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Home Tutor

(79 Posts)
claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 09:54:13

Ds is having home tuition of 5 hours a week, which hasnt been going too well.

Ds has been refusing and hiding under a blanket. He is crying every morning before she arrives and saying that he doesnt want her to come etc, etc.

This morning i had to to go the shop, after the tutor arrived, so asked my 16 year old to come downstairs, while i went to the shop. I leave the door open to the room where ds and the tutor are.

I was only gone 5 minutes and was really surprised to see that ds was out from under the blanket when i got back.

My 16 year old told me, he was listening to what the tutor said to ds, apparently she told ds that unless he came out from under the blanket, the blanket would be banned and that she deals with kids like him every day and she was not standing for him hiding under a blanket.

Apparently she also said to ds that is 'not normal' to wear the same thing every day and that 'normal' children dont wear the same thing, get dressed and leave the house.

Do you feel this is harsh? Ds has a school phobia and this tutor is suppose to be acting as a link between home and school and getting ds back to school eventually.

Seems her strategy for refusal/avoidance is force. I was hoping she would try and motivate ds to want to work, i thought her purpose was to build trust and relationship to enable ds to return to education and that the work wasnt really important for now.

Or am i just being too Mary Poppins about this. Your thoughts please?

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 16:38:22

Keep, when she arrives ds is in socks (and pj's), i could forcibly dress him every day, which would just result in him rejecting the tutor even more. His breakfast and drink is still on the table untouched when she arrives. I then have to go upstairs and pick him up and force him to come downstairs to see her.

Ds will get dressed to leave the house at other times (apart from the last CAMHS appointment, he was refusing to go, i again had to pick him up and put him in the car, still in his pj's)

I figured it was more important for him to be accepting of the home tutor, than it was him getting dressed.

I agree with her, ds cannot sit there under a blanket, ignoring her for an hour, i just dont agree with her methods for getting him to come out.

Rather than arriving and stamping her authority, you will come out or else and now do a literacy sheet or read a book. Why not bring something along to interest him, to motivate him to WANT to come out from under the blanket. Why not talk to him about his pets or his interests for a short time to get him to come out.

Maybe tomorrow, i will insist on staying in the room, until he comes out, show her how it is done.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 12-Feb-13 17:21:35

lougle if your tutor is the wrong tutor for whatever reason they are not able to establish a trusting relationship necessary to get anxious 'school-refusers' back to rubbish m/s - this is against the ethos of any temporary solutions agency such as EOTAS so they will listen to you when you complain because this is cheaper than not listening to you, just as not listening to you whilst your child is in school is the cheaper option.

At the same time I endure meltdowns frequently by forcing DS1 out of his onesie into clothes or making him change his clothes each day the tutor sees him - this can take around 45 mins if the session is first thing in the morning or can last all morning if the session is later. atm, upcoming tribunal an' all, it is a priority. It is maybe not important or counter-productive for DS but it is important that you tick the boxes for safeguarding.

lougle Tue 12-Feb-13 17:34:48

keep, I know, but claw needs friends, not enemies, and from where I'm standing, there aren't too many friends left. If you complain about every service you encounter, you start to be the problem.

I'm not being unsympathetic, but claw has fought and fought to get a home tutor in the first place. Now, after just 3 sessions she's heading for irretrievable breakdown in the relationship.

I mean, she has an hour to do her session. Did you really have to go to the shop in that hour? Could your 16 year old not have gone for you, or you go later? I'm not picking, I'm just saying that if it is that hard when the tutor is here, then it's probably best that you are there.

moosemama Tue 12-Feb-13 17:44:18

I think your point about getting him to engage through the use of his interests is key. When ds1's inclusion teacher was struggling, she found out that if she did ten minutes work, followed by 5 minutes on something on her iphone he was happy. She also deliberately chose subject matter to do with his obsession (Nintendo, it's history, games and characters) and regularly uses that to get him to engage. If he didn't want to read a book, she would choose one about gaming or Pokemon to motivate him. Literacy sheets would be 'open' so, say he has to construct a sentence including two connectives, she could suggest one of his interests or obsessions as the subject matter.

The Ed Psych that started working with him before his dx, quickly found she got more out of him if she used the Talking Tom cat app.

Any tutor worth their salt should be doing this as a matter of course, particularly with children who have high anxiety. It not only engages the child, but it actually builds a trusting relationship along the way.

Claw - does your ds have particular pj's that he's attached to? If not, could you maybe get around the dressing problem by getting a few pairs of joggers and tshirts/sweatshirts that he can sleep in, which will then just look like day clothes when she arrives?

