Tag Archives: statutory assessment

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!

Training with a passion

10 Nov

As many of you already know, I’ve been training to become a tribunal support adviser. I’ve never known what  I really wanted to do in life in-till now and this is something I’m sure on. I am seriously hoping to succeed in this chosen path I’ve now taken.

Autism awareness is something I’m passionate about, and as many will already know, either from their own experiences or somebody else’s… autism and the Sendist first tier tribunal seem to go hand in hand with one another here in the UK. I acknowledge that not all children on the autism spectrum have Special educational needs (Sen) but a good chunk of them do and It’s then that many families are faced with problems and a good proportion of the time are faced with the prospect of a fight that eventually ends up in the hands of the tribunal to try and resolve! Ok some are lucky and school’s and LEAs have no problems providing the adequate education for the child! But in my opinion it’s a very small percentage that do.

It’s “funny” how one day everything is rosy in the land of education, but then before you know it, it’s all changed! It could come along and take any parent/career by surprise! It happened to me and it could happen to you!

When I discovered little man had Aspergers I didn’t know the first thing about Sen. The thing is as far as I was aware my child wasn’t on the sen register at school. As many fail to understand… “Having a child with an autism spectrum disorder don’t necessary mean they have special educational needs” I suppose the fact little man refused to even attend school most days, meant the extent of his problems were not seen within his school environment. Well, my point is… I had a great deal to learn back then!

Of course now we are in a completely different situation! Yes, my little man does have problems in school, considerably so that at present his going through the statutory assessment process, is currently part-time schooling and we have a pending DDA tribunal case in the near future. I suddenly had to learn everything from IEPs to exclusion.. all things I’ve never needed to think about before. It’s bloody hard when it goes from being told your child has no issues within school to issues so bad and complex your child now awaits the decision of an emergency “Special school placement” Because their level of need is now so high they cannot cope within the mainstream environment they currently with-side. You hear all this mind-boggling jargon and all you wanna do is SCREAM…”WHAT IN GODS NAME ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” School action, school action+, statutory assessments and statements.. “WHAT?” So much time is spent trying to work out what you as the parent needs to be doing to make sure your child is getting the very best education available that you have little time for anything else. I know when I first stepped into the world of autism and special ed I didn’t have a clue! Much of my day was spent running back and forth to and from school only later  spending hours trailing the net for answers or calling autism/education advice lines.

It was from then I armed myself with a hardback copy of the  Sen code and got myself a tool kit. I  also started reading the Education Act (Mainly schedules 26 & 27)  & The Education (Special Educational Needs) (Information) (England) Regulations. With this I began to gradually feel more confident in dealing with little mans special educational needs. The loneliness you feel when your child is diagnosed and when autism and Sen come together is immense. I thank all those that were there advising me along the way, making me strong! If it wasn’t for the likes of .…NAS, Ace, Ipsea and other organisations of this kind I would not have been this strong, I would have likely gone insane! I certainly would not have chosen this route (advising others on their rights within the education system) But that’s just it! By going through it I discovered that I wanted/needed to do more. I cannot thank those that have helped me enough, now this is my way of giving something back.

There was many reasons that made this chosen position feel right for me! The prospect that I will help other parents that like me had no clue where to turn, not knowing when and if they have a right to appeal, deadlines looming while all the time their child is failing or worse still being failed. This was my biggest reason! If my work helps just one family then all this training was worth it!

So… finally here’s the good news!. I passed the distance learning modules (All ten of them) These modules covered a great deal. I swear I’ve read the entire Ed act on Sen, followed by the Cop. I got the email in the middle of last week confirming my place on the two training weekends in Canary Wharf in the Clifford Chance Law offices. The trainers, managers and co-ordinator of the TSS service are fantastic and made us all feel relaxed and very welcome. The first day (Saturday) after a really long training session 10-5:30 p.m. (Ok it’s been a while since I did anything other then be mummy) me and the other trainees were taken out for dinner in this lovely Italian restaurant situated right below one of the tallest buildings, not far from the water. It was a wonderful evening and although I had just met everybody that day I was really comfortable in their company. Sundays training was very practical.. Yes I worried half the night I would mess this one up but it went pretty well.

Well, I’m back for my last bit of training on the last weekend of this Month, and yep I’m looking forward to seeing everybody again and getting stuck in! After that… It’s for real, I’m on my own!! As well as being on the front-line I will also undertake casework, and to be honest I can’t wait!!!

Canary Wharf London




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.


Flexible school plan

14 Oct

Sleep is becoming a distant memory. How we take it for granted when we have it, and fall apart when we don’t.

Yes, by reading the above statement it is clear that I didn’t get a great deal of sleep last night! I first had to deal with little man (despite the fact I was just about ready to drop).  By the time he had finally entered the land of nod, I was then wide awake! Its crazy how you go from tried to over tired, then suddenly wide awake! Well, I’m sure the second coffee didn’t much help!

To be honest once I did lie down, I couldn’t switch of! My head was giving me an array of problems, solutions, outcomes and what ifs to just about everything happening in our lives right now. I ended up grabbing a pen and paper and jotting stuff down. I was quite literally taking notes on my own thoughts. Looking at  what I wrote this afternoon, it’s clear I need to get some much needed stuff of my chest. So what better place then here. After all a lot has been happening this school year. Note we are still in the first school term, meaning this is all within a five week period! I suggest a cupper and a comfortable seat as this isn’t the shortest post I’ve ever written.

