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DD (AS) watched the other girls exchange xmas gifts....

(27 Posts)
embracingtangents Fri 17-Dec-10 10:41:06

...... and was the only one completely left out sad

DD is in year 7 and struggling. We haven't told anyone she has AS as we are worried Year 7s won't understand it.

Consequently the other girls in her class understandably find DD a bit strange (she doesn't like the things they like) and mostly ignore her. She is very lonely.

DD tells me that all the girls have been exchanging gifts and cards for christmas and she has been completely left out.

The worst thing about it is that DD genuinely does not understand what she does wrong socially and can't understand why she is so unlikeable. When she was younger DD was only worried about missing out on a present if this kind of thing ever happened. But now I see the painful realisation in her mind that there really is something "wrong" with her (sorry to put it like that but don't know how else to say it).

Would it be a good idea for her to tell people why she is like she is or would this open the door to bullying?

Has anyone been through this and have any insight?

justaboutmaintainingorder Fri 17-Dec-10 11:00:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

embracingtangents Fri 17-Dec-10 11:04:30

Yes, psychologist explained it to her and she has read some books. Understands that her priorities are different.

justaboutmaintainingorder Fri 17-Dec-10 11:07:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hotmamalovespavlova Fri 17-Dec-10 11:08:56

I think it's best to tell the class but I am new to this and others with more experience may suggest better ways.
Me I have 2 dd's, dd1 12 nt and dd3.6 asd.

Having an older one at secondary I know how spiteful girls can be, but have also seen the nicer side of them too (occasionally). Could the tutor have a quiet word with the group or speak with the student manager of the year group.
Secondary can be a very lonely place just because you have the wrong hair style or wrong shoes. I am sure the group would make adaptions to include your dd if they knew.

We are starting primary with dd2 next year and the head suggested telling the children as it will give them an understanding of why my dd hits and screams sometimes. I figure if they know from the beginning school may be a little easier.

HelensMelons Fri 17-Dec-10 11:13:44

Hi Embracing

I'm not sure what age your dd is - I'm guessing at 10 or 11?

I really feel for you and dd, a horrible thing for her to experience.

I think it's a personal choice whether to tell anyone, or in this case her school classmates; however I have found it generally much easier not to hide it. I do think that when kids or adults have an explanation for something like autism it can provide answers to either asked or unasked questions and hopefully in the longer term inclusion. If her teachers are on board to manage this in a sensitive manner then it should be a positive move forward for her.

Could it also be suggested to her teacher that instead of the other girls exchanging gifts that in future a secret santa is organised and everyone gets someone to buy for.

I think dd will need a lot of support if her class is told in an open an honest way. Wendy Lawson talks about 'differbility' which speaks to me and hopefully you will receive some support from her class teacher around this too.

I don't think it will necessarily open things up for bullying but I don't have any experience of that.

Lots of reassurance to dd as well and an unmumsnet hug for you x

embracingtangents Fri 17-Dec-10 11:15:39

Thanks justabout. I agree with your thoughts.

Not sure the school are up to handling this correctly. They try very hard but the staff have no training themselves in this area.

The pastoral support person who DD has been told to go to if she is not sure about something often says to her "Go and ask Mr/Mrs X" This member of staff completely fails to understand that DD has a terrible time approaching people and speaking to them. If they can't understand that about Aspergers, even when I've told them, I doubt they can cope with dealing with this!

Thanks for responding Justabout. You have clarified some things for me.

embracingtangents Fri 17-Dec-10 11:26:02

DD is 11.

Hotmama - do you think your DD1s class would find it easier to cope with the class outcast if they knew why this person was different??

Helens - Thanks for replying. In a way I wish DD was not so borderline. Then it would be impossible for her to keep this to herself. Only recently got dx. Managed to blend in at primary.

People have often commented how mature DD is! They don't realise this is how she is in public. DD operates a sort of "lock down" in public that people interpret as quiet maturity and sense!

Helens - I will talk to DD about the possibility of going public!

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-Dec-10 11:36:54

Hi,

Its awful that she has been left out anyway by these ladies regardless of any social/communication difficulties she has.
Infact they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Are the school aware that your DD has Aapergers?. Does she receive extra support at school in terms of a Statement?. If she does not have a Statement I would seriously consider now applying for this. I suggest that as many children with AS do struggle socially in secondary school and a Statement is useful also for social/communication difficulties as well.

