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Taking the plunge?

(21 Posts)
ChildOfGallifrey Wed 11-Feb-15 00:47:52

DS is in year 5 and ASD. I have been battling the school for 3 years now to get him any kind of support. He has become more introverted and more rigid as he's gotten older. Since September he's had the worst time at school yet. He's deeply unhappy and struggling to cope with a classroom setting.

His psychologist at CAMHS has advised me to either admit him to a more specialised school or remove him. I can't apply for a SEN school as he does not have a statement/EHCP.

He will not use public toilets due to sensory issues (number 2's) including school and this has resulted in hospital visits with severe constipation and he's regularly taking Movicol as he holds it until he's home. He had an accident in year 4 and soiled himself and the school did nothing...just left him. Didn't inform me. 16 months later I'm still waiting for the school nurse visit and a care plan to be put in place. He's now starting to hold his urine. I don't know how he does it.

He's failing in a couple of subjects as he's having regular meltdowns and the other pupils he finds hard to cope with when they touch him or touch his desk as sits by himself.

He's being physically bullied at lunchtimes so I've started taking him home for lunch. Also because his sensory issues means he's not eating his lunch at school. Monday's CAMHS appt showed he's lost weight.

Due to a poor recent OFSTED report the school are comic down hard on attendance. DS has difficulty sleeping and on Sunday night didn't actually go to sleep at all. He may get 3-4 hours and on a good night get 6-7. This means his concentration, frustration and sensory issues are all affected but I have to send him in as they insist on it but do not help him in the classroom. This leads to anxiety and meltdowns.

He's been bordering on school refusal for a year now and he's now telling me he feels weird and he's unhappy. He can't verbalise the exact problem but I'm guessing it's school. He doesn't have any friends and since year 2 he hasn't been invited to any parties or play dates and no one comes to his. Children have been told to stay away from him ( I know this because I've confronted a mum ) he's not violent, he's a stickler for the rules and only gets angry when experiencing a meltdown so I can only figure it's because he's "different"...co morbid tics and hand flapping etc.

I was in the head's office again this afternoon as is learned teachers were forcing eye contact due to it being a school "rule" as it's good manners. DS finds eye contact extremely awkward and cane out if school very upset. I called my mum after and broke down as I've had enough and just want him to be happy.

My dad called me tonight and mentioned HE and said I'd do a wonderful job as I'm so passionate about DS leading a happy and fulfilled life. He really got me thinking and DH has backed me too. He also thinks it would be a good idea. Hard work but a good idea.

I'm sorry this post is so long but I felt I needed to include the back story.

I wondered what kind of thoughts more experienced home educators had on the situation and if HE would be right for us.

Sorry again!

ommmward Wed 11-Feb-15 08:28:11

Your lives are about to change in the best imaginable way. The important things are

1) the usual rule of thumb for recovery from school is one month for every year spent in school, assuming no trauma. You need to add extra time to allow for the trauma he has had. So take until September to just let him play and do fun stuff, and have as much safe loving adult attention as he needs.

2) help him build up social confidence. You will probably need to be there with him, quite engaged. Find families with much younger kids to hang out with, where he can be the competent one, and then gradually follow them to group activities. My experience of the he community is that children with asd are pretty damn normal, so meet ups can be full of like minded people, plus siblings who are totally accustomed to sensory melt downs.

So excited for you! <3

ToffeeWhirl Wed 11-Feb-15 09:29:32

The school sound awful - so much ignorance there. Am shocked at them forcing eye contact on a child with ASD who finds it stressful. It doesn't sound as if there's any point in struggling on, trying to make this school work for your son. As omm says, you can deregister and then give yourself and your son time to recover. You both need it. It's wonderful that you have the support of both your DF and your DH.

There's a deregistration letter here (skim down to bottom of page for PDF file). You can keep your son at home and drop the letter in the same day if you want to.

Have you tried to get a statement for your son and been unsuccessful or haven't you applied? You can still apply for a statement whilst you're home educating if you would like your son to return to a more suitable school in the future. His experience of school would count as evidence as to why the mainstream school wasn't suitable for him. It's good that the CAMHS psychologist is backing you on this, although you'd need to get it in writing. There's lots of advice on applying for a statement over on the MN SNs chat board.