Latest exclusions

Judging by the last school year, I shouldn’t be at all surprised with the way this ones planning out!

Since Little man went back to school in September his received constant exclusions. These exclusions were imposed all within the same month and given one after the other. Two of these exclusions were given for a fixed term of two days, and the third being for a longer period of five days. However that five day exclusion was messy and after a refusal on my part to send little man to a pupil referral unit/specialist school for children with social, emotional behaviour problems, to avoid a permanent exclusion, we were left not knowing what was going to happen in terms of Little mans return to school  for a few more days and everything was a tad confusing. It had been a pretty tough week for the family as a whole. Exclusion was not having any kind of desired affect on little man! At least there was no evidence that it was! It’s in my opinion that by excluding a child a teacher sometimes unintentionally contributes to the child’s long term challenging behaviour. I like many parents & carers make the same statement.… When excluding the child the teacher may simply be giving them what it is they want, an escape! A child maybe struggling with work, tasks, social situations, or just simply doesn’t want to be in school (Getting back home to their “safe zone”) Other times a child may be far to excited, anxious or confused, leading them letting it all pour out in an inappropriate manner. Then there is them times the child is in self destruct mode and exclusion is the only option. Little man displays a range of emotions and reactions to exclusion. Sometimes it’s clear to see that he considers the outcome of his behaviour to be a benefit to him. He comes home to an environment that he feels much more relaxed in. Other times little man shows anger, upset and a great deal of resentment towards those directly involved in the exclusion process. Little man will often show this degree of upset when he can’t understand the reason surrounding his exclusion, disagreeing with the action taken against him, quite often indicating that he feels misunderstood, or what he has done was justified as their was a reason behind it. Example being someone did something first or someone wasn’t being fair to somebody he considers a friend. In these incidents it’s hard to establish what has gone on. It’s all well and good being informed in a letter, displaying a list of reasons stating why your child was excluded because…… But when you don’t know what triggered of the behaviours then how do you address them? Little man becomes inconsolable when his excluded on the days a school trip or activity are due to take place. Little man has often stated that the reason he can’t attend is because his different! This seems to unfortunately had a bad impact of his self-esteem. This is when the system upsets me most! To me this is like handing out double punishments and gives the child a feeling of low self-worth. It’s rare he participants in anything his class undertakes and this I can only describe as dehumanising. Punishing a child by not letting them attend a trip for behaviour that hasn’t yet occurred is damaging. How will the child ever learn from the behaviour ? Little man must have the mentality of , “Why bother? I wont be going anyway. After he missed his last school trip that involved a ride in a coach there and back (Reason he was so… excited) he told me he would never believe them again! That he will not let himself get excited till his there! How heart breaking it is to hear your ten year old say that. I understand the teachers did to considered the whole of the class. However I think it’s got to the stage where little man is considered a doomed case. I think on a few occasions certain children have slipped the odd “Ginger” comment in there, I have spoken to a parent of at least one child who calls him this. Yet I’ve never been informed. Little man don’t wait for no one to be around before off loading his string of abuse towards the person who upsets him, he just does. Ok he is pretty dam stereotyped and often says the wrong thing! But sometimes these things are said without true meaning. A new word being, “wasteman” after I asked what it meant he replied, “Mum it means a dust man, who collects rubbish” we had to explain what it meant. This is a word his heard within his school setting and now loves to use.

LEAs Agreement to undertake a statutory assessment

After sending an appeal to the tribunal (LEAs refusal to assess), and the prospect of meeting with the LEA (dispute/resolution service) and the school re-admitting  the Assess one! The LEA finally agreed to assess little mans special educational needs. Finally a move in the right direction! The LEA also agreed to contact our preferred specialist school for an emergency assessment place. Though one has not yet been made available, I still have hope. ( what else can you have?) I received a letter stating they are awaiting a response from the school (specialist school) and I have made an appointment to go see them myself (after a lengthy phone call, where I pleaded my case to a very understanding receptionist). I can’t fault the LEA (for once) as they are doing all the right things and have moved very quickly. Little man has already seen the LEAs educational physiologist, though this didn’t happened as planed as he was not allowed to be in his classroom setting which she could have done with observing. Still if it means avoiding a massive upset then so be it! I think things went well and she saw enough. Yesterday we attend a medical assessment which was somewhat exhausting given little mans excitement at the buildings electric windows and his constant need to operate them. I am in the process of writing my evidence that has to be submitted within the next few weeks! Anyone with any tips on this, I would be most grateful to hear them.  So…. For now I just hold bated breath that all will be Ok in the end .