Getting back to your original issue I would be having a word with her Year 7 Pastoral care manager (there should be such a person or someone like it for the Y7s). I would ask for this person's opinion before asking her form tutor to tell her peers.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-Dec-10 11:42:06

Hi embracing tangents,

re your comments:-
"Not sure the school are up to handling this correctly. They try very hard but the staff have no training themselves in this area".

Many teachers get no proper training in any sort of SEN let alone AS. SEN is a subject not readily taught at teacher training college.

"The pastoral support person who DD has been told to go to if she is not sure about something often says to her "Go and ask Mr/Mrs X" This member of staff completely fails to understand that DD has a terrible time approaching people and speaking to them. If they can't understand that about Aspergers, even when I've told them, I doubt they can cope with dealing with this!"

You must make them aware and soon because no-one else is going to do it for her. You are her best - and only advocate here.
Reading all this as well makes me think there is no statement in place. If there is I am appalled. I would go over this person's head and approach the Head of Year and get the SENCO involved as well. Is the SENCO aware of your DDs diagnosis of AS?.

Spinkle Fri 17-Dec-10 12:26:04

I would tell the world, myself. People with ASD need to be seen and accepted as just 'wired differently' and the more people who know it, the better it will be for everyone.

I would get the SENCO into her class and get them to explain what AS is all about - and in doing so, the SENCO might take on your DD's difficulties a bit more.

Teachers are woefully undertrained in SEN and particularly ASD. I only know myself cos I am mum to an ASD son.

Getting support for AS in school is blooming hard.

I have to say, having taught for a number of years there is always someone who is the 'outcast' in a class, NT or SN. Girls can be particularly cruel too.

embracingtangents Fri 17-Dec-10 12:35:26

Thanks Attila

We have no statement at this point in time.

Yes we have SENCO meetings. I phone and e-mail all the time. Am told "the SENCO has to teach as well you know."

Head of Year has been good. School have put in some good interventions for PE, break time, lunch time. But this is a peer problem. I really don't know what the school can do......... We are talking about tthe behaviour of 11 year old girls. Statements and Sencos can't deal with that can they? Forgive my ignorance I'm still new to this.

embracingtangents Fri 17-Dec-10 12:41:57

I must just say I gave DD a really nice present at home as she didn't get any at school. She really appreciated it grin

My instincts are the same as yours Spinkle and I dream of that perfect world where we explain it all and people understand and adjust their views. But as a protective mother in an imperfect world I am terrified of what happens when I put it all on a plate for the bullies to get hold of...

But yes, it is our job to explain ASD. Its just that Aspergers is so high functioning I'm only just understanding it myself.

justaboutmaintainingorder Fri 17-Dec-10 13:08:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-Dec-10 13:13:50

Hi embracingtangents,

Re your comments:-

"We have no statement at this point in time".

Thought this was the case. You need one as this will get her additional needs properly documented. As it is at present she is being treated in lessons and at other times exactly the same as everyone else. Its not working now or is going to work in the longer term either; she needs the support a Statement can give.

"Yes we have SENCO meetings. I phone and e-mail all the time. Am told "the SENCO has to teach as well you know."

What does the SENCO say; is this person any good?. Phoning and e-mailing them is not enough on their own. You need to visit them too if at all possible. All the above is yet another good reason why your DD needs a Statement.

"Head of Year has been good. School have put in some good interventions for PE, break time, lunch time. But this is a peer problem. I really don't know what the school can do......... We are talking about tthe behaviour of 11 year old girls. Statements and Sencos can't deal with that can they?
Forgive my ignorance I'm still new to this".

Its okay, this is where this board comes in so useful.

Its not just a peer issue. Head of Year certainly can certainly help re the above and that person needs to get SENCO on side as well. They can see she needs additional support (bet you as well that never happened in Jr school) because of the interventions they have put it. As it stands though these could easily be taken away because they are not "ring fenced" for her and could be removed when she gets into Y8. This is also why you need a Statement; it will address her social/communication issues. It is an issue of getting her needs properly met because if nothing changes re support it will affect her learning to its detriment.

Will your DD be willing to have say one of her classmates around for something like a pizza lunch?.