At the same time though, there has to be some acceptance coming the other way that if he didn't have any issues, she wouldn't nee to be there in the first place. My ds hates to get dressed as well and it's taken until very recently (he's nearly 11) to get to the point where he will reluctantly get dressed if we have someone coming to the house. Even then he will still be wearing only one sock (don't ask) and often clothes that are very worn and a tad on the snugside, because he wants to wear his favourites, particularly if strangers are coming, as he needs the comfort.

Sadly, I think others are right about having to do everything you can to be seen to be ticking all the right boxes re safeguarding, but maybe, with a little creative thinking we can help figure out some strategies to help you do that?

How about belvita-type breakfast biscuits and a glass of milk in bed on tutor days, perhaps selling it to him as a special treat?

moosemama Tue 12-Feb-13 17:49:24

Completely missed one of my main points out. blush

Basically, that it does sound like she is an old-school tutor and very set in her ways, but unfortunately it also seems like you are going to have to ask for a meeting with her, in order to be seen to co-operate. If you do that and offer her all your ideas for getting him to engage then perhaps you could confirm the conversation in writing. Then you have something on record.

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 17:51:49

Lougle cross posted with you, as i said yes i agree with her ds cannot hide under a blanket, ignoring her for an hour. Its just her methods to get him to come out, that i am not happy with, come out or else, isnt a way to gain a kids trust and build a relationship.

He has had 9 sessions with her now, first 2 went much better, as these were more relaxed. As i said he wasnt refusing to come down or crying etc, etc. He was refusing to read or write however. Because these are the things he finds difficult, he has an eye disorder, hypermobility, cannot hold a pencil properly etc, etc. All she is doing is carrying on exactly as school did, as if he doesnt have any difficulties.

For example the text needs to be made larger for ds. He needs movement breaks is another, example. He has difficulty understanding verbal instructions. She is trying to teach ds like she would any other kid.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 12-Feb-13 17:52:51

lougle - I think claws' DS needs his needs met and that does not mean claw bending over backwards in an attempt to be friends with someone who is not a friend and never will be and is actually making things worse. I have encountered tutors who are retired-young teachers who have a very stuff and nonsense attitude to all SEN. Get rid. If you put up with it she it will be bad for DS and bad for you because you will be forced to object, to look as if you can never be satisfied etc.

DS1 can feel abandoned being left alone with the tutor but it is important that I leave them alone, no hovering, no leaving doors open etc but demonstrating trust. They will say that they were unable to build a trusting relationship because on the one hand you are an over-anxious control-freak spy and on the other you leave the house during a session and don't feed or dress him (not what I think - just how it can be constructed).

You have to ride two horses iykwim

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 18:15:45

Keep, i leave the door open on tutors request. As i said i usually just get on with my housework ie washing machine going, dishwasher etc and i cannot hear what is being said and leave them to get on with it. Today was no different, i popped to the shop for 5 minutes and asked older ds to come down and sit in the kitchen, while i went to the corner shop.

It was only after i returned and my older ds told me what he had over heard, that i didnt put on the washing machine, so i could over hear what was being said.

Prior to today, i assumed that ds was refusing to come downstairs etc, etc when tutor was here, due to the 'school' connection.

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 19:00:54

I agree totally i need to try and work with the tutor, if she would let me have some input, things would run much more smoothly, especially now i am aware of her 'strategies'. But she doesnt want my input. I have asked her previously did she want to come round and have a chat before she started working with ds and the answer was 'no, i would prefer to get to know him'. I asked does she want copies of reports, same answer.

As i said i think ds would get dressed with minimal fuss, if she should would incorporate a movement break of him going outside for 5 minutes.

I think he would not be refusing to come downstairs and might even look forward to her coming, if she would incorporate something of interest to him into the start of the lesson.

I think he would not be refusing if she actually listened to him when he tells her he hasnt understood what she has just said, instead of dismissing him.

Today i sat here and listened to ds tell her he didnt understand (something which has taken me years to get him to do), she told him 'oh yes you do' he then started crying and she then told him 'stop crying, do you always whinge to avoid doing things'

Why is it so difficult to explain it to him again? why is it so difficult to rephrase what you said, using simpler words, so he can understand?

MareeyaDolores Tue 12-Feb-13 19:09:45

But claw, she is a mainstream teacher. This is the exact same 'connection with school' problem: he simply can't cope with how mainstream staff teach, and how they manage behaviour, and they simply can't see that he's disabled rather than difficult, or badly brought up.

This type of approach is usual for what a mainstream person would do, as it works reasonably well for many dc. So you will look nuts if you challenge it. Love the idea of recording to 'build on it'. With my tribunal head on, you could use an excellent specialist ASD, ABA or SN tutor so you can demonstrate evaluate the effect of the different methods.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 12-Feb-13 19:10:08

Claw - if you heard that today, why didn't you speak to her?

