Tag Archives: school refusal

The Highs And Lows…2010 in a nutshell (part 1)

31 Dec

What a year!!!

So much has happened in 2010 and looking back through my diary and reading some past post, I’m shocked at how much we’ve squeezed in!

Though it’s pretty clear from my reading that sadly the lows far out weigh the highs… …  It’s still them few highs that I believe have kept me sane throughout 2010 and helped my family pull itself through them Oh to many low days!

So Now I attempt to write a post that looks back over the 12 months of 2010…Regular readers can reminisce alongside me and those of you that are new hear can discover life so far in a nutshell!

January….

… The year 2010 started off as an amazing one! With my new son born on the 11th December 2009… I couldn’t have been happier. Little man was and still is crazy about his little bro. My family was complete, with three beautiful children I wanted for nothing. Sadly my baby became quite ill in the January at just 5 weeks old he had a bad chest infection (Severe Bronchiolitis), refusing to take a feed or just vomiting the whole thing up (exorcist style) we took him to hospital… Where we stayed for the next week and a half. He was fitted with a feeding tube that went through his nose, and had to be given oxygen for hours at a time to keep his stats up. I worried about my baby so much… But also had the added worry about leaving little man and his sister for so long. How would little man cope with seeing his baby brother with all these tubes? of course I worried about my daughter who was almost 7 but I knew she was stronger than her brother in terms of managing with her feeling and fears, She found it easier to discuss her fears and ask questions on things that would worry her (She was much easier to reassure and comfort during times like these)

The children visited and I would do my best to reassure them their baby brother was recovering well. Little man was becaming very distressed with the sight of all the tubes, as was his sister. A few days into our stay the baby got worse and contracted H1N1 and pneumonia. Myself and his father tried to stay strong for the sake of the children but we were going out of our minds with worry . A no visitors rule was imposed… Only myself (who stayed at the hospital) and his father were able to be with the baby. Little man was broken he couldn’t visit his brother and worried himself sick. His father would come and stay with the baby for a few hours while I would spend them few hours with the children. It was an incredibly hard month!

At last our baby came home and slowly I settled back into a routine of being a mummy of three.




February ….

… Having baby back home was  amazing. Little man had been having a few issues at school during January but I put this down to the change in routine (me staying with the baby at the hospital ect…) However things went belly up after extensive works started on our house. Our ceiling had fallen down in 2009 and was still not complete and the Walls had now started caving in around us. The job was a huge one that meant knocking down all remaining plaster (taking the walls back to brick) and re-doing them all from scratch! Works were planed to take a week. This was no place for a recovering baby and two young children… One who had sensory sensitivity… we knew we couldn’t stay and moved to my mothers. I visited my home every few days to check on things and collect my post ect.. I would leave in tears as it was like a builder’s yard with massive piles of dust. The works went way over schedule & we were at my mothers for what felt like forever! (No offence to my mum but we needed to go home)

Little man was stressed all he wanted was to be at home. Problems at school grew more difficult and I noticed I was getting more and more phone calls & letters from the Head & Deputy Head teacher. I wanted to ask the LEA to assess but was told by his school the LEA would not agree as there was more the school could be doing. Little man was given two unofficial exclusions on this particular month. Looking back now It’s very clear to me he was dealing with a hell of a lot and wasn’t handling stuff as well as I may of thought he was at the time… We were not at home and everything was different. Yet he was keen to attend school for the first time ever… He had even started to make some friends.


March….

… On the 1st March I made a parental request for a statutory assessment. Outreach services were asked to come in to school to observe, advise the school and work with Little man. This was the month Little man received his first official fixed term exclusion on the 3rd March… Things just kept getting worse. The relationship between myself and school was rapidly breaking down over my concerns about the lack of support and understanding that was being given to my son. On the 18th of March little man received his second fix term exclusion… And at the end of March I attend court for non school attendance for the period June-Dec 2009 (Little man was not sleeping at all and refused to attend school daily) As I stood in court like some harden criminal being fined… The school was busy imposing the third exclusion of the month via voicemail… Little man’s third exclusion within a few short weeks! Things were serious.