HelensMelons Fri 17-Dec-10 13:22:26

Embracing, just to add to the many thoughts likely to be running around your head; I am making the assumption that given dd is 11 she has started 'big' school? If so this is also a period of transition for her and her classmates. Possibility of things generally being a bit more stressful for her?

I also wonder would it (and you may already be in this process) be useful for dd to have a statement in place. My feeling is that she is 'vulnerable' without one in a school that you have mentioned states the "senco has to teach as well you know"; I think the school have to understand that you are dd's best advocate.

The Head of Year has been supportive, the school have attempted to put in some supports so utilise that good will. The school should also have expectation around how their pupils behave towards themselves and others - respect, being thoughtful, etc.

HelensMelons Fri 17-Dec-10 13:23:10

Sorry cross posted with Attila! x

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-Dec-10 13:32:55

Good website re statementing process:-

www.ipsea.org.uk

embracingtangents Fri 17-Dec-10 13:53:33

OK - off to IPSEA. Will come back later.

Thank you so much for all the support. You are all brilliant smile

Justabout - I know what you mean about her keeping it as a secret to be ashamed of. I have told her that its up to her if she tells people or not.

Trouble is even people in our own family don't get it - insisting "there's nothing wrong with her". Even after we have got formal dx. DD has excellent language skills, high grades in school, no behaviour problems at school or at other houses, and is seen as quiet and mature. At home she lies on the floor crying and talks about/reads about trains. Hand flaps at the mention of Hornby.

bullet234 Fri 17-Dec-10 16:40:16

So "quiet" at school eh? Does that mean that she sits quite happily, of her own accord, talking to a select group of friends? Or does it mean, like I did, that she sits on her own ever breaktime, staring into space, not speaking, being bullied? Does no behaviour problems mean she has no other issues, or does she, like I did, have problems with organisation, with impulsiveness, with coping with the change to secondary education.
I was seen as quiet but immature, rather babyish in many ways. I had excellent language skills in the sense that I spoke long grammatically correct sentences, but I had a number of communication issues which marked me out and set me apart from the other girls. I have people now saying that everything must be fine with me and nothing wrong, but all those who know me well agree with my diagnoses. Hopefully this will apply to your dd.

bensonbutnohedges Fri 17-Dec-10 17:10:55

Not sure whether having someone talk to the class about Asperger's will help. My DS goes to a school with lots of AS children, lots of staff training, lots of other "different" people about, and he has a Statement, but there are still times when other students make fun of him, leave him out, etc. He is lucky in that he can retreat to the school learning centre when things get tough, but at the end of the day secondary students can be cruel. They are finding their own way in life and haven't always got the wherewithal to look out for their less sociable classmates. And nor, for that matter have all adults.
Things have improved as he has got older, but there are no instant solutions.

imahappycamper Fri 17-Dec-10 17:14:06

Are the ASD team from your LA involved? They can give valuable advice and support to the school in understanding AS.
You can ask your SENCo to get them involved.

mummytime Fri 17-Dec-10 17:36:35

Okay at my kids school I would recommend it, but this is because: they take SEN seriously and the SENCo is full-time, although she does a littel bottom set teaching. Secondly a lot of the pupils, certainly my children, are very used to pupils on the Autistic spectrum (as well as a wide range of other SEN).

TheArsenicCupCake Fri 17-Dec-10 17:55:52

We are in the same position.. And ds has started to act out in frustration at school now.

We are desperately trying to get him into the asd friendly school..

Ds1 says ds is the weirdy kid who wanders about without a friend.. Luckily all of ds1s friends keep an eye out for ds but it's not enough and not fair.. School have put things in place.. However the staff just haven't a clue about AS... Let alone any of his other issues..

My aim.. Just get him through the system, as best I can... keep his self esteem up with other social situations where others actually accept him for who he is... The only place where he doesn't fit in.. Is school.. Every where else actually isn't that bad!
But then where else are you forced to cope with 30 other loud, unruly, in the click people?.. It justdiesnt happen.. Because actually you always have a choice everywhere else!

You know I would go big on other social opportunities... Get a statement and or move schools if you can where your dd will be supported.

purplepidjbauble Fri 17-Dec-10 20:51:23

Is there a small group of girls in her class who could be a sort of "buddy" group who can be told about AS and asked to look after your DD?

Could the English teacher read something like "The curious incident of the dog in the night time" with the class?

Could an adult with an ASD do a whole school assembly on the subject, not specifically related to your dd?

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