Autistic Son

(48 Posts)
CanYouGetDownPlease Mon 05-Nov-12 13:03:41

So, DS (4) started Reception in September. He was diagnosed with ASD at 2 years, he is a lovely little boy but he struggles socially - he finds it hard to regulate emotion and often hits out when he is frustrated/anxious. He has speech delay, and processing difficulties. He initially settled well at school, but the stress of the transition has caught up with him. He has hit out on a few occasions now, and I am working closely with the SENCO, Teacher and Deputy Head to proactively implement strategies to support him. I am in no way excusing his behaviour, and it is reinforced at home that hitting is a bad choice etc etc.
Anyway.....before his behaviour deteriorated he was a popular little boy. invited to play-dates, picnics over the summer, had a new friend over to play and went to play at their house after school etc.
Now, I and him are avoided like the plague. Dropped like a hot potato by friend and her DS who we previously walked to school with. When DS approaches anybody in the playground, their child is quickly whisked away. I've been told that one parent is campaigning for his expulsion, and is 'gathering evidence'. This morning, he lost his lunch box, and so was very stressed and hit a child. He was immediately devastated, and apologised. The mother proceeded to shout at me, questioning my parenting style and demanding to know what I was going to do about my 'bully' child. She continued until I was crying, and I left. I've reported both of the above to the Head.
I am considering sending a email round to all parents in class, explaining DS has ASD. If they have a grievance please raise with school in a professional manner. What would you do?
Please be gentle, not started a post before. And thanks for getting this far x

What a horrid parent! (the shouty mum not you)

My DS has ASD too but tends to respond with fight rather than flight. Still we rarely get invites, I know judge him. We had issues over him being bullied about still being in pull ups. The head teacher did a disability awareness week the next term, involving lots of different conditions. Head also sent a letter out pointing out children all have different abilities that the kids had been spoken to about accepting people for who they are and that she hoped parents would back the school up on this at home.

Not sure about the email, can understand you wanting to do it but I'd think about it for a while before deciding. If they are ill informed they may change their minds but if they are just nasty/ judgy then an email won't change them.

Are there other children in the year with special needs? Maybe you could seek support from them?

ScarahScreams Mon 05-Nov-12 13:18:53

Oh my God that is really horrible.

A woman I know of in a different school started a similar " campaign" against a boy in similar circs and it is so, so wrong.

tanfastic Mon 05-Nov-12 13:23:00

Oh my goodness that's awful op. As the mother with a reception child who sounds very similar to yours although undiagnosed id be devastated if this happened to me. It pisses me off that perfect and ignorant parents (said with a hint of sarcasm) will automatically blame your parenting skills. We have a zero tolerance to hitting with ds but it doesn't stop him
Lashing out and I do fear that it's only a matter of time before he clouts a teacher or pupil and gets excluded.

I've no advice really as I'll probably be in a similar position myself at some point though I'm pretty thick skinned so if any parent messes with me they may just live to regret itwink

I do think if the other parents know about your sons special needs they may be more sympathetic. Unfortunately if he's hitting other pupils then you can understand why parents are going to be furious although it doesn't help your dilemma. I hope you get it sorted op.

WizzPopWizzBang Mon 05-Nov-12 13:24:05

You poor thing. So sorry you and your son are having to deal with this discrimination.

I went through very similar when ds2 started reception, although he had a statement and 1:1.

We had the whole "pulling kids away when ds2 approached" and ds2 was blamed for attacking kids when in fact it was another (nt) child.

It all came to head when ds2 smacked a child who had innocently shoved him out the way. I waited until the afternoon pick up and approached said child's mum, who happened to be alpha mum, and apologised for ds2 smacking her son then very loudly said he had autism so sometimes did not understand social situations. Things calmed down after that wrt the parents pulling their kids away and ds2 is actually best mates with alpha mums child.

I also approached school to suggest some information being sent out wrt autism and what it is but they thought it would not be in the school and child's interest to be sending stuff out.

schmee Mon 05-Nov-12 13:27:05

I think you should try to find a way to let people know, and also what you are doing about it. This will give people a chance to understand.

