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Help please, especially Star, AE, Agnes and anyone else who knows my story(65 Posts)
Ds returned to school in September, after being signed off sick in June for anxiety and self harm. (i am in the process of appealing refusal to SA)
Since September ds is becoming increasingly distressed by school, i have been told to come and collect him twice from school. The latest being this afternoon, i got a phone call from school saying ds thought he had a 'splinter in his bottom' and was very upset, could i go and have a look. In the toilet in school ds refused to show me and was getting very distressed, crying, hanging onto my legs and begging me to take him home. The school office could see ds was very upset and told me to take him home.
Other than this ds comes out of school crying most days, saying he just doesnt understand what he is supposed to doing, he is not understanding instructions and not getting much work done.
When we arrive at school, he complains on pains in his legs and cant breath, i have to take him to the school office for his inhaler. He has 6 days off 'sick' with breathing difficulties. He is self harming again too, digs and scratches on his legs and chest.
I cannot approach school, as last time i did they reported me to child protection.
I cannot approach my gp, as the LA wrote to him stating that a team of experts had assessed ds and that he show no signs of anxiety or self harm in school. I have told my GP this a lie, ds hasnt been assessed and does show signs of anxiety, but he is saying his hands are tied.
Sorry that is long, but my question is social worker came to visit us last week, she stated it is clearly no a child protection issue and asked that i send her copies of all the recommendations that experts have provided and she is going to write a report in 2 weeks.
Do i approach SW? the situation is getting increasingly distressing for ds, statement is a long way off, what do i do in the meantime?
If he's too unwell to stay in school, he's poorly enough to bring to the doctor. Or to walk-in centre, or A&E, or even ask medical room to phone NHS direct. Or stay with him in school till 3.30pm.
The risk of taking him home without a paper-trail is that it gets logged as unauthorised absence, or mild illness being overblown by parent. Attend at their request, calm him down (if you can) and only take home if they say he's too poorly and they can't cope.
Or, nuclear option, 'lose' your phone.
Pipinjo GP has already stated he is not qualified to assess anxiety and has referred back to CAMHS. I do have appointment next week to assess his breathing and to get his injuries logged, but that is all GP is willing to do.
Ds wouldnt cause a 'scene' in school, he would sit there quietly and scratch his skin off and no one would notice, if i didnt pick him up.
School/LA are telling everyone i am 'over anxious' and therefore the cause of ds's anxiety, calling 999 for a potential splinter in the bottom, would kind of prove their point!
Once home from school the 'splinter' (which is not there) has stopped hurting and ds tells me the same as he tells me every day, he doesnt understand in school.
I was thinking along the lines of this IS a child protection issue, ds is self harming because of school. If SW is prepared to investigate schools allegation against me and conclude it isnt a child protection issue, then why wouldnt it work both ways? Why cant she conclude that school is the problem?
I should have added if i refused to take ds, he would just do as he was told, but scratch his skin off quietly. Ds is extremely passive. The reason school called me was they that are not allowed to look at his bottom.
The first time they told me to take him back home, i had taken him to school office on arriving at school, ds was complaining of pains in his legs and his breathing was bad. I took him to the school office so he could use his inhaler, they told me to take him back home, as they thought he was too ill to attend
How are the LA insisting he's not showing signs of anxiety when the school are phoning you all the time because of it? And why are they calling you in if they think that it's you who is making him anxious? Either they can cope with him and calm him or they can't.
Record each incident and the school's response - keep a diary, preferably (if you're not already). And if you're ending up taking him home so often, send in an absence note each time
I think you've hit the nail on the head with your last paragraph, the Social Worker (if she's good, and lots are very very good, despite the image of SWs portrayed so often) could be your greatest advocate here. As she is currently preparing a report I'd phone her and either request another appointment or speak on the phone and tell her everything you've said here, fundamentally school are unable to safeguard your child, that is a huge issue and one she needs to investigate as part of her assessment.
I don't know what services are provided and I know a lot depends on area, but you might want to try the NSPCC for advice, they can be fab.
Honking for you
Claw, I realise how inhumane it is here to mention the paperwork thing but have you got a note from the office telling you to take him home and from the CT?
If not, then email school about it. I don't think you need to even be discrete about why. You can just say truthfully why you need a record of the events.
Does your Ds have any injuries to photograph and show GP?
Personally I would march Ds back to the GP and insist that he does not overlook this child in need, that you will raise it to child protection yourself if this abuse by the school continues, and will be expecting to count on his support. If he does nothing else he should record both your visit and how Ds presents.
You should then contact the social worker, and I would seek advice from contact a family.
This is all out of my experience however, so I'm just posting more as an outside observer than with knowledge and experience.
So, basically, contact school via written form. Tell them if you like that you are just telling them 'for the records' as you know from experience they will not help.
Then GP, then SW.
Claw, have you tried an advocate? Fiona Slomovic is very practical and good with LAs and schools. She might be able to help you sort this and be a source of support so you are not alone.
I know this means paying but she is very understanding about paying by instalments etc.
I really think you need someone else involved to sort this for you.
No Star, no note, it was the school receptionist who also doubles as the school 'nurse' ie she in charge of first aid and administering inhalers etc, who told me to take ds home both times. I keep a record of 'incidents'.
