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anyone with a ds/ dd at secondary with Aspergers ?

(20 Posts)
thriftychic Wed 05-Mar-14 21:44:19

would you mind telling me what extra support or help they receive ?
ds2 school just seem to keep pointing out that he doesnt focus , doesnt concentrate and loses his stuff all the time without any suggestions as to how they plan to support him . They have gone from doing nothing to doing next to nothing , so i am still on the case . would be helpful to know what they could or should be doing !

chocoluvva Thu 06-Mar-14 19:40:47

Ha! Your son sounds EXACTLY like mine - as does his school.

DS is in Scottish equivalent of Y9. After a poor parents' evening where every single teacher said he was "disengaged", missing homework etc I spoke to his guidance teacher, who produced a document relating to his special needs requiring his teachers to check that he has a note of homework and all his stuff after every lesson. The document had been drawn up with the ed psych two years previously but apparently nobody acts on it. angry His HOY even said that they don't have time or don't remember.

Admittedly - DS would hate this - but I feel so angry when he gets 'demerits', detentions, low marks because he has only handed in half his assessment etc. No physically disabled child would be criticised for being poor at PE so why should a child with Asperger's be punished for his difficulties?

Recently DS has been getting annoyed at himself for his lack of organisation. I think he's getting slightly more organised and motivated to do well so he can go to uni. After several incidences of going on stage to play in various concerts and very publicly forgetting things - his bow, his music. forgetting to go on, I THINK he's BEGINNING to get himself more organised.

I make a point of praising him for remembering things - which he occasionally does.

Sorry for not being any help, but I completely understand your frustration - you are not alone.

SauvignonBlanche Thu 06-Mar-14 19:48:05

DS has AS and has a Statement of SEN. His MS school has an Autism Resource Base so they're better clued up than most.
They have TAs in the classes they feel that most support will be needed and helped with reminding DS about things.

They gave parents tips for helping DS to get more organised. We had a colour coded timetable and we helped him check everything the night before.

I don't do anything now as he's in Sixth form and I haven't a clue what he gets up to!

PolterGoose Thu 06-Mar-14 19:54:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pencilsharpener Thu 06-Mar-14 21:35:22

DS2 is in Y8 and is being assessed for Aspergers. Although he does not have a diagnosis yet, the school have written his IEP on the working assumption that he does have Aspergers. The IEP lists various things that the TEACHERS are required to do to help DS2 with his atrocious organisation:-

1. Email all DS2's homework to me.
2. If DS2 does not hand in homework or homework is incomplete, no teacher is allowed to give him a detention without checking with Head of Y8 first (She understands DS2's difficulties and digs him out of various problems with other teachers.)
3. Check that DS2 has glued worksheets & handouts into his books before he leaves lessons.
4. Do not give DS2 a list of verbal instructions. Give him a written list or one instruction at a time.
5. Make all individual instructions or tasks very clear.
6. When marking, give DS2 explicit and meaningful feedback.
7. Encourage DS2 to check that he has picked up all of his belongings before he leaves the room.
8. Appoint a buddy to take DS2 to lunch (otherwise he forgets to eat.)

Some teachers are excellent at doing all this; others less so. The ones who are less good are learning that they need to remember to follow these rules, otherwise DS2 will not perform well! If DS2 fails in a task because a teacher has not followed the IEP I draw this to the school's attention. DS2 has major anxiety problems at home, so it is really important to me that his experience at school is as calm and supportive as possible.

In addition, the school has set up a support group for DS2 and one other boy who meet after school once a fortnight to work on organisation, planning, revision skills, research skills etc.

Finally, the school has just appointed a part-time SEN TA. She is working one-to-one with a number of boys. DS2 has one short session with her a week. Part of the reason for this is to help with structuring homework; part is to help with his written English.

Despite all this extra help from the school (and masses of extra support, prompts, reminders etc from me) DS2 still constantly loses things and gets into muddles all the time. I have bought multiples of absolutely everything and try hard to appear unconcerned when he loses yet another pair of glasses, rugby boots, an entire sports bag etc!!

