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How do you cope with the anger and sense of injustice?(17 Posts)
First of all, thank you to everyone who replied to my other thread - you were a great support to me I wrote a proper reply to everyone a few days ago only to be scuppered by something computer-y and lose it all. Then ds has been ill with some horrible flu-like bug and I have lost the will to
type anything all over again...
until now...You know how you just think you are over something and suddenly it seems to flare up out of nowhere as bad as before if not worse? Well it's like that with feeling angry for me. I had just about made my peace with what had happened, written a polite note to the school (no point leaving bad feeling behind, I thought) and decided to move on.
Then I made the mistake of reading carefully ds' class teacher's report to the EP. I had signed it in haste as the teacher had asked me to just as I was going out of the classroom. I assumed it was just the things that had already been said to me. Reading it...well. It basically makes out (in the smoothest, vaguest, most "caring professional-speak") that the problem lies with the family. Phrases like "strategies to help ds arrive on time and support the family" (I was told the 15 minute period before the bell was optional and ds has always been there before the bell). "Consistency of strategies regardless of setting" (I cannot use the strategies they do as ds does not do this at home at all any more and never did except when overwhelmed or with very low blood sugar, extreme fatigue etc.) She listed what she did and said "ALL of which worked." She said it had been difficult to use home communication diary due to volume of written communication instead of using bullet points. The truth is, it went missing in the classroom twice for weeks and nobody bothered to find it. (It also went missing at home but to be fair nobody asked about it or noticed it wasn't there) Whether I wrote short sentences or post-its or whatever it still didn't get read or responded to.
Her last outcome was "Establishing who is in charge!" (complete with exclamation mark...)
The one thing that was helping ds to see what he was doing was my making him do "sorry homework" writing a note of apology to the hurt child if he was aggressive, or "story homework" as a reward if he played nicely. This engaged him as usually after the immediate consequence he forgets all about it and thinks it is done and dusted. Instead, he started to talk about it saying "I won't hurt anyone, I won't do sorry homework, I'll do story homework instead." So for the first time he was reflecting on what he was going to do and what he had done. The teacher never responded to my note about it or said anything to me at all. However she did write under relevant information "mother has instituted "sorry homework" following some issues, but this is not instant enough." Errr...how instant can I be over behaviour that ONLY OCCURS AT SCHOOL??
I suppose the details don't really matter, it is just that I feel I've got no redress. I feel doubly betrayed because she was almost over-the-top sweet and caring to me before things started going badly wrong and I began questioning her strategies, then she switched in a heartbeat. It's the cowardice of it, not having the courage to talk to me and positively avoiding me, then writing these insinuations and saying them behind my back to the SENCO (I now know where some of the SENCO's sudden hostility comes from). This school has a reputation for being so cosy and caring but now I feel they can just switch it on and off like a tap.
It's so basic - I just don't want her to get away with it and yet I know I wouldn't win this battle so I just need to move on. Have any of you managed successfully to "rise above it" and deal with these feelings ? It makes me so sad that my son still thinks that the school is great and doesn't understand why he isn't going back - although I did notice he always went quiet and muttered "yes" to the question "you like Ms. X don't you" as opposed to the smile he gave at the mention of the TA's. So now I am wondering if she was as nice to him as I thought she was
Write a response to the letter/report. It doesn't have to be long and detailed just a letter that shows that you have a very strong difference of opinion. That's the first thing. I might be being bullied and have lies said about me but where I can I feel I ought to have an 'alternative' view on record. I think about this in terms of what would I want my ds to see if he ever asked for his records from school in years to come I'll be damned if it will only be the 'mother is an idiot' viewpoint.
And in terms of the anger and redress, well, actually you will get through it. You can only be hurt and realise your powerlessness once. Then you adjust your expectations and stop feeling hurt that the system is not at all what it pretends to be and is actively against your child. When you know that, you don't later find it out again, you just accept it and become lateral in your thinking.
You realise that lots of assumptions aren't true. You realise that the idea that children can only learn social skills in an artificial institution is a load of bollocks, and that to cover the national curriculum yourself, an NT child only needs 1hour and 5 minutes a day. You learn that education can happen on campsites and on the beach as well as kwick-fit and the post office. In essence you don't hanker after the past but look forward to the future and start planning with excitement at the opportunities that your 'different' life can offer you and your child.
