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.

I cried in Waitrose this morning and need a self-indulgent moment

(146 Posts)
PolterGoose Argentina Thu 03-Oct-13 11:24:11

Ds is now in Y6, has Aspergers and quite significant sensory issues, we've had problems with sensory issues and the dining hall which the teacher doesn't really seem to be taking seriously, didn't bother to reply to an email I sent, was non-committal when he spoke to do about it (dp was fab for once) which I've talked about in the G&C thread. We're having increased angry and aggressive behaviour after school, the usual delayed ticking time bomb stuff so many of us experience sad

He has 15h TA under school action plus which includes 1-1 at play and lunchtimes, this is crucial as he was involved in a serious incident during a lunchtime when he was unsupervised. I know think that they are using her for general lunch cover so are reluctant to have her support him on a 1-1 basis (or 1-2 if he had a friend with him) during the eating bit at lunchtime.

Ds was up in the night, we never get this unless he is super-anxious, he admitted he has worries and I said how we have to talk about them otherwise I can't make it better and agreed we'd talk today to work out what we can do. This morning we had a chat over breakfast and he just doesn't know what it is that is making him explosive, we didn't have long:

We talked about timetables (they are supposed to provide us a weekly up to date timetable) and he said the timetable for the day is on the board every morning and he's happy with that, I disagree and think he benefits from one at home we use both to prepare for the day mentally and as an aid to talk about his day at the end of the day. The 'post-mortem' of each day is helpful to stop him focusing on just the bad stuff (as he sees it) and means I can comment on topics from individual lessons to highlight the good stuff.

He's had lots of sensory processing/integration intervention but is refusing to use the techniques at school. I would like him to sit on a Move'n'Sit but he refuses. His TA had agreed she would just put it on his seat every morning and not make a fuss if he moved it and hope that eventually he'd just use it, she hasn't done this. I would like sensory stuff integrated into his day, the TA came on the Alert Programme with us and knows how to do this, what language to use and so on. She is very capable. But ds refuses to consider this idea.

After I dropped him off I went shopping and bumped into his lovely friend's mum who loves ds, I cried then as I vented, and I still am sad

I know what I need to do, I need to get shirty with school yet again.

But, typically, when asked at school if he's ok, ds will say yes, because he doesn't actually have the ability to articulate that he isn't and he doesn't want to talk about it and I don't think he can even identify what it is that is causing all this angst. And if he doesn't know and I don't know what it is, then how on earth do I get school to do things differently?

It's helping writing this down. I'm going to ask school to use the stuff we learnt on Alert to monitor his mood throughout the day and record it. Then we can identify where he needs support put in place. The whole point of he TA coming on the programme was to learn techniques to support ds's self-management, but he can't do it alone yet. That's my plan.

Thank you for getting to the end

Honks would be appreciated flowers

Waitrose? You don't know how lucky you are.

I have to do all my crying in Lidl...........

PolterGoose Argentina Thu 03-Oct-13 13:11:46

Thank you, I do know what to do, I know it will be sorted. I just wish I didn't have to relentlessly remind and cajole.

PolterGoose Argentina Thu 03-Oct-13 13:13:05

Star grin

sunnyweatherplease Thu 03-Oct-13 13:16:30

Starlight - I have a lot to learn obviously!!
I'm not being too touchy to be pi**ed off with the SENCO's response then!

moosemama Thu 03-Oct-13 13:20:38

Huge honks for your Polter.

I have been in floods this morning as well and feel your pain. Very similar in that I know we're gearing up for another big battle and it all feels, totally unfair, too huge and impossible to face ... again. flowers

The only idea I had when reading your OP was to do with him not knowing what's wrong - my ds is just the same, although has improved massively through the use of a feelings diary. I wonder if just getting him to identify an emoticon several times a day might help you at least identify what part of the school day is causing him the most anxiety and possibly enable you to tease it out of him via very careful questioning. That's what we started out doing with ds1 and it was slow, but steady progress from there to being able to first scaling the identified emotion and then actually writing a sentence explaining what he felt had precipitated it.

I have to agree with Star about schools giving up on children with SEN when they reach y6. Ds1 was totally sidelined last year, bugger all transition support and both IEPs and statement completely ignored. In the end we had to give up fighting them, because no matter what we did they found a way to do sweet FA. Instead we concentrated our efforts on supporting ds outside of school and taking as much school related pressure off him as possible - so he didn't do homework and we didn't do SAT revision either.