Ineedmorepatience Thu 06-Mar-14 21:46:43

pencil your list is similar to part of the list I gave to the senco at the secondary Dd3 is going to in September.

Did it take a lot of battles to get it put into place??

Swanhildapirouetting Thu 06-Mar-14 22:05:22

Our ds2 is in Year 7 with Asperger's on SAplus. I would say the biggest help has been that all homework is emailed to us by 4.00pm on the day it is set.
Otherwise the help we get is much like that of Pencilsharpener.
We are also in regular contact with the head of SEN (who is also ds2's form tutor) so that any small problems don't blow up out of proportion. If he can't do his homework to the required standard due to his SPLD difficulties they are very tactful and never send it back asking him to redo it.
However, they keep intervening to improve his literacy skills, so that he gets help with handwriting, grammar etc.
If we have problems with PE for example we don't feel embarrassed to ring up the individual teachers and alert them that ds2 is upset about not being able to tie up his rugby boots.

The TA is on alert to help him, although she is shared amongst quite a few children who also have difficulties.

I still have had to remind teachers on occasion that the homework set was not appropriate for ds2, and made him very upset because he couldn't do it. I think it has been a learning curve for them too, but I felt it much better to complain/explain than for ds2 to lose confidence. The teachers want to get the best out of ds2 too, so they aren't defensive, and to my knowledge they never say in my earshot anyway phrases like "he needs to" just "how can we help him to" - "Mrs X do you have any suggestions?"

I think part of the way it should work is that there should be flexiblility, so that they try and adjust, rather than expecting your child to adjust. Although of course, the good part of this is that your child, if listened to, while quite often start adjusting himself. My son wants to fit in, and do his best - because he is listened to.

Swanhildapirouetting Thu 06-Mar-14 22:11:39

My son also loses everything, passwords, PE kit. I think this is the least of his problems, what is important that he doesn't think this is the end of the world and go beserk, so we try to have two sets of things. It is a small price to pay. I am also thinking of asking for some of the exercise books to be given to us in duplicate so we can keep one lot at home, even if we have to pay, because again ds has a habit of not bringing stuff home, then getting very agitated because he cannot do homework set. I think you have to think, what battles are best to fight and organisation can be a source of tremendous anxiety for some children, when they are better putting their energy into some of the work set rather than the organising thereof. Organisation does come - just being by yourself in a school building requires a lot of effort from an ASD child so I don't think it is spoiling them to help them with that side of things - checking pencil case, diary, bus pass. They will learn because when their anxieties decrease they have the mental space to remember things better.

Sunnymeg Fri 07-Mar-14 09:42:15

We too have spare sets of everything. We keep a pencil case, calculator etc at home on DS's desk, which he uses for homework. We also have two pencil cases in his bag, the one he regularly uses and a spare one, just in case he loses the first one during the day. Everything is named in bold bright letters, and so far everything he has mislaid has made it's way home eventually.

I chose a rucksack with lots of compartments and have taught him to move his schoolbooks from one section to another once he has had that lesson. There is pocket for him to put letters to and from school and another section for his lunch, he can take an age packing for school, but he knows where everything is.

To begin with the teacher's used to write his homework details and other instructions in his planner, but DS does it himself now. He has learnt the need to write instructions down fully, although DS's school only give detentions if no attempt is made to do the work, so he got credit for a couple of homework efforts, even though he hadn't grasped exactly what he was meant to do.

DS has Aspergers and is on school action plus. He has LSA's in RE, art, cookery and drama. There is more help available to us if he needs it, but he hasn't required it so far. He goes to the student support centre at break times and lunch and if he has problems during the day he can ask for their help.,Also his form teacher is part of the special educational needs team.

destructogirl Fri 07-Mar-14 10:07:12

My son has these problems too, it upsets him and makes him feel like he is a bad person for forgetting.
School say they can't help until he gets an official diagnosis, which he doesn't have yet. So they continue punishing him for things he can't help.

