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ASD and school again(8 Posts)
Hi can I just apologise as I've posted about this before in the last few weeks but I need your advice - I'm not a confident person and I have no support at all with my dcs.
Right, so I've got two dcs. DS is 12 and Dd is 7. DS has high functioning ASD. He has a statement and has just started ms secondary. DS was at a high achieving primary school for a long time. He was repeatedly bullied but despite my efforts, they did nothing. Then dh was made redundant and he got another job in another part of the country. So we moved. We chose an area based on the secondary school, we chose one which was small and friendly, or so we thought, with some knowledge of ASD.
So DS started. He's a very nervous boy, severe anxieties. He doesn't hit out, he will cry. He's very literal and fair. Won't break rules etc he's crippled with anxiety.
i take DS in by car although we live close by as it's on my way to take dd to school. I didn't think it was a big deal, other parents do. His keyworker (assistant SENCO) however is putting pressure on him to walk to school. I've emailed her about it but she's told me up butt out. I've tried to get him to walk but he just can't do it. I've had to take him into school in tears over the last couple of weeks. She cornered him in the corridor yesterday about how he got to school - I took him as I'm sick of her interfering - do the school have any right to do this? DS can't even cross the road safely.
Now some of the other kids are taking the piss out of him, laughing about his underwear when they were getting changed for PE and about his friendship with a girl in his class. I've told him to ignore it but is this bullying? Or I am exaggerating ? I don't want it to get out of control and I don't want to be seen as a troublemaker either.
DS is upset, he says it just too much, too much change, too much pressure. I'm worried about his mental health.
I've emailed the SENCO twice but I've heard nothing. I don't know what to do and I don't feel I can speak to the school as his keyworker told me to step back.
I am sorry to hear this - your ds sounds like he is under a lot of pressure and I hope for his sake (and yours! as this must be very stressful for you as well) - you can get the school to understand. Can I ask what the keyworker means when they say to you 'butt out'. He is your son not a casual acquaintance, I do not think I would take very well to being told to step back, unless I was in the school office daily with new complaints and questions. Or camped out in the key workers office and pressing my nose up against the classroom window checking on my baby. I have a 12yo HF ASD ds as well and I know how difficult it is for them to manage the daily expectations at school. If being taken to school gives your ds the support he needs in the morning then what exactly is it the business of the school? Absolutely none. I understand your concerns about road safety, my dd also HF ASD and aged 10 walks to school while on the phone to me - it is a 10 min walk and she only has to cross a very quiet cul de sac but she needs to stay on the phone to me while she walks to school in order to be able to manage without getting anxious. If the school tried to interfere with that I would tell them to butt out!
Any steps towards independence needs to be incremental or you can end up regressing, your ds needs to feel safe and confident not flung into doing something he is not ready to do. If the school does not understand that then they need to be told. What are thry doing in school to build his social confidence? Are they running lunch time programmes and social skills groups? If not why not.
Turn the spotlight on the school, ask them what they are doing to support and benefit your son. Ask them how they are encouraging him and making him feel safe to speak up if someone teases him. They should be the one justifying their decisions and not you.
It sounds awful. Your poor DS and you.
Have you tried contacting the SENCo by phone? I'd be looking to go over the SENCo head if I was confident I was being purposefully ignored. I'm unfamiliar with secondary school hierarchy, but is there a head of year? It wouldn't be out of order to go to the overall Head of the keyworker is telling you to butt out and the SENCo isn't responding.
Unless your DS is getting to school late, I cannot see how his mode of transport makes a difference.
The PE issue needs stamping out and no school should expect a pupil to tolerate that behaviour.
It's not for the keyworker to tell you to step back, he's not even been there half a term and his statement shows he has additional needs.
Are there any local advocacy charities for families with children with disabilities and SEN? It sounds like you could do with some back-up which is understandable with the response so far from school.
What is your LA SEN case officer like?
Thank you for replying. I've been in touch a few times via email with the keyworker - she invited me to do so if I was concerned about anything. So I took her at her word. One day DS missed lunch as he was at a lunchtime club. The cafe had nothing he wanted so he didn't eat, he won't tell them anything but he told me when he got home. So I emailed the keyworker about it, perhaps it wasn't a big deal but I just wanted them to know so it could be avoided in future. It could have pushed him over the edge so it was really an email for their info. Her response was 'step back, DS must say for himself' which for course I understand and want him to do but he just can't do it yet. This happened during the 4th week. I am not in the school every two minutes and I have absolutely no wish to do so.
The issue of getting to school is non negotiable, he will do it when he's ready. I just want him to be treated fairly but I don't know if I'm over reacting. And as for the other kids, is that bullying or just banter? I haven't seen it for myself but DS feels it's nasty but he's literal and won't always see if something like this is done with malice or not.
You're definitely not over-reacting. The keyworkers's comments show she has a poor grasp of your DS and autism in general, so I would be all over it.
Is the school living up to it's promises of support? How did they present their ASD friendliness? The school I desperately want to get my DS into has an email system as they understand a child like mine (and yours) will struggle to verbally ask for help etc. There is also a home/school communication system they actively encourage parents to use.
The reason I mentioned those things is they are low cost to implement, but do require good staff management to work properly.
Not sure how bullied is defined, but even banter excludes the child who is the subject of it, and implies a back and forth exchange which is not the case for your DS. I understand secondary social stuff can be complex, but that's not to say your DS has to tolerate unkind behaviour. Does the school run any clubs in stuff your DS would enjoy? Sounds like he could do with "finding his tribe" which is hard in the early weeks.
Dear oh dear. Thus isn't good is it? The lack of support, the lack of communication.
Have you asked for an appointment to see senco?
I think you need a new key-worker.
I would go round her or over her head and ask for a meeting with the Senco/tutor/year tutor.
I remember your previous thread. If I weee you I would:
Firstly, call tospeak to the SENCO and express surprise at the keyworker's comments because they suggest she's unfamiliar with they main impairments of ASD. Ask what qualifications/experience the keyworker has. Ask for the info in writing. If I was not sure what it all means id call the NAS education helpline and ask them to see if it's enough. I'd be surprised if it's all ok so then it's a case of saying in writing to the school that they seem to have allocated the wrong person to DS and give them a month max to sort it.
Secondly arrange a date for a meeting with the SENCO to discuss the keyworker/pick up the info on qualifyications etc. At that time ask how they are planning to support your DS in unstructured periods when bullying might be an issue and cite the teasing about crying and in the changing rooms as examples of him not coping and that your concerned it might develop into bullying. Then confirm in writing your concerns in the letter about the keyworker - all wrapped up as a "record of our meeting".
It sounds really tough but you will need to go in firmly by the sound of it. Good luck!
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