being pulled from the class tomorrow.

With that I went home and emailed a few people stating my concerns about the Ofsted visit and how my gut was telling me little man was going to suffer.

6.45 pm having just finished a meal over at my mothers came the call I dreaded but whole heartedly expected. I was told that little man being in his class with his peers in the afternoons wasn’t working….. I was then told that the plan was to isolate him for the whole school day! Of course I wasn’t shocked but to say it was to do with the behaviour he was demonstrating in class was a joke!

The anger and sadness I felt was so intense! For once why couldn’t they have proven me wrong? Done the right thing by the child. The constant exclusions from school and trips/activities, the days spent isolated were too much. His transfer to a school that understands him and includes him could not come soon enough. Yes I will admit at that moment in time I hated the person on the other end of the phone. Yet hate is a strong word, looking at my child it was the right word…. I hated them so much for proving me right, for letting little man down as always and yes I still hate them now.

I wont go into details about what was and wasn’t said during that phone call. But what I will say is that in a roundabout way it was confirmed to me that my child’s presence in that class room would have an undesired effect on any inspection reports.

I’m not blasting the over all performance of the school, In my opinion there are a handful of teachers who are pleasant and teach to a high standard. Others simply don’t make the cut because when it comes to the educational and mental well-being of children such as little man, the ones who are seen as “different” from the children without Sen or a disability they just don’t care! Then their are the ones merely doing as they are instructed to by those above them.

Since this day my son has been staying at home or going into school half day (Just how they like it) His routine! What routine?

It’s the Christmas period and I have already mentioned in a recent phone call, if Little man is removed from Christmas activities then his staying at home. Im awaiting an appointment with the GP because when your child turns around and says, “Mum, it would have been better if I was never born” it’s clear that the school are having a huge impact on his self-esteem and chipping, flaking confidence.

Looking at little mans educational reports, it’s clear to see his school are more interested in the contents of this blog! If that is the case then how cold one must be to carry on this treatment towards my child. I will not stop writing this blog as it’s my escape and though his school have referred to it as some kind of “hate campaign” against them! It is not! Given little man received the treatment that every child deserves then they would read words of prise and gratitude. If this blog was about my daughter… A Girl Without Aspergers! It would be just that! Sadly it is not!


Where will you be in ten years time?

1 Nov

Where do you see yourself in ten years time? What is it you want from life? What are you aiming for?

What did you answer?

I remember being asked this question (a good few times in-fact) the one time that really stands out though, was being asked the above as part of a job interview. I was just eighteen at the time and pregnant with little man. Was I scared at the prospect of becoming a young mum? “I don’t really think I actually considered myself to be one at the time” , Though yes eighteen is very young and I would soon become a teenage mum, I felt excited for what lay ahead.

I knew what the interviewer was thinking, you could see it from the moment I walked in the door! I knew it was a waste of time, and though it wasn’t the best job in the world “Being a bingo assistant” It was a job, and when your on such a low-income with a baby on the way, you grab anything you can get.

So where did I see myself in ten years time & what was it I was aiming for?

*Giggle* “Mmm… a successful career woman, who was also a mummy to a few beautiful kiddies, a house covered in ivy that was picture perfect, my prince in toll and a few horses to make up the numbers!”

Of course I didn’t say this! No…. I rambled on about this & that, all the normal interview talk about climbing the ladder.… Blah-blah-blah.

Well, needless to say I didn’t get the job! Who wants to employ a young lady and her bump, who would be wanting maternity leave a few months down the line!

I’m now 28 years old and yep, its ten years later (I have the bags under my eyes to prove it) I may not have the complete picture perfect house in the country. I certainly don’t have the career! But I do have three beautiful children & do you know what? “I’ve discovered my passion! Raising awareness for autism spectrum disorders, campaigning for change! ” Who gives a horses *beep* about the ivy covered cottage with the high-flying career?

When I discovered little man had Aspergers I knew I had to search for every bit of info I could (No matter how small or insufficient it may seem) It was like stepping into a whole new world that was both amazing, yet heartbreaking. “What the hell is wrong with him” or another common one… “How can my own son act so emotionless towards his own mother?” How many parents of children on the spectrum have asked themselves that very question I wonder? Now I was beginning to understand why!!!

So many times I questioned things, so… many things: “Why would he ask for padlocks for his birthday? What’s with the tiptoe walking & the refusal to wear certain clothing? Does he really need to get naked as soon as we step through the door???? The thing is when a child is on the more “low functioning” end of the spectrum, it’s that bit clearer to the outside world that, “Yes this child doesn’t seem to be developing as they should be” With the child that is on the opposite end of that spectrum, the child who meets or even exceeds many of their developmental milestones, will not likely encounter such views!  I’m not saying those children who are said to be “Classic Autistic” have it easy, Hell no! These children are often seen as little toe-rags by many despite how profoundly autistic they maybe. There is no way of getting away from the ignorance of society. I’m merely saying that when your child has Aspergers, it can be hard to get those you need to listen to do so!

