Changing ASD routine to please others..

(28 Posts)
cookiesandmilk Wed 13-Nov-19 20:33:46

My son is seven in mainstream school and has autism. Doesn't 'play' or communicate with other children prefers adult company and likes routines. Very quiet and well behaved.

School have let him have his own carpet space and said he could stand at the back of the line at playtime and hometime etc.

The class has had a talk about my son being autistic and that he feels safe at the back of the line.

One girl keeps standing behind him she tells him that her mum says she can stand where she likes.

Sometimes the teacher notices other times not.

At picking up time the other day the girl came out and the adult collecting her said loudly, 'Go back in and stand at the back, you can stand wherever you like'. The girl went and stood behind my son. The adult is aware my son has autism.
The teacher let this happen.

So I am assuming people find this routine unfair so any advice on how to help my son drop this routine. We don't have this routine out of school, his routines at school help his anxiety.

OP’s posts: |
admission Wed 13-Nov-19 20:51:31

Bottom line for me is that if this is your son's coping mechanism then he should continue to do it and both son and you just ignore the girl and her mother.

steppemum Wed 13-Nov-19 20:57:21

hmm, I think I would be going in to the school to talk to the teacher. Tell her you have noticed this and raise it as an issue of communication/training/information.
That family is going to be in his class for a long time, and they are pretty openly hostile. I think the teacher should pick up on it and deal with it.

It is not unfair. Would it be unfair if a child who is deaf is always allowed to sit at the front? of a child with sight issues had an ipad with the work in large text and the child next to them didn't?

While you can't fight every battle, I think that it woudl be good for the school to pick up on this negative attitude form this family, in order to teach for the future for this child and her mother

ApacheTomcat Wed 13-Nov-19 21:09:01

At our school, the children often have to line up in the same order as their name appears on the register. I'm sure there are probably children with a surname beginning with 'A' or 'B' who would love to be at the back instead but that's tough luck. The rule is that you stand where you are told that you should stand.

The little girl needs to learn that she doesn't always get to do as she pleases. The adult who told her that she can stand wherever she likes is doing her no favours.

I would discuss it with the teacher to put your mind at rest but I would continue with what your DS has been doing unless told otherwise.

tootiredtospeak Wed 13-Nov-19 21:10:52

Absolutely stand up for what works for your son its a long journey with an ASD child through school and there will be many a battle to fight. The parents are teaching their child to be ignorant and unsympathetic to another childs difficulties and they need to be pulled up on it by the school. The teacher may have genuinely missed it or ignored it. I would speak to them first then if it continued the head.

cookiesandmilk Wed 13-Nov-19 22:01:44

I have mentioned it to the teacher at parents evening and passed messages on through reception. This morning I saw the head teacher and mentioned it but I was made to feel it is a minor issue.

The girl stood behind my son again today as she does most days.

The girl was moved from the other class to my sons class at the beginning of the school year as there was on-going issues with her bullying other children.

The school seem to have a system where the children that misbehave frequently are rewarded for behaving and having no incidents for a length of time.

I am finding it a bit intimidating at pick up time too.

My son is finding it difficult with what this girl is doing so I thought if school won't help supervise it then I will have to change it.

The idea of standing in name order would most probably work, I will talk to my son and see if I should suggest this to the school.

OP’s posts: |
GrumpyHoonMain Wed 13-Nov-19 22:05:04

Well if the girl was removed from a class for bullying it seems she’s trying it on again. I would personally file and official complaint to the school citing the dates and times you spoke to the headteacher / teacher, because they clearly aren’t able to protect kids from her.

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Sausagepickle123 Wed 13-Nov-19 22:11:17

How awful. I hope your son is coping ok with his routine being out of place.
My son has asd and those lines were a real problem (he got totally overwhelmed). He now goes into and out of school at the front of the line and that’s fine.
I think you need to explain the effect this is having on your son (mine started punching other kids and running away so the teacher couldn’t ignore!). We are lucky in that the other parents have generally been lovely.

Fakeflowersaremynewnormal Wed 13-Nov-19 22:14:44

If parents are going to be difficult the school needs to stand up for your son. They should put their full authority behind their decisions about his care and not allow any disruption from parents, or allowing children to go against their rules or the teachers requests.