Swanhilda Thu 03-Oct-13 13:21:57

I'm always crying. I think it helps tremendously [rueful smile] I don't think it is overreacting at all.
You are very brave to be revising for an exam too.
I love the "bedtime routine" comments too confused If they saw ds2's routine from year dot they wouldn't DARE make those patronising assumptions.

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Thu 03-Oct-13 13:22:18

Well at least when you cry in Waitrose you can then buy some 'naice' ham to cheer yourself up!

Polter, so sorry you're having this trouble. I've recently decided (during a non-SN complaint) that I'm never ever going to waste my time dealing with monkeys; I will go straight to the organ grinder. I don't care if it's overkill.

So rather than deal with the school, can you request a meeting with the head of your local education authority? (Will most likely be part of your county council). CC in the Local Education Officer responsible for your school and the Chief Executive of the Council and the elected councillor for your area AND the portfolio holder for education (also an elected councillor).

You can CC in the HT but no more wasting your time with the school, go full throttle. Make sure you say in the email requesting a meeting that the school are failing to implement what has been agreed and say you suspect they've lost interest as DS is now in Yr 6.

The school have had their chance, screw 'em.

Swanhilda Thu 03-Oct-13 13:27:06

Moose I've found ds2 melts down when I ask him "how he felt about particular parts of his day*. He finds it an unbearable intrusion, and quite frankly he doesn't want to remember anything that made him uncomfortable or sad. Unless he choose to. Often the information surfaces in a random way. I think that is another part of them wanting independence and not to have their thought processes interrupted. I've found that ds2 likes to remember positive things about the day, and I have to introduce any discussion about what might have worried him by stealth. Unless of course he is BOMBARDING me with information which is what happens in a meltdown sad

RippingYarns Thu 03-Oct-13 13:28:36

aw Polter sad

if it's any comfort, i cried outside JD Sports this morning - so your public display was far more classy than mine wink

zzzzz Thu 03-Oct-13 13:30:14

Honk honk honk honk honk

How depressing polt. I cried on one of the mums in m&s when ds was still at school. What is it about food shopping?

It's not long now, two and a half terms and you can always dereg him for the last bit if necessary. Focus on how to get to July as happily as possible even if it means shameless toy purchasing or trips/DVDs. Whatever makes him happy.

It all sounds needlessly exhausting. angry

okthatsweird Thu 03-Oct-13 13:32:18

<hugs>> to everyone, even more so Polter.

I have the upmost respect for all of you Mnetters on here who keep it together every minute of every day having read your posts...and I have wished so many times that I had an ounce of your strength which you do.

I don't cry in public yet..... Just most nights when I go to bed for one reason or another.

zzzzz Thu 03-Oct-13 13:37:39

"Creative type families". That is SO awful. I am giggling in a laugh or gibber kind of way. What an arse.

zzzzz Thu 03-Oct-13 13:38:44

star grin

moosemama Thu 03-Oct-13 13:38:47

Swanhilda, ds selected the emoticons at certain points throughout the school day, to represent his emotion at the time - to save him having to recall his day and discuss it with us. It helped us to try and work out what might be going on, then we had to wait for the right time to raise it with him - like you say, by stealth. If anyone asks how his day went he'll just ignore them or say OK, even when it's blatant that there's something seriously wrong.

He doesn't use his feelings diary now he's at secondary and it's a big problem, as he's back to being unable to even recognise, let alone the problem until he's already full meltdown. So far each of those meltdowns has happened in the middle of the night, after he's spent time on his own in bed and it's all built up and up.

We did what zzzzz said last year and just focussed on getting ds through to July in one piece.

PolterGoose Argentina Thu 03-Oct-13 13:46:40

Thank you all of you flowers

Bluebird I did buy naice ham (and Halloween Pombears and naice chocolate and mince pies) grin I will give school a chance to implement what's needed and then I will complain to the LA, even though he's 'only' on SA+ the school do receive top up funding and I've got their justification of what they allegedly spend this on. We wouldn't get a statement before he leaves primary and he won't need it for secondary.

moose I suspect you're right, he's an easy Level 5 for SATS probably Level 6 for literacy already, so it is really down to whether this year's teacher actually cares (which the teacher he's had the last 2 years genuinely did)

zzzzz yes, treats, nice stuff, whatever it takes to get to the end.