My son was on the receiving end in reception, coming home every day with scratches and hits to the head. He had his head slammed in the loo door and was scared to go into the corridor in case he had his head rammed up against the hooks. Needless to say the impact on our family was pretty awful and my lovely son became extremely anxious and withdrawn. We are still dealing with the impact a year on. I discussed it with the school as I was worried about my son.

Ultimately it turned out that the boy had ADHD and possible autism, and had to leave the school as they didn't have the resources to deal with him. In this case however the parents were unable to accept their child had a problem and tried to blame the other children/say that he was just being a normal boy. Completely different to your situation.

That said, knowing that the child had a diagnosis (or was in the process of getting one), and understanding how the parents and school were dealing with it would have helped me and I would have been supportive. I think you should also discuss with the school about what measures they have in place to protect the other children, and to ask what they say to parents who raise concerns.

If you know this woman well, can you ask her what her concerns are, explain the situation and ask if there is any more that you can do?

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 13:29:55

it's a tricky one, knowing whether to use the 'he's got autism' card or not. it stops people judging but you label your child. i am reading this and thinking how fortunate it is that I relocated to ireland where you can decide yourself when your child starts school, so mine was five and a half starting in junior infants, oldest in the class! but able to cope socially and doing fine. I know he would have had all these problems if we'd stayed in england and had to start at 4 and a half. the problem with information about autism is that every child is different. they have different quirks, different routines, different comforts,,,,,,,,,,,

hermioneweasley Mon 05-Nov-12 13:30:01

Shouldn't the school be doing stuff in class and educating the parents about ASD? If they aren't, to other parents, they will assume your son is badly behaved/a bully if the only information they have is their child has been hit by a child with a known history of this behaviour.

CanYouGetDownPlease Mon 05-Nov-12 13:31:35

I'm not sure r.e any other children with SEN, none that I am aware of, although that is not to say there aren't any. I'm only considering the email option as I'm not brave enough to say anything face to face, especially when it is 29:1. It would be polite, explaining I'm working with the school etc etc. I am in no way excusing his behaviour, but I know when he has been hit/pushed in the past, I always send a message of tolerance to my children. It seems I am the only one?

tanfastic Mon 05-Nov-12 13:32:39

I agree, I would speak to the school and explain about the campaign (fucking hell I can't believe parents like that exist) angry. See what they suggest. At the minute it does seem that the parents just think your child is a shit. They have no idea about the SN he has. Speak to the school and demand to know what they intend to do about this gathering of evidence crap angry

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 13:33:33

That parent sounds like a bored ignorant vindictive busybody and give her enough rope and she'll hang herself. Schools won't be ordered to expel a boy because 'another mum' tells them they ought to. Try not to worry too much although I really feel for you, the stress of that situation would have me tossing and turning too. brew

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 13:36:41

Do they have social skills class? maybe you could suggest ever so sweetly and graciously to the teachers that a few minutes of your son's resource hours are spared giving social skills to the son of the campaigner. As the note will go home advising that child will be pulled out of class for social skills class, that should be a nice little two fingers. not that i'm petty or owt. swear to god.

CanYouGetDownPlease Mon 05-Nov-12 13:37:11

I have reported the 'campaign' to the Head, that was before half term, I have not had any feedback on what actions they have taken. I am reluctant to label him as Autistic, or be seen to be using the diagnosis as an excuse. People often have many misconceptions of Autism thanks rainman and because DS does not display all the stereotypical traits, people assume he is naughty or unruly. Maybe I will draft email, show SENCO, and see if she thinks it will be helpful in educating the Parents.

TheLightPassenger Mon 05-Nov-12 13:38:03

Do you feel happy with the level of supervision the school is providing and/or if school recognise his stress factors and can reduce them in any way?

CanYouGetDownPlease Mon 05-Nov-12 13:38:52

Thank all by the way, I didn't go to work his morning as was sobbing. It's nice to read some friendly words thanks

tanfastic Mon 05-Nov-12 13:39:30

I understand you don't like confrontation, I don't think anybody does but I couldn't let this mum get away with it. I'd have to speak to her face to face.

