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How to deal with this? DS v upset as he's being sent to headteacher tomorrow - for 'fidgeting and doodling'

(9 Posts)
BiscuitMillionaire Thu 14-May-15 22:55:46

Teacher told me at pick up that DS has been sanctioned twice today so he's being sent to headteacher tomorrow, for fidgeting and doodling when he should have been listening. DS is 9, in Yr 5, and this is the school policy, after a warning you get 5 mins off breaktime and if several in one week, sent to head. This is the second time this has happened this year.

DS has ASD traits (and possibly ADD) and is on the Inclusion leader's list, on waiting list to be assessed at a unit for Aspergers. He's always had issues with not paying attention, being easily distracted, amongst other things. We lived in Singapore from when he started school until almost 2 years ago, where he went to an international school. He had lots of difficulties and had sessions with a private child therapy centre, but no official diagnosis, as there would have been no advantage in getting one. His therapist thought he was 'subdiagnostic' but with definite issues: 'black and white' thinking, difficulty reading social cues, emotionally immature and easily cries, high IQ (previous teacher told me he was gifted) and v early reader but struggles with handwriting, very disorganised and forgetful, worries about things... I could go on, but I don't want to write an essay.

So at pick-up, DS was in tears and had been crying at school since this happened. He was inconsolable at home, dreading tomorrow, wishes he could change schools (he usually likes his teachers even when he's been in trouble, but he really doesn't like this one, who seems very strict). I did remind the teacher that he finds it hard not to fidget and that he's waiting to be assessed, so the teacher suggested giving him a 'fidget' thing to hold under his desk. But it seems being sent to the head is non-negotiable.

As we were leaving school I told DS I would go to the office to ask to speak to the head, but he begged me not to, as he's scared that it will make his teacher even harder on him.

I then thought I would try to speak to the Inclusion lady tomorrow morning - maybe she could be present at DS's 'telling off' by the head and be on his side a bit? What do you think? He's due to go to the head at lunchtime. Last time this happened he spent the whole morning at school worrying about seeing the head, and so, of course, didn't stay focused on his work and got another warning.

This is a big urban state primary, and I was told last year that the Inclusion person had a big list of other kids with more serious difficulties than DS's. I've heard nothing from the Inclusion leader since October when she sent off his details to the assessment unit. I suppose I need to get more pushy (sigh).

senvet Thu 14-May-15 23:30:58

I would get in there quick tomorrow. Preferably Head but Inclusion person might be better - you will know best.

Your child should not,NOT, definitely-not, be told off for things that are not his fault.

It is 100% unacceptable that ANYONE in the school should do this.

Of course it is tricky to work out what he can control and what he cannot - but it sounds like he is working four times as hard as everyone else in the class to do half as well at concentrating/

The SCHOOL should have got in an ASD/ADHD specialist teacher or someone to advise on possible approaches to try to help dc learn. An OT is well worth persuing as he might be getting distracted by some sensory issues. They could get an EP and a SALT to advise. They are being lazy.

They may say that there is no diagnosis BUT diagnosis is irrelevant - if they can see that he struggles more than others to stay on task the they should be doing two things
1) change the way they teach to help him learn despite his difficulties
2) put in a programme of education to increase his attention span


You may need to be very sypathetic and nice to get your way, but firm.

Good Luck

Icimoi Thu 14-May-15 23:50:46

Certainly speak to the inclusion person, and I really think you need to speak to the Head also. If it worries your DS, can you just not tell him you plan on doing this? It sounds to me as if your ds has sensory problems, which happens very often with children with AS: the fidgeting and things like his distractibility point strongly towards this. Therefore he probably needs to fidget and without it he would probably become stressed and even less able to concentrate.

By suggesting the provision of a fidget toy the teacher is acknowledging that this is a part of his disability, so clearly he should not be punished for it. I think you need to approach this by asking the head and inclusion person for suggestions as to how they will deal with ds' sensory problems: this should include things like fidget toys and letting the teachers know they are allowed, and should not include punishment for things that are the direct result of his disability. It could be worth talking about whether he needs special needs support, and don't be fobbed off by them telling you that other children are worse off - the issue is what he needs, not other children.

BiscuitMillionaire Thu 14-May-15 23:54:20

Thanks Senvet, that'll help me go in there more assertively. Yes, he's spent all his school years getting told off sad. I think I'll ask to speak to the Inclusion person and if she's not available then the head.

BiscuitMillionaire Fri 15-May-15 00:00:17

Thanks Icimoi. He does have some sensory sensitivities, but the therapy centre in Singapore didn't think he needed OT. But I will ask them how they plan to help him. It's all been a bit vague up to now.

Ineedmorepatience Fri 15-May-15 08:06:18

Hope you manage to get it sorted biscuit teachers not understanding what reasonable adjustment means are a flippin nightmare!

My Dd3 would definitely be too anxious to attend school under these circs and would probably struggle to re establish a relationship with that member of staff!!

BiscuitMillionaire Fri 15-May-15 22:03:16

Thanks Ineedmorepatience. Well, to update, I went in to school after drop off and asked to speak to the Inclusion leader, Mrs H, told she was in meeting so asked to speak to head - he was in same meeting (recruitment) so I insisted I needed to speak to one of them before lunchtime. The head phoned me back, and I explained my 'concern' - that DS was being punished for something he has struggled with and that he's on waiting list to be assessed. I also explained how upset DS was. The head waffled on about how he wasn't the big bad wolf and they were trying to help him, that it wasn't a punishment as such - which is complete bollocks, it's definitely a punishment! So I said from DS's perspective he is being punished - 5 or 10 mins off breaktime followed by being sent to head.

The head offered to speak to me after school, so I went to find him at pick up (DS was happy again and told me he hadn't been told off but just had a chat). I think the head just wanted to brush me off, saying they just want to avoid him being sent there again, but I said I would arrange to see Mrs H next week to see if 'we' could come up with a plan to help DS. I don't think the head is too keen on this. He queried why according to DS's teacher DS had been doing better at staying on task before Easter but now his behaviour had got worse again (as if to imply if it had been improving then it isn't a serious SN issue). But I'm definitely going to have a meeting with Mrs H next week to push them to come up with some ways of helping.

Interestingly (Icimoi), I asked DS how he had found using a fidget toy today, and he said it was good and said 'for the first time in my life I felt what it was like to concentrate'. I was amazed - and wish I'd got them to try a fidget years ago.

So, thanks for your support and advice - onwards and upwards.

senvet Fri 15-May-15 23:39:07

'for the first time in my life I felt what it was like to concentrate'.

I love a breakthrough.

In terms of going up and down, he is possibly now in the stage where he has to accept that he is a bit different than the bog-standard kids in his class because he needs an extra toy to manage his concentration. And is also learning how to manage the whole thing.

But it is good news - the technique is there, so now just to getthem off his back for things that he cannot help.

Well Done Biscuit and mini-Biscuit

BiscuitMillionaire Sat 16-May-15 22:10:26

Yes, I really hope it is a breakthrough. Thanks, I'll be back.

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