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Daughter with autism diagnosis really struggling at school.

(4 Posts)
MsGameandWatch Sat 07-Jan-17 19:38:04

Hello, I haven't posted in here in ages despite have two children with autism. I thought we were really on top of it, oh well.

Dd is 10 and has a full diagnosis of autism, she was diagnosed age 5. She's never had any extra help at school has always functioned well there until this year. She has become very unhappy at school and think is on the verge of refusing. She had two friends, they both left the school within weeks of each other so she lost her support network in one swoop. She struggles with receptive language in the classroom room environment and often cannot work independently so will watch others on her table to see what they're doing and work from there. Her table companions have noticed this and she tells me that every day now she is being called "stupid" and asked "why can't you just get on with your work?" "What's wrong with you?" etc etc. She will never fight back especially not now she has no friendship network in place there.

In my opinion it is beginning to descend into outright bullying. She is being watched and everything she does is picked at from where she sits to how she eats her packed lunch. She plays and walks around the playground alone every day.

I believe she needs more support in the classroom but have been told there is no chance of an ECHP as she is so high functioning in school. She is also not deemed to need SALT assessment or input although it has been five years since she was last assessed, I believe she is in urgent need of this. She tells me that she can't understand what is required for various reasons - can't hear, can't concentrate, can't take in what she's supposed to do because there is too much other stuff going on.

Please help, what do I need to be asking for? It's been so long since I had to do any of this stuff but I have to get on top of this for her before she goes under, I can see it is headed that way.

Thanks for any advice you can give.

user1483798247 Sat 07-Jan-17 19:58:24

So sorry to hear of your Dd's struggles. It must be devastating for her to have lost both her friends from school in such a short amount of time : (
Amazing how important friendships are and I suspect they offered her a great feeling of security so it's very hard they've both left at the same time.

Could it be an idea to go to your GP and relay all your concerns and ask for a new SaLT assessment? With the weight of the GP behind you, the school might be more willing to comply? Could you have it done privately if not?

The school must have a bullying policy. Could you discuss your concerns with the Head Teacher? I have a stepson who is in a similar position with the friends problem - he's constantly called stupid, no one will play with him and he too spends his time alone in the playground. So heartbreaking.

Surely as children get older new and different issues may arise especially with an ASD diagnoses and the school must be able to recognise this. It sounds to me like she's having sensory overload issues in the classroom and may need 1-1 support outside of the classroom whilst still in the school. My DSS receives time outside of the classroom in small groups and 1-1 for extra assistance regularly each week. He has a new SaLT assessment every year, why isn't this something that is offered to you I wonder.

I've found that with the school persistence seems to be key. Insisting and following up, checking, double checking and more insisting seems to eventually work.

Sorry you're struggling, sorry I don't have better advice. This is all I can think of to do and I really hope they will take you seriously and make changes to help her x x x

dietcokeandwine Sat 07-Jan-17 23:04:32

Your poor DD. That must have been so hard for her to lose her entire friendship support network almost in one go sad

It sounds to me as if there are two critical things here that need addressing - the nasty behaviour of the other children, and DD's actual needs within the classroom environment . Sorry if it's an obvious question but have you spoken to her teacher? There may well be small things the teacher can do that will help her process classroom instructions and so on. The bullying behaviour from the other children needs sorting out ASAP - start with the class teacher on that one and escalate to head of year or head teacher depending on what the school's policy states.

Not sure what to advise re SALT but, based on what you've written here, I wonder if it is worth going back to her paediatrician and asking for assessment for attention deficit disorder. I only suggest this as I have a DS on the spectrum who had very similar difficulties in Y5/Y6 (struggling to process information and to concentrate etc etc) and we had, until then, assumed this was all part of the ASD. Only when we requested further assessment from the paed and went down that diagnostic route did we discover that DS actually also has severe ADD, co-morbid with the ASD. He has been on medication since that dx and this, coupled with various small adjustments within the classroom setting, really helped him (he is now Y8). DS was also always deemed too high functioning for an ehcp.

Obviously no one can dx over the Internet but what you've written sounds so similar to DS's difficulties that I thought it was worth mentioning it...

Some of the classroom adjustments that helped during y5/y6 (several of these seem really trite and obvious but they all helped)

- a seat as near to the front as possible
- on a table with a mix of children who were reasonably supportive and sensible
- teacher would take a couple of minutes to re-clarify with DS what he needed to do, once she'd given overall instruction to the whole class
- DS was often given written instructions rather than relying on verbal ones because he found it easier to process information that way
- he used a 'fiddle toy' - DS is a real fiddler - it's a sensory thing for him - and it helped him to have something he could play with when trying to listen
- his teacher helped him re organise his pencil case into two separate ones (he was wasting a lot of time faffing about trying to find what he needed for each lesson, losing equipment left right and centre and of course missing out on a load of verbal instruction in the process). So he had one for regular pens, pencils, eraser etc and another for the less often used stuff like coloured pencils and glue sticks. That really helped his organisation.

I hope some of that is helpful. It's so hard to see them struggle flowers

MsGameandWatch Sun 08-Jan-17 18:49:08

Thanks so very much for your replies. Its good to read the understanding how hard it has been for her to lose her entire support network. I think she was gaining so much support from them that wasn't even tangible. They were always there buffering her and she had someone trusted she could ask when she didn't understand what was going on. I honestly believe that she has only functioned so well for the past five years because she had those two girls keeping her track and amazingly I don't think that any of them realised it, it was just friendship.

dietcoke its funny that you should mention ADD, it was mentioned by a friend of mine who has two with ADD and I am pretty sure that dd's Dad has it. I will do some reading and take a look into it.

I have written a LONG letter today outlining my concerns and requesting SALT assessment and input. I also think OT would be very helpful so I will take her to our own very understanding GP for a referral for this. She received her diagnosis at age 5 and has literally had NO input in all the time since then, to be fair she has rarely needed it. I sense that things have the potential to really go off the rails for her though I want to pre-empt that if I can.

user I have received a letter every years since she has been in the school confirming that dd is being considered for SALT but she probably won't get it with her being so high functioning, lack of funding, higher priority cases blah blah blah. I think that I have to get heavy on that score now and not take No for an answer. I am definitely willing to go private if necessary.

Thanks so much again for your advice, it has helped to clarify things in my mind and certainly taken me back to everything I did for ds. His situation did not end successfully though and he is home educated now. He became so resistant to education that I couldn't even get him to pick up a book for two years and still now won't set foot in dd's school if he can help it, despite being out of school for five years now sad.

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