Our SN area is not a substitute for expert advice. While many Mumsnetters have a specialist knowledge of special needs, if they post here they are posting as members, not experts. There are, however, lots of organisations that can help - some suggestions are listed here. If you've come across an organisation that you've found helpful, please tell us. Go to Special needs chat, Parents with disabilities, SN teens, SN legal, SN education, SN recommendations.

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?

emmetbrown Fri 22-Feb-13 10:16:48

Sorry I have only read first & last page. But I really feel for you OP. Surely we should strive to help our autistic children feel safe & secure. I know everyone has to be challenged to learn more, but I think that only works in a safe environment. It doesn't sound like that tutor is capable of making anyone feel safe & secure. In fact, I think she sounds like a right nasty piece of work. Good luck OP.

montage Thu 21-Feb-13 20:52:35

I think it would be much easier for you and your DS if the psychologist at CAHMS actually gave written guidelines for anxiety management - how to approach your DS with demands, what to do when he avoids them/can't face them etc.

Not so much for you but so that any home tutor etc has a clear set of guidelines for how to approach your DS and manage behaviour. And more to the point for this particular tutor, they have a clear message about what NOT to do.

This means you don't have to keep adressing things and explaining - unfortunately you can say something and be ignored but the exact same thing in writing from a professional gets adhered to.

The psychologist should be well willing to do that - they know how important a consistent approach is.

cansu Wed 20-Feb-13 10:29:09

I would stop calling them pjs and instead call them comfy clothes. My ds always wears pjs at home and will always get changed the minute he comes in into his pjs. He gets dressed to go out and that's it. I really don't see an issue with this. I think him getting changed into a different pairs of pjs which you call comfy clothes should be enough. I would highlight that he has changed into his clean comfy clothes and give him the sticker in front of the tutor.

Ani123 Wed 20-Feb-13 10:20:21

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 21:58:45

Mareey, thanks for that link, i have bookmarked it.

I will give the getting dressed for a purpose a go first, see how that goes. If that doesnt work, then plan b.

MareeyaDolores Wed 13-Feb-13 21:30:49

or these?

MareeyaDolores Wed 13-Feb-13 21:29:17

It he'll wear those, he won't notice the difference, but narky tutor probably will. So buy some simple, pj-like trackies and T shirts (maybe Primark? or ebay if he likes them soft and many-times washed) and replace the current ones.

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 21:27:30

Most of ds's t-shirts, tops etc, have logos on them, like Moshi Monsters, Pokemon, Skylanders, that kind of thing. I found him to be more accepting of new clothes, if they have something of interest to him on them.

Tutor probably wont even notice the difference when he does get dressed!

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 21:16:02

Most of his pj's dont actually look like pj's, they could easily pass for day clothes, i think?

like this kind of thing

Ds wont wear a onesie, he has soiling problems and i think he likes his pj bottoms as they are easy to change without having to ask for help, he also does a bad job of cleaning himself up (because he wont ask for help) and often has to change his pj bottoms 4/5 times a day.

Ds will get dressed, if we are going out, but he gets changed the moment we walk back through the door. Even if we are going back out again a few hours later, he would rather get dressed, undressed and dressed again, than sit in his clothes. So for ds there has to be a purpose for him tolerating being dressed iyswim

Cornycabernet Wed 13-Feb-13 20:58:06

good idea mareeya - what about a onesie?

MareeyaDolores Wed 13-Feb-13 20:47:53

can you get him some PJs that don't look ike PJs? wink

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 20:28:41

Sorry my spelling is terrible, i need to put my glasses on, if i could find them grin

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 20:24:05

Thanks Agnes, IE and Corny, well ds has already thought about what he wants to show the tutor at 'show and tell', which is progress by itself. At this point he is usually insisting that she isnt coming back and he never wants to see her again.

He is also very pleased at the rewards and hasnt commented at all about not doing the work to get them. Ds agreeing to something is half the battle won already.

Hopefully a mixture of things he likes with high motivators and things he finds difficulties, will work much better. Fingers crossed.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 13-Feb-13 20:07:36

Well precisely. If it doesn't work, at least you've tried.

It is only an hour. By the time you've done all that, she won't have much time to muck it up.

Tell her what you do works if she follows it.