April…

… It was nice to get away from the stress of Little man’s school situation even if it was for just a few short weeks! Unlike many parents, I found myself dreading the Easter Half term coming to an end & the children having to return to school. It was nearing the end of April when Little man returned (two days after his peers as he was given a 4 day exclusion at the end of March that carried over to the new term) From the word go we encountered problems. I had a meeting at school which didn’t go well, I found myself losing trust in the school, and I felt though things were serious but no one was taking it that way as every concern was brushed aside! Little man was now always angry and his self-esteem was at an all time low. The LEA were not following the statutory time limits when it came to the six-week time limit for making a decision on if/if not to assess Little mans Special Educational Needs under the Ed Act 96 & the code of practice! I found myself having to chase people for answers… Only to then be told that they have decided to take it to panel on the 17th May weeks after the required time frame with no explanation offered! I felt like I couldn’t enjoy my new son due to always suffering the worry of the phone ringing, the fear of further exclusions or being asked to prepare my child to miss his break/lunch time or both, normally for incidents said to have happened a day or more before… I was becoming so down and feared that depression was setting in.

It There was one or two highs to the month… My birthday and spending it with the children, and the phone call informing me I had been accepted onto the Early Bird plus programme (dispute Little man being a tad over the age limit)

was world autism month and I was busy raising awareness for autism through blogging and my facebook group (that seemed to be touching the lives of more and more families thanks to the great support of members and the fantastic admins now on board)I started to notice that over time I had required some truly inspirational contacts & friends, who are some of the nicest, kindest people I know… All because of Autism.

May….

… For me, May was the month that I thought… “Can it get any worse?”,  “Was the straw that broke the camels back” so to speak! Having Only just returned from exclusion a few weeks pervious the exclusions started up again! On the 5th of May my little dude was excluded for one day! This was also the month the Allotment project started, resulting in what I can only describe as continuous acts of discrimination. Little man was either brought back from the allotment… With the school only informing me of such incidents a week or more later… Or he wasn’t taken at all. There were also weeks he found himself excluded on the same day as the project took place. Little man was given two exclusion this month on the 5th and 13th. We had a multidisciplinary meeting at school at the end of the month and it was agreed that the school could not meet my child’s needs, yet….  It was also this month that I found myself yet again chasing up the LEAs decision on the statutory assessment. I finally discovered by phone the request had been refused on the grounds his school could meet his current level of need and he was making adequate progress. This was my first real insight into the sheer twisted system supplied by LEAs… There was penalty more insights to come!

Although things were appalling at school, I started to gain more skills through the parenting classes for parents off children on the autism spectrum (Early Bird Plus) Meeting other parents who nodded when I spoke because they related to what it was I was saying was just heavenly. This was one of my reasons for creating the blog and the magnificent Facebook page… “I just love that page” I wanted to connect people as it can be a pretty lonely world if no one relates to you or your child, even if they pretend they do!.. Meeting parents of children like mine was uplifting and really brought me up from the lowness I had recently started feeling. I could speak to the staff running the programme without judgement, they even visited me at home… I was shown how to create social stories & the benefits of using visual aids (That we now can’t do without) I looked forward to Tuesdays and remain extremely grateful to the staff for agreeing to my attendance on such a beneficial programme.


June…

… After yet another blissful Half term… The children returned to school. Little mans sleeping problems were really showing its ugly head once more… despite the use of Melatonin. The month of June showed little or no improvement with the schools over use of exclusions… They just refused to take note on the effect they had! It was only impacting on his own mental well-being and his behaviour become more challenging not less. At home he was starting to have huge meltdowns and failing to cope with any day trips through fear of being rejected from them (even with his own family… he had lost all faith) Little man was excluded once again a few days into his return to school on the 10th of June (another allotment trip consequently lost) The LEA carried on rule breaking, resulting in letter writing on my part as a way to obtain the important letter refusing to assess in order to appeal to the tribunal… This I finally received it at the end of June.