Pencilsharpener that list is wonderful, I'm going to copy it and take it into school and plead.

It's such a struggle, DS is constantly anxious and bordering on depression through this.

Swanhildapirouetting Fri 07-Mar-14 10:35:35

TBH, it is still a work in progress for us to back him up at home, but I think the school needs to do their bit for anything which we really have no control over like books which are left behind, or instructions forgotten or misunderstood. That's where THEY have to put the support in, because it doesn't help me tell ds something which he will have forgotten by the time he gets to school.

A behavioural approach does work to some extent, ie: detentions or rewards for forgetting stuff, or doing stuff well, but I think what is difficult for schools to understand is that consequences are an inefficient way of training - sometimes they embed the activity (remembering your pencil case for example) but they don't compensate for deficits. If your child cannot remember everything because he is so busy trying to cope with the school environment, no amount of detentions is going to solve that. And in fact detentions and rewards backfire because the child gets so agitated about them that he spends worrying or obsessing about that than the work itself that the school is trying to promote. I think you have to explain that the SEN department if they don't know it already so they can liase with teachers to prevent the wrong approach being used.

One friend who has a dyslexic son found he was constantly getting detentions for forgetting his textbooks, and they made provision for him to always be able to access them from the SEN room in the event of him getting in a muddle over locker times, and not being able to bring them to a lesson, because it was wasting time for him to be punished, time he already didn't have because he was having to work so hard keeping up with the other stuff - the writing and recording.

pencilsharpener Fri 07-Mar-14 21:44:35

Ineedmorepatience - No, it didn't take a lot of battles to get his IEP in place. DS2 goes to a so-called "super-selective" grammar school with very, very little experience of SEN. So the SENCO basically asked me what I thought he needed in his IEP and drafted it accordingly. I can see that's pretty lucky though....

Destructogirl - Sorry to hear your school is refusing to help until you get an official diagnosis. I'm sure you know that schools are supposed to provide support based on need not diagnosis; and that is certainly what DS2's school is doing. It's in everyone's interests that your DS is able to perform to the best of his ability at school, so the school should be adapting to his needs so that that can happen. When DS2's school became aware of the extent of his violence/anxiety at home, they became committed to trying to reduce that anxiety by supporting him at school. Have you explained to them the impact his anxiety is having at home?

I can't tell you how bizarrely encouraging it's been to read that other people have exactly the same struggles as me! (Sorry about that.)

One thing that helps us is to keep all of DS2's schoolbooks at home. He keeps nothing in his locker at all, because it would just go astray that way. Every day I pack his bag for him, making sure everything is in it that he needs. He brings everything home again. I take it out, sort it and re-pack it for the following day. I didn't think I would still be doing this for a 12 year old, but it's the only way we have any chance of keeping tabs on anything at all. Needs must and all that.

Penneyanne Sat 08-Mar-14 12:24:51

Ds is almost 14 and has AS and after much struggling is coping ok now.

Things the school did from the beginning were...had a TA shadow him for the first few weeks to show him the ropes etc.
Ensured he was given a simple ordinary locker key with a big chunky keyring thing on it as opposed to the combination lock the others all have.At lunchtimes there is a computer reserved for him in the computer games room as he could never make it there on time to get a pc for himself.He is seated near the front of every class.Allowances are made for his poor handwriting and he will use a scribe for exams. Notes that are taken down in class are often emailed to me and I print them out at home.Any teasing/making fun of him is dealt with swiftly by the school(this is sadly ongoing all the time as ds is very socially awkward and does stand out).

If any teacher ever forgets any of this(which doesn't really happen)I would be in like a shot to remind them of his difficulties.
I supplied each teacher with a laminate (4x6)at the start of yr7 with 8 clear bullet points and a photo of ds attached so there would be no excuses .It had things like....sit at front,one instruction only,may not catch what is said,easily distracted,poor handwriting,poor organisational skills etc.

