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Ds (9, AS), who has been doing incredibly well for so long with self-management strategies, has now been excluded for two days for assaulting a teacher. He's at home today and will spend Monday working in the Head's office. Apparently there was an incident in the yard at afternoon break, he was upset and angry and a teacher held him to try and calm him down. I haven?t got to the bottom of things (we talked for hours last night) as he?s suffered a mental blackout and can?t remember anything in the few minutes before two adults restrained him, so all he sees is that and can?t accept that they were trying to help him. Even so, I?m upset that they?ve continued to hold him long after it must have been clear to them that they were making things worse. Apparently several teachers physically carried him along the hall, trying to get him to a safe place to calm down. They couldn?t get him upstairs to the Head?s office as the staircase was too narrow, had to put him in the main office where he locked the door behind him and barricaded himself in with chairs, then hid all the phones and closed down all their computer programmes. He's called the Head every abusive word he could think of. He was determined to punish them for what they?d done to him. Ironically, the teacher who restrained him in the first place did so because she felt he was embarrassing himself in front of the school by his public anger - by her actions he's ended up utterly humiliated. How would other parents have felt if your AS child went into meltdown at school by being held and restrained by a teacher? Would you feel they'd handled it appropriately or not? I have to talk with the Head on Monday and would like others' views on this. I think they should have found a way to talk him down with limited physical contact.
When I went to pick him up the Head told me I needed to see J's consultant urgently and suggested I consider medication. I'm so upset - I've been arguing for medication for J for over two years and have been repeatedly fobbed off, and it's had to come to this and an observation by a professional before anyone will take it seriously. These meltdowns have been a way of life for us, off and on, for years but until someone with letters after their name sees it it's apparently not real.
So I have to take him to the GP this morning and insist on an urgent referral to a psychiatric consultant who will actualy take notice. For some bizarre reason, J's under someone who nobody else in my Asperger community has heard of, and nobody understands why he's never been seen by the psych who usualy works with autistic children. I feel utterly let down, but more angry and upset that my SON has been utterly let down. We've been saying ADHD since he was three, he's nearly ten, and in all that time he's been neglected and deprived of appropriate treatment.
Sorry for the rambling rant, I'm too upset to be coherent.
Personally speaking, I cannot imagine a more painful way to handle anyone with an ASD than to try to hold them unless you're a trusted person and they've asked for it. No wonder he got worse and blanked out.
A better strategy would have been to give him something that is known to calm him down - that's the sort of thing that needs to have been planned by the school in advance - e.g. a blanket or his coat to wrap himself in so we get constant pressure rather than pain from varied pressure of being restrained.
You're right to ask for a referral to a team who can help manage this situation much, much better for him.
Your poor ds I feel so sad and angry for him.
My ds is 8 and has dx of AS, ADHD and anxiety. He also sometimes has violent meltdowns and so all the teachers and TAs who work with him have to have restraint training but in the 3 years he was at his first school they never actually needed to put that training into practice as they always found ways of stopping him going into a complete meltdown. Since March this year he has been on atamoxetine and fluoxetine and these appear to help him be calmer and also to calm down more quickly when he has become angry or stressed.
Restraint should only ever be used as a last resort as no child likes to be restrained and for many (like your ds) being restrained makes things far worse. IMO it should only be used when a child is in danger of hurting himself or others during their meltdown and only then if other alternative strategies are not working.
Does your ds have a statement or any extra support in the classroom?
Thanks for your replies. I've inadvertently posted this thread twice so have put responses on the other one here: http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/1373/605357
I have an urgent appointment with his psychiatrist on Tuesday to discuss medication. Having discussed the restraint with several people since the incident I do believe the situation was mismanaged from the start, and that school have been underestimating the extent of J's autism, as he's been self-managing so well and has given them an unrealistic level of expectation of what he can cope with.
Meeting with the Head on Monday, someone who works with J is accompanying me for support. We need to put some proper management strategies in place for future episodes, but more importantly they need to acknowledge J's autism and plan around it to prevent incidents like this happening in the first place.
Thanks for your support, much appreciated.
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