Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
DS different from other children(16 Posts)
DS has had problems fitting in, I thought this would get better but he's just started school and already he's been sent home twice. He reacts very badly to change and will lash out and hit both parents and pupils. He seems to lack empathy for other children. I've had a niggling feeling for a while and so after a long talk with the head teacher and DS being sent home again today I've went home and researched Aspergers syndrome and my DS has a long list of the characteristics of children with Aspergers. I am now sitting with tears running down my face and I don't know what to do now. Am I just seriously over reacting to my son having settling in problems at school or should I talk to the school about this? I'm not asking for a diagnosis (as obviously that is ridiculous to ask from a short internet post) but just advice.
It is horrible when the realisation that your child may have something different about them hits you.
Has the head mentioned IEP's and school action plus at all? I can't remember all the ins and outs for my DS as it was a couple of years ago when he was at pre-school but the pre school called in the the right early years people and got the ball rolling for us.
Take comfort in the thought that now you know something is probably wrong, things will improve so much for your son and he will end up a much happier child for it.
Come last march I was in the same boat as you as realisation hit that my DS was "different" we are now on the road to dx of AS/ASD and I sympathise greatly.
What is he like at home? try and think rationally wether it is just the fact of a new school or have you seen patterns of behaviour at home well before this. If you are still of the understanding that your DS issues need looking into then go to your GP and ask to be referred to a developmental pead as a first step.
I would when you are calmer go and see your SENCO at the school and express your concerns. If he has been sent home they would have logged it. My DS started off on SA then moved to School Action plus with an IEP because of his issues. Tell them what you are concerned about and tell them anything that you would consider that makes him anxious enough to hit out, be it crowded places like classrooms, hall ways. Ask for a home/school book too which is ideal to sometimes get a pattern of things that are upsetting him and also valuable info for any proffessionals to read.
I am slightly that the school's response is to send your ds home so quickly. My ds, who is only just 4 has a tendency to lash out, and the school have made him a little book in which every activity gives him a smiley or sad face.
He started on Monday, they gave him the book on Wednesday, and his behaviour improved immediately, almost entirely smiley faces now.
I know he's lashed out because one of the entries says he did, and I have strong suspicions that on Tuesday he aimed at the teacher, although I haven't had this confirmed.
The teacher said with a smile that he'll settle down, they've seen it all before.
I would ask to discuss it with school. If nothing else, if he's having difficulty settling he may well work out "if I hit, I go home. Bingo!"
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Whether or not he has AS, you are not over reacting as sending a child home from school at that age is not normal, whatever the reason. Its actually an unlawful exclusion (see IPSEA). You need to take time to get your head round it, realise his problems now recognised can be successfully addressed, and find out more. You can borrow lots of books for free from Cerebra. Don't be put off by the nature of the charity, its a fab scheme where they lend out books for free. You also need time to cry, scream and maybe grieve. However none of this should stop you rolling up your sleeves and going into school tomorrow and saying 'this is what I have been reading about / worried about, now we need to find ways to help him'. They may be relieved you are thinking on these lines.
You need to say that they can't keep sending him home. If school don't know what to do then there are support services they can call in who do eg behaviour support, autism outreach, ed psychs. The school can also fund a 1:1 TA from their own funds (all mainstream schools are given funds by councils to do just this)
If it is AS or similar they cannot apply the same rules to him eg aggression cannot mean exclusion. It is their job to reduce the aggression so he can access learning.
They need to start writing down what happens before the lashing out, and what happens after. Was there a trigger? Or as DW says is it the fact he gets to go home which is the trigger and therefore their response could actually be making the situation worse.
Reward schemes can work but need to be immediate and based mainly on positive approaches eg if he behaves well for x mins he earns 1 min computer time, or whatever reward is motivating for him (which may not be stickers, smiley faces etc but may be to play with the train or lego or computer). To start with you might be rewarding him every few seconds etc and say have a token board with 10 spaces to fill and then when he gets to 10 he gets to play. Then come back and start again and start spacing the tokens out. You might start with a token board with 9 points already earnt and he just has to earn the last one and then get the reward to get the idea. It really depends what level he is at. This is why he needs 1:1. A teacher with 29 other children does not have time to give him this individual attention.
Nothing that is done for children with AS or ASD will be harmful. So you can start using approaches and see if they work whether he turns out to have AS or not.
Big hugs to you . Yes last year I was in the same boat with dd 4.5, I was concerned and went to the speech and language therapy drop in at the Hospital, the SALT believed dd had social communication difficulties, and referred us to the community paed. Meanwhile dd preschool were also concerned about her speech and lang, communication and understanding and sought the help of the Ed Psych and also applied for a statement. We have just had a dx of developmental delay and have had dd draft statement through, in time for the new school year. DD does have some autistic traits too. I know its so hard to see your child being different to everybody elses.
Thanks you are all so nice, he was the same in his nursery too and I was always being called in. I also took him to the SALT drop in surgery that I found out about from the nursery who said he didn't have a problem forming words but had social communication difficulties but these would improve, the nursery teacher did mention one day in a meeting with me that she didn't want to label any child as having ADHD or AS, at the time I was confused about her choice of words but now I think she may have been hinting at it...?