Risk of permanent exclusion results in a flexible school plan

We were informed on the last exclusion that little man now faced the risk of a permanent exclusion. As I’ve briefly touched one above, we were offered the placement at a specialist school/PRU . Yet after careful consideration, two visits to the school (One with little man) and a home visiting I felt it to be unsuitable for little mans current level of need. The locked doors and security guard  gave an impression of a young offenders unit. Though It’s true to, “Never judge a book by its cover” but little man has a fear of locked doors and this accompanied by a list of other issues was to much to expect him to overcome. So I stood my ground and refused (Looking out for my sons emotional well-being as well as his educational one). We didn’t hear much after that! We had a phone call from the head stating the PRU was expecting him on Monday, which I corrected him on. With this we were left dangling for a few days in till I took him back and as a direct result of this action a meeting was held. There isn’t much point going into the detail of the meeting (for once it was a reasonable one) I just wanted things discussed and options and ideas shared. Well, finally a plan was emerging, I stated I was happy to be flexible if they could be too. I didn’t think the current situation was doing my little man any good and did I really want his self-esteem suffering anymore then needed? Of course not! So we discussed the option of part time school or home schooling with flexibility. The head wanted to speak with the LEA to make sure everything would be legal and above board and for once we were kinda in agreement with one another (I know, big achievement that one) That evening the school left me a voicemail that offered a part time solution to the current situation! Part time schooling for a period of two weeks. We would then have a meeting and if faced with the prospect of no managed move for the remainder of his assessment, we would then have to decided our next steps.

So with that very…… Long update (So sorry about that people), I will bid you good bye. And as always thanks for all the support

The good, the bad, and the dam right ugly!

1 Oct

This post is brought to you today bearing Mixed news, developments, and gratefulness.

Let me start with the good news!

Many of my readers and loyal followers will be aware of my struggles in obtaining a statutory assessment of Little man’s special educational needs. Well, after a refusal, pending appeal tribunal, school resubmitting the assess one, the prospect of hours of mediation with the LEA on the 13th of this month and a whole lot of stress! The Special educational needs panel have made the decision to make a statutory assessment. With this the LEA also informed me that they well contact our preferred specialist school to ask for an emergency assessment placement.

I’m not under any illusion that it’s all rosie from here on! This is just the first step and given how hard it was to obtain it, nothing can shock me. The decision a lone has taken 7 months from that first request that was refused. It’s extremely frustrating how back on the 1st March when I first requested an assessment Little man had only uncounted One exclusion, and now it’s more like ten! A great deal of stress, tears and constant worry for what? It’s a disgrace that your child needs to be seen as totally failing before anybody looks up and takes notice. What ever happened to early intervention and every child matters? We have all these rights when it comes to our child, but who has regard for them? Do they not realise that by letting it get “This bad” is like allowing our children to become “emotionally unhinged” If this is the process to obtaining an assessment, I’m dreading the decision to statement or the content that statement may contain.

However for now I’m just pleased we are a step closer and things are at least moving in the right direction. Little mans emotional needs are my main concern as without emotional well-being there is little point of anything else. I just hope all his needs are taken into account when decisions are made in relation to emergency placements.

So.. here comes the big fat bad news!

With everything good that happens, something totally lousy often follows. Of course we are a prime example of this. Little man went back to school on the 28th September after a fixed period exclusion of two days. However he had only just about got his foot under his desk when…

If you haven’t guessed it already then Why not? 🙂 Yep Little man was excluded once more for a fixed period of five days. So that’s three exclusions in around 11 days (Oh and that’s counting the weekends) However this exclusion comes with a twist! IT MAY WELL BE HIS LAST! Permanent exclusion is on the cards and to be honest I’m not at all shocked nor surprised. After all Little man + current educational setting = affliction and scandal.

So it would seem that after all these exclusions, school know see what I see! IT’S NOT WORKING! You would think that after something has been done two-three times max, and it’s having no positive effect, it’s a done deal. I’m so furious that it took this level of action to come to the same conclusion I did back in March. I’m not saying he should get away with anything and everything, but their have been so many incidents that have been a direct result of anxiety. Of course there has also been times my son has been naughty (He is 10 years old) but I feel even then some less extreme forms of punishment could be given. Even an exclusion that was unavoidable can’t have a desired affect. How can it when his excluded so often?

If I was asked a year ago if I could see this happening one day in the future, I would have answered “Yes I could” Ok maybe not right now maybe not in a months time but sometime in the future. Now some would ask how? How could I have guessed this would happen, when a year ago Little man’s school stated they had NO CONCERNS? I quote “He is very well behaved at school” I heard this a thousand times, and often I questioned myself.. Was it me? Why was he only showing challenging behaviour indoors? It was quite simple really! Little man spent so much time at home and not at school it was near on impossible for them to say otherwise. Lets face facts. So much time was spent judging me as a lazy ass parent who just didn’t fancy taking her child to school. I don’t think so, life wasn’t a picnic and sleepless night, refusal to get out off bed, get dressed and go to school was an exhausting experience (Nearly as exhausting as this one) As soon as he got the “routine” and he started to see school as something that he needed to do, something that wasn’t an option, he recognises that he had to attend and did. With this the school recognises that yes actually he can be challenging and with this comes a new pattern! Exclusion, reintegration, exclusion, reintegration………..

I should know more then anyone that yes, Little man can be a “handful”. But as his mother I also know that he can be interesting, clever, funny, polite and caring.

On his return to school that day I had already noted in his contact book that he was anxious. What with missing his trip and a serious incident that happen at home, he was like a ticking time bomb. The reintegration meeting had only been a few minutes in when problems began. He refused to sign the new behaviour contract as a new sanction was added. This sanction was to spend time out of class and In the office with the head teacher. I feel he explained his reasons in a reasonable manner, minus two swear words. He stated that he didn’t like being in his office due to past incidents like.. Having to tuck school shirt in or miss play and confusing statements made by the head. Some statements made by the head have caused little man distress as the head hasn’t adjusted his language as advised by specialist teachers who have assessed little man. He still uses metaphors and other complex terms that little man just don’t get. Little man has often taken things he has said literally  and he can ponder what his said for days on end trying to work out what it was he actually meant.