RippleEffects Wed 13-Nov-19 22:24:06

I think this needs flagging as disability discrimination.

The minor adjustment for your DS to be at the back of the line is an enabling act to make it possible for him to cope more comfortably with his peers.

This other child doesn't, to our knowledge, have that need or an alternative arrangement needs to be made to cater for both children.

It's a minor adjustment not a minor issue.

oldstripeyNEWname1 Wed 13-Nov-19 23:40:28

amazingthingshappen.tv/

(I'm on stupid phone so link might not work. YouTube search for 'animated explanation of autism' if not)

Op, are you sure the girl is the issue? Sounds more like she is a symptom of how the school have explained this.

My son is 8 and has a diagnosis of autism with ADHD. He's had an IEP since yr1. We've been lucky to have good SEND teachers (and leadership). His classmates have generally been supportive and kind.

This year (yr4), his teacher talked to the whole class about him. I know she used a similar explanation to the one in the film link above. We watched this as a family, and found it really useful.

Children need to know things are fair. If this girl, or other kids don't understand why your son is getting 'special treatment', there's less reason for her to comply. She may have her difficulty regulating her own behaviour (asd the school rightly hasn't told you about), or she's been raised with anti social attitudes, whatever. Point is, how you talk to school should not focus on her, but your son, his needs and how the school are going to meet his needs. Fixing this one issue with this one girl doesn't address your concerns for the future about whether the school really understand your son's asd, and SEND generally.

My son's teacher linked how she wanted the kids to behave towards him to the school rules, and values. So as an example, she told them about why he has some extra needs (why he can't sit still), helped them understand how school met those needs (letting him wander when usual rule to be seated) and then put it in meaningful context for them (what rules still applied to my son, how everyone was different, and how this was another everyday instance of 'taking care of others'). In other words, normalised it iyswim.

Without that explanation in the round, perhaps other kids feel resentful of what they perceive as unfairness, be that queue placement, rewards, whatever.

As a parent of a child with asd, you know that information is your superpower. Don't be afraid to find, and share info like the film above with the school.

oldstripeyNEWname1 Thu 14-Nov-19 00:02:42

A school can't stop kids coming into school with misinformed attitudes, but they can re educate. And then the little darlings go home to re educate their parents!

Seriously, I've been astounded by the lack of knowledge about asd and pleasantly surprised by how receptive people are to new information.

There are masses of free useful resources available (unlike the crappy photocopied handout I got at diagnosishmm). I've found more recently qualified teachers are far better informed too.

Ellie56 Thu 14-Nov-19 00:05:54

This makes me so angry OP. angry

No you don't get your son to drop his routine. That routine helps your son feel safe in a world that can be extremely scary for those with autism and protects his mental health. It is well documented that those with autism are at higher risk of mental ill health than the general population.

You talk to the school about the reasonable adjustments that your son is entitled to under the Equality Act and that they are legally obliged to make. Standing at the back of the line is a reasonable adjustment for your son and this girl is undermining it and it needs to stop. She is effectively bullying him and they need to make it quite clear to her (and her mother) that her behaviour will not be tolerated.

I would try talking to the Headteacher once more and if something is still not done about it I would ask for a copy of the school complaints policy and make a formal complaint, taking it as far as you need to.

cookiesandmilk Thu 14-Nov-19 08:00:48

The girl in questions has no additional needs that I am aware of.
My son is very quiet, maybe if he did react in a different way at school they might do more instead he comes home upset and not wanting to go into school.
It seems a bit minor to put a complaint in about but the effect it is having on my son massive.
This is bothering my child more than when he has experienced other children physically hurting him.
I will speak again with the school and find out the complaints procedure, maybe that might make a difference.

OP’s posts: |
BrieAndChilli Thu 14-Nov-19 08:07:04

If it happened again say very loudly to the girls parent ‘ oh I didn’t realise your little girl was also autistic’ and shame them into admitting she isn’t and they are just being rude entitled fuckers

KOKOagainandagain Thu 14-Nov-19 08:53:47

Has your son had assessment by a sensory integration OT - preferably using SIPT. Not being able to tolerate someone standing behind you is one of the signs of tactile hypersensitivity. This exacerbates anxiety and he may already be emotionally hypersensitive.