Although things seem less than rosy in June it had a number of perks… Things may have gone overly sour in regards to Little mans education, but things started to look up for me and the family as a whole. I received an email from Nas inviting me to be interviewed for the training course to enable me to become an adviser for the Advocacy for education TSS service (Tribunal support service) We also received a fabulous gift from Merlin’s magic wand… Four tickets to Chessington World Of Adventures was much appreciated, and brought huge smiles of happiness across Little man and little sisters face! The sound of pure excitement filled the house and gave the family something fun to look forward to. Merlin’s went all out and helped us make up for all the school trips and activities my little dude was currently missing. The plan was to take the children to the theme park during the summer holidays that were almost upon us.


Well…… As you can see and it isn’t for me not trying… I just can’t seem to pack one long busy year into one single post without achieving some kind of world record for the worlds longest blog post (That’s if I don’t already hold the title!) So…. Time for me to wrap this up and continue from July through to December in part 2 tomorrow (Well it will give me something to do 🙂 ) I’m hoping you will all return to read about the highs and low of the last 6 months of 2010 🙂

TO BE CONTINUED…………

Mondays Suck!

22 Nov

It’s Monday and in all honesty.. My worse day of the week.

Most mummy’s love the fact the weekends over and the children have a whole week in school a head of them. Me I’m already longing for Friday… I hate nothing more then having to take my son to school on a Monday morning!

I was sat on the sofa early this morning… Bracing myself for the week ahead. What mood would the little guy be in when I wake him this morning. It was one question I think I already knew the answer too!

My daughter got up, washed and dressed… She gave me a loving kiss and a wave good bye when she was collected at 8.30am this morning. No matter what, she leaves with the same wave and a kiss each morning! Now I was faced with yet again the challenge to drag my little guys butt from his (My) bed! It wasn’t like it was my first attempt! No I had been pleading with little man since 7am with no joy what so ever. It always seems to be worse on a Monday, what with the weekend having had an impact on his routine and his need for more sleep… It’s like trying to presuade kids to eat veg!

Eventually we had movement and Little man is getting ready at a snails pace. I’ve stopped trying to feed him before leaving as it’s just never gonna happen and will ultimately cause more problems then needed.

So…. We are done! A lot of screaming, moaning, slamming doors later we are out the door and heading for the school. We go through the whole please be good conversation, before he goes storming off through the gates! I will usually go in with little man and wait in reception for his TA. His still downstairs in the “den” which to you and me means… Little man is still spending mornings isolated from his class and working in the lower building with his one2one. Now behind them gates awaits an array of dangers hence the reason I would normally wait with him for his TA! But this morning I’m feeling like a sack of poo. I’ve already thrown up for England this morning and due to the mornings episodes with little man…. my head is pounding. With this and the fact I’ve left baby with his dad I head back home where once indoors I lay down on the bed with bubba and listen to… Well, Nothing.. The sound of pure silence. With this we both enter the land of nod.

Just over an hour later we are up. Little man needs collecting from school at midday and it’s already 11.50am. “God to say I’m feeling rough is an understatement” But with a quick wash of my face and a drag on the deadly sin.. A cigarette… I’m off again.

On arrival I’m met by little mans TA and told the head wants a word. “It was two good to be true… We haven’t had a “word” for a least two weeks and to be honest I liked it that way” I’m greeted with an upset little man and a angry head. To be honest I just wanna be sick (No really I think I I’m coming down with a lousy bug) Its then I’m informed that little man is to return to school today as his on full time this week. I admit I thought he was still on part time for two days and full time for three days. I’m then told to collect him for lunch and home time earlier then his peers like before, and not to be late as he misbehaves in the time he is waiting for me (yet I am only just informed) Little man is constantly shouting out “When can I be normal and go to my class in the mornings like everybody else?” He was clearly becoming anxious with the whole situation.. Yet the head took us out to reception, chose one chair out the four or five that were there and told little man when he is waiting for me he will sit on that chair and only that chair.