What a two faced load of rubbish. How do I react? welllllll I go off and have a stomp accross a couple of fields and take it out on the birds and rabbits. Talk and yell in my head and let myself get upset in private THEN I come back make a cuppa and think more rationally my next action. I write down what I think first. Then the next day I read over it as I am calmer and can be more tactful and diplomatic
As far as I can see they have bullied you from the meeting right through. Personally the "sorry homework" is a great idea. And like you say your ds then talks to you about it so that wont do any harm.
I would still write to them like I suggested on your previous post about your dyspraxia etc and due to the uncomfortable way you were made to feel on taking notes you need clarification of the meeting and want a further meeting with someone else coming with you like parent partnership etc. Also mention this report that you signed and tell them polite but straight this was signed under pressure and you had assumed it was a report of the meeting you had. Having read it calmly have found that NONE of this was discussed in the meeting, if it had you would have totally disagreed with what had been written.
I dont believe in punishing my DS for something that has happened in school. I keep home and school separate and I dont like them overlaping at all. School issue my ds a consequence for an action at school if he has made a wrong choice, so I dont punish him twice but I do talk to him about it from the info in his home book and that is as far as I go.
As for them saying it is not "instant enough" well of course it cant be seeing it is at the end of the school day. Really the instant consequence should come from them immediately and that is their problem not yours. You can tell them that the "sorry letter" is merely your attempt to open discussion with your ds on the rights and wrongs of hitting and it is not a punishment the punishment must come from them to make it instant. Turn the tables
And as for establishing who is in charge. Just tell them that it is YOU that is in charge of your ds and you dislike the sarcastic irrelevant comment. Tell them that you have no problems at home with ds and the strategies you use at home work well and tell them you are open to letting them know your stratagies and perhaps it will help them if THEY put YOUR stratagies in place. Because you are finding the issues at hand are very much school based
Then make a coffee x
Agreeing with coff33pot about the punishment (or consequences as I believe we are supposed to call it) for stuff that happens in school should be at school. Of course we will reinforce telling DS that something is wrong but with ds I believe that they need to dish out the consequences at the time. Waiting until he comes home would be counterproductive as he wont associate the consequence with his action
This, 'who's in charge' comment. Do you think they mean that you are letting your DS call the shots? Because, obviously, you are in charge! Do you think the teacher thinks that she is in charge?! Laughable if not so tragic.
i agree totally with Coff33pot as these are the exact stratagies i use and the school use and since we BOTH do these particular same stratagies his behaviours improved 10 fold over the last 6 months, it didnt work instantly as like all dcs i think it would take continued sustained implementation untill he realised ahh this is how it is and this is how its going to stay. id be furious at the whos in charge comment, who DO these people think they are makes my blood boil. i dont talk with dc about what occured in school i may on my own while ds gets in the car with DD chat and she tells me what happened or writes it in his homebook buton advice from school we stopped talking about it as he would still be upset all evenig otherwise and not even settle for bed then cause a fuss and refuse to go to school next day , but having said that as hes now becoming calmer and calmer he is instigating telling me what happened today with X in school and why he did something and what the consequence was, thats deffinately progress from the boy comming out of school either very angry, having meltdowns 5/6 times a day or comming out crying hes a different little man deffinately
Have had stomp, yell, and coffee
am feeling rational now...
you have all as usual hit the nail on the head.
Starchart you are right about only feeling hurt and powerless once. I think I was very naive and it has been a steep learning curve. I don't want to hear gales of mirthless virtual laughter, but I confess I read all the blurbs about SEN provision in schools and inclusion and actually believed they were literally true
But you're right. It's the beginning of an adventure. I do feel the option of HE is very empowering if you have it because you don't feel you are expected to beg, plead, flinch and grovel for every scrap of provision from a school system you secretly feel is a bit stupid anyway. Don't get me wrong, I do think school is brilliant for some children, but it never suited my personality and I wonder if it will ever really suit ds.
hang on, whimpering from upstairs, back later...
muttered "yes" to the question "you like Ms. X don't you" as opposed to the smile he gave at the mention of the TA's.
Hi Fickle, this bit caught my attnetion (it all did but this summed it up for me really) who asks him this?
If it's you, fair enough, you're his mum and know him, but if it is someone else asking this question in this way then I would say they are leading him at least into giving an answer that they want to hear.