My own experience is that I withdrew my son from his primary school in Year 6, for similar reasons to your own. He didn't have an ASD diagnosis at the time, although we did manage to get him a diagnosis later. I home educated him for about a year, then he wanted to return to school, but it was disastrous. It was because he wanted to return to school that I then sought a statement and we're now waiting to see if he's offered a place at a local specialist school with experience of children with ASD. So home ed can be a temporary measure or it can be permanent - it's entirely up to you and your son and can be reviewed at any time.

ChildOfGallifrey Wed 11-Feb-15 13:58:48

Thank you both of you. I've had more time to think today and I will not be returning DS to school after half term but I will view this as a temporary measure. We are moving out of the area soon and I'm hoping to find a suitable school there. If not I will have DS assessed in the meantime and push for an EHC plan whilst HE.

toffee what you're doing right now is the position I hope to be in one day. Yes I've pushed for a statement but have repeatedly been blocked by the school. There have been 3 SENCOS and 3 heads since September 2012. I'm guessing that hasn't helped.

I'm very excited to finally see a smile on DS's face in the mornings.

Saracen Wed 11-Feb-15 16:32:42

How awful for your poor boy! Temporary home ed sounds like a good plan to me. It will buy you time to figure out what's best for him. You sound 100% certain that this school is seriously damaging to his well-being.

Any particular reason to wait until half term to take him out? You can do it instantly if you want, just by sending a letter in instead of him. You don't have to have a plan in place for how to educate him from day one; you can figure it out as you go along. As ommmward says, recovery time is recommended anyway before you start in on formal academics (if you ever do).

ChildOfGallifrey Wed 11-Feb-15 17:23:15

hi saracen, I am worried sick about him and I personally think lack of education of ASD/understanding/willing and communication within the school has led me to this decision. This isn't to say he wouldn't have these issues in other schools which is why I need to take this opportunity to explore school options and to give him some sensory respite.

He is saying he has a weird feeling in his belly and feels so unhappy that nothing can make him happy again.

I am only holding out at the moment as he only has tomorrow and friday at school and then a week off and I feel like I need that time to really go over everything and make sure I am definitely making the correct decision. I also need to discuss it with his dad (DH is not his father) and explain why I want to HE. He isn't involved in DS's schooling at all so I don't know what he will say. I obviously pass on information and any problems but I have always attended meetings, parents' evenings etc alone or with DH. Even CAMHS appointments and the whole diagnosis process he was absent from. Through choice may I add....not through me stopping him.

A friend asked me today what I would do, hypothetically, if the school offered 1:1 support tomorrow. I said I would still deregister him as the damage has already been done and I feel that they would be incapable of righting everything that is wrong overnight.

Saracen Thu 12-Feb-15 00:19:10

I see, that makes sense. It would be really good to have your son's dad's agreement to the plan - or at least lack of opposition! I hope things fall into place soon.

ChildOfGallifrey Thu 12-Feb-15 10:07:42

After a long, tearful (on both sides) and angst ridden night, that resulted in me having to lie in DS's bed until he slept I have written out the letter thanks to toffee and will be taking it to the school today. I will get them to photocopy and sign and date as proof of receipt.

I spoke to DS dad late last night and he too is fully supporting me.

I guess we are officially home educating

Mumstheword18 Thu 12-Feb-15 10:33:33

Hope all goes well at the school today...you are so lucky that you have the support of your family too!!

Enjoy the fun from here on in! flowers

ChildOfGallifrey Thu 12-Feb-15 10:58:20

Can they refuse to acknowledge receipt of letter? And can they make me go to a meeting to discuss it?

ChildOfGallifrey Thu 12-Feb-15 11:00:51

Mums it's because they can all see first hand how unhappy he is and how frustrated I am after every meeting with the school with them not helping. I'm glad they all think I'm doing the right thing

Littlemisssunshine72 Thu 12-Feb-15 11:49:39

Congratulations! I HE my ASD son (for a year and a half now). I'm also a teacher and although we are both happy home schooling, it annoys the hell out of me, the amount of ASD children leaving school because of staff ignorance on this condition.
However, I am sure you will have a confident and happy boy back in time.
It hasn't been a magic wand, my son still suffers from anxiety but we now attend group sports and social clubs which he loves and a year or so ago, I know I wouldn't have been able to get him to set foot into these places.
We built up to it by meeting families 1-1 and then gradually went to a couple of group activities (some successful, some not).
I learnt not to be proud and basically 'advertised' for friends on facebook and yahoo groups. It worked, we now have met some great people that we wouldn't otherwise have met and my son is more sociable and has more friends than he ever had at school.

