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DS1 is very unhappy when around anyone else - any advice?(9 Posts)
DS1 is 11, dx with ASD, DS1 statemented, 25 hrs support, EHCP transfer in progress.
The last six months have seen him get increasingly rude and aggressive - this does coincide with him starting puberty. It's mostly telling people to go away, eeth gritting and growling and a general low tolerance to anything that annoys him (other people's noise/food/if he thinks people are getting in his face). This goes for home (3 younger sibs, DH and me) and at a school.
It's causing an issue at school. The new class teacher (started this week) has told me he won't tolerate it and if DS1 continues being rude he will be permanently taught outside the class by the TA. DS1 is reluctant to do any work (putting his head on the desk), so the TA approaches him and then it all goes wrong from there.
I'm at a loss of how to deal with it. DS1 is very switched off to education and learning despite being fairly able academically. He is very self-conscious and thinks we are "all trying to make him weird" and wants to be left alone. He gets very tearful when we try and have any talks about how he is feeling, he says he just feels uncontrollable anger and doesn't know how to stop acting on it. He really isn't sleep well at all which is a new thing and is regularly awake til gone midnight and he's even managed a couple of nights with no sleep at all. He just wants to stay in his room with his PC/tablet and any trips out just end up with him pacing up and down until we go home again.
Your son's teacher is crap. Frankly. Utterly crap.
The behaviours are the result of your son's disability.
My youngest is very much as you describe. He is 16 and he really struggles to interact with people. It causes him huge amounts of stress and this is what causes the behaviours you describe. He has full time 1:1 and 2:1 when he is stressed or going off site. This is necessary for his safety and the safety of others but it has a downside, which I suspect may be the same for your son - too intense. Too much interaction. They need to ensure that they give him the support he needs in a way that recognises that that necessary support actually causes him stress.
It fucks me right off when people cannot see that behaviours that are the result of the autism are not a choice. It shows zero understanding about the nature of the condition.
You wouldn't see someone act like it was a blind person's fault for not being able to see or they were being difficult, would you? You wouldn't berate a person in a wheelchair and say you realise they're in a wheelchair but they're just going to have to learn to get up and join in the football.
Yet the most ridiculous demands are placed on people with autism due to this bloody stupid idea that their behaviour is a choice. Fucks me right off.
What your son needs is the same as any other person with a disability.
In my youngest son's case, he has a reduced time table. A safe space. Regular breaks. Cards to show people when he needs to escape. Sensory equipment. The staff understand that he has significant needs and aim to meet them.
This is mainstream btw.
Is it perfect? No, there have been some huge fuck ups and he has hit, spat, shoved when he has had a meltdown as a result of his needs not being met. but this is not his fault
Behaviour which is the result of a disability or condition is not the fault of the person who has the disability or condition. It just isn't. It's not a choice. They don't say hey, you know what would be great right now? If I start to scream and run in front of a bus.
When things go wrong it is because those meant to support them have fucked up.
So I would suggest you meet with the senco and you say that under no circumstances is that teacher or any other member of staff going to get away with making your son out to be the bad guy here because of the presentation of his disability.
He has the right to have his needs met and you must ensure that happens.
What other agencies are involved? Do you have autism outreach or sssen or anything?
Thanks for your thoughtful reply HecateAntaia
I've emailed the Specialist Teacher told ask for some advice. The SENCo is part time and only available after 3.30pm which means I need to sort childcare, but I'll get on the case.
DS1 was pacing up and down crying when I was talking to the teacher, at which the teacher said he was starting to understand there was more going on than just DS1 being rude, but maintained it was a choice and he wasn't going to accept any rudeness.
DS1 won't ask for help and won't do school work so I'm not sure how he can be supported in a way that won't upset him by having someone in his space. The teacher was far more concerned with DS1's behaviour distracting the other children than anything else.
This is also the 4th teacher since September and current TA started with him about a month ago so there's been a lot of disruption. They're also massively focused on SATs but dispute they are putting DS1 under any pressure. (He struggles with timed tests particularly).
The teacher needs some training
Autism is not a choice.
I think you should make a complaint about that.
They have a legal duty to meet his needs. Maybe they need reminding of that.
The Specialist Teacher has already emailed back to say she will contact them and go in there asap. She's brilliant and I think she may actually be a Super Hero. It's also reminded me that the Ed Psych gave a number of strategies they could use to help DS1 from a distance (detailed individual checked lists for each class task) but I don't think they have actually tried that yet.
It wasn't a planned meeting, just a "can I have a word" at pick-up so it caught me on the hop and I don't think I stood up for DS1 enough. I'm putting something in writing via the communication book, as I really dislike the "chats" as it gets a bit he said/she said. I'm not sure of the legalities of internal exclusions, are they free to do that permanently as they don't have to record it? Though as he has a statement if they can't cope then they surely need to follow that procedure - emergency review with LA etc.
DS2 is in the next class and I asked him if DS1 was the worst behaved and he laughed and said no and listed off a few other names. Obviously, I don't know how they are being dealt with and it's none of my business, but I do wonder if this is more because I have challenged them on a couple of things recently and they are retaliating. Though that sounds very paranoid written down and I wouldn't actually say it to them!
I should also add that he is in Yr6 of primary school so not at secondary yet so there's isn't an internal exclusion room, he would just be taught in the corridor.
Some more advice if I could.
What is the best thing to do with the unhappiness - is letting him spend all the time he wants in his room the right thing? As it doesn't seem to be helping as his sleep etc is awful, but trying to make him join us just distresses him, particularly dinner time. He seems in permanent conflict, he talks a lot about being a "normal person" but then also says he gets more anxious than a "normal person" and that is why he twitches. He knows he has ASD but whilst it used to be a comfort for him he is now quite upset about it and denies it.
I give mine the time and space they need.
School/college is so stressful that when they get home they are fried and the last thing they can cope with is yet more interaction. It's cruel and really more about my need to be with them than their need to recover from 6 and a half hours of stress.
By not focing them to interact i find they come to me on their terms.
I think they need that.
You could try it and see if it makes a difference.
You could also see if the gp will prescribe something to help him sleep.
I haven't been restricting him going to his room as he doesn't do well with the noise from the 2 & 3 year old but I am just a bit concerned I should be doing something more with him, as he is obviously unhappy. But you're right forcing interaction will stress him more. He likes a lengthy chat at bedtime but not about any of his stressors, just the topics occupying his mind like capital punishment and Donald Trump(!)
I'll try the GP again, they did put a referral to the paediatrican but that was rejected as they don't deal with anxiety. The mental health service rejected that referral as his anxiety was due to his ASD and they only deal with anxiety that isn't caused by ASD. I queried it and they did offer an appointment with a consultant to take place at DS1's school but I turned it down, as I don't actually want the school to be so involved at this point and I felt it was more about assessing me than DS1.
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