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please help re school diagnosis more harm than good

(16 Posts)
thriftychic Thu 15-Nov-12 11:47:28

ds2 (13) yr 9 at school,

we have had behavioural problems with him at home for the last couple of years , mostly ok at school.
when he was stressed at school about a year ago (he had been out of school for 3 months and then changed to a new one) the more people tried to talk to him the worse he felt . they timetabled him to go to the think room and he was devastated as its not cool and he said he felt like a freak. over time he calmed down , school have said they dont have any major issue with him and as they left him alone more the better he has got. He has recently started to move up in his teaching groups and make friends. He just wants to be one of the lads , the in crowd and seems to be fitting in now.

now, at home his behaviour has been hideous and last week we were given a diagnosis of Aspergers. i am not sure i accept this as correct. school have been sent a letter and put him on school action , havent actually spoken to anyone other than the pastoral office and thats all they have told me so far.
but, this week at school his behaviour has gone really downhill . i think it might be because they have the diagnosis and are treating him differently.
He was distraught last night because in P.E he had been grouped with all the special needs kids and he is a higher ability (he said) and they were distracting him and making stupid noises. he said he felt really stupid being in that group when his friends were in other groups.

i am now really worried that this diagnosis is going to do more harm than good at school . i think i would like them to leave him be before they wreck the bit of self esteem that has just built up.

what the hell do i do ? can i have this diagnosis removed ? i KNOW my son and i am sure that they are going to destroy him if they start singling him out for extra help or putting him with other needy kids. please dont take that the wrong way , i am explaining from ds2 sort of thinking.
i am feeling quite heartbroken and scared just now.

stillsmarting Thu 15-Nov-12 12:24:21

You really need to speak to the SENCo and probably someone who deals with pastoral care- not just the administrator in the pastoral office.
If he has been told of his diagnosis he needs to adjust to it and what they have done (re PE) hasn't helped.
You might be right, that they are treating him differently because of his diagnosis, but he is still the same person he was before diagnosis.

stillsmarting Thu 15-Nov-12 12:28:22

Should have asked who made the diagnosis. Most people find a diagnosis helps, because it opens the way for more help for their child. My DS was diagnosed at 12 and Statemented at 13. His school were really good with him.
He was put in Special PE though, but he was really bad at understanding the rules of team games and the group he was in did PE that did not rely on working as a team. Doesn't sound as though that is a problem for your DS.

thriftychic Thu 15-Nov-12 12:59:46

ds2 doesnt seem to have a problem in P.E , the school have not raised concern but have at times phoned me about his behaviour that day. usually him having an issue with other students .but , they never suggested he needed any extra help or anything.

hes been diagnosed by psych at camhs but first camhs said he wasnt ASD and that he passed the ados test but because we have been desperate with his behaviour at home and had a new worker at camhs we were given a second opinion by another psych who diagnosed AS. he only saw ds2 once , us once and asked school , who brought up his behaviour from when he was struggling the year before (when he was new)

His behaviour at home is out of control but my gut feeling is that it would be better for school not to know about the diagnosis, ds2 will not accept any help anyway and does not want to be treated different , it will kill him .

can i insist they leave him be ??

School have not helped but they have not helped because any additional support he needs has never been put into place. Poor soul therefore is falling apart; secondary school without any additionalsupport needs being met can be hell on earth.

It could be that his behaviour is poor at home also because his additional needs at school are simply not being met. If an AS diagnosis has been made, he should not be on just School Action but School Action Plus. What sort of pysch made the diagnosis (a clinical pysch?); an Ed Pysch cannot make this diagnosis. School Action in school means very little; they would not be doing much for im in terms of support if he is on this plan.

I would speak to the SENCO and his pastoral support person for his year as a matter of urgency.

"ds2 doesnt seem to have a problem in P.E , the school have not raised concern but have at times phoned me about his behaviour that day. usually him having an issue with other students .but , they never suggested he needed any extra help or anything".