I know it is horrible having to raise things all the time, but, I don't see what else you can do.

But you need to be constructive. Try and raise things directly and then, if that doesn't work, you need to say to her that you are not happy with her methods and take it higher.

My son can present as difficulty because of anxiety and it can be hard for others to understand until they know him.

Offer her suggestions on how best to deal with him, say you are happy to assist, yes, you don't want to hover but sometimes it is hard to introduce school to home and having a joint transition to a lesson with you settling him before going off to make a coffee or something.

Tell her to start with a bit of time on his special interests.

If none of this works, then take it further.

If you don't agree with any of that, just complain but don't record her. What's the point? It's underhand and unproductive. You either trust or you don't.

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 19:30:53

IE she goes to another child straight after and rushes out the door once her time is up. To be honest, i sat here and still am sat here trying to work out the best way, the most diplomatic way of saying it.

I have provided her with a copies of his SALT report, his EP report etc which state exactly that he has difficulties understanding verbal instructions etc, etc. That was my diplomatic way on Friday (after she initially refused, 3 weeks ago, on Friday i just gave them to her, without asking). Today she gave me the reports back saying she has read them and then goes on to say that to ds.

She told me her daughter was an OT on Friday and that her daughter had given her recommendations of things to try with ds. I was kinda oh ok thats great and at the end of the session gave her a copy of ds's OT report. I assumed if she was willing to try her daughters ideas, then she might want to try some of the ideas the OT who has actually assessed ds had given.

Ds refused to do her daughters recommendations on Friday of pushing the wall and i get the feeling she has just lost patience with him. She tried pushing the wall, didnt work, give up and he just has to do as he is told kinda thing

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 12-Feb-13 19:37:42

You have to model trust but you need to be able to trust the tutor yourself to be able to model trust.

You will not look nuts if you challenge whether this m/s old-school tutor is appropriate. On the other hand you might looks nuts to prefer this over real m/s. These tutors are easy to find whereas good tutors tend not to be available within the statutory limit. I have been told that if current tutor was available at the time then DS1 would have had this tutor from the start. This is the place to let it be demonstrated that DS needs specialist tuition. For it to be that you need a tutor able to see his needs.

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 19:41:49

Mareey, i dont think she has ever been a teacher, she is the wife of the manager of the PRU unit, the unit/manager who provides home tuition, so she is married to the guy who accpets the referals to the PRU. She told me she used to work in the PRU unit with 'disruptive' pupils and has years of experience.

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 20:04:02

Keep, that is exactly it, she is not 'appropriate' for ds, she needs to deliver in an ASD way and she isnt. She is trying to teach ds in exactly the same way you would a 'normal' child, without taking any of his difficulties into account.

I am very aware of my rep for being negative, never happy, over anxious about ds's needs etc and the fact the LA are trying to blame me being 'negative' for ds's behaviour.

Tutor is literally picking up school work for ds, from school.

Im just undecided about what to do for the best.

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 20:28:18

EP did recommend that home tutor should be 'specialist with experience of and additional training in ASD'

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 12-Feb-13 20:47:51

Complain to line manager. Why is this tutor not appropriate? What are her experience/qualifications etc?

cansu Tue 12-Feb-13 20:58:53

Ok I had typed a massive post which I have just lost. Fwiw I have a lot of sympathy for you but I think you do need to pick your battles. Some things are not important eg ds wearing pjs in house. But ds refusing to come out from under blanket and complete work with tutor is something you should be seen to support tutor on. If you don't want her to be firm with him then I think you need to do that job and direct your ds to put blanket down and do work. If he won't then maybe home tuition is not the answer. However I know you fought hard for it and if ou are seen to be unsupportive then this may bring the same hassle and interference from social care that you had before.

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:05:08

I dont know for sure that she isnt, i think i need to enquire about that first before i jump to conclusions. All she said to me was that she previously worked in the PRU unit and has experience of ASD.

I did ask what experience of ASD and she said 'disruptive' children. I then had to cut the phone call short, as i was just on my way out of the door, i had an appointment.

Ds isnt 'disruptive', in fact the total opposite, he is usually passive to the extreme. So its 'out of character' for him to be refusing to do anything.

I have spent years teaching him that if he doesnt understand, all he has to do is speak up and say he doesnt understand. Then seems all it is met with is 'oh dont be silly of course you do' comments hmm

claw2 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:16:11

Cansu, as i have said, i totally agree ds cannot stay under a blanket.

However i think the tutor needs to be asking herself WHY is he hiding under a blanket. WHY is he refusing to do the work.

As i said previously, she is not taking into account his difficulties at all, she is expecting ds to just be able to do the work, like any other child without difficulties.