What I mean is they should ask him 'do you like Mrs X' (although I don't really understand the relevence of this question anyway)
If I wanted to sell you something I would avoid giving you an opportunity to say no by asking it in a certain way; 'would you prefer the red or the blue' 'oh yes I agree the red is much nicer isn't it' for example, and this is the same thing as what they're asking him in this manner.
Sorry just an observation and not important in the great scheme of things, i just thinks it highlights how manipulative they're all being with your son (and you) and that's not good IMO
Hope all is ok with upstairs!
12 months ago I did exactly the same and listened to the school put my DS down as badly behaved. Have bit the bullet when they suggested something bad was happening at home and all the this is what we are going to do and let them punish him. Then I woke up.
I also agree that them waiting for you to deal with something which happened in school is very wrong and remiss on their part.
If my boys misbehave in school they get instant punishment, whether its time out or no cake at break time or whatever...they do not expect me to deal with it after school!!!
They seem to like passing the buck for their ineptitude hon, and for them to feel the need to do this smack of incompetence on their part from start to finish...
You sure that teacher didn't work for the SS before this job!!!!!
coff33pot, that is excellent advice about what to write and I wish I had done so before I notified school I had withdrawn ds...the problem is I had not yet read the report before I did so. It was a bit sneaky actually. The teacher just showed me the last page and pointed to the bit where you say that you agree to having your child observed, sharing information etc. She didn't draw the rest to my attention and being in a hurry to get out before it was time to take the register I didn't realise that there was a report that went before with a space for the parents' comments.
Now I feel I'm not in such a strong position to reply as they are not going to have ds next year anyway - but I don't know what happens to the report, which has already been sent; does it just sit on his file waiting for when he returns to school, or is it destroyed? And if so, I don't feel comfortable about having something with all those insinuations on it down on record with no challenges to it? Or am I being paranoid?
Darn! I wish I had read the report and got your advice before I went to that stupid meeting! Now I can't see how to have any right of reply without seeming as if I am just doing it out of pique ("And another thing...")
The truth is, I really really HATE conflict. I don't mind good honest conflict, like a row with dh or my mum where you just tell it like you see it and have a hug at the end and both of you are fighting fair. I hate this kind of conflict, where you have to second-guess everything and try to read between the weaselly lines and try to say what you want back in a way that won't end up making things worse for you, and you can't get anybody to say what they mean (and half the time they don't mean what they say).
As you, and starfishmummy, and drivemecrazy all sensibly point out, how can you give a "consequence" for what happens at school and how unfair that would be! All that would happen would be that ds would probably then start doing the problem behaviour at home, out of sheer confusion and fury. It really is like being in Wonderland sometimes.
Yes, the sorry homework was about opening up discussion about hitting and helping ds to reflect on the feelings of the other child and that they might still feel upset even though he is now feeling fine. It's about motivating him to set a goal for himself "no hitting" and enjoying the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction of doing his story activity at the end of a successful day. It also helped him do something positive to say sorry that took effort (he hates writing) and gave the child tangible proof that he was sorry (which he was). But it wasn't a punishment. I don't find punishment is very effective with ds at all. He tends to behave well when he is rested and firing on all cylinders and behave badly when he isn't, because he likes rules and he likes praise.
I think the school thinks that I let him rule the roost at home and have no boundaries for him. EllenJane I do think that's what they are implying -which is laughable as if he was in charge I would not get him to school half the time! But I think there was another subtext: "we are in charge, we make the decisions not you Mrs Fickle".
drivemecrazy that is really hopeful news about your ds, thanks for sharing that as I do still hold out hope that ds will be happily back into school one day (though you never know; we might both fall in love with homeschooling) I think getting our children to communicate is the biggest battle! It's the frustration of trying to advocate for a child who, as far as this is concerned, really might as well be non-verbal much of the time.
Here I am writing another epic, I am going to put a word limit on myself in future But I really am feeling much more cheerful now. It's writing about it and reading your replies helps me see how absurd it all really is and how much better ds is out of the situation. I just worry that the same will happen to another child, one whose parents don't have the option of HE - or the support of Mumsnet
yes all is OK with upstairs thanks, both dcs are asleep now, however I probably should be as well as dd has taken to waking me up before 5 am every morning and while I do try not to get up before CBeebies starts on principle I have to say that not getting up takes more energy than getting up...
Of the two children, I have to say that dd is the irresistable force while ds is the immovable object. It makes it interesting when they argue.