Op, how did you find out about this campaign?

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 13:39:45

yes, and I support your reluctance because my son has got better at dealing with things he couldn't cope with years ago. AS he gets older he reacts less extremely to things that would have caused a tantrum years ago. Now, I think, although he is not pro-actively sociable, people wouldn't know unless i told them, and I am reining in the label. There is nothing to be ashamed of I know. It's just you know he's my son and I dont want him to have to deal with the label too...

Woman sounds a beeeotch of the highest order. you can bet the teachers are not impressed.

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 13:41:12

Wait til beeeeotch's daughter gets nits or worms, lol.

kige Mon 05-Nov-12 13:41:40

It isn't their business whether he's autistic. I would deal only with the school. If other parents start on you again, refer them straight to the school and don't engage. My ds has asd and my advice is to work with the school. Also people cannot pull their children away from your ds at playtime - it'll be the child's choice.

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 13:41:53

beeeotch-campaigner's son i mean.

tanfastic Mon 05-Nov-12 13:43:10

I think what's difficult about this situation is knowing other mums think your child is vile when quite frankly, I don't know about you op but I quite like my child. It's so upsetting sad feel for you. Do keep us updated.

Are you new to Mumsnet? If you are the special needs section is really supportive and welcoming. smile

As for the mum with the 'campaign' hmm schools don't usually tend to like these bossy judgy alpha mum types, I wouldn't let it worry you too much.

Does your local area have an NAS group? My town has one and it's fab for getting together with parents that get it, going on days trips with people that don't bat an eyelid, watching a panto where stimming and funny noises are allowed, etc.

CanYouGetDownPlease Mon 05-Nov-12 14:48:37

Another Mum approached me and filled me in on the campaign a few weeks back, she wanted to let me know she hadn't submitted any evidence as such. Not sure about social skills class? Not heard of anything like that. I'm reasonable happy with the school itself, its still really early days, and he is still so young. The Teacher has said what is going on in the classroom is really low level stuff, and so it feels like to me a storm is being whipped up in the playground.
He is a nice boy, and I don't want him to be branded, and socially isolated for the next however many years sad. I think it is relevant that I am young, although not that young. I think in the lovely suburban, largely middle class area, in which we live, DP and I stick out like a sore thumb. I can't help feeling like the presumptions have been made, so why bother trying to fight a loosing battle.

colditz Mon 05-Nov-12 14:52:42

Go into customise, and opt into special needs topic. There are some very well experienced people in there.

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 14:54:01

re social skills class, i'm ireland so things slightly different but i know some of his resource hours are given over to social skills, and I'VE DEFINITELY seen children wiht nO dx coming and going from this class.

This is one of the books they work from excellent book, and most nt children could do with brushing up on a chapter here or there

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 14:55:33

it includes role play, how to handle 101 differnt situations.

Allalonenow Mon 05-Nov-12 15:10:48

I don't have any advice for you really, just wanted to say how sorry I feel for you having to suffer this, I can't believe anyone would start a campaign against your son, what a despicable thing to do.
Hopefully the school will support and guide you, I'd be hesitant to send out emails as you are considering, but rather let the school deal with it.

thanks

Social skills class in my area is called friendship group or circle. Not all the kids have SEN, some may be shy, or have stuff going on at home or just be gregarious and social and good at taking turns! They usually try and get a nice mix. smile It maybe could be put in his IEP so give it a mention to SENCO.

Does he have a TA? Could they come out in a morning to help him in?

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 15:21:42

yeah, i'd hold back on the emails too. you'll come across as sane for not getting into a barney, and the campaigner will look all the more unreasonable if she's fighting with somebody who's ignoring her.

CinnabarRed Mon 05-Nov-12 15:29:52

Personally, if I were to receive your proposed email I would be very grateful that you'd taken the time to write. Being totally honest, I probably would view your DS more tolerantly in the future. I would certainly encourage my DS to be friendly towards your DS, and take some time to explain to him why your DS might be sometimes lash out without being 'naughty' in the way that my DS understands it (as it stands, we tell DS to walk away if other kids are being 'naughty').