Lesley25 Thu 03-Oct-13 14:01:03

Honky honk.
I hate that we have to get into battle for everything. Am sick of the chin up, it could be worse mob too.
Anyway, I've been hearing a lot about schools not buying in the special support our kids need- it obviously costs money but really, they should start thinking about this if they do not have the resource in school to help. Maybe when you get shirty bring this up.

claw2 Thu 03-Oct-13 14:05:39

Poor you polter, its hard to hold it together 100% of the time.

Ds is similar Polter, he often doesn't know exactly. Ive reached the conclusion that I cant always find/ds cant always explain the exact cause and it is sometimes a case of ds just finding the demanding school environment stressful in general.

I keep pushing school for more support and try to cope at home with the fall out, best I know how.

Mahoosive Honks to you Poltergoose.

Glad to read that you are not unduly concerned about Y7 but I would still apply for the statement all the same. DO not assume now that he will not need a statement in secondary; he may well not anyway but do not discount this going forward. He needs protecting in a legal sense educationally; school action plus just doesn't always cut the mustard and support can be patchy. (This is because I have also seen too many Y7s tested and fall apart because their additional needs were simply not met at primary school).

PolterGoose Argentina Thu 03-Oct-13 14:28:29

Thanks Lesley and claw flowers

And you too Attila flowers I hear you and I would tell others to do exactly what you've told me to do, but it would be a huge investment on many levels to get a statement for him when what he needs really are such little things. However, I am very careful now to do all my communication with school in writing so I have evidence should I need it.

claw2 Thu 03-Oct-13 14:39:19

Polter, ds is the same, he doesn't really need a statement, all it would take is a bit of understanding, a bit of support which really could be given from SA+.

However, it has taken a statement to get that understanding and appropriate support.

PolterGoose Argentina Thu 03-Oct-13 15:53:32

This is how easy it is, which makes me more angry! Today he stayed in at play and lunchtime with 2 friends and they did drawing and chatting. He ate his lunch at the TAs table with those 2 friends. Even though the last session of the day was doing something he hates, watching a programme not of his choosing and with the whole year group of 50 plus children all in 'his' classroom, he came out okay, no grumpy face, no swearing, could have been better but manageable. Just because he didn't have to do playtimes with everyone else. It is so fucking easy to sort this and it costs nothing angry

However, 'his' TA who was appointed to be with him at play and lunchtimes was indeed on 'dinner lady' duty so she wasn't actually with the boys as they ate their lunch, she was just checking them occasionally. Thankfully his 2 chosen friends and him are really good together but with any other children it could go pear shaped in an instant.

moosemama Thu 03-Oct-13 16:01:23

My ds is the same. He shouldn't need a statement, but that was what it took to get him anything like the support he should have been getting anyway.

If I had a pound for every time I've said his needs should by rights come under 'differentiation' I'd be a very rich woman. Apparently basic differentiation for SEN is so far beyond many (not all) teachers that you need a legal binding document, written in words of less than one syllable, to tell them how to do it. hmm

It a long way off being a magic solution though, as obviously you still have to fight to get the school to implement the damn thing. angry

NoHaudinMaWheest Thu 03-Oct-13 16:08:56

Oh it is so infuriating when a little thought (not really time resources or money) can make so much difference.

Ds's secondary was so good that they gave him what he needed in terms of understanding and support and adjustments. They more or less ignored his statement, which was as woolly as a black-faced sheep anyway. However I was glad it was in place because some things like transport and exam adjustments are so much easier with a statement.

claw2 Thu 03-Oct-13 16:39:35

Polter, at ds's previous school it seemed to work a little something like this:-

Ds struggling to do x, y, z. Give him support with x,y,z. Ds no longer struggles to do x,y, z as much with support. School think they have 'cured' him and remove support.

So 20 hours of 1:1 to help him cope with anxiety, was removed overnight as ds wasnt as anxious with 1:1 support! hmm because he had 1:1 support!

Why this is so complicated for some schools to understand, I don't know.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 03-Oct-13 16:48:38

Really feel for you polter I am going through some similar shit with Dd3's school at the moment. She is bordering on school refusal and this morning told me she feels depressed sad

Her school is basically fantastic but there are a number of adults who dont follow the procedures put in place to support her. I have had to be really assertive this term and I still habent sorted it.

I am going in again tomorrow to see the senco, although Dd3 is saying she isnt going tomorrow hmm

I hope you manage to sort things out and in the meantime eat chocolate and be kind to yourself.

Good luck smile

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