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 19:33:03

Keep, whether it works or not, ive tried, if it doesnt work, then i try to think of something else. The tutor doesnt really have to apply my ideas, i do.

1. Movement break, i will be the one out in the street with him, doing the movement break (obviously she is more than welcome to join in).

2. 'show and tell' will be oraganised by me/ds, all the tutor has to do is sit there, watch and listen to ds for 5 minutes at the start of the lesson.

3. Rewards chart, i have just knocked up a chart, with maths, literacy, reading, handwriting, getting dressed on it and rewards of things such as 15 mins extra x-box, staying up 10 minutes later, sweets and the movement break with mum etc. With a special reward of McDonalds for trying hard all week.

We can do the rewards in two ways, if tutor wants to get involved, she can give tokens, stickers, i will even supply her with some sweets to give to ds at the time. If she doesnt, fine, i will do it myself, all she has to tell me at the end of the lesson is whether ds tried to do math, literacy etc.

I can only do what i can, I cant change the way she teaches, only she can.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 13-Feb-13 17:07:42

Well done Claw. I think you handled that really well.

Your DS and my DS sound very similar and I completely agree that forcing things just doesn't work - you need proper clear strategies.

When I have seen teachers/TAs wanting to 'put their foot down' I always think, good luck with that - you'll learn.

Now you have tried to help and if you can show that your strategies help, you will be in a much better position as you will be the mum who knows what to do.

This can also be a good way to get DS onside. I try and get him to see that if people trust me, they will deal with things properly and he can help them trust me by us showing how our way of doing things works

Cornycabernet Wed 13-Feb-13 16:44:30

It's not necessarily a bad thing that she has seen for herself how difficult ds finds it to engage. She'll have tried all her usual strategies that will usually work with children who just need a 'firm hand' <eye roll> and they have clearly failed.
As stressful as it is for you and ds, it's evidence that his needs can't be met with MS teaching techniques and that school are talking bollocks.

It does sound like she is beginning to understand the extent of ds's difficulties at least.
It's a nightmare I know. You will get through it though.

AgnesDiPesto Wed 13-Feb-13 16:27:30

I think you've handled it the right way Claw.
Its up to her now to decide to take the help offered and make her life easier or carry on with her way which is not working.
I agree if you can get her on side that will help enormously.
I would suggest a 5 min discussion each day even if that cuts ds time short at least until she has got to know him and how to manage him.
The important thing is that he is successful, and its better to be successful for 20 mins out of the hour than unsuccessful for 60.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 13-Feb-13 13:51:40

Do you think that DS will engage with her if she includes your ideas? Tutor No 3 included my feedback/suggestions (whilst reporting that this behaviour was inappropriate) but she did it in a going-through-the-motions, 'I have been on a half-day course' kind of way and tbh it made things worse.

Because there was disagreement between me and her as to whether DS1 had understood something or not (DS1 told me he didn't understand but told her that he did regardless of whether he did or not - as he puts it/sings it 'I'm just a boy who can't say no...') at the end of the session she would make DS1 give it a mark out of 10 and complete a pie chart. This ticked the boxes but wasn't actually true. DS1 thought that he understood things at the time whilst the tutor was talking but later found that he had misunderstood most of it or that he was not able to demonstrate understanding. But exellent evidence that he can understand m/s teaching.

Are the teachers of your preferred school specialist in terms of qualifications/experience with HFA? If he needs that at the school you should make sure that he gets it now. If not, make this work - ime the problem is not the individuals so much as their being m/s.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 13-Feb-13 13:31:49

Maintained ss is not right for DS1 either - that's why I am naming specialist indi school that caters for SpLD, HF ASD, APD, SPD etc so its giving specialist provision to DC who do not have MLD/SLD but can't cope in m/s.

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 13:18:54

Keep, ds IS capable of being in MS, he just needs specialist provision. SS is not the place for him and neither is MS without specialist provision.

The 'difficulty' if you like, is that potentially he is very able, functionally he performs no where near able.

Anxiety in ds does raise his tactile sensitivity greatly, this has already been indentified and written in reports by OT and CAMHS. This tutor is very much judging me, which is why i have let her try it 'her' way ie forcing, so she can see the results for herself.