With little mans refusal to sign his behaviour contract and his odd use of a swear word, it was becoming clear that the head teacher considered calling it a day. However before doing so he told little man he was going to in-force the contract regardless of him not signing! Well, little man pretty much lost it then. He was close to tears and ripped up the contract and all the copies that he could find. This was contract number three and back when he first signed that very first contract he was made to believe that by doing so he was in control and was making decisions for himself which gave him some control and responsibility . He now felt betrayed, like the school were somehow breaking a law of some short. From then on things got worse and sadly he swore at the head telling him he was a F***ing Irish idiot (Not great I know) Yes it wasn’t on and he had over stepped the line but by in forcing the miss play time sanction then and there was pretty crazy. It was like pouring petrol on the five. I stood in tears as I watched Little man flying through the corridors hitting himself and the wall. I knew then I should take him home! I knew then he would face yet another exclusion. So as I took yet another one of those phone calls that evening. The ones I’ve come to know all to well recently! I just hung up and cried. I didn’t just cry for little man, I cried for every child like him and every parent like me. (And yes there are many families in the same position)

Over 75 per cent of children who are excluded have special educational needs (SEN) and exclusion rates for children in the middle band of special educational needs are 17 times higher for children without SEN. 27 per cent of children with autism have been excluded from school. Government figures out today show that children with SEN are over 8 times more likely to be excluded than those without SEN. (Sonia Sodha)

Surly these statistics highlight the sheer state of the system. Yet what is being done to change these figures? Not much from where I’m standing.

So now we have a new set of problems. Yes, the LEA will assess and No I have no idea when and where. I will attend a meeting with the Head teacher on Monday, so Lets just wait and see! after all what choice do I have 😦

Lastly a thank you.

Message to all my readers, loyal followers, new friends and old.

I cannot thank you all another for your care & support. I didn’t know the world was made up of so many caring people. I thank you for your comments, messages and your time. I’ve made some fantastic new friends and I discovered so much along the way.

The facebook page has turned into a raving success with almost 3000 members and growing by the day. I am so thankful to have found a wonderful admin team who like me have a passion to raise awareness. They have helped create a great, supportive page and for this and their great advice to me and others, I’m truly grateful. Thank you ladies 🙂



An emotional rollercoaster

19 Sep

I don’t even know how to begin this blog! There is so much in my head right now, I’m finding it hard to put into words. My emotions are so muddled, I honestly have no idea what lies ahead. I feel I’m on a rollercoaster that I can’t get off. Will it ever stop?

I look at Little man and for a minute I catch him smiling. His looking through the Argos catalogue as it’s almost his birthday. He never asks for things that most children ask for.. We have had a list consisting of batteries, padlocks and electric fly lights in the past. (Fly lights are the things you hang in restaurants. The fly is attracted to the light and ends up pretty much fried on his quest to have a closer look) This year he has his heart set on a trailer that connects to his bike. His plan is to load his sister or baby brother in the back, and then take them for a ride… Sounds sweets I agree, but there is more to it! Of course this trailer will become a bus. He said it will make a perfect bus. “I love it mum look” Yes.. its fair to say I’ve heard this throughout the day. His excited I’ll give him that. Still Its pretty nice to she him this way as these past few days have been challenging. I’m not saying his overly challenging behavioural wise! His been more emotional than anything.

Work we were given for him to do a home (His on another two-day exclusion from school) had him in tears. Maths work was fine but when it came to writing the definition of words that he would need to search for in the dictionary, he was in tears. It seems that dictation is something he really struggles with! After a few minutes I decided this wasn’t going to happen. Why press him on something that was clearly too much for him! I’ve decided to try to solve the problem by creating the same work on a word document so he can do it on the computer. He seemed keen for me to give it a try when suggested.

Late yesterday evening Little man wondered downstairs again in tears! When I asked what was the matter he tells me his head hurts. As is sister has been feeling ill recently, we were out of medicine. Lucky his father was round as he went of to the local supermarket that thankfully closes at midnight. Little man was in a ball on the sofa saying “Please god, please god make it go away” I really do think the last few days must be grating on him, that or his gave himself a headache with all his shouting 🙂 I hate to see any of the children unwell or in pain, its horrible feeling so helpless. Thanks to dad Little man had some medicine and though it didn’t go completely, it took the edge off. We headed off to bed and little man jumped in beside me. We had to make sure the room was in complete darkness (He loves sleeping in complete darkness, but he said this will also help with his head) He must have been so worn out as within a few minutes he was out for the count. Surprised! Very much so! Little man very rarely drops off without running through a few bus routes (Writing this I can hear the faint sound of beeping and the words Elephant & castle station) I couldn’t be his teacher along side all them other children. Hats of to the classroom teacher. Maybe playing teacher was my reason for sleeping so well 🙂

So…. Tuesday Little man will return to school! A reintegration meeting will be held on that morning before he heads back off to class. It’s always difficult for little man to reintegrate back into school, and I have everything crossed it’s better than other times in the past. After the meeting I will then be heading of to the library to hopefully complete my NAS training modules by the given deadline. It seems that lately time isn’t on my side, everything typically happens at once and it just never seems to stop.