CinnabarRed Mon 05-Nov-12 15:30:21

And I'm really sorry you're having such a hard time.

Dededum Mon 05-Nov-12 15:33:36

Just to give my support. DS1 was the little blighter many years ago. Now in year 7 and although we have had a few tricky years he has come on so much.
He is still a blighter at times but has made good friends.

Don't give this women the pleasure of interacting with her. Bet you even if she knew your son had a DX, then she would still make snide comments and stop her son playing with yours. Been there, done that.

There will be other parents who are more sympathetic, have experience of DX's through friends and family's.
We found a lovely social skills group, mostly I think it was being listened too and other people liking my son.

Stay strong, work with the school, reach out to resources in your area. Do you need a statement? What does the school think? It will get easier, your son no doubt is bright and will learn about social skills, just as he learnt to talk, walk...

Peachy Mon 05-Nov-12 18:10:20

Hello.

First can I say hugs- big fat ones. I ahve 3 with SN (two diagnosed with ASD, one seems ambiguous whetehr ASD or some genetic thing) and have been through the same thing with schools.

If youa re anywhere near me (S E Wales / Somerset / Bristol) I will gladly come and tackle mother with you! I find 'I am completing the research module of my MA in Autism and hold a post grad di[ploma in the subject, now tell ME what you think you know better than I' works a treat. However I will assume that typically you are absed many miles away and it's not apossible.

So- I moved my kids- the two with ASD anyway. Now where I am we have a Base system: so they did not lose out, far from it. Not everywhere ahs that sadly. But ds1 completed his praimary years in MS and looking back, I wonder why: parents banging on my door and threatening me by screeching at me when I knew nothing of any issues and was standing with my small baby ended up giving me what i think was PTSD for a while, for 6 months I could not go to school alone at collection time.

DS1 is a little blighter, but he is very complex. He is also loving, intelligent, powerful in his own way ( school council leader ) and has imo a bright future. I know it's horrible for thew kids he hurt and frustrating for their aprents but every time I asked them to contact the LEA to back me up for more support, and only one ever did- I was a far easier target.

When ds1 was 5, in reception and long before his behavioural issues became anything above 'naughty@ (pre-dx), a Mum started a petition against him for being wierd: I was tipped off by a friend and asked the teacher at collection time what was going on, rather tearfully I admit. She stood in the middle of the yard and screamed words to the effect that any parent who dared get a petition up against any pupil better have another place at a different school lined up becuase she wasn;t having any of that crap in her class- funnily enough said petition never materialised. OTOH we had to move schools that year (changed country) and the local school hasn;t that much gumption- though ending up as Secretary on the PTa for a time earned some serious support when parents DID try it on wink

Peachy Mon 05-Nov-12 18:11:09

Oh and social skills- yes many children attend these IME< not just those with ASD at all: and not just those with a diagnosis even when it is present.

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 18:13:38

I can NOT believe that a mum would have the brass neck to try and start a petition about a child being weird. confused shock sad who looked 'weird' there I wonder? the mind boggles that there are people, parents who are so shitty!

SamsGoldilocks Mon 05-Nov-12 18:36:26

I think you need to go back to the school and specifically your son's teacher and talk to them. My dd had a talk from her class teacher about a boy in her class 'whose head worked a bit differently' and they all had special play/learning time with him. Everyone got really excited about having special time with him.

I think it worked well as a way to help integrate him into the class and stop thinking of him as unusual.

CanYouGetDownPlease Mon 05-Nov-12 21:38:18

Hi peachy, thanks so much for your support & sharing your story. what a bitch that woman and her petition sounds, seems like she is the 'weird' one to me. I am in S London though so quite a way from you. The irony is I am a teacher myself, who specialises in SEN. I am currently a 1:1 support worker for a child with multiple learning difficulties. I have tried all strategies known to man, and I am highly qualified in SEN - not that it matters to judgey pants.
sams he was declined for statement last year, following Ed Psych assessment. He has no additional support in place at the moment, I think he would benefit from some 1:1 / small group work support to work on social skills. I hope to have some progress from the school regarding that this half term.
DP picked him up this afternoon, I just couldn't face it.