I would say ensure you keep on top of it yourself all the time and don't be afraid to keep going in to school again and again and again..

thriftychic Sat 08-Mar-14 18:19:43

thankyou so much for all the replies , they are really helpful and give me an idea of what to say to ds2 school smile

destructogirl Tue 11-Mar-14 09:30:17

Just got back from meeting the 'support' person at school sad

No help, she just keeps saying what DS needs to do. DS needs to remember to come to the support office and ask for help, DS needs to communicate with us more, DS needs to tell us when he's having difficulties. It's all put on him, and he can't do these things.

4 weeks ago they had to call the safeguarding team because he threatened suicide (Drew a picture of himself hanging). And now they sit there and say he's doing fine, he's functioning well, he just needs to remember things and communicate with us more.

He's not fine, he internalises everything and they don't see it.
My poor little boy is miserable, he has to see the deputy head at lunch today for forgetting his pen in English. He's suicidal and they are punishing him over a lost pen.

Am I wrong for wanting him to be treated differently?

pencilsharpener Tue 11-Mar-14 10:17:01

Oh dear destructogirl that's really miserable.

When you say he doesn't have a diagnosis yet, I assume that means he is being assessed / waiting to be assessed? If not, you need to go to the GP and get that ball rolling. Perhaps the school would be more sympathetic if they knew your DS' problems were being investigated?

I'm no expert on these things but if I were in your shoes, I would set up another meeting with the SENCO in a few weeks' time (tell her it's to review how things have gone) and this time go in with a typed up list of everything that your DS has struggled with between then and now. So every time he loses something, put it on your tally. Every time he misunderstands the homework instructions, write it down. Every time he is angry / violent / depressed at home because of things that have happened at school, write that down too.

DS' school always used to say to me that they knew he was disorganised, but he wasn't "that bad". I kept explaining that I was doing an enormous amount of scooping up behind the scenes that they weren't aware of, but I felt they didn't really take me seriously. Eventually I kept a tally of all of DS' organisational difficulties in a five week period (25 days) and presented the list to them. It started off: Lost glasses (4 times), forgot to eat lunch (8 times), brought home someone else's work (3 tiimes), forgot to hand in homework (twice). Altogether there were 48 items in 25 days. The school read the list and said "Oh, I see....."

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 11-Mar-14 10:25:22

destructogirl

I would talk with IPSEA urgently www.ipsea.org.uk and would also now be applying for a statement from the LEA. Although these can take around 6 months to set up they can I think be done quicker.

He cannot go on like this and you're suffering the fallout as well.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 11-Mar-14 10:26:53

You need to see the SENCO ideally rather than just the pastoral support person.

Ilisten2thesoundofdrums Tue 11-Mar-14 13:34:16

destructogirl Your poor DS sad
I remember DS having a detention for a missing pencil sharpener in his pencil case. I wrote to the teacher who gave it asking did she realise he had organisational problems as part of his DX. She replied saying she did/
I replied saying"I was really hoping that you were unaware of his difficulties and that you were not deliberately discriminating against his disability" copying the SENCO. Funnily enough hes not been in trouble for this again - although we still have the issue of homework not done, or completed and not handed in

I know its more difficult as you don't have an official dx but I wonder if you can approach it in a similar way?
Also I think pencilsharpeners advice is great - and I'm going to borrow that one.

destructogirl Wed 12-Mar-14 08:02:15

Thanks everyone.
I had someone from the safeguarding team around a bit later that day, she's offered to put me on a parenting course. I've agreed, otherwise it looks like I'm not accepting the help they are offering. Can't see it helping though.
I've called up and arranged to see the SENCO now, hopefully she'll help.

The safeguarding lady also mentioned moving schools as a possibility, must admit I'm tempted but unsure what effect it would have on him, a new school where he doesn't know anyone. Maybe it's better the devil we know.

We are in the process of trying to get a diagnosis, through camhs. He's done the WISC test so far but we don't know the results.

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