As I mention briefly in my last post, the LEA’s Sen panel has informed me the request for the statutory assessment won’t be heard by the panel till the 30th of this month. It just angers me that it’s been delayed! I really can’t see why it wasn’t put in on time for the panel meeting that took place on the 16th (Or there about that date) It’s seems all the reports were sent to the LEA, all but the assess one from the school. I’m puzzled as it was decided the school would submit the assess one back on the 5th of July. This was at least three weeks before the summer holidays.

Mediation date has still not been agreed on by the LEA. I guess they are waiting to see if the Sen panel now decides to go ahead and make a statutory assessment. If this is the case, they do assess, then mediation wont actually be needed. The Sen process is a long slow one, getting any LEA to take notice of your child has to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. (That and giving birth, though giving birth is a hell of a lot quicker) You hear other parents saying how it isn’t easy and how you should be prepared for one very long process. “YER RIGHT, HOW HARD CAN IT BE?? AFTER ALL MY CHILD IS MAKING ZERO PROGRESS IN HIS CURRENT PLACEMENT. THESE PEOPLE ARE OBLIGATED TO SEE THAT HIS NEEDS ARE MET, RIGHT?” I am now one of them parents who knows that this s**t isn’t easy. So what do we do to get these so-called professionals to listen? Dont look at me for answers, I’m all out!

Well…. Someone did give me an idea! It’s not the first time I’ve heard it or even considered it myself , it’s just an idea I consider to be a tad tricky… Video recording! For us it’s not as easy as one would think. This idea scares the hell out of me. Now with Little mans agreement it’s Ok…But of course a child can act somewhat different in front of a camera they know is there. (He don’t really like being filmed unless it’s him doing the filming, Yes he often wonders of with your iPhone, then holds the phone in front of his face as he tries to rap about buses) Ok so I should hide the camera and somehow hope he doesn’t find it. It would provide some pretty spectacular footage of our wonderful morning routine. Even better how about our early evenings, If his not with his friend his laid out on the stairs screaming abuse at me 😦  Thankfully this don’t always last the night. Oh yes he sometimes settles till bedtime when he then converts into this double-decker bus (194 and 53 at present) So whats my issue? Why don’t I fancy this as a good idea? Well.. Two reasons! Reason one… What mother enjoys spying on her own child? What mother wants to break their childs trust and privacy? (That was one answer not two :)) Second…. Would you wanna be in my shoes when (and I mean when) he finds out? My son hates being watched, unless his acting the clown or doing something he want’s attention for. I only recently discovered that for some children on the spectrum, looking at them can almost seem like you’re trying to look inside them. Little man often complains about his sister looking at him (It don’t help when he see her as his enemy) I can just picture the scene if he was to catch me in the act. He can often go on for hours about something and this would be no exception.

I just feel unless your child, family and mental health have been hung out to dry, you just don’t get anywhere. What do they want, need to see before doing the right thing? They say that the most important thing for any child is a good start in education. Do they only mean this if you’re stopping your child from attending school? Little man isn’t the only one! Millions of children face this battle. Some will come through it Ok, having managed to get some sort of education, others become damaged with rock bottom Low self-esteem with no prospects…

… I’M SORRY BUT I DON’T WANT THAT FOR MY CHILD.

  


Tactile defensiveness

16 Sep

This past week has been so horrid for the whole of the family. We really thought we had got past the school uniform battle. Things are never as they seem, far from it in fact. We have a very angry boy coming home from school on a daily basis. Last week was bad enough with supermarket meltdowns and sleepless nights! Just when things all go quite something else happens.

Little man has always had sensory sensitivity some days worse then others. When in his favourite tracksuit bottoms we don’t have to worry about it as much… That was up in till the school introduced the new school uniform policy. We spent the best part of reception class and year one constantly battling to get Little man into school. He would scream, quite literally hang on to the banister as I dragged him out of the house I knew there was something a little different about Little man. What was different became clearer as he grew older. He had no diagnosis but he sure did do some “Odd” things. Why on earth has he hide his clothing I would think , as I pulled a bundle of jeans out from under his bed. Then there was the “I’m not wearing that coat! No, no, no!” I didn’t have a clue and we must off brought him five or more coats in till I started to “get it!” He used to always try and lose his coats in school, and still does. I remember at the end of the school year when they lay out or the last property. What isn’t claimed ends up outside the charity shop. I must have looked like I was going in for the kill and getting what I could for free. I’m not kidding when I say we came out with six coats, four jumpers, two packed lunch boxes, and a ton of jumpers. I was so …. embarrassed

Discovering that Little man could be on the autistic spectrum (Our second CAMHS visit with Tony, back when little man was seven) was a real turning point. It was hard and oh my it was a lot to take in, but going home and reading about ASD and Aspergers I finally knew why he did such things. Sensory sensitivity is something we all have just those on the spectrum have this problem to a greater degree. I know that a certain background nosie like the washing machine spinning while I’m reading or watching TV drives me bonkers, but I can deal with it. My little man like many others can be driven bonkers. Certain sounds, smells and textures can get to Little man and really upset him to the point of meltdown.