'Forcing' just doesnt work, it has the opposite effect and she has seen this now. She obviously thought after listening to school, that she was just going to come in, tell ds to sit up straight and get on with his work and be dressed when she comes and he would. This approach hasnt worked for her.

She has now agreed to include my ideas, motivation, rewards, movement breaks, rather than force. I dont think you need to be 'specialist' to do this, just willing to try and understand.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 13-Feb-13 13:16:00

lougle - interesting that you should say that. I am in a similar position to Claw - DS1 was in m/s primary up until last summer. 2 refusals for SA largely based on school reports that everything is fine. I am going to tribunal in a couple of months - LA have named m/s secondary in statement and definately do not agree that DS1 needs ss. The debate/disagreement is to be decided by tribunal.

lougle Wed 13-Feb-13 13:01:17

"You can't make a m/s teacher interpret the same events in the same way as a specialist teacher. Its not just being in m/s school that is the problem for some DC but mainstream teaching. atm he is not in m/s school but is being taught as if he were."

But keepon, you are talking from the perspective of a situation where it has been established that a child needs specialist teaching.

For Claw's DS, that is not fact, it is a matter of debate. Claw says 'MS not suitable' but the school says 'perfectly fine'. Those positions are completely incompatible. Specialist tutors are different because at the point that they are engaged to work with a child, it has been acknowledged that the child needs their input and it is better to have some input than none. This situation is a long way off of that, I think.

If Claw can show a committment to making the best of the situation and work with the tutor and it still fails, she's in a much stronger position to argue 'needs specialist teaching'. If Claw is seen to be obstructive, or in any case not supportive, then the message will be 'mum is the issue here'.

Going into combat isn't always the way to get what you want.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Wed 13-Feb-13 12:43:32

Like you say DS does not engage with this tutor - end of.

DS1 has engaged with his specialist tutors, especially the latest one. Its kind of hard for him not to as she treats him like he is the best thing since sliced bread and is absolutely fascinated by him and his interests.

I had problems with him this morning and he was hiding under the duvet upstairs when she arrived. Stress increases tactile sensitivity. She understands this and sees past it. She said she wondered how things would be this morning as it was the first time they were broaching maths. A m/s tutor would judge me for his not having eaten his breakfast, got dressed etc ready for his session. m/s tutors are judging parenting skills. Specialist tutors are there to meet the needs of the child.

You can't make a m/s teacher interpret the same events in the same way as a specialist teacher. Its not just being in m/s school that is the problem for some DC but mainstream teaching. atm he is not in m/s school but is being taught as if he were.

claw2 Wed 13-Feb-13 11:49:31

Its quite clear that the tutor is here as a 'referee', im saying ds has difficulties, school are saying he has no difficulties. I welcome this as ds clearly does have difficulties.

Its well documented that ds refusing to eat is a sign of anxiety, so tutor can write that he hasnt had any breakfast, it just proves my point again.

On tutors first visit, i shut the door and she asked me to leave it open. apparently she has to work with the door open.

It is also very clear to me that i am being blamed by school for reinforcing his behaviour. I am literally forcing ds to come downstairs, i cannot force him to engage with the tutor, I could help, but my offers of helping have been turned down.

I have purposely backed off for the last 3 weeks, as i am aware that i am being labelled as over anxious and interfering. I have left her to get on with it, as this is what she wanted.

I have tried visuals and social stories, knowing these wont work, but that i have to be seen to be following advice of CAMHS.

She has tried for 3 weeks to get ds to engage and all that is happened is she has increased his anxiety and the situation has got progressively worse and the tutor is clearly losing patience with ds.

I had a quick word with her today, as she was rushing off.

I suggested that ds be allowed to do a 'show and tell' at the start of the lesson.

I suggested a movement break, which would take place outside, which i will do, i will run up and down with, skipping etc, so ds has to get dressed, so there is a 'purpose' for him getting dressed. As clearly getting dressed for a tutors visits is a double negative for him. This will also mean he gets to see me for 5 minutes, as he clearly has seperation anxiety.

I will also do a reward chart for him and stick it up in the room ie maths = a token for 30 minutes of x-box which she can give him, if he engages.

Had i tried to do these things BEFORE, i would have been accused of doing things to meet needs, that are not there, thereby 'being anxious about ds's needs'.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now