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Trouble at school - I am probably being unreasonable, but I don't know what to do.

(300 Posts)
Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 16:26:37

Ds (probably AS) has high stress levels throughout school, but masks it completely (to the point where EMS can't make any recommendations as he doesn't show any stress)
He doesn't do homework - was added stress at home, on top of trying to deal with the fall out of post-school meltdowns.
He hasn't done spellings for ages, and as far as I know, this has never been an issue.

Yesterday, I couldn't get ds to school, the TA came out to talk to him, but he was beside himself, and she felt that forcing him in would be humiliating and counterproductive, so we started fresh today with a reward chart, so far so good.

Today, for some reason, his teacher decided that all dc who hadn't done their spellings would be kept in at break to do them - fair enough. Except the last time this happened to ds was weeks ago, so there is no consistency, and this was out of the blue for him.
He has come out of school furious, swearing, lashing out etc.

I went to talk to the teacher (upset and probably came across as angry) and explained that at home, he is extremely dependant, won't do anything without either us supervising heavily or (on a bad day), doing it for him, as we know otherwise it won't be done, and things like teeth and inhalers are non negotiable. As most days are bad at the moment, spellings come way down the list of priorities.
She insists that he either takes responsibility for his spellings, or he does them in his break time. And that's that.

I am more than happy for everyone to point out how unreasonable I am, but please give me clues how to deal with this effectively for ds.

Part of me thinks school is unreasonable for springing this upon him without giving him (and us) some warning that this was going to happen - particularly the day after he refused to go in because he finds things so stressful.
This is the latest in a long list of little niggly things with this teacher. Because he shows no stress at all at school, I'm sure they just have him down a naughty boy, who is playing us all along like fools.

Please come and tell me what to do, and give me wine because it's going to be a loooong night sad

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 16:36:26

I know spellings are important, that maybe doesn't come across there ^^

Sorry it's so long blush

OneInEight Tue 24-Jun-14 16:39:04

Have lots of wine and be thankful the end of term is nearly here with, hopefully, a more understanding teacher in September. On a more practical note can you go above the teacher to the SENCO or headteacher perhaps to ask for reasonable adjustments to be put in place. I hope some-one witnessed the after-school behaviour or does he contain it till you've left the playground.

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 16:40:27

Ugh, sorry, forgot more.

Ds sees loss of break time as a punishment, whether it is or not.

ouryve Tue 24-Jun-14 16:41:52

Given his reaction to inconsistency, I'd be tempted to say, OK, let him do them at break, but please make sure you're there to do them with him every week and not just when you want to make a point because DS needs to know the rules for this and know that they will be applied.

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 16:45:10

The SENCO is the HT, when it comes to ds's teacher she gets quite defensive (understandably), as ds seems fixated with her, in a bad way.

When ds comes out of school, I can gauge how stressed he is, as can a couple of other mothers. School don't seem to see this at all.
He goes very still and expressionless, with his hoody pulled over his eyes.

In school he appears fine, but I wonder if I would see him as stressed.

He doesn't want anything put into place, as it might mark him out as different, which makes it all trickier.

We are doing 5 point scale with him, he also does this in school with the TA. It's not making a difference yet!

ouryve Tue 24-Jun-14 16:45:20

In fact, thank her for kindly offering to give up her break and preparation time to host a weekly spellings club and ask if she would like a contribution for snacks etc.

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 16:46:03

He lashes out when we're back home.

headlesslambrini Tue 24-Jun-14 16:46:33

I would go in with strategies which they can use with him ie a weekly routine which has all important things covered such as spelling, reading, tables etc.

Get the diagnosis as soon as you can.

Try to also find a leaflet aimed at profesionals to help them yo understand ASD to read through.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 24-Jun-14 16:48:49

Dd3 would have reacted in the same way.

Keeping children in at play time is fair enough but they should
a] Know that it will happen if they dont do the work.

b] Actuallly not do the work and not be kept in just because half the class havent done it.

c] Understand what extreme stress this causes some children.

Free time has been cut to the bone at school and personally I hate it when staff keep kids in. They need some time to let off steam!

I dont blame you for having a moan sadangry

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 16:50:13

Diagnosis is at least 18 months away and isn't guaranteed.
I spoke to someone on the NAS helpline this morning, who said that a private diagnosis is pointless, as where I live the LA won't recognise it, so it won't be used to put anything into place.

Weekly timetable is a good idea, and thanking the teacher for giving up her time, I'll go in tomorrow and suggest the timetable.

OneInEight Tue 24-Jun-14 16:59:31

ds1 ended up being permanently excluded when his school had the bright idea to give him a break-time exclusion. It is not a great idea to punish kids with ASD by messing around with their routine.

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 17:06:34

She comes out with things that he does wrong - he had to sit out of pe for 5 mins because he was being silly and giddy (at home, silly and giddy is usually a sign of stress and a precursor to a meltdown). I asked ds what happened, he didn't know.

She says that when she hands out homework, he says that he doesn't have any to gloat to his friends. I asked him about this, he says he reminds her that he doesn't have hw.

So either the situation is being misinterpreted, or ds is lying and telling me what he wants me to hear. Maybe he is more able than we think but really is playing us? How do I know if that's happening?