ChildOfGallifrey Thu 12-Feb-15 13:14:45

The letter has been acknowledged and received. I'm guessing I will get checked up on by the LA at some point.

I feel a sense of relief grin

ToffeeWhirl Thu 12-Feb-15 13:38:45

Congratulations, Child. Enjoy the relief. You don't have to see anyone from the school again if you don't want to (and I'm guessing you don't). Don't worry about the LEA contact. I just sent them a letter outlining what we were doing together. I wasn't offered a visit for another three or four months and I was happy to see the contact, as I already knew her and knew she was on my side. I realise not everyone is so lucky. It might be worth getting in touch with other local home edders (there might be a Facebook page) to find out how they rate their LEA for home edders.

Further up the thread, you mention that the school blocked it when you pushed for a statement. I learnt the hard way that this is very common and it's actually better to go for a statement yourself. That way, you are in control. I was always told that my DS1 wouldn't get a statement and I believed them. I didn't apply until it was clear that he wanted to return to school but couldn't cope with mainstream. I was so angry that he was being denied his right to an education in school if he wanted it. It took a lot of work and advice from a wonderful Mumsnetter, as well as conscientiously reading the advice on the SNs boards, but the funding has now been agreed. The next problem is helping DS1 to overcome his anxiety enough to attend a taster day, so it's a long process. If you want any advice on this in the future, please PM me and I'll be happy to help as much as I can.

In the meantime, I hope you and your DS can enjoy your new life. It will take him a long time to recover. It took my DS about a year to get over primary school, then when he returned to secondary it took another year to get over a single term and he needs a lot of support from professionals.

LittleMiss - I do so agree with you. And my local PRU is full of children with ASD who can't cope with mainstream, but can't get a statement either angry.

Saracen Thu 12-Feb-15 16:13:14

Good luck. It will be a huge weight off your shoulders.

Perhaps you can smooth things over with your son's dad by saying that you had to take him out temporarily as an emergency measure because he was so distressed, and that the CAMHS psychologist had advised this... but you would be glad to discuss with dad the longer-term options such as applying for an EHCP and looking for a suitable special school, or continuing home ed. And you'll keep him updated with how the home ed is going.

ChildOfGallifrey Thu 12-Feb-15 17:03:44

Thanks saracen fortunately DS dad is fully supporting me thank god. I cannot believe how relaxed I feel. That little knot in my stomach has disappeared . I'm confident now that I can do DS justice. We are both looking forward to some timer out.

It's great knowing there is support on here plus I've been overwhelmed with messages of support from friends, family and mums from my local SEN coffee morning group.

I thought I might be met with some criticism as it's not the norm but they can all obviously see how much he's been struggling

ommmward Thu 12-Feb-15 20:07:01

Whoop whoop!!!!!

:D

Saracen Thu 12-Feb-15 20:35:13

Oh, excellent!! I am really glad you are feeling so well supported.

There are some cases where a child is so obviously suffering that even people who might normally be unenthused about home education can see it is the right thing for him.

ChildOfGallifrey Thu 12-Feb-15 23:45:50

Thanks for the support on this thread. flowers

NickiFury Thu 12-Feb-15 23:55:03

It's the best thing you've ever done smile.

I also have a ds with ASD, I took him out in year 3 after years of hell. He even had a statement and one to one but was still completely unable to function in a school environment both mainstream and an ASD unit. He is a different child, rarely displays negative behaviours associated with his autism and when he does they're easily managed. He has friends and a budding social life, something he never had at school.

That feeling in his stomach (which made me well up when I read it) will soon go. My ds would punch himself as he said he was such a bad boy and couldn't do what others do sad.

I've never looked back from taking him out, best thing I could have done for him smile

ChildOfGallifrey Fri 13-Feb-15 01:23:27

Hi Nicki ...I'm looking forward to spending real, quality time with him and just enjoying his little quirky ways and his random but thought provoking questions.

It's so encouraging hearing stories of other ASD children doing well at HE. Your poor DS...it's heart breaking watching them struggle.

I know it will be a while before he really relaxes. I had him sobbing today, full on can't breathe sobbing. It was relief. I'm crying now as I write this as I wish I had done it earlier.

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