Well thanks for that Mr Head teacher! I just wanna get out of here and go home and be bloody ill. I wasn’t rude and I didn’t make a fuss I just went home feed the little guy and took him back to school again! For what was the point getting upset.. I’ve come to learn me and little guy are the only ones who suffer.

Being the good girl I am…at 3.15pm (well 3.17pm to be precise) I’m off out again collecting little man from school. As I buzz the intercom I notice through the window that he isn’t there “on his allocated chair” “Before I’m buzzed in I just know there is a problem”

A problem there was, and mum was here to sort it out!

“His refusing to leave and a TA has gone into the head teachers office for help” I’m told. I stand there thinking…
“No you really don’t wanna know what I’m thinking!” Another member of staff asks me if I wanna go and see where it is my child is refusing to come out from. “Sounds interesting, don’t you think?” Walking along the corridoor I’m approched by the Deputy head yet I’m completely ignored by his class teacher (no guessing why that is) I’m more concerned for my child right now! I at least wanna know where he is! Little mans class are being lead by his teacher from the hall.. Once the hall is empty the deptuy head points towards a corner filled with PE equipment and soft play items. buried beneath it is my son.

Holding out my hand I asked him to come out. Without further attempt he climbed out and asked me if he was in trouble. Did he seem distress? No, he was fine if anything a little worried! So why was he in there? He told me, because it’s comfortable in there, And everyone was singing… He tells me he was practising for the Christmas play but had become confused at what part he was playing… He said it was nice in there… And lastly he said “I don’t wanna leave the class till home time like everybody else”

There was no word from anyone else for when we turned around to leave the hall I saw it was just us. With this we collected his homework from class and walked round to collect his sister.

Still….. considering today was a horrid Monday… Some Positives did occur…

…We had word from the Sen caseworker at the LEA that they will ask the “special school” that state they cannot meet little mans needs to reconsider. They are also looking into schools in the neighboring boroughs. The Sen case worker is very helpful and has maintained contact with myself throughout Little mans Statutory assessment, and for this I’m most grateful… I don’t think I could of dealt with adding another person to the “unhelpful list”

I also got comfirmation on an appointment for Little mans brain scan as part of the Autism study. This appointment is booked for Monday the 29th November and a second scan on 13th December. The scan is part of the study in diagnosis autism in children and myself and of course little man feel privileged to be a part of it. Though there is one downfall to this study! Little man cannot take his Melatonin for a week (that means as off tonight) Though melatonin seems to have less effect these days, it’s still not going to make our nights any less stressful. He still may sleep late but aleast he does still sleep when taking the medication. Let’s hope it don’t cause to much of a problem.

I also received some pretty awesome news this week in relation to a pending project of mine… In which I will share another time when things are more final.

So… Although like always this Monday sucked! It was those few pieces of good news that kept it bearable.. Now I prepare myself and the little guy for the rest of the week. Here’s hoping for better days then today!

“Stressed! Who me?”

15 Nov

Stress! it’s something we all face at one time or another through life. Some people are stressed because of work, others have exams at uni and deadlines to hit! Then there are the parents.. stressed out because their children have kept them on their toes the entire day! The stressed out teacher who has encountered cheek from at least a fourth of his pupils out of his thirty something class………. I can go on all night you will never run out of examples.