It’s his tactile defensiveness that is now causing him more problems at school. Yes, his wearing the correct uniform he is just having trouble with the tucking in your shirt rule. Sadly it seems others are having problems “getting it” It got to the point where little man become so upset yesterday, I kept him home the afternoon when he came home for lunch. I’ve written a letter to school and hope that maybe from now on the situation can be dealt with in a sensitive way.

Maybe it’s hard for some people to take a child’s problem with sensory sensitivity seriously. To many not being able to tuck your shirt in because it makes you feel fuzzy is silly. You often get comments like “What do you mean he can’t” Or “Just give it a go” Would we say to someone.. “Go on stick your head in the oven and see how it feels?” Many may think it’s not the same, but it is! Somebody said to me its like making a child in a wheel chair climb stairs! It was kinda cute, as when repeating this to little mans father, Little man over heard and told me that would just be an outrage, as he would fall and smash his face. Of course I explained it was just an expression. My point is I just find it very frustrating so I can only imagine what it does to Little man.

Lately I’ve been thinking that maybe we should consider an occupational therapist, I hear they are good at helping with sensory issues. A while back I contacted Brainwave and they did agree to help. Brainwave is a two day programme, that involves you and the child meeting a number of professionals and they devise a programme for the child. The parent learns the programme and carries it on at home. The child has a review every few months. It’s a programme that cost a few thousand but the best part comes from charitable funds, the parent is only asked to pay £500 toward this. It’s a brilliant opportunity  and once I have the Money I think it will be something we will seriously consider.

Well, I took Little man in to school today with his shirt un-tucked but I had come up with a plan. He had left his over sized school jumper in school. My plan was for him to wear this and hide his shirt underneath. Good job it was cold today as Little man would be more willing to wear it (I hoped) The lovely receptionist in the school (Always polite and none judgemental) took little man off to find this over sized jumper as he left it on his peg. I was worried she may have a problem with him refusing to put it on. When I got him for lunch I was so please to see him wearing it. His TA did report there had been a few issues (Non uniform related) But it was a joy not to have him moaning all the way up the road about being made to tuck his shirt in. He even went back to school after lunch with zero fuss.

Sadly at 6pm this evening I was called by the head teacher who informs me little man is excluded tomorrow and Monday. I was so upset as I had already told him on collection from school that he would be treated to something of his choice (Of course it was a bus ride with dad) Reason for the treat was because I finally received some fantastic news (For a change) The progress Little man had made in his support group for reading, writing and spelling was fantastic. The letter stated that what he had achieved in six month was what most achieve in ten month. This meant his progress was much better then expected of him. Sadly I had no time to enjoy my Little mans good news and smile at the fact we were receiving good news instead of bad, and for once no after school drama. Two and a half hours later the bubble got popped by the telephone call informing me off his two day exclusion. I cried in putting down the phone. I was told it was for a whole range of issues, mainly name calling. It just never ends EVER! Ironic as tomorrow I planed to go swimming with him and the school and then head out to get food shopping as our cupboards are bare. Most mother do all their bits and pieces when the children are in school. Hell no not me! I should be so lucky. I’m down the school three times a day and do trips were I can I just can’t do it. So…. Now his shopping along side me…

.. WILL WE GET OUT THE SUPERMARKET ALIVE? That is the question.

The Sen (Special educational needs) panel wont meet till the 30th of September due to the fact the Senco put in the assess one form to late. It’s a bit of a pain as it would of been heard today. All the time his in this school nothing will get better. I just hope that this time the LEA do the right thing.

The child behind the mask.

8 Jul

It’s been a while since I last posted anything and if the truth be told I’ve just been so tired and not in the mood to blog. It’s rather annoying when your head is willing and happy to blog but your fingers and rolling eyes can’t keep up the pace. Nevertheless here I am with a head full of stuff that I need to write. I think its wise to start this blog by letting you all know I’m still alive and then jumping onto what’s been happening in terms of little man and his floundering education.

Since last time I posted thinks have progressed in some ways but have become progressively worse in many others. It’s so soul-destroying knowing your little boy is not being seen for the true bright child that he is. I’m not blaming the staff for this I’m blaming the educational settings in which I chose to place my son within only to find it the battle of my life to remove him from them.Yes, I can pull my child out tomorrow but any parent going through what we are will understand that without a statement I will be forced to place Little man in yet another mainstream school which in itself will only cause him heighten anxiety. Yes, maybe another mainstream school better suited to his needs, more understanding and willing for the challenge is out there! But how many schools will we have to send him to in order to discover it? Well, I’m hoping that at last something positive will happen and somehow the right steps taken. The reason for this small hope that I cling to is one my Solicitor has put in my appeal for a statutory assessment and two because the school have decided to put in the Assess one form with a number of professionals evidence to prove his current place of school is not the right place for him after all. To many this sounds extremely positive and yes it does to me too but I’ve learnt that with the educational system nothing is set in stone and sometimes the outcome isn’t what you expected nor wanted it to be.