CinnabarRed Mon 05-Nov-12 21:51:39

Don't let the bastards get you down.

I absolutely promise you - if your DS was at my DS's school, and I was aware of his DX, he would be the first invited round for a playdate.

I might well ask you for advice on how to manage any potential stresses, but his DX would not stop either DS or me from offering the hand of friendship.

autumnfrost Mon 05-Nov-12 22:10:31

As a mother of a 19 year old son with autism I just want to say I am so sorry.Iam not going to pretend the prejudice goes away completely..it doesn`t. but I am sure he will find his niche,I have 1 friend in the world who really understands but even she does not really know.You have to be living it to realise...chin up!

B1ueberryJam Mon 05-Nov-12 23:25:39

how is your son doing now autumn frost? is he still in education? is there support after 18?

Peachy Tue 06-Nov-12 08:36:05

Speak to SOS SEN about reapplying for that statement, they are fighters and absolutely wonderful.

There are people out there who are lovely, more than there are horrid. The horrible ones make themselves known first, the lovely ones come slowly and steadily. The lady at slimming world who said 'when i don't understand, I befriend'; the new family member (FIL's fiancee) who adores the boys. The [people who applauded ds1 at the carnival in Somerset he danced at saturday, all the louder because it's a major achievement for him to get up and dance, esp. in front of 150k people!

difficultpickle Tue 06-Nov-12 08:44:51

Is it possible to informally share your ds's diagnosis? The parent who told you about the campaign could be a good start as they clearly talk to other parents. Otherwise it just means your ds gets labelled as the naughty one in class and the situation won't improve.

CanYouGetDownPlease Wed 07-Nov-12 13:58:11

Hi all, thanks again for al your lovely support. I have decided not to send any email, I think a message of tolerance needs to be sent from within the school itself, and really - why should I? I had a meeting with the SENCO and Teacher yesterday who were fab, and so positive about the progress DS has made in terms of self-control since he started just 7 weeks ago. They also said the Headmaster has telephoned both parents lunatics involved in the incidents, and made it clear that any further behaviour would not be tolerated.
I am feeling a little more resilient and positive about things.

CinnabarRed Wed 07-Nov-12 14:00:16

Great news! I'm so pleased that the school are being both supportive and practical. All the best to you and your DS.

tanfastic Wed 07-Nov-12 14:24:16

That's great news, all sounds very positive.

magso Wed 07-Nov-12 16:05:50

Just wanted to say I feel for you. It is a very lonely and distressing situation, made even worse when you are not there to intervien and support. I have been in much the same situation, including being reduced to tears by an irrate mother (it turned out she had instructed her child to push/bash ds if he came near). What helped the most was getting the school to deal with any issues, and later asking any one who complained to me (about problems in school time obviously)to talk or write to school. Its awful when a child is hurt or upset. Ds was refused a statement and got very little support (he also has ASD but also LD and was barely verbal at the time) so getting other reasonable parents to in effect help with getting ds the support he needed was helpful all round. I did not tell others he has ASD (his diagnosis was complex and came later) but explained in practical terms why he struggled/ got upset/ misunderstood or panicked - to those that were calm enough to understand. In time some parents became supportive, as did many of the more socially aware children who would look after ds or get an adult when ds was bullied.
Sending a hug.

autumnfrost Wed 07-Nov-12 16:36:40

B1berryJam so sorry just noticed you asked me a question.Ds2 is at a day centre.He has a 5 day a week placement which we are VERY lucky to have.He loves going there as there are lots of music groups outings etc.He has no speech and is quite limited in his understanding but it is always big smiles when he is there.He has had some very challenging behaviour in the past and is now on a very low dose of Risperedone which helps with his ocd and anxiety which can lead to violent outbursts.Everything is changing in our local authority soon so who knows what will be happening

B1ueberryFields Wed 07-Nov-12 21:17:31

I'm glad he's happy now. I really hope that no funding to the day centre is cut....

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