So… My point is ten years on, things are a lot different then I ever imagined! If you had asked me how I felt about having a child on the spectrum a few years back, you would have been greeted with a blubbering woman who couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. A primary school who reported no problems, a mother & a father who endlessly thought up tactics & strategies to get our child into his bed of a night (Sleep is another matter all together) The need to give the never-ending reassurance little man required to lessen his anxieties… “Yes, daddy is fine, his not going to get hurt when his not with you” or “of course mummy will cross at the lights” Yet enduring his inappropriate use of language and insensitive remarks when he tells you, “GET OUT MY FACE MUM, YOU SPY, YOU BITCH!” The heartbreak you feel every time your child looks at you and tells you in the most serious of faces, “I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU, I DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU”, worse still “I DON’T LOVE YOU” All the time there’s this little boy in there and something is making him feel so angry that his screaming inside, his sat on a step hands together asking.… “god, why is she doing this to me?” when you’re trying to be consistent in dealing with challenging behaviour. He goes into full meltdown, resulting in you “the parent” asking god that very same question that he did.. “GOD, WHY IS HE DOING THIS TO ME?” some six hours later, while sat in a crying heap on the floor.

No denying it! It’s one road that’s long and full of road works a long the way. But having that, “Label” somehow makes it so…. much easier. I’m not talking about public services (though this help) I’m talking about the change in yourself! Your now able to read, read, read.… because you have a focus, something to go on! With every page or website, new friend,  fellow parent you meet, you find an answer for one of them many questions you’ve asks yourself! Like most things in life the answer to a problem, ultimately gives you the solution needed to “mend it” & others well you turn them into positives… “Obsessive interest can become tools to engage the child in learning or used as a meaning full reward..e.g.” It’s no easy ride, and though I’m more confident in parenting my son, “more than I was before & in the early months following his diagnosis” I still find myself having one of them “Low” days, when ignorance bloody makes my blood boil & one more stupid, insensitive, dam right judgemental comments will push me off the edge of the cliff I’ve been stood on the entire day, week, or even month. “I’m used to it” I mean “ignorance” I spent too much time worrying about the probability that the shop assistant, teacher, parent…. would think his a “Brat” or “Devil child” (Yes his called this, comments referring to the three sixes on his head et.…) The worry about your parental skills being looked upon. I become sick of the worry and self loathing. Now I smile a cheesy smile. If I feel the need to explain a behaviour I will, but only because.… “I FEEL IT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED!”  Though things are so, so tough at present, with part-time schooling due to his complex needs in school, leading to constant exclusions, and the ongoing statutory assessments, I’m sane!! (Just about) and extremely happy and proud in broadcasting to the world that… I HAVE A CHILD WITH ASPERGERS & A LONG WITH HIS SISTER AND BABY BROTHER, I THINK HIS AMAZING & MY GOD I LOVE THAT LITTLE ASPIE MAN OF MINE!

This post has been linked to the awareness campaign:”All bloggers unite for Autism” created by Tammy over at Autism Learning Felt. Instead of  participating in the Autism communication shutdown that also takes place today, Tammy decided it was better to be heard then be silenced and therefore went about uniting all mum bloggers to blog about autism and contact the blogs together to form a chain of great articles and better autism awareness.


Request for Statutory assessment

2 Mar

As my last post explained I have decided to apply for a statutory assessment of little mans special education needs. Wanted to get the request written up and sent of before little mans school decide to change their minds in their decision to support me on my quest to get little man statemented and Into a school better suited to his needs.

I have posted a copy  of my written request for a formal  assessment. Please share any tips and advice you can offer me if you feel the request needs to be written any differently.

  • 1st March 2010
  • Re Giovanni Sarcone
  • 01/10/2000
  • Request for statutory assessment.
  • Dear Sir or madam
  • I am writing as the parent of the above child to request an assessment of his special educational needs under the 1996 education act.
  • I believe that Giovanni Sarcone whom attends xxxxxxx primary school
  • has the following special educational needs.
  • Bad behavioral problems in class and playground. His refusal to follow simple instructions and rules given by his teachers and TAs. I feel this is a result of his diagnosis of Aspergers which is a social communication disorder placed on the spectrum of autism.
  • below average learning age despite having age appropriate  IQ ( underwent IQ test at kaleidoscope in 07 )
  • Giovanni’s  in abilities  in coping with certain situations brought on by his difficulties with sensory processing.
  • Rude and inappropriate  manner and language towards staff and peers
  • reluctance to learn unless the subject falls into something of interest to him. lack of communication in asking for help if he has difficulties in understanding work. This brings on outburst of anger in which causes disruption  for the rest of his class.
  • Giovanni has a number of difficulties that affect his school day. His diagnosis of Aspergers means he has many difficulties  with social communication, Reading social clues , expressing emotions in an appropriate manner, sensory sensitivity and problems with routine ( A change of class teacher often results in Giovanni being taken out of class and even being sent home )
  • My reasons for believing that his school xxxxxxx primary cannot on their
  • own make the provisions required to meet my child’s needs are as
  • follows
  • Giovanni’s behavior becoming increasingly more difficult for the staff to contend with.
  • He often will be removed from the classroom due to him being extremely disruptive.
  • He will often miss out on classroom activities and playtime due to behavioral factors and a reluctance to follow instructions.
  • An increases in letters and phone calls regarding his behavior and refusal to work.
  • Their has been at times a need for me to collect Giovanni from school just for lunchtime as playground and dinner hall staff are unable to cope with him. He has also been sent home early or half day due to not following teachers instructions  and behavior problems.
  • He is on the verge of exclusion  from school which I worry will do more harm then it can possibly do good.
  • I understand that you are required by law to reply to this request within
  • a six-week period, And that if you refuse I will be able to appeal to the
  • special educational tribunal.

  • Yours Sincerely
  • Miss Claire Parkinson

Please note this page was updated on the 20th-04-10. The Name of the school has been removed. It was posted as a genuine mistake. Sorry if this caused any concerns or problems. Clairelouise82 blog author.

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