DD, 7, excluded from school.(5 Posts)
I also started a thread in SN, as I was unsure where to post this.
I had a thread in primary education in June about DD and was advised to post here for more pertinent advice. I've held off a bit because we relocated (mainly because of DD, but for other reasons too), and I just wanted to be normal for a while as a family, I didn't want it to be all about DD, for all of our sakes, I just wanted some calm and a time to regroup as a family, which we have, but now I need to push forward for DD.
Not sure where to start, so I'll just dive in I guess, DD has always been a bit 'other', never felt comfortable with other people, she has rages, extreme anger which can't be pacified, she was always been a 'tricksy' child (I have a DS who is the polar opposite - he plays by the rules, he's a 'people person', very open, very happy in company, just slots in), DD, I don't really know how to explain, she's mercurial, she can be the sweetest girl, so wonderful and lovely and loving, BUT, there's a huge part of her that is SO intransigent, she gets into a pattern of thinking that will not be shifted - It cannot be shifted, and she flips on a coin, and once in that zone there is not a thing that will help - she uses force and violence, she is impulsive, she'll run into the road, she'll hit, punch and kick, bite and rage.
I see much of this is insecurity, she wears hoodies constantly and feels better, 'safer' I guess in the same clothes. We had lots of pets but I've had to rehome them all because she has a very intense relationship with animals - she loves them enormously and with passion but when they do something she doesn't like, she will respond with like - she has bitten the cats' and dog's ears - which is obviously completely unacceptable, so they had to go.
She had a difficult time from reception so we moved schools, her last school was rocky at the start but we had an amazing Headmistress, who, although it was a small rural school with only 50 pupils, was right behind her and petitioned for support, she was actually a very popular pupil, and had one-to-one help from the beginning of last year nearly. With the 1-2-1 she did very well, BUT, the funding for the 1-2-1 was withdrawn after Easter last year, I was lead to believe that all was well and she was adjusting well, until, at the end of June, there was a huge deterioration over two days, resulting in her trying to abscond, I was called and when I got there she'd been in restraint for 45 minutes, I approached (she was obviously EXTREMELY agitated, she was in restraint with two teachers - one on her torso and one on her legs), I reached out to her, and the teacher who had her arms let go and she turned and pulled her hair and punched her, it was horribly distressing for us all. I managed to calm her down within about 10 minutes and we drew some pictures on the whiteboard, she said she wanted to apologise to the teacher she hit, so we went to go - via the office - the teacher she hit was obviously in some distress and DD 'laughed', I think it was an uncomfortable reaction on DD's part, but it didn't go down well, and we were told to leave - fine.
This is very long so I'll speed it up now, I had a call from the HM who wasn;t there that afternoon, informing me of a fixed term exclusion, which I expected, I was called in to school on the following Tuesday for what I thought was a reintegration interview, but was corralled into a room with the vicar to be handed a letter informing us of a permanent exclusion.
There's so much more, but I'm trying to keep it brief for now - we relocated because we were living in a very rural part of the country and I thought we just wouldn't get the help we needed for DD there, I've been home-edding for a few weeks now but am at a point where I have to apply for an assessment (I've been putting it off because, on the whole, we're just chugging along & I know it will involve a world of assessments and things for DD and we've just been enjoying a period of quiet).
I know the women on this board have a wealth of advice to offer - so - please help, I just want the best for her, she's so lovely, I hate to think she's going to have to struggle through life. And we, as a family, need help - I'm not sure where to go from here.
Your Dd sounds so unhappy
Have you had a cahms referral? I think that's where is start along with seeing an OT. I'm not sure if you've already done this in which case contact them again and explain what's happened.
even if you decide to continue with home ed , you still need to learn whatsup and how best to deal with whatever. If you want her to reintegrate at some point , it will be really good if you have documentation and tried and true strategies to suggest so that there can be some continuity between home and school for the benefit of your dd. can your gp facilitate testing? Is there an organisation that can give you advice? can the school point you in useful directions?
Well, you're doing the right thing in moving on to get her assessed. A lot of what you’re saying sounds like autism-spectrum but whatever the underlying problem may be the sooner you know exactly what her issues are the sooner you'll be able to give her the support she needs and get her the support she needs from others. Bits of it will probably be uphill but with understanding and the right support I’m sure she’ll do very well in life. Her issues are probably not just going to go away by themselves though she will develop some coping strategies as she matures, but the more help she gets and the sooner she gets it, the better she’ll do.
My DS was a very violent rage-y 6 year old. The HT school told us that assessment was our only chance to avoid permanent exclusion (and that was only because the class teacher suspected he had an ASC and was on our side, if she hadn’t been so supportive DS would have been out altogether.) DS was diagnosed with Asperger's and given a lot of support in primary school. He had 1-2-1 available throughout primary which was gradually decreased. There was a dip when he transitioned to secondary but things got better and he doesn’t need (or get) individual support now though the school still make some general allowances for his communication issues, wearing headphones etc. He is now doing very well in school academically, his behaviour is mostly OK, and he has friends in school and sometimes even a bit of a social life. So things can get better
The assessment process is slow, there were waiting lists and long waits in between sessions. Most of the sessions were actually fine – DS enjoyed talking to the pediatritian and doing puzzles, games and stories with her, and he was quite happy talking to the SALT too. Though the disruption to his daily routine did bother him a bit. There was only one bad session – when the child-psych deliberately pushed each of his buttons in turn – contradicted him, took something out of his hand (and nearly got thumped but pulled back just in time!), etc – and that one session left DS very frazzled. But I didn’t realise and made the mistake of taking him to school afterwards, I should have kept him home. He was hell on wheels for his poor teacher! But he was OK again the next day.
So – where to go. Do see the GP and ask for a referral. How things are structured varies from area to area. We were referred to a community paediatritian in Children and Families Mental Health (CAMHS) who did two long sessions with us and DS, and then referred us on to the child psych and SALT. The SALT referred him for group sessions in social and communication skills, which helped a lot because even though DS is very sociable and outgoing he just couldn't negotiate disagreements with other kids, he just got angry and frustrated and lashed out. DS didn’t have many physical or sensory issues so we didn’t see an OT til later. The school’s educational psychologist didn’t do anything directly with DS but did do the paperwork he needed for his TA help and education plan. The local authority sent a specialist ASC behaviour advisor in to the school who observed DS and made helpful suggestions (not everywhere has this service though).
Meanwhile if your DD has this rigid approach to things and suddenly "flips" then you might try The Explosive Child A lot of us have used it with kids who are very rigid and angry, the problem-solving approach does help.
Sorry that was a bit of a ramble
Please don't put off getting the assessments done, although I totally understand where you are coming from. A diagnosis isn't a magic wand, but it would help you access support and information as to which strategies might work best.
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