This is exactly the reason ds cannot attend/cope in school.

lougle Wed 13-Feb-13 06:13:13

But passivity and overt disruption can have the same cause and the same net effect. It is erroneous to see one as more 'disruptive' than the other. The difference is how much it effects other people.

I honestly think that you are singing from different hymn sheets. You see it as her job to gently lead your DS to the understanding that learning is not that bad and therefore school might be ok. For her the job is to help your DS work through the work given.

Hiding under a blanket, refusing to prepare for the one hour of learning...it's all disruptive, even if it's passively done.Allowing it sends the message to the tutor and your DS that this time isn't important. Leaving the breakfast things out just points out that there is an issue.

Pick your battles, sure. But there is so much you could do to meet this tutor half way. At least get him to slip on a tracksuit bottom and a t shirt. give him a time limit then clear the breakfast things, no fuss, no comment. Remove the blankets the night before so they aren't there to hide under. Support your DS but make it clear that this tutor comes to help him and it's rude to refuse. If, after all that he refuses, at least the tutor sees that you are trying. At the moment, from your posts, it sounds like you are colluding with your DS, albeit unconsciously.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 13-Feb-13 07:24:04

I agree with Lougle.

I am not criticising you at all. I really do understand how difficult it is to have an anxious child who digs his heels in because of that anxiety.Lougle is right, this behaviour may not be naughty or non-compliant in the sense of defiance but it is certainly disruptive.

But you have to work with her because this is difficult to deal with for anyone.

What helped in my son's school was for them to see that, when things were fine he was able to do the things they asked so we can really trust him that when things are bad for him, he can stay outside the class. He is taken on trust with this.

I think it helps to have a plan and a timetable in the morning to help with this and to set the clear expectation that you expect him to be out of the blanket and working and that you will stay to help with this for as long as needed not matter what the right thing is to do with 1;1 teaching etc. When my son started a new school, I took my work to school and worked in the staffroom and he could come to see me whenever he liked until he felt less anxious,

Take the pressure off with these things and agree a plan with her to reduce the anxiety. Show her what to do and that he will work for you at home . I assume he will?

This is only one hour and not a day at school. Emphasise that.

She is clearly floundering. Explain to her the type of language she should use and how you can both talk to him and encourage him.

If she doesn't respond positively to your offer of support and assistance, then ask for someone with more expertise but you will be in a better position to do that if you have done everything you can to make this work.

I know those dealing with our kids should know better but they don't. If they don't want to learn, then that is the problems.

Cornycabernet Wed 13-Feb-13 08:57:46

I also agree with Lougle. The tutor has a different idea of what her role is. I also agree with IE that she sounds like she is really struggling. She is probably embarrassed and being defensive. Not excusing it but I've seen that default mode many times with M/S teachers.

We had the same situation with ds when he was home tutored. It was a nightmare. He wouldn't come out of his room at all to begin with. We went through the entire time without him engaging with the tutor in the way that she expected to see.
I used to have things ready to hand to her as she came in that I knew would grab his interest. Or I would be doing something with ds so that she could see that he could engage if the task was appropriate e.g. a crafty thing or something on the computer.

The relationship between you and the tutor will be just as important as the relationship between the tutor and ds. It was really difficult at first for us with many sleepless nights worrying about it all and right till the end she kept telling me that I'd be fined if he didn't go to school etc.

But she actually became a useful 'ally' and spoke up for ds and his need for specialist support at multi agency meetings. Once she got to know ds (and me) she could see that MS support just wasn't suitable for him and she gave me some really good advice.

Actually, that's a good point Corny made. If you can help her 'save face' when she arrives, by helping her, you might get her onside that way.

Also, once you have 'helped her' once, you might have enough trust to agree to finish early the next day in order to have a 10 minute chat about how you will both plan the start of the session the next day in order to achieve the maximum.

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 09:49:35

Lougle and IE, i appreciate your opinions, i did ask am i being a bit Mary Poppins in my OT and i appreciate that you are being honest with me.

She requested that i leave the breakfast things there, in case ds wanted to eat/drink as he worked.

The tutor hasnt mentioned to me the blankets being a problem, i have asked does she want me to stay in the room to get ds to come out or remove the blankets and she has said no, 'its ok, he must feel nice and safe under there'. Which is why i was so surprised by her comments to ds.

Its a bit harder Lougle than just slipping on a pair of tracksuit bottoms, he refuses point blank, rolls in a ball rigid and to get clothes on him, i would literally have to force him, prise his legs and arms out. He loses x-box for not wearing his t-shirt, each day.

I have tried visual timetable for ds, social stories about the tutor, i carry him downstairs and into the room as he refuses to come down. I dont see what else i can do.

This morning i have removed the blankets, ds has just rolled up into a ball instead. I asked would she like me to stay and help and the answer is no.

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