What makes one person stressed, is a walk In the park to another. It’s very easy as a parent of a child on the autism spectrum to get frustrated and almost angry at others when they are sat complaining on the bus, train.. where ever it may be, about they’re “stressful” day at work, or the well dressed woman sat chatting with her friend about the stress she encountered while shopping on busy Oxford Street in the West end! You sit rolling your eyes thinking in ones own head, “Try my bloody day! The battle to remove my child from his bed, the challenge to persuade him to dress then go to school when his only had a few hours sleep meaning you have too!” That’s it now you’ve got me started… “If I have succeed in my morning quest, I’m then collecting my child from school at 12pm, his ten years old yet on half day and that’s even if his lasted that long!” You try hard to stop this bitterness but it keeps coming…. “Try shopping in Sainsburys with your ten year old verbally bashing you as you try to shop or better still throwing himself into shelves while screaming and shouting he hates you while having a full on meltdown… You don’t even know what’s upsetting him! But my god you need to find out. This is Sainsburys, I only wish I could shop in Oxford Street!!!!” It don’t stop coming…. “Bedtimes your child is still beeping and acting like a bus at 2am and all I wanna do is sleep”

The thing is… this guy and this woman both have the right to vent no matter what the reason is behind their stress! I’m not saying that just because I have a child on the spectrum my life Is harder then his or hers! That’s beside the point! These people haven’t done anything wrong.. I’m just sat there and if it has been a bad day I’m proberly just feeling extra sensitive and sorry for myself… If anything I’m just acting bitter. But why? I love my life and wouldn’t change it (I would change certain things that have happened, but wouldn’t we all!) A few mornings ago little man woke up in the worse mood and as result decided to beat up my bedroom door. Things like this I would change! The smile on his face as we board the 450 bus is priceless 🙂 This I would never change.

As a mother to three.. I get stressed! And beleive me, it’s not all down to my little aspie man. What do you do as a way to unwind? Read a book, watch a little telly, or chill to the sounds of London late night love songs on heart? Us mummy’s are normally only part free to indulge in mummy time, once our little angels are in the land of nod us mummys go for it! The thing is little man don’t sleep till the early hours! I put the baby to bed and like magic (99% of the time) he goes to sleep within minutes. How different my boys are! As soon as baby is fast a sleep I find myself getting ready for the night a head. There is normally so much I want to do, but just as much I have to do! Once my daughter is in bed, I start the battle to get little man in his! This is a battle that can go on for hours & hours… When he does follow his bedtime routine (we made a timeline using visual aids) he will normally just lay there in his bed in complete darkness, talking to himself about bus routes or acting out the bus doors opening and closing. Though I can hear him.. Beeping away, I know his in that bed and with this I jump in mine, Mac in hand and normally I will do a little blogging. Yep off Loading all my crap onto you guys is my stress reliever. If I didn’t have the blog I would be a “bonkers” Mummy (yer don’t think I don’t know what your thinking!) I only wish I got more time as it’s often the case that I pass out before I’ve even logged in!

A few nights back I really did have the chance for some me time. The childrens father was here taking care of the kids and I was laid upstairs with mood lighting (lamp dimmed) waiting for a TV show that I really wanted to see “I don’t watch much telly and I really wanted to see this show” I woke up the following morning fully dressed and in a state of utter confusion. Do u know I jumped out of my bed and stood there in the middle of my bedroom for a good five minutes trying my hardest to piece together what was going on!! Did I watch my programme? why in gods name is it light outside? Where’s my Children?

Once i had finally placed my brain firmly back in my head it all came back to me… well the children being with daddy, the mood lighting and just how comfortable I had felt! typical me had passed out again. Just then my daughter appeared fully dressed and ready to go to school. Daddy had stayed over as I was somewhat sedated and he had got the children ready for school (Well Not little man) he was doing his usual morning routine…Refusal to get up, washed, dressed…ect..ect…ect…
Well, I must have needed that sleep! Like they always say, “Everything seems better in the morning after a good nights sleep” So…. Did it? Did it heck!!

So yes I like many get stressed! It doesn’t mean I can’t cope or I’m having a breakdown! It just means I’m human.

After all… Life is stressful.. But it’s also Incredible rewarding, given the chance!

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