Angry call from teacher - not sure what to do

(22 Posts)
MaryBS Fri 12-Oct-12 13:30:00

I know what you mean about being worried about things backfiring. I have a son in the same position, also with Asperger Syndrome. Certainly in my experience its always been better to speak up and resolve the issue, because I can put it across from my son's perspective. On each occasion the school has thanked me for raising it and explaining it. Doubly eek for me because I also have AS and worry about communicating effectively.

microcosmia Thu 11-Oct-12 23:50:52

I'm so grateful for all the kind responses and helpful suggestions everyone has made - it has really helped me to see that what I felt about this was valid after all. The overwhelming advice is that we need to take this up with the school and I'm convinced now that we will have to. Unfortunately DH isn't convinced he's really concerned we could make things worse for DS. There's always that fear with an SEN child that it could backfire on him but I take the view we are DS's advocates and he needs us to speak for him. I just wish we were on the same page about this. I will be taking it up with the school by myself but I would much prefer DH was fully on board.

To be fair, the school (especially the principal and SN co-ordinator) was actually very open and approachable from the outset, which is why we chose it after looking at many schools in the last two years. They have progressive policies on SEN which impressed me. Now I feel I need serious reassurance from them that this is a once off.

I've decided to write to them as a phone call can't properly convey what needs to be said, I feel. marriedinwhite I am going to use your letter as a template for one to the principal, you've expressed what I need to say much better than I ever could , thank you so much.

DH had a long chat with DS today and while he's still upset he knows we support him (even if privately we are divided on what to do about it). We're keeping him distracted too by planning our mid-term break trip and giving him something positive to focus on.

marriedinwhite Thu 11-Oct-12 22:27:34

Your son has been treated badly and the teacher in question has handled you as a parent even worse. I would write to the Head. Assuming your son has a formal diagnosis:

Dear Head

I am sorry to have to write to you so soon in Year 7.

My son who the school is aware is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and who can on occasion be slow to respond verbally and who has problems with confidence was chosen for the class quiz team and after two weeks was dropped due to delayed answers and lack of confidence.

In the circumstances, having chosen my son for the team, I believe it would have been appropriate for the teacher concerned to have made reasonable adjustments to afford my son equal opportunity to participate in this activity for which he was chosen.

I was very disappointed that when I tried to raise the matter in a mutually constructive way I received a very defensive telephone call from the teacher in question which appeared to address the teachers' needs rather than the needs of my son.

I would like to discuss my son's academic progress and pastoral care at the school with you so that together we can identify the best possible ways of supporting my son and so that you can explain to me what the school does to ensure all pupils have equal opportunities at school.

Please could you arrange for somebody to contact me to arrange a mutually convenient appointment within 48 hours of the date of this letter. I would like the meeting to take place before half term.

I look forward to hearing from you so that we can together ensure that positive relationship are built with the school for the benefit of my son.

Yours s

Microsomia

admission Thu 11-Oct-12 21:43:19

Apart from the problems this has created for your son, there is another reason for taking this up as a formal complaint with the school and that is if this is the normal attitude of the teacher involved then they are a disaster waiting to happen for the school. They need to know that there is an issue with their attitude so that hopefully it can be sorted out.

chocoluvva Thu 11-Oct-12 14:40:02

My aspie DS is slow at getting his words out too in certain circumstances- to the extent that people think he's not replying to them when he's just about to.
He has sort of learnt to avoid giving the impression of being rude by saying, 'well' before he says what he wants to say. Did take a lot of practice.
It's a special need similar to a stammer IMO, therefore the judges could possibly make an allowance for him, unless that made him more self-conscious and aware of his difficulties.

socharlotte Thu 11-Oct-12 14:28:14

not good. but ime the focus is on winning at secondarty a lot more than primary.there are so many kids the only fair thing to do is pick the best. if it's a speed thing and he is too slow at getting the answers out then that's that.

chocoluvva Thu 11-Oct-12 10:51:38

Oh dear. It makes you wonder why some people go into the teaching profession doesn't it? When they don't seem to like children.
I second ALL the other posts - go above this teacher's head.
A very similar thing happened to my (aspie) DS in his final year of primary school. The teachers involved seem to have no understanding or desire to understand the needs of aspie children. Your DS's teacher is either one of those, was having a bad day (but that's not professional) or is having a tizzy about this quiz anyway, for whatever reason.
Find a teacher who is sympathetic to your DS - maybe his guidance teacher and make sure they know about this too so they're aware of it for any future difficulties that might arise.
I'm soooo annoyed for you.

tiggytape Thu 11-Oct-12 10:31:40

Lancelottie - that's why I mentioned University Challenge too - it is very competitive and taken very seriously so if they can grant extra time, adapt questions for the visually impaired and allow those with speech difficulties additional time, you'd hope some school quiz team could see the merit of doing this too!