I should not have typed that. dd has woken up - hang on
unpa1dcar3r I have to admit it was me that asked the badly worded question and you're right, it was not the right way to phrase it. So I can't lay that at their door But I think I did want him to say yes, because I honestly thought she was lovely, and yet I did have an underlying nagging prickle that I was silencing. So I think I need to listen to those niggles in future and not bury them, because it isn't fair to ds otherwise. And yes, no more leading questions!
I honestly don't understand this immediate consequences bit. As you say they cannot expect me to deal with something after school and I know they put him on the "thinking chair" - the SENCO was talking about putting him outside the room which I was a bit about. I can only think they must not believe me when I say he doesn't behave this way at home and want to make sure I do the same as they do when he behaves the way I say he doesn't...
oh dear my powers of expression are beginning to fail me completely I had better get some sleep before I drown you all in drivel. Thanks ever so much. And there goes dd again...
Like Starchart said it wont hurt to write a short but informative letter to add to your DS file in disagreement. Starchart may be more aware of what happens to your sons file and if it gets sent to the LEA. After all I assume they will want to know why you have pulled him out? But not sure on this one.....or if they keep records incase he goes to another school in the future.
coff33pot (and everyone else) I think that is what I am going to do. I am feeling much better this morning and trying to reflect calmly, what do I want to achieve? and now the anger has died down, it's really only just about wanting to avoid having something on file that might compromise our chances of getting needed help in future.
Now that I've stopped being angry, it's also about feeling wistful - wishing I could do something to take away all the misunderstanding and bad feeling, wishing they could see how lovely my ds really is and how hard it is for him living with a misfiring brain that is so unpredictable in its effects.
I think if they could truly understand their priority would not be to "be in charge" but to ease his passage through the day and protect his precious equilibrium so he can show the good behaviour that he naturally wants to show. He is not yet 5 -even if he was NT his pre-frontal cortex would be very far from fully developed!
Thank you all so much, you've really helped me. I am going to do what Starchart says and briefly set the record straight then focus on the future which I do find exciting if a little scary. I am going to go over to the Homeschooling forum but I was wondering if there was any appetite here for discussion on homeschooling specifically relating to asd issues? It seems there are a few of us starting out on this path as well as others who are further along the way
I missed your other thread FickleFreckle but it doesn't make sense to me that it is a problem that the homework strategy isn't "instant" at the end of the day, but it's okay it doesn't happen immediately in school?
I have to say the report seems highly unprofessional.
What you say here:
"I think if they could truly understand their priority would not be to "be in charge" but to ease his passage through the day and protect his precious equilibrium so he can show the good behaviour that he naturally wants to show. He is not yet 5 -even if he was NT his pre-frontal cortex would be very far from fully developed! "
breaks my heart. It is so wrong. What in God's earth does "Establishing who's in charge" mean.
There are always teachers that think they are the best in the world and god forbid any child that makes there feathers ruffle!
There were two that DS met in his short school life. One was an old school teacher who quite bluntly told me "I havent lost a war yet!" My reply was I didnt realise you went into battle in school. She retired and DS was no better than when he first went into her class. So I walked past her and whispered in her ear "you retired? I guess you lost the war then" and promptly walked accross the playground.
The second one was new and just out of college. Unfair to put DS in there as she wasnt yet trained in the real world yet and assumed all kids would do exactly what was required by her just saying the instruction. It was unfair to her too. She had 4 helpers and still couldnt manage the class. Sad thing was all she had to do was have some compassion instead of making everything a battle of wills. I lent her books and tried to advise her on the outcome of appointments but you would get that "glassy" I am looking over your shoulder not at you look. As if I was talking a load of crap. Half the meltdowns were actually caused by her dragging him out of his hidy hole, sending him into another full class for time out when he cant cope with full class and that was why he was upset in the first place. She did not know the difference between gentle encouragement and point blank stubborn attitude and punishments. It has been a hard year for DS but calmer now he has 1 to 1 and they are treating him as if he has AS. He wont go anywhere near the Teacher but will go with anyone else and that says it all.
Good for you in setting the record straight with your school. It is sad but the report shows to me that they have no feelings whatsoever for their kids when their authority is rattled and of course it cant be there fault so they turn tables on the parent. That report and the meeting you had shows lack of training and empathy with a little bit of pass the buck thrown in. I would give up trying to make them understand your child as I dont think they will undersand any SN child because they dont want to.
Just put your disgreement forward for his file, move on and enjoy your DS for the great boy he is x
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