They would not do that anyway, school staff are simply not skilled or trained enough to spot and help children with any sort of special need let alone someone who has received an AS diagnosis.

Penneyanne Thu 15-Nov-12 13:37:52

I would go in to the school and talk to them about this Thrifty.My ds,12,has Aspergers and although it was over 2 yrs ago since he was dx it took him a long time to come to terms with it himselfsad.I think thats the problem with older kids-they are old enough to understand far more than a younger child.
I know my ds is like yours and far prefers to be with the 'normal' kids rather than the special needs group.I think this is actually a good thing for them as the world wont bend over to accomodate them once they leave school-they will have to learn to 'fit in' with the real world and what better way than to be constantly interacting with their peers who dont have special needs.
This was actually a big factor in our choice of secondary school-we chose one where all ds's friends were going as opposed to the one which had a super-duper special needs dept.The one we chose still offers lots of support but I had a suspicion with the other one that he might have been 'lumped in' continually with the special needs kids most of whom had less ability/more serious issues etc.If this was the case then ds would in effect be failed by the school as he would not develop to his full potential.
I would be inclined to keep the diagnosis-it will help access support for him if he needs it in the future .Its hard to predict what way things will go as they mature isnt it? I know with ds anxiety is becoming a huge issue as he gets older and while I would prefer he had no 'label' ideally, life is much better and easier for him with it.smile.He sounds quite like your ds Thrifty and is very high-functioning also.I would nip this in the bud now as its all so new and see if the school can just offer support as and when he needs it rather than simply catagorising him immediately because of his 'new label'.
Sorry I've gone on a bit Thrifty.Hope this helpssmile.

creamteas Thu 15-Nov-12 13:42:47

I would also support going into see the school. You need to go though with them what level of support he will be receiving.

Just because he has a diagnosis, this should not mean that he is put in lower sets. If anything, the proper support should move him up!

Is there an aspergers /autism educational advisory service that work with your DS's school? Where I live there is a specialist service that meet with each child and give advice to schools on how to support them. My DC were refused statements (SEND Tribunal) but I have found them really helpful in getting their school to give appropriate support.

alison222 Thu 15-Nov-12 17:53:50

I would make an appointment to see the SENCO.

My DS is in year 7 at HS with an AS diagnosis.
The school are adamant that they want to provide support as unobtrusively as possible so as not to single him out if possible.
A lot of the time that is good so it is not being made obvious. DS has not been separated in PE, although the teacher is aware that group activities can be difficult, and unstructured times V difficult, plus organisational probs. Apparently although he has noticed this he is managing without making a big deal of it - ditto with the drama teacher.
It can be lots of little things that can make a big difference to how a child copes.
So for DS it is little things like ensuring a task is not a general question but is broken into component parts, giving him fidget toys ( he has a mini tangle keyring on his pencil case) and the TA noticing bad posture/wandering concentration and giving him a moving task such as handing out books etc, or helping out if he can't work out how to start a task. These things can sound minor but can have a huge effect, and the school needs to work out what your DS's needs are.
DS is also being invited to a "social group" at lunchtimes one day a week, where they play board games and at the same time talk over issues and work on correcting social interactions/social skills. He did this in primary and it worked well. Have yet to see how secondary manage it.
Also little things like DS cannot do eye contact consistently and if you need him to listen he can't look at you at the same time. Teachers need to be aware that this is not rudeness on his part.
So many little things you need to read about and see if they apply to your DS, but they are so important and make such a huge difference.

thriftychic Thu 15-Nov-12 17:56:16

hi , penneyanne, what sort of help at school does your ds need ? i have no idea what they could be doing differently anyway , dont know what to suggest. other than allowing him to work with the people he feels comfortable with.
but , thats just the issue he has this week . really the problem is simply that he wants everything his way or no way and will threaten , taunt , blackmail , go awol , whatever it takes until he gets it. im not sure if that is AS.

