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What did your ASD child struggle with in Secondary School?

(37 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Fri 13-Jun-14 11:56:02

It looks likely that 10 year old DD2 has ASD/ ADD and will get an official diagnosis in the next few months.
Academically she does well, and her learning behaviour at primary school has been good once she realised what was being asked of her. But socially she's a loose cannon , her concentration is poor, she has sensory issues, she is very emotional and she still has long and violent tantrums out of school despite her age.
She has various physical problems too- low muscle tone, hypermobility, poor proprioception and we anticipate her finding secondary school very difficult.
The school is aware of her problems and are on board to help her as much as they can.
If you have a child who has ASD/ ADD and they are at secondary school, what kind of things did they find hard? What sort of things helped?

Moid1 Fri 13-Jun-14 12:29:03

DS1 (ADD) - year 8

Has been hard but what has helped:
- lunchtime clubs
- doing stuff outside of school
- at school he has a weekly meet with a youth worker
- loads of communication, they want me to talk to him
- nt sweating the small stuff, the odd day off, missing sports day & music day because we knew it would be really tough because of sensory issues
- agreed dispensations on uniform because of sensory issues
- lots of debrief chats so you can head stuff at the beginning

What you will find is your daughter has a whole lot of language / sexual images thrown at her and as ADD will find it difficult to screen. Some very clear guidelines early on helps.

If I think of anything else will let you know.

LittleMissGreen Fri 13-Jun-14 13:29:16

DS is in year 7.

Massive meltdowns over not being able to find books to take into school - only to find that the teacher had collected them in. The school teachers very helpfully started reminding him to write down when his book was collected/returned.

Still struggling over friendships - but going to lunchtime clubs makes that a bit better. Including massive upsets that everyone else had girlfriends and people only asked him out as a joke/dare.

Class detentions - when he is convinced he had done nothing wrong. First time he wrote a letter to the teacher to 'complain' and she hasn't done it since although other teachers still do.

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Fri 13-Jun-14 13:47:56

DS2 (Asperger's/ADHD) is coming to the end of Y7 in a partially selective, single sex mainstream state school.

Things that have gone better than we expected: everything, especially self-organisation, making friends, appropriate behaviour in lessons.

Unlike primary:
The staff set out their expectations very clearly and literally.
If he gets into trouble, they explain to him where he went wrong.
They don't shout at him.
They stick to the timetable.
They can cope with him asking tangential questions.
They mark work constructively and positively.

He is much happier than he was in primary school.

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Fri 13-Jun-14 13:51:40

These are some of the things that helped:
Lock laces (he still can't tie shoelaces).
Teaching him how to remove his tie without undoing the knot.
Colour coding the subjects and reprinting the timetable more clearly.
Giving him a routine for before school and after school, and trying not to vary it.

coppertop Fri 13-Jun-14 14:06:39

The main issue for ds has been persuading him that group work is a good idea. He thinks that as he usually already knows the answer, there's no point in having a discussion about it. His teachers looked at pairing him up with people instead and so far it's working well. His current 'partner' is actually very similar to him, so they get on well.

PE is still never going to be his favourite subject, but it helped when he was given permission to get changed in a different room.

Ds has no interest in socialising with other people at breaktimes/lunchtime so he goes to the computer rooms or library instead. There are also lunchtime clubs for those who want them.

Handwriting is a problem, as ds' work always look as though it was written by a 5yr-old. His writing is also very slooooow. Using a laptop to type his work has helped.

FiveHoursSleep Fri 13-Jun-14 16:35:17

Thank you everyone, for your input. I'd love to hear from anyone with an ASD girl in secondary school.
If it makes any difference, DD2 is going to a a partially selective, single sex mainstream state school. 3 Lannisters, the school your son attends sounds similar.
Our eldest DD will be at the same school, in Y8 , but I'm not sure how helpful she will be...

mumslife Fri 13-Jun-14 20:23:30

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mumslife Fri 13-Jun-14 20:25:36

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thornrose Fri 13-Jun-14 20:35:53

My dd is year 9 and has Aspergers, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. She sounds very similar to your dd. These are things she found tough in year 7.

Lockers, she couldn't manage a padlock or work out what she should put in the locker so ended up carrying everything around in her, very heavy, bag.

Finding her way around, the map was impossible for her to follow.

PE, everything about it!

Form time, she couldn't cope with the noise level and everyone being on their phones, iPods etc and the general chaos. She still goes to Curriculum support for form time.

The timetable, as others have mentioned. It was all initials for teachers and codes for rooms and subjects. I retyped it in a more user friendly way and laminated.

I gave dd a couple of plastic folders labelled Homework, Letters home etc.

Her primary school friendships broke down very quickly. Dd was so anxious and stressed she relied on her friends very heavily. She asked them to get her to lessons as she got lost, then they would be late. She was demanding with them and angry and they all just had enough of her. I didn't know any of this was happening until it was too late to fix itsad

mumslife Fri 13-Jun-14 21:16:30

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mumslife Fri 13-Jun-14 21:19:26

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ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Fri 13-Jun-14 22:30:25

FiveHoursSleep: I think it's the same school (well, the boys' version). I used to be 3b1g (and variations on that) and I think we've compared notes on the schools on here before.