Take reasonable adjustment to reduce anxiety in school very seriously. My ASD DS1 'failed' secondary transition and even when placed in indi ss following tribunal, he only managed 5 terms of secondary school in total.

Ellie56 Thu 14-Nov-19 11:27:28

It seems a bit minor to put a complaint in about but the effect it is having on my son massive.

It is not minor when it is having such a massive impact on your son. Each time this child stands behind him your son's anxiety levels are raised a little bit more. If it is not addressed it could escalate to a point where his anxiety levels are so high he will be unable to go to school.

Anxiety in children and young people with autism can be debilitating. I have heard of cases where children have been out of school for up to 4 years because their anxiety levels are so high they just can't cope in school. You really don't want to go down that road.

The school is failing to take this issue seriously. They have put in the reasonable adjustment and are now failing to adhere to it. Clearly they don't think it really matters. How much training have they had on autism?

They are failing your son and their legal duty. This is not acceptable.Stand up for your child and start making a fuss. Put in a formal complaint and take it all the way to the Department of Education if necessary.

And if the worse comes to the worse and things don't improve, I'd consider changing schools to one where they are more clued up on autism.

Good luck OPflowers

churchandstate Thu 14-Nov-19 14:17:32

Actually, no, she can’t stand wherever she likes. If the teacher has said your DS can stand at the back, then the teacher should be enforcing that. I understand that at pick-up time that can be tricky if a parent is contradicting the teacher, but until the parent has actually collected the child, what the teacher says goes.

CripsSandwiches Thu 14-Nov-19 15:53:25

It sounds like it's the mum that's the issue here. The school are taking the path of least resistance. This mum sounds like a right pain and they're avoiding dealing with her unless they're forced to. You don't have to feel like you're being precious. Your child has a disability and is entitled to be made to feel safe and secure at school.

IceCreamConewithaflake Thu 14-Nov-19 15:58:20

It sounds as though the poor teacher might have an awful lot to deal with.
Maybe the teacher can't do everything. Some children are told off such a lot it becomes water off a ducks back, and the teacher is perhaps picking her battles.

DobbinOnTheLA Thu 14-Nov-19 16:04:15

Unfortunately you so sometimes encounter this kind of thing with reasonable adjustments (I have 2 DC with ASD). The school do need to be on it, it's not minor for your son and you need to advocate for him. I do sympathise, it's horrible to deal with, particularly as the parent is shouting out.

JassyRadlett Thu 14-Nov-19 16:10:12

the teacher is perhaps picking her battles.

Picking her battles in a way that has a disproportionate effect on a child with autism isn’t ok.

Haworthia Thu 14-Nov-19 16:10:22

At picking up time the other day the girl came out and the adult collecting her said loudly, 'Go back in and stand at the back, you can stand wherever you like'. The girl went and stood behind my son. The adult is aware my son has autism.

I think you need to have a word with the teacher about this girl’s malicious behaviour and the comment from the mother. Clearly, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

My son is autistic and I wouldn’t let this slide. Nor should the teacher.

Any parent who objects to your son being allowed to stand at the back, or considers it “special treatment” is clearly a stone cold arsehole though.

BackforGood Sat 16-Nov-19 00:05:27

What @RippleEffects, @Ellie56 have said.
Unfortunately, because your son is "very quiet and well behaved" at school, then his needs are being overlooked here. It appears that the school need advice from the LA's Autism specialist Team or an OT, or whatever other autism training is available to them (AET maybe?).

You need to point out that he is "quiet and well behaved" when his sensory needs are met and his anxiety is under control.

I am also a big fan of being really clear - when you speak to SENCo or HT or class teacher, of finishing the conversation / meeting by saying "so, the outcome of this meeting is ......." and writing it down, with date and who said they were going X, or who said "it wasn't a big thing to worry about" or whatever. It tends to focus the mind.

CripsSandwiches Sat 16-Nov-19 11:22:43

You need to point out that he is "quiet and well behaved" when his sensory needs are met and his anxiety is under control.
I'd be cautious about saying that since some kids may remain quiet and well behaved even when their needs aren't being met but they're storing up their anxiety until they get home and feel safe to release it.

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