And yesterday when I was in a meeting with the head teacher and the support teacher before I had to take DS home the teacher kept mentioning things that I keep thinking about; getting his pronouns mixed up, she was shocked at his little understanding of things, his lack of empathy, his social skills not improving, etc. And she asked if I would be ok with him being referred to a behavioral and asked me to sign a freedom to share information form so now I'm thinking that they may be thinking along the same lines also.
I've not heard of school action plus and I don't know what an IEP is either, should I ask the head to be referred to this?
Google SEN toolkit and SEN Code of Practice which explains action plus and IEPs. IPSEA and NAS websites also have info.
Hi ihatecebeebies (I love your name). Been there, done that, got that t shirt. It is hell. It feels really icky and from what you have said, yes it does sound like he might have asperger's or some form of ASD. He certainly has a speech and language problem and his lashing out is down to frustration because he doesn't know how to make himself understood. Confusing the pronouns is very common and it usually the last thing to get sorted out in speech. My son used to confuse them all the time. It got better by the time he was 6 but would still revert back when ill or very stressed. He now speaks like Stephen Fry so there is light at the end of the tunnel there! Mine too had HUGE tantrums and I mean MASSIVE great long 2 hour or longer jobs. School were good but yes I did get the phone calls and did have to take him home sometimes. Again, these improved and eventually disappeared (fingers crossed).
Empathy can be taught. Social skills can be taught
What you need: Get a good speech and language therapist (SALT). Referral takes ages and you usually only get 6 weeks of one hour long group sessions which frankly we found useless. If you can scrape the money together pay for one but try and get one recommended for your neck of the woods - people on here might have ideas. You need a proper diagnosis by a paed at a hospital. CAHMS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health service) can be used but are very variable from area to area - some people have had good experiences others crap.
You need to speak to the school. Once outside agencies are involved (and they will need to call in their LEA Ed psych) your child should be placed on their SEN register at School Action Plus. That means the LEA will give a certain amount of money to the school in a pot that they fund all the provision for their SEN children. You need to know what provision your child is going to get. The school should also use an outreach autism service. I recommend your child is given his own little work station in the class which is his, with a picture cue cards and something that helps him calm down. Infant schools are very busy and noisy places and Aspie kids can't handle this. They also can't handle things like getting changed for PE. Everything needs to be very structured and they need to be prewarned of any change. I was lucky as my son has never been violent or hurt anyone - only very very loud and disruptive. The teaching staff should get to know the triggers and should model how to play perhaps with one or two chosen quite passive nice kids.
Anyway. It does get better. Honest. I have the nicest child in the world now. He's still aspie, he's still quirky and I worry about him endlessly but he is lovely, has brilliant speech and is kind and considerate. What I am trying to say is that it is a bugger and the SEN path is a rocky one but you do meet some lovely people on the way who will work with you and you and your child will work together to make him into something fantastic.
Some really good advice here. Can I just add, get a file, get these exclusions in writing from the school and start collecting the evidence you may need in the future if you need to apply for a statement to ensure he gets all the help he requires in school.
A bit late with this thread but just wanted to echo what flyingmum said. My DS was always a bit different as a toddler and at preschool etc and I was always the parent approached at the end of the school day by the teacher with that 'look'. Its a horrible time and when I was going through the road to dx I felt like we were the only ones in the world. He had little speech, no empathy with peers, no imagination, hated change etc. I could see the differences between him and his peers quite clearly. My mum had died when he was a baby abd I hadn't a clue what to do.
Anyway, we got a dx of ASD, he now has statement and his school are very supportive. He's 7 now and is lovely. He never stops talking, is making brilliant progress in school (no one is trying harder, a pleasure to have in the class, according to his teacher) he has learned to swim and recently did a reading at school in front everyone, including other parents. Needless to say I am so proud as he has achieved so much -(just wish I could take away his anxieties.) It really does get easier
Thanks so much for all of your replies, I've not really got any family apart from DP and DS and am feeling really alone right now so they are all gratefully appreciated. DP has a daughter the same age as my DS and she was dx with Rett Syndrome 2 and a half years ago so all of this is bringing back memories of when he realised that his DD was regressing and so even though he has been such a great support to me I can tell that he's getting really affected by talking about all of this so I try not to bombard him with all of my worries.
I am going to see the head teacher tomorrow to express my concerns to her and to ask about the referral she made to the educational psychologist as that was about 4 weeks ago and I've not heard anything more about it since. I'm also going to take beautifulgirls advice and get the exclusions in writing and they've also got a book recording all of DS's incidences and they've been so many so I'm going to ask for a copy of that book too.
I'm so worried about everything, will DS get bullied? Will he make friends alright? Is he going to be left out of birthday parties etc? How is he going to get on at school? And those are just my immediate worries, I've got about a million worries for him as he gets older and he's nowhere near even been dx yet my head is working at about a million miles an hour and I'm completely exhausted but can't sleep.
How hard is it to get a dx, have you experienced trouble? Will I need a lot of evidence?
Bagpuss I hate that look, I find myself avoiding the teachers eye in the playground sometimes as I can't bear to hear about another 'incident' involving DS.
I spoke to the school yesterday and said I thought DS may be on the autistic spectrum and raised all of the concerns that I had. They told me that they had previously discussed it and thought the same, that he had AS. Now I am just waiting on a diagnosis but have been warned that it will take a long time. I took notes of all of the advice I was given here and brought up things like IEP's and School Action and now hopefully things will improve for DS, they are already discussing the possibility of giving him his own workstation to calm down etc.
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