The meeting that was held at little mans school on the fifth of this month was not only the largest we have had yet (In terms of the number of staff and professionals that attended.) But it’s also the one that’s had the most positive outcome. What I didn’t expect from this meeting was for it to be an incredibly emotional one. I was only in the room a few minutes before I could feel myself getting upset. I’m unsure why I hate showing my emotions when in the kind of situation I was in, I just do. I already knew that certain people were attending and I found myself nervous for the best part of the weekend. Every meeting I’m the same but this time it was more than that. I think it was because I had a certain subject to raise and wished I didn’t have to because the communication with the school had improved a little and also the fact I would hear everyone’s opinion on my child. Little man has a range of difficulties and I’m aware that many of these will cause a problem in the setting he is placed in. I am his Mother who has stressed my concerns for such a long time without them being heard. Yes, once I finally got little man the referral to CAMHS they were great. The first clinical psychologist little man worked with was the one who first made Aspergers known to me he was the one who handed me tissues to wipe my tears and gave me a ton of reading material to get stuck into. But what I’m most grateful to him for is being that first person to listen and tell me CLAIRE IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! These are the words that I still tightly hold onto through everything that has come our way! The battle to convince school that something was wrong, the many assessments, the oh so familiar looks from strangers, the diagnosis, two court cases for attendance and like many this very meeting. Sadly this psychologist left for a job in the sunnier parts of the world but we met other understanding professionals along the way and we were very lucky to meet a great specialist teacher who would also attend this very meeting. Others that stand out from the crowd is his morning teaching assistant a person that has better skills than most and In my opinion could do with a raise. She really should train and find herself a placement working with children like Little man as her support and dedication to my son is a rare gem to unearth and when Little man has finally left his current mainstream school she will be sadly missed by him. It was the statement written and read by this teaching assistant that was very overwhelming. To hear someone other than yourself speaking about your child and at the same time expressing concerns that have been your own concerns for many years can bring about a roller coaster of different emotions. I felt sad, worried, helpless, and surprisingly a little relieved. I went through one extreme to another and found that for once I didn’t have to convince any one person in that room that my son did in fact have a range of problems that were down to a diagnosis of Aspergers. His teaching assistant stated that Little man is for ever anxious and for this reason he is very unpredictable. Little man often lashes out and children are scared of him but have in time learnt ways to ignore and deal with certain behaviours. Wow can you blame me for becoming upset. My son was seen as some kind of aggressive monster by other children. All I could see was this little boy who himself is faced by fear as his scared of the world he lives in. I also heard from an outreach worker who works with little man once a week. She was the one who opened the meeting by stating that although she could see a gentle polite child she also saw an anxious one who is unpredictable and once she loses his attention it’s near on impossible to get it back. She finished by saying working with Little man was like walking on eggshells. This is a statement that I myself have used to describe the behaviours displayed by Little man.

A number of other people spoke and in turn I see a clear picture emerging of a child who was constantly trying to be someone he wasn’t. Hiding his interest in fear of them being seen as stupid by his peers. He was wearing this mask and with it he became a ticking time bomb. My little man had become a child that others feared, others liked, and others were unsure how to approach. All this because he just wants to fit in he just wants to be liked and seen as what he calls “NORMAL” The front door to our home closes and outcomes this child who just wants to relax and be himself. He grabs his pencil or my glasses and then will corporate these unusual household objects into the game that he will often play for hours. My son has transformed himself into a real moving, talking and beeping London bus. Whatever you do don’t try to ask him how his day went nor what he wants to eat for dinner unless you want abuse, tears or an overload of emotion displayed in an undesirable way. Now is his time to offload the stress of his day. This is his coping mechanism as well as his favourite thing to do. This is when little man removes the mask that he has created for himself! This is when his HAPPY.

The meeting went well and although the topic of school trips was brushed aside by the Head till after the meeting, I was still pleased with the outcome. Meeting the ASD outreach worker was extremely helpful and I only wished I had met her sooner. However we do plan to meet soon and I’m looking forward to gaining some more advice from a lady with her expertise and knowledge of the spectrum. We now play the waiting game to see if the LEA assess and if he will be assessed at his current school or in an emergency placement in a specialist school as advised.

In terms of the discussion surrounding school trips (Allotment gardening project) and my upset at little man being excluded from a number of them only to now be told he will no longer take part did happen but it was after the meeting. However I am pleased my Mother was present and that the discussion did happen. All I will write on the matter is that I do believe little man has been discriminated against in terms of not being allowed to attend and take part in the project just like his class peers. Anybody who is a parent will understand my upset and concern on the matter but although it’s upsetting I have decided not to write about it leaving the matter to be addressed by my solicitor.

LEA make bogus excuses for not assessing child’s needs

9 Jun

At last I finally have time to update my blog. What seems like months has only been weeks. Nevertheless so much has happened in such a short space of time no wonder in losing my days.That’s right today I almost missed my Early bird course (Autism training for adults and professionals) as I could have swore it was Monday. Well I soon came to my senses and got my butt in motion I didn’t want to miss the course as it going so well and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about ASD and when you have a child on the spectrum you can never know enough.