JJXM Tue 24-Jun-14 18:47:11

Could I ask why it will be 18 months until he receives a diagnosis (which is disgraceful)? We've just had a complaint held up by the Health Ombudsman over excessive waiting times - over six months for diagnosis from paed appointment.

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 20:05:54

The waiting time is 2 years from the start. I live in an area which is notoriously bad for autism diagnosis.
Apparently there can sometimes be an injection of funds, so things move a bit quicker, but generally the waiting time is two years.
We have also been warned that he probably won't get a diagnosis because he may not tick all the relevant boxes.

PolterGoose Tue 24-Jun-14 20:09:44

Hello Fav me again smile

All so familiar.

Am I right your paed gave a working diagnosis of ASD? That is enough to request those 'reasonable adjustments'. Keep asking and reminding in writing.

I would tell ds to just bring the homework home when the teacher hands it out, you can then send it back with a note etc.

Ask if he can have 10m spelling time a week or whatever with TA when the class are doing something he doesn't benefit from.

Write and remind them he should not be punished as a result of his disability.

I definitely got the teacher's attention when I showed him the video of ds doing his maths homework.

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 21:05:05

Bugger, just wrote a long reply, had to research thrushes for ds and lost the blooming lot! Lucky for us (not the poor bird though) ds found an injured baby bird, so is happily looking after it, all thoughts of school forgotten!

Yes, the paed sent a letter saying that ds is highly likely to get a dx of ASD (although he didn't say that to me in the appointment), and that any necessary support should be put in place.

In a fit of arseness, I may have politely blush invited her to look at a video I took of him, zoned out as he mostly is after school, and not listening/hearing us. No doubt she'll see a naughty boy hmm

I spoke to my sil who is a TA, and have come up with a plan.
I'll make an appointment with the teacher and the ht to discuss his transition into the new school year with a new teacher.
I'll point out that they can't implement changes (such as missing break for spellings when it's previously not been an issue) and expect ds to cope with it. He needs warning, and we need to know at home so we can discuss it with him.
Despite many chats, he can't get beyond missing break = punishment, so I think doing spellings with a TA would be easier for him to cope with.

Sil also suggested (but not sure if it would work) that we ask the new teacher to visit ds on his territory, maybe at our field, so he sees ds in his element, and give him an opportunity to bond outside school briefly, and hopefully avoid ds's murderous thoughts towards teachers.
Sil also suggested that ds's interest in animals and nature could be used to reintroduce homework, by setting individual homework that incorporated whatever it was he needed to do in animal form.

I'm really disappointed that EMS have backed out, but I have been told that this is quite typical for dc with HFA.

I read a blog that had a quote in it about trying to bash square pegs into round holes, and the only result will be a damaged peg. I wish people would realise this.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 24-Jun-14 21:21:35

I like that quote too, we have it up in the house and I gave it to Dd3's HT!

"Autistic people are the ultimate square pegs, the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not just that the hammering is hard work, Its that you are damaging the peg"

The teacher sounds awful sad. She doesnt get it at all and needs some decent training!

She is one of those teachers that thinks inclusion means every child has to do everything! confused angry

JJXM Tue 24-Jun-14 21:55:31

I would recommend you put in a formal complaint about excessive waiting times to your NHS Trust - it certainly got things moving for us - assessment in six months rather than 12. I know we all have so much crap to deal with but I've found writing letters of complaint to be quite cathartic as well as effective.

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 22:11:25

That's the one Ineed smile

The trouble with ds is that he wants to do everything like everyone else (not a trouble, but makes things tricky), he doesn't want to do anything that makes him different, so extra breaks etc on the one hand take away a stress, but add them in other ways.

I'm at cygnet course tomorrow, I'm going to see if they have any sneaky destressing ideas that might help ds.

JJ, I'm worried about bringing a dx forward, in case we don't get one. I know that sounds silly, but at the moment, not getting a dx would feel dreadful. But in the meantime, I don't think ds is getting the support he would with a diagnosis, but what if he doesn't get one.

ouryve Tue 24-Jun-14 22:14:22

I like that quote!

And agree with JJXM about a complaint about the waiting times. It's the only way that they'll have on record that people mind. Forward copies to local councillor and MP, even if they don't give a hoot, too.

I got both of mine through the system in way under 2 years, with over a year between referrals.

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 22:20:16

If he doesn't get a diagnosis, what happens? I'm worried that we'll be left floundering.
He has some traits but not others, which I'm told will go against him.

ouryve Tue 24-Jun-14 22:21:03

And we had the problem with wanting to do everything like everyone else with DS1. It was a real problem with maths because he'd refuse work aimed at his level then make a big deal about the regular class work being too easy and boring. (It's a relief that he has no problems with being given more advanced work than the rest of his class at his new school - he's able to accept that everyone there is "different" and not all in the same way)

And x-posted - I wasn't expecting anything much from DS1's diagnosis. I was expecting a bit quirky and impulsive. We ended up with a massive shopping list and a lot of letters after his name!

Babieseverywhere Tue 24-Jun-14 23:19:35

What is EMS ?

Fav Tue 24-Jun-14 23:29:23

Enhanced mainstream services. In-school support without a diagnosis.
I think once there's a diagnosis, ASCOSS can get involved.

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