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Returning to work, DS has ASD/PDA

(7 Posts)
CrispyFB Mon 16-Nov-15 17:27:32

DS (4) has recently been diagnosed with ASD/PDA. He's definitely at the higher end, but his meltdowns can be quite spectacular. He started in Reception in September, but was at the attached nursery in the year before that.

I have three other children who are 9, 7 and 20 months. Before I had DC2, I had a professional career that I always intended to return to once our final baby reached around two years old. More than ever, we need for me to go back, and I want to go back too.

Unfortunately the type of work I do means I would have to go back full time, at least to begin with until I can hopefully convince an employer to let me work part time, or I get enough experience again to be able to do part time consulting.

DS's school is excellent, his teachers really understand him and they have been on various autism courses which have covered PDA. We lucked out really in that regard. The breakfast and after school clubs are run by a lovely lady who is also currently a TA in DS's class, so he knows her and vice-versa.

Most days DS is fine, but toward the end of the week he often has pretty violent meltdowns in school. I know the school dedicate a lot of extra resources in his direction and he is a big challenge. Obviously I am concerned that if he is in school from 8am until (say) 5-6pm then everyone is going to find it a lot harder. And so will his teachers. I'm quite sure they're not going to be too impressed with me if/when I manage to get a job although who knows if they will say anything.

We are quite lucky in that DH has a fairly understanding employer when it comes to things like working from home, so the onus won't be entirely on me to deal with any issues. It's probably more of an issue for DH as I'd not want to rock the boat with a new employer so he'll be the one doing so at least initially! There's no chance of DH giving up work so I can because he earns considerably more than I'd be likely to, and we need his salary.

1) Can anyone give me their experiences of returning to work full time with an ASD child?

2) DS does not currently have a one to one but he may do in the future. How does this work with pre/after school clubs? Even if he doesn't have a one to one, will the ratio need to be higher?

Thank you!

chocadd1ct Mon 16-Nov-15 17:56:00

I do think staying in childcare 8am till 5 or 6 pm every day (that is longer than a standard full time job) is a lot for any 4 year old not to mention if ASD/PDA comes into it. I don't think I would even contemplate that.

you have a few children. Would a nanny be an option? might even work out cheaper.

other than that - is looking for a school hour role on a lower level a possibility? that is the route I took.

PolterGoose Mon 16-Nov-15 18:24:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrispyFB Mon 16-Nov-15 19:00:37

Thanks for your replies!

chocadd1ct - If only there were school hours options sad - that would be the most obvious choice but nobody in my industry takes on people on anything other than full time, no matter what the level. The only people I know who manage part time are people who have proven themselves. I also have to go back at my old level in order to cover childcare.

It makes me so cross that my job is one that has no problem being part time or even working from home semi-regularly, but the industry as a whole (it's very male dominated) is not culturally keen on part time - at least not when recruiting. So long as I am careful to pick the right employer, hopefully longer term I could switch to part time or at least compressed hours. I know my last employer would have done this, and probably my employer before that too, but they no longer exist!

A nanny is not a bad idea as you say, and an option I'd forgotten about. At least DS would be at home with his siblings and could play Minecraft or bounce on his trampoline to decompress. He pretty much ignores me for hours anyway when we get in wink although I fully appreciate it's the fact I'm there rather than what I actually do.

Polter - we'd definitely be doing different starts and finishes for that very reason. It may well be we don't need breakfast club with shifted starts/finishes, and I'm hopeful I should be able to work from home fairly regularly once I'm settled too, which means I can be there for assemblies etc as well. I won't accept a role without reassurance of that. DH already seems to average out working from home/going in late around one day a week too on a fairly ad-hoc no notice basis. So it's not quite as dire as it could be.

Unfortunately I don't think I could manage to get temp work, as the only roles offered are usually more like consultancy roles. This will be fine once I'm settled and back up to speed and with recent experience, but nobody will touch me for such roles until I have something more recent on my CV. I would be expected to hit the ground running and be given no training as there just wouldn't be the time for a, say, three month contract. I need a permanent role which won't mind me taking a month or so to get back to where I was.

I think we'll be okay with school refusals as he's never shown any signs of this before. He doesn't really have any appointments or therapies - I am not sure there's a lot that he could do right now that would be useful. A lot of the other issues apply to NT children too, and we are lucky that DH's employer is very flexible. They could well let him do compressed hours too if he asked. We'd split our holidays/use holiday clubs for the rest of it like anyone else would.

Worst case scenario if it does all go horribly wrong then I will just have to give up work. But hopefully I will have been back long enough to get back up to speed with where I was, so I can apply for temp work in the future and stand a chance of getting it too.

PolterGoose Mon 16-Nov-15 19:04:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chocadd1ct Mon 16-Nov-15 19:29:11

I think a lot of us (who have children with SN) had to change or give up a career or even become a full time carer. I think that is unfortunately often part of the SN parcel.

I think it is really important that you find a solution which works for your DS. I have friends who tried that route and ended up with children who school refused (I.e. they had to give up work again).

The other side of the coin is your own stress. If I read your post correctly, you are a SAHM. Going back to work with children (esp with SN) is very very hard. I work part time and crumble some days. To work full time with 4 children incl one with SN is a lot to take on.

CrispyFB Mon 16-Nov-15 21:50:42

Thanks Polter and choc - it really is utterly crap. I love DS dearly obviously, but this wasn't in the life plan any more than it was for any of us of course.

Ironically DH isn't particularly ambitious but I always have been, but circumstances when I was on maternity leave with DC2 (I was offered voluntary redundancy from a sinking ship, DH had a huge upswing in his career around the same time) dictated it was me who ended up doing the planned SAHP stint. Now we're both stuck. In an ideal world we'd both work part time to make up full time hours.. that would be bliss. I've no chance of catching his salary within the next five years though.

Ideally I'd like to leave it a few more years but the longer I am out of work, the harder it will be for me to return as technology keeps moving on. Already I am not that convinced I will be able to get a job anyway so it could well be a moot point!

I have some experience of working out the home full time with DC1 when she was 4 months until she was 18 months. For me it was actually a really good personal balance in my life, I found by working out the home it energised me to be a better parent in the evenings and to enjoy life more. That said, I appreciate it is probably a lot harder with four including SN. However, DH really does pull his weight around the house and with the children even though he works full time. If he was hopeless I wouldn't even be considering this, but he does a lot more than most fathers I know.

It may well be that DS can't cope with it, but if that's the case then there's no chance I'd ever be going back to work in my old role anyway, so it doesn't matter if I've burned my bridges by leaving a job after a few months. He may not mind in the slightest, so I have nothing to lose by at least trying.

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