He has been following me around throwing things in my face , calling me a slag , insisting i dont care because i havent made the teacher move him from the group to another . Hes thrown a hot coffee all over me , cut up every card in my purse and today truanted . the school told me he was there at 8.30 but told me at 2oclock they had made a mistake and he wasnt shock so , frantically searched and found him at the park.
have a meeting with the head tomorrow but no idea what i even want to say as i am so confused.

thriftychic Thu 15-Nov-12 17:58:10

thanks crossed posts with you alison

alison222 Thu 15-Nov-12 18:21:52

Often there is so much sensory overload going on that they need to feel in control of everything - hence the controlling behaviour - they try to see what they can control, so if you can find out if eg noises, flickering flourecent lights, smells, feel of clothes, etc are distracting then if you can alleviate these then sometimes some of the other behaviours die down too.

Penneyanne Thu 15-Nov-12 22:10:23

Oh Thrifty it sounds like your ds is very upset at the mo-I didnt realise exactly how difficult things are for yousad.Do you feel this behaviour is directly linked to the recent diagnosis?Ds has dropped one subject and goes to a resource teacher for that class period every day but he is ok with this as loads of kids with dyslexia etc do this.She does catch-up with maths(his weak area) ,social skills training and whatever else needs addressing{sigh}.He suffers with anxiety also so often just needs to talk to herhmm.

I would say your ds is trying to come to terms with a lot of stuff in his head and this is his way of trying to control things although he is clearly flounderingshock.Make sure you tell the head how bad things are with him at home because so often they are ok at school-like a duck floating on the water with the little legs furiously paddling beneath the surface.
I would say go armed with a list of your concerns regarding school,areas where you feel he needs support,make sure the head makes every teacher aware of these but stress that you dont want him compartmentalised with the other special needs kids as this is really causing him extreme anxiety.Stress this!

See if the school will be 'led' by your ds for a while as regards his needs until he settles down a bit so if he is really anxious for example,he may not have all his homework completed tomorrow,if teachers can see he is inattentive,restless etc in class then perhaps give him an errand to run to give him a 'stress break' from the classroom,make sure every teacher is aware that he takes things literally(if he does),that kind of thing.Make sure he has supports for things like concentration,lack of attention in class etc.Tell them they will need to cut him some slack for a while to see how he settles down.Suggest a review after christmas as you will be clearer how things are going then. The main thing at the moment is that he goes to school every day,stays there and is happy there. The school also now need to step up to the mark and tailor things to suit his individual needs and not just lump him in with other kids.
Good luck tomorrow and tell us how it goessmile.

Penneyanne Fri 16-Nov-12 13:59:19

Oh meant to say ,what Alison said above also re.sensory overload etc-make sure school are aware of this perhaps causing problems.
Hope it goes well.

alison222 Fri 16-Nov-12 14:09:38

Oh and they should not change the sets he is in re education. My Ds is in a class where there are 3 boys with ASD and apparently they are all at the higher end of the intelligence spectrum - so they must not write off your DS now that you have this Dx.
Did they do any kind of tests to show potential when they started high school? You can use this to see if he has made the expected progress academically and if not it is all the peripheral things they need to do to allow the academic progress to happen, else they are failing him.

thriftychic Fri 16-Nov-12 16:39:17

thanks for all the advice ,the meeting went quite well.

DS2 behaved badly again this morning though and hasnt been to school. He came downstairs in a pair of chinos rather than school trousers and said he was going to wear them because he didnt care if they werent allowed. i tried to make him wear the school trousers and he squirted tomato sauce all over them all so he couldnt wear them shock

much rampaging ensued and he wouldnt go to school at all. dont think i handled it very well but using advice i got here ,on another thread i started, i have come up with a behaviour plan for him where he can get some money and treats as rewards and he seems to have really gone for that and calmed down.
hes been upstairs writing a list of what he will buy with the money smile

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