MaryBS Thu 11-Oct-12 10:30:37

I would contact again too. That teacher sounds really unprofessional! Aspie kids are really good are retaining knowledge and generally do pretty well in quizzes, just need a bit of confidence and reasonable allowances made where necessary.

defineme Thu 11-Oct-12 10:28:39

If it was my nt children I'd be having a quiet word with their tutor about the effect on their confidence.
If it happened to my as ds I would be ringing the senco, his tutor(unless that's the teacher in question), the head of year and if I didn't get a satisfactory answer as to why they'd undermined my sn ds' confidence to the extent that he's considering self harm -I'd write to the head and ask for a meeting(I would also mention the angry tone of the teacher in question).
This is his first term- you can't let this go.

Lancelottie Thu 11-Oct-12 10:28:04

Cross-posted with Tiggytape. (Clearly I would be too slow in responding for your school team...)

Lancelottie Thu 11-Oct-12 10:27:16

In fact, OP, University Challenge is more inclusive than that. As I recall, they've had competitors with quite severe stammers and visual problems. They adapt the quiz format accordingly. It's knowledge they should be assessing here, not ability to speak quickly.

TimeChild Thu 11-Oct-12 10:21:42

Shocking and shoddy treatment. Definitely worth making a fuss about as. This teacher really messed up here.

Hope you DS is ok.

Madmog Thu 11-Oct-12 10:09:07

My daughter's school want children "to be the best they can" and part of this is surely built up through being part of something. Taking this away from him, is only going to knock any confidence issues he may have.

Surely he was assessed on his suitability (as any other child would be) for the team, so how can they take this away from him so soon - it really isn't fair. If it's clear he wants to answer then surely in his case allowances should be made. You would hope they give him chance to answer things in class!

I would certainly speak to someone else in the school to find out how this has come about.

Blu Thu 11-Oct-12 10:03:11

Your poor DS.
It should not have happened like that.

I would talk to his class tutor and / or to the Head of Inclusion.

tiggytape Thu 11-Oct-12 08:32:48

That's awful - your poor DS.
It may well be that the quiz team is a hugely competitive thing and they take winning very far too seriously. But in which case why let him join it in the first place? A bit like school sports - some DC will never get picked for sports' teams if they cannot run well or have a physical disability which is disappointing if they enjoy sports but at least they can understand that the school want to win matches so only pick the best performers. That's justifiable to an extent but it is cruel to select somone then drop them straight away citing something that they cannot help as the reason and causing them huge upset in their first term at a new school.

The teacher may well feel they are being professional but I think it is horribly unkind to do this to him and to be honest, allowances can be made for a speech problem on a quiz team very easily (a few students on University Challenge have stammers and are allowed to take their time answering even though others have to answer right away). I would contact his form teacer and the school SenCo to tell them what has happened and how upset your DS is.

mummytime Thu 11-Oct-12 07:17:53

Are you in contact with the SENCO? I would speak to them.

OldBagWantsNewBag Thu 11-Oct-12 01:01:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kiwigirl42 Thu 11-Oct-12 01:00:34

Go and see the head. This is an unacceptable way to treat your DS. Even if they felt he was not suitable, there are a lot better and more supportive ways of telling him and you.

piprabbit Thu 11-Oct-12 00:46:56

Your poor DS - what a shitty way to treat him.

Does your DS have a teacher who looks after him pastorally? I do think you need to take this further as it doesn't seem that the school really understand his abilities or needs.

geologygirl Thu 11-Oct-12 00:40:04

Thats awful! Your poor DS.

How can they give him a place on the team and then take it away??!
That is not professional or caring on the part of the school. They've basically built your DS up and then brought him crashing back down to earth again. They know he has aspergers and he should have been fully supported. If they thought he had some confidence issues..well, what a way to help {hmm]

You should speak to the Head. I am really angry on your behalf. They should take your DS back on the team and be apologising to you profusely in my opinion. Dont take it lying down because they will then continue to leave him out of things going forward. They need to be inclusive and supportive here.

I hope your DS is okay. It cant be easy.

microcosmia Thu 11-Oct-12 00:31:05

This is my 4th attempt to post tonight (dodgy connection) so I'll be luckier this time hopefully.

DS just started secondary, thrilled to get on to class quiz team 2 weeks ago. Has Aspergers so it's a big deal. Was dropped yesterday, devastated & talking about self harm. I rang school to discuss (politely). Got very abrupt call from teacher involved who was livid and very defensive saying they are a dedicated professional. Little concern shown for DS. Reason for dropping him is lack of confidence and he's slow at getting answers out. He has a speech problem and hesitates before speaking - all staff were informed of his needs before term. I'm in shock at the response. I have to focus on supporting DS deal with the disappointment but feel this shouldn't have happened. I don't know what to do re school DH doesn't want to rock the boat at all but I'm worried what will happen if we need to contact them again. I need advice, thanks.

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