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In need of help and advice from anyone with experience.

(9 Posts)
EvilTwins Thu 13-Oct-11 18:22:57

I am head of a small VI Form at a comprehensive school. We have a student in Yr 12, who was previously at a different school. He has ASD, and did have a statement. Unfortunately, his parents didn't decide until 3 weeks into this term that they wanted him to come to our sixth form rather than stay at the school he had been at for yrs 7-11, and so we have very little in terms of resources (and money) to support him. The parents didn't want him to stay at his previous school because he was bullied, badly, by kids both older, younger and in his own year group. Parents have been in, and seem a little in denial about their son's needs (we have info from previous school). Also, he is the youngest of 3. The other two went to the prestigious grammar school in our area and so this boy seems to be treated as the "black sheep" of the family. Academically, he is very bright, and is doing well in his AS courses. Socially, he is quiet and withdrawn, though has made great progress since joining us 3 weeks ago, and will now sit with a group of other students in the common room. He doesn't tend to join in with conversation, and none of the others are pushing him to do so, but he seems content to be with them. He has a support teacher whom he can talk to at any time, has been supplied with a notebook as he prefers to communicate in writing, and has been made to feel welcome. He has stated that he doesn't want in-class support, and that he would prefer to use his support teacher "as and when", rather than at a scheduled time.

So far, so good. However, the boy has a fixation with a particular, totally inoffensive and very common word. He decided some time ago that this was a trigger word for 9/11, and he gets very stressed when people use it. His reponse to the stress tends to be to write notes, sometimes fairly bland, sometimes incredibly offensive, which he either puts on the walls, or leaves on people's chairs or tables. Twice this week he has violently overturned chairs in the common room after he heard his trigger word used. He has flown at a girl, shouting in her face after she used it, and yesterday spent one lesson sticking his middle finger up at anyone who glanced in his direction. He also sent an email to four random students (only one of whom is VI Form) which was also about his trigger word.

I really need some advice as to how to help and suppport this boy. I am new to being Head of VI Form, and new to chidlren with autistic spectrum disorder of this level. Can anyone help me please - things which we can put in place to help short term - he will only be with us for 2 years, so we need to start to help immediately. The other students are beginning to feel intimidated, and I feel like I'm failing all of them!

Sorry for long post. Thanks if you've got this far.

EvilTwins Thu 13-Oct-11 20:33:47


suburbandream Thu 13-Oct-11 20:39:06

Hi there, I'm afraid I can't really help, although I have a younger child with Aspergers which is why I clicked on the thread. If you post this in Special needs:children you might get more help. That board is full of really knowledgeable posters who are very friendly and helpful, and it gets a bit more traffic I think. Good luck x

EvilTwins Thu 13-Oct-11 20:41:15

Thank you. I'll do that.

thisisyesterday Thu 13-Oct-11 20:44:58

hmm, his behaviour seems a little extreme that's for sure.
i would have thought, that by that age most children with asperger's would have been able to learn what is and isn't appropriate in terms of behaviour and language... heck, my 6.5 year old with ASD has just been praised by his teacher for managing to keep his cool in the face of a big trigger!

I am no expert but he has either not had the help and support he needs thus far, or there are potentially other issues too.

I don't really know how it all works at 6th form, but do you still ahve a SENCO? can you refer to the Ed Psych?
I'd be maybe looking for a more up-to-date assessment of some kind to take place, and for some specialists to give you advice on how to handle him

EvilTwins Thu 13-Oct-11 20:49:45

SENCO is involved, and he does see an Ed Psych - I've spoken to her. Her only comment really is that he's much happier now than he was at his other school.

Just need some ideas about how to handle it really. His trigger word is "kid", which is something which comes up a lot in daily conversation.

thisisyesterday Thu 13-Oct-11 20:56:03

then I would say he needs some specific time with the senco or ed psych, whoever is best for the job, to talk him through this and point out that he can't stop people saying it and that he needs to find ways of expressing his anger without upsetting other people. that it's ok to dislike the word, but that he cannot stop other people using it.

they could maybe come up with a specific thing he could say to people when he hears it like "I don't like that word, could you stop saying it" or he could have a note (laminated?) that he can keep and show people, or he could have some other coping mechanism for when he hears it... going and seeing his support worker etc etc

EvilTwins Thu 13-Oct-11 21:00:10

The laminated card thing is a really good idea. I'll do that. He doesn't come in until 5th period tomorrow, so I'll speak to the SENCO and see if she can have a meeting with him.

When he started at our school, his parents, for whatever reason, wanted to hide the extent of his issues - he had begun to do the same things in Yr 11, but it was put down to the stress of his exams. We didn't get the right information until last week, which coincided with his aggressive rant at the girl who used the trigger word. Because of that, he hasn't had an official meeting with the SENCO - other than the usual assessment meeting she has with all new students.

He already knows he can go to his support worker whenever he wants to, but is choosing not to. The laminated card thing sounds good though - worth a try.

thisisyesterday Thu 13-Oct-11 22:08:25

must be really, really hard if his parents are playing everything down and not admitting the extent of his problems sad

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