I do not have an email for school, it will have to be done via letter, school will deny anything more than ds having/or claiming to have a splinter in his bottom and being upset about hurting himself.
I cannot photograph injuries anymore, as school are claiming that my last lot of photographs were 'insect bites' and this is why i showed my gp photographs rather than taking ds. So i have to take ds to the GP and show him directly, so they cannot make that claim.
I did march ds straight back to the GP, when my gp said he was fit for school after receiving the letter from LA, without even informing me or even seeing ds and he is adamant that he cannot go against the educational team of experts and his hands are tied. I told him LA were telling lies and he said he wont get involved in that, i will have to take that up with the LA.
All i can do is get my GP to record the injuries and i have made an appointment. If GP or anyone asks ds where the injuries came from he makes up excuses ie the cat scratched him, or he was bitten or he fell over or playing football etc.
At home ds is tearful, angry and punching and slapping himself in the face when he cannot do something, crying a lot and screaming at his brothers for the slightest thing. At the GP surgery, he will be quiet and polite.
I agree with AE, if it is possible. I know you're already feeling the burden of a solicitor though.
I wish you lived near me. On a serious note, can you?
Oh Claw x
I would definately notify school via email the ins and outs of why he was taken home from school wether it be a phone call from them or the fact like the splinter day they saw him distressed and said to take him home.
You can even point out to them this is a record of absence for your own peace of mind as you want to make sure everything is logged.
I would call the SW as it is good to have them on side and shows that you are asking them for involvement then there are no surprises if the school should phone them again.
Make a note of every injury in a diary so that in future the school cant just use the excuse that it was "at playtime" etc rather than admit ds has harmed himself.
I have no experience law wise but an advocate could well be a good idea to at least support your decisions.
Claw, you need to take photos anyway, for being able to show continuous recording and to not lose data. One day, hopefully soon, you'll be dealing with sensible competent people and you'll need evidence to explain why you are asking for things a certain way.
Hi AE, i am already paying a fortune for a solicitor for statementing process. Along with indep reports i will need also, its costing me about 15 grand, i am having to beg, steal and borrow to pay this. I really cannot afford anything else at the moment.
I completely understand. If you do have a solicitor, can they not deal with this issue by advising you? You need to make them earn their keep!
Coff33 and Star, ds was free from all injury within 2 weeks of being signed off of school and stayed that way for the 6 weeks holidays, not a mark on him.
Literally the minute he went back to school, his legs are smothered in 'insect bites' again and he has marks on his chest caused by scratching, they are there constantly, they never heal. So photographing them, i could have just taken lots of photographs on the same day. So i really do need to get it recorded by GP.
It seems to me he starts with harming the bottom of his legs and chest and bottoms of his arms, places he can get to easy in school. It then progresses to his groin, bottom, shoulders etc, places i assume he must be scratching at home and he does this when either his legs, arms etc have become too sore or when he just gets totally overwhelmed.
SW has told me to stop taking photographs. So i am concerned that if i use any photographs as evidence, it will lead straight back to child protection issues again.
Can you change your GP to one who is less of a numpty?
AE I will inform solicitor, but they will not get involved in SS issues.
I suppose what i am asking you guys, is do i steer well clear of SS and not mention anything and just let her write her report stating its not a CP issue or do i actually ask her to help?
Wassup, that is something i have considered, my gp is the type who doesnt understand autism at all, he actually asked does ds still have autism and never mind he might grow out of it type. He is fine as long as your ailment involves ears, nose or throat.
But he has a point, anxiety is not his remit, he has referred ds back to CAMHS, i think that is all i can expect from any GP?
Has the Indi EP seen him in school yet?
Claw, take pics anyway and date them. Then take pics every day of them healing the day after EP visit when you remove him from school.
You don't have to disclose them until you feel it is in your Ds' best interest.
I rather think it IS a CP issue, but I wouldn't trust a SW to say that.
Can you ask your solicitor?
I think there are sws out there that would recognise institutional/environmental abuse as a CP issue.
Claw, Fiona was really helpful when I contacted her but there is always the organisation advocates for children to try who offer free advice. I think that often whats needed are solicitors that deal with education and SS issues. There are some around but if you have already instructed this isn't likely to help you now I guess. I hope things improve for you and your child soon Claw.
I have emailed my solicitor and im waiting on her reply.
EP is going into school in December.
Ds is crying every day and actually asking me to help him, he is saying that he doesnt understand the instructions, he doesnt know what he is supposed to be doing, he is doing no work at all or copying from others.
I told him to tell the teacher, he said he does, the teacher explains it again and he still doesnt understand, so the teacher tells him to ask other children on his table. The other children on his table dont even want to sit next to him and move their chairs away from him. One of his IEP targets is to ask other children and NOT a teacher!
I took him with me to parents evening a few days ago and told his teacher he is coming out of school crying every day, the teacher said he had noticed he was upset but didnt know why, so i called ds in and asked him to explain to his teacher why he had been upset. He told his teacher exactly what he had told me.
Teacher came out with a load of bullshit, about kids not moving away from ds because of ds, but because they are just very good friends with the other child, all children are encouraged to work together and share ideas, blah, blah, blah
Could the EP not go in sooner? It sounds like December is too far away to me and your child may be suffering in the meantime? This sounds awful. Claw I am so sorry you are having to cope with this.
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