Well I finally received the letter from the LEA sen unit. It was about time too. I was disgusted with the way they treated me and little man. I wasn’t kept informed on the decision process and considering they had not followed the timescale of six weeks an explanation would have been greatly appreciated. I mean what’s the use of the Sen code of practice if the authorities have no regard for it. I’m not stressing over a silly few weeks or something they delayed the decision if to assess for five going on six weeks. Is it just me or would some kind of a letter and a simple apology be too much to ask? Well it seems so as the refusal letter didn’t state anything in relation to the delay and lack of communication on their part. It did however state their reasons for not agreeing to an assessment of little mans educational needs. Ok I’m not joking when I say at first after reading the letter more than once I did consider that maybe the LEA had made some mistake. Is it possible my child’s case was some how accidentally  been mixed up with another childs evidence. reality hit me like a smack in the face. These people really don’t give a ****. I’m sorry but what the hell is happening here? The LEA state that since little mans school have identified his needs and put certain provisions and strategies into place he has started to make progress in terms of his behaviour. Woo outrageous, Given this excuse I’m now wondering if they even bothered to open the letter I sent requesting the assessment in the first place. Lets see would it be the five exclusions his had since the 1st March this year or maybe it’s the fact his had well over twenty serious incidents recorded against him in the same time frame. I’m guessing it would be something more specific that really swung their judgement like the fact he hit a teacher or managed to escape from the school where luckily I was stood outside. Let’s face it given this level of evidence, the extensive list of exclusions and serious incidents it’s fair to assume that in order to access the relevent resources that my son requires directly as a result of his condition he would need to completely fail first. Let’s be honest as sad as it is his not far off. Well as you can imagine I was gobsmacked (not often Claire is lost for words) but I was also deeply worried about what move I would have to take next. The letter also stated that once the outreach teams had been in and assessed and the school had put into practice the advice suggested by them If it was thought little man still required the Statutory assessment the school could then readmit the assess 1 form. I took legal advice and was told to contact the tribunal service without delay given that I only have two months to appeal then I should not risk waiting for forms to be readmitted and again refused as I wont be able to appeal again in till a much later date (six months or a year I think) Made sense to me and with this I searched for a solicitor to take my case. I really needed my sanity for the children and not only was I strapped for time with three children one with aspergers, one trying to cope with daily life as a sibling to an aspie and a six month old baby I also didn’t want to do it alone. I just wanna enjoy the children for a while and at the same time know that someone is working on my appeal. Lets face it without a statement little man will end up lost and with that I will have to make difficult decisions on what best to do for him in till I can readmit my request. Yes It’s unbearable thinking about but I have to be practical.

Well here’s some positive news I attended the follow up meeting from the 26th April 2010, This was basically to review little mans past month’s progress. I have to say the last meeting was incredibly strained. I felt nothing was achieved and it wasn’t constructive in any way. I became a little emotional and I cried which I regret but sadly couldn’t help. With this memory I wasnt looking forward to this meeting and would go as far to say I was feeling kinda sick knowing it was approaching. This time I took my Mother (Who better than to support and keep you strong) I was surprised to see that this time other professionals had attended and the meeting was looking a little more formal. I felt nervous and uneasy and just wanted to get thinks done. Well I have to say I needn’t of worried so much. The other professionals who had attended where from a specialist school who provide outreach to little man. They were made up from a group of three. There was the outreach worker who works directly with little man on a one to one basis once a week, the headteacher from the specialist school itself and another very nice lady but I was and still am a little unsure what role she played within the outreach team. However she was extremely nice and made it her mission to be fair and understanding. It was also helpful to meet the outreach teacher working with little man. Again she was extremely nice and not only shared her thoughts and opinions on little mans learning and behaviour but she also took the time to listen and encourage me to share my thoughts and opinions. The Headteacher of the specialist school was very organised and direct but not in a rude way. I really liked him and felt he was fair and made valid points and helpful recommendations on ways to best solve current problems experienced with little man. The headmaster and the Senco were also at the meeting and we spoke about the LEA refusal to assess, little mans growing complexed needs and the head made a point of saying that little man wasn’t really being included anymore as he was chosing to move himself away from classroom activities. This I could also understand and is a bit of a worry. The level of support he currently receives is high and integrating him slowly back into the class routine will be incredibly difficult. We all discussed little mans need for an assessment which will hopefully lead to a statement. It was reassuring to know that everyone at that meeting was in agreement with that. So on the whole it went well and I didn’t leave feeling miserable as I had perviously.

So before I get some much-needed sleep I just want to say that all though things have been a nightmare at school home life has been Ok. I say ok as that’s all it’s been but when you have had real trying weeks you fully appreciate the “Ok” days. Half term was good and little man spent a lot of time socializing with the boy next door. They share a love of transport and though little mans is more a obsession his little friend seems ok with it. Yes they had a few disagreements but nothing to explosive. It’s great he has a friend who is happy to be bossed by him 🙂 Honestly I say this in a joking manner but all parents to children with aspergers will completely get where I’m coming from. It’s also nice to have a non judgemental parent who don’t drag their child away from yours in the fear he may catch Aspergers or just be lead down the route of misbehaving. She is very sensitive to little man and his needs. She allows him over and puts up with his very loud tone and moody strop without ever judging him. I can see he has become more and more comfortable with their family and that is a great achievement because apart from his cousin and his partner in crime at school he didn’t really have a real friend till now. And to be able to hold onto this important friendship makes me so very proud. Like the teacher at my ASD workshop said today. All parents love to feel proud of their child and it’s the same for parents of children on the spectrum only they can be proud at what may seem the simplest thing to a “typical child” but to a child on the spectrum it’s a huge achievement.

EXCLUSION TWICE IN 2 WEEKS.

20 Mar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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