I have a DD in Y5 who shows many of the signs of ADD and has Aspergic and dyspraxic traits too. She can be socially quite immature. She strongly wants to go to the girls' school, so I'll be interested to find out how your DD2 gets on. The boys' school has an excellent Learning Support department and is very proactive with helping children with difficulties, but I know nothing of what provision the girls' school has.

appealtakingovermylife Fri 13-Jun-14 23:13:12

Interesting, my ds is starting secondary school in September and has aspergers, I think he's in for a shock, they are treated like babies in primary school. Would help if I knew where he was going but that's another storysmile

FiveHoursSleep Fri 13-Jun-14 23:45:56

That's good to know 3 Lannisters. I'll admit that I have been a bit worried as I have been told that the girls' school doesn't have a SN unit but I talked to the Matron today, who referred me to the head of SN and at this point they have been very understanding.
DD2 is a bright girl, and has managed to keep it together at school so far ( doing level 6 SATS etc) but I'm expecting her to crumble a bit come September. Not just at the school she's going to, but secondary school in general.

Schmedz Sat 14-Jun-14 00:05:30

Thorn rose your DD sounds exactly like mine!

Primary was actually ok for friendships in final two years but some 'friends' have now turned and she is dealing with a lot of low level teasing. Has support teacher she can go to and is now comfortable with telling her Form teacher and HoY.

Can't encourage lunchtime clubs enough...

soddinghormones Sat 14-Jun-14 07:10:18

Ds2 is just coming to the end of y9 in the top stream of a partially selective comprehensive - he has dyspraxia and fairly mild ASD and had been utterly miserable for the last two years of primary

Because he struggled so much at primary I was very anxious about how he'd cope in the much larger secondary environment but he's actually been much happier

It helps that there's a critical mass of geeky boys in the top set so he's not isolated in the class. There's a very narrow (high) ability range in his class which means the lessons go at a faster pace so he's not bored and doesn't get intolerant of other people not 'getting' things

He is a rule follower so never gets into trouble intentionally

We practised getting into school uniform over the summer before y7 as he finds buttons etc tricky - we showed him how to take his tie off without undoing it

He finds lunch tricky as the dining hall is huge and noisy - I send him in with a snack and drink in his bag so if he can't face going in there at least he's got something

He got lost a few times in Y7 but very sensibly took himself to the office and explained and got sent out with a passing sixth former to help him find his class

He has a laptop which he uses for any extended writing as his handwriting is virtually illegible and soooo slow

Most teachers have been great - he has a very 'left field' way of approaching things which the majority have found refreshing as it gives a different perspective in the class

The only teachers we've found tricky are PE and DT where he's had problems due to dyspraxia and the teachers have obviously paid no attention to the comprehensive notes given to them by the SENCO ...

On the whole it's been a much more positive experience than we'd feared. He still has no social life - he does cricket once a week out of school but even though he's been seeing the same boys since he was 9 he never talks to any of them - and I can't see that changing but he's not bothered

LynetteScavo Sat 14-Jun-14 07:36:23

Similar experience to sodding, except my ds isn't dyspraxic.

Ds found it difficult just to stay in the classroom with some teachers... He had an exit card which ran he could leave the classroom and go to the SN dept' whenever he needed..... This really helped. He hasn't needed one this year (y10)

mumslife Sat 14-Jun-14 08:54:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 14-Jun-14 10:07:29

I have just been reading this thread, it was recommended to me.

I also have a Dd who is transferring to secondary in Septemeber.

It is good to read positive experiences. I think Dd3 will struggle with the things that people have mentioned such as organisation, hand writing, PE.

I have been lucky so far and have had lots of contact with her new school and they have already named a key adult to help support Dd3.

I hope your Dd gets on ok five smile

mumslife Sat 14-Jun-14 10:42:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sunnymeg Sat 14-Jun-14 11:52:27

Hello, I have a DS 12 coming to the end of Year 7. The things he has struggled with are things that would be obvious to other children and therefore are not explained. For instance he was found wandering around aimlessly during his first PE lesson as he did not know where to go. The school has a sports centre, but he didn't make the connection that that was where he had PE. Also if he moved from one room to another during a lesson (which happens in science) he had to take his stuff with him.

The positives far out way the negatives in my opinion.
He goes to a lunchtime club everyday and has made friends there. He has learnt to do things for himself and manage his time. He is doing well academically and has won prizes during the year which has bolstered his self esteem.

One tip I would give is that when DS is dealing with a teacher he doesn't know or staff in the office, is that if he is having a problem with the situation to tell them he has Aspergers. We have found this has helped really well, even in the canteen they know and let him choose his own food combinations rather than what is set on the menu.

Also make sure you are known by the SENCO and the Head of Year. IME form tutors deal with the kids, not the parents.

Another tip I would give is to read the website and especially things like old newsletters to get an overview of the school year and what is likely to happen when.

This time last year I was just as worried and anxious as you, but DS and I have found everything to be much more straightforward than life at primary and DS went to a very supportive primary!

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Sat 14-Jun-14 13:40:32

If I could go back and do it again, I would word my instructions more carefully.

You need to keep the top button of your shirt done up all day except when it's time to change for PE, then you are allowed to undo it.

Unlike primary school, you'll need to carry your bag around with you all day but you can take it off and put it on the floor during lessons.

Both of the phrases in bold were obvious to me, so I thought they didn't need saying. grin

mumslife Sat 14-Jun-14 14:35:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumslife Sat 14-Jun-14 14:39:21

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