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Really fed up.

(15 Posts)
stripytroubletrousers Mon 13-Jul-09 21:44:52

This might be long, sorry. And it's a bit of a vent.

DD (aspergers; as yet undiagnosed but we're not in any doubt) had an introductory 'fun' day at her new secondary school today where she had the chance to go in and interact with her new form doing various activities. When I dropped her off I caught sight of her by herself at one side of the playground whilst all the other kids were at the other.

This seems to have set the tone for the day. (Although, sadly, nothing new.)

When I picked her up a group of girls from her current school who will be in her new form had spent the entire day picking on her, and she said that she had been crying in the toilets because of it. So my DH is now having to take a half day from work so I can go into new school tomorrow morning to see the head of year about it.

Am so thoroughly p**d off about it all. DD had had her induction day last week and was really excited about going up, after weeks of worrying about it. And now these girls have taken that away from her.

One thing that I find quite worrying is that she'd headed up to her room later in the evening to calm down about something else and when I went to talk to her about it all, she was drawing. She told me I might not like how she calms down, that other people never notice it. So I asked her if she would tell me, and she said she draws pictures of people dying or committing suicide. I find this quite concerning and dark, given that she's not quite 11.

I am getting very worried about how she will cope with the transition, and this is obviously made worse by the bullying.

I spoke to the headmistress at her current school, and these girls will be spoken to tomorrow about it, but I don't for one second think that this will stop it. One particular girl has been a problem now for three years on and off. The only reason we've had an easier year this year is because she was in a different class. But now they will be in the same form.

Just to make matters much more difficult, I actually work at the secondary school (I'm coming to the end of my maternity leave now and will be back in September), so I don't want to create loads of fuss over it all.

I just wish everything could be easier for her.

Thank you for listening.

mummysaurus Mon 13-Jul-09 22:10:22

Poor your dd. it can be tough enough for nt girls let alone those with a sn that makes them stand out in some way.

Is she in the process of getting a dx? If so this would be a good intro to addressing the problem with the school.

Tricky with you working there but you are right that for your dd's sake you have to tackle it. Can you get your dd moved into a different class citing the probs from the old school?

siblingrivalry Mon 13-Jul-09 22:24:51

Oh, your poor dd. This is heartbreakingsad

And poor you -I can well imagine how you are feeling. My dd is 8 and has Asperger's and she goes through depressive periods and has talked about dying.
You are doing the right thing in dealing with it straight away-it needs to be nipped in the bud. It makes me furious when other kids take the piss and pick on our kids -leading to our dc suffering.

I don't know a lot about secondary school, but I would hope that they can get some kind of support in place PDQ.

My dd is returning to school in September after a period of home education -things became intolerable for her at school - and I know how difficult transitions are for dc with AS. It may be worth contacting whoever is doing her dx, to see if they can speed things up a bit.

Good luck. Please let us know how you get on.

stripytroubletrousers Mon 13-Jul-09 22:25:35

Thank you for replying.

I'm hoping they will do something. The girl in question is a bully and chances are there's several other people she's not allowed to be put with. I am going down to school to ask for their help, and I know that they are very good so fingers crossed. I'm just sad that it's July and they haven't even moved over there yet, and already I'm having meetings and DD is in tears.

She was dx by a paediatrician last year and I was told that was it; then found out - months later - that it wasn't enough and she's on the waiting list for the autism and aspergers team. However, her current school are happy to treat her as though she has been dx with the condition; she is currently being helped through transition by an outside body who don't usually work with children who haven't been dx, but they are treating her as dx pending (the aspergers team put in a word for me, given that the fact DD is now at the bottom of a long waiting list isn't her fault and she shouldn't miss out on their help), and the secondary school are happy to put her down as aspergers as long as I'm happy with that (As they said, if it turns out she isn't then they can always change the information, but I would be AMAZED if she isn't.)

As for standing out, I feel we are at the beginning of a potentially long and quite painful road. I'm not looking forward to the secondary school years, especially not after how hard it's been during all of primary school. sad

stripytroubletrousers Mon 13-Jul-09 22:27:45

Siblingrivalry I really hope things are better for your DD when she goes back.

siblingrivalry Mon 13-Jul-09 22:31:32

Xpost, stripy, glad the dx process is moving along. I'm so glad the school is a good one, that's something positive. But I am welling up reading about your dd -I'm soft anyway, but girls with AS has a special place in my heartwink

Have you read the Tony Attwood book about girls with AS? It might be helpful. I am also reading 'Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew' by Ellen Notbohm. It's written from the child's perspective and it gives a lot of insight.

siblingrivalry Mon 13-Jul-09 23:13:34

I just read your OP to DH and he was really furious on your and your dd's behalf -there were a few 4 letter words! Good luck in the meeting with head of year. x

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 14-Jul-09 07:45:40

STT,

I am really sorry to learn about your DD's troubles at school; this type of scenario is not unknown at all.

Does this secondary school have a special needs unit on site?. Is she on any plan currently like School Action or School Action Plus?. Clearly this is not enough for her and she is being failed currently by school; there is not enough in place to ease her transition to secondary. She will continue to have problems in secondary if these are not properly addressed now.

What's the SENCO like in this school?. I'd be having words with this person also, your DD is very vulnerable here.

Did anyone ever suggest during her primary school years that you apply for a Statement?. I guess not. I would seriously now consider applying for such a document from the LEA regardless. Its never too late to apply for such a thing although earlier in the educational system is better.

I would ask the Head of Year to get this bullying female out of your DD's class as a matter of course. When speaking with them be calm and stick to the facts of the matter.

Your DD and you may want to read a copy of "Queen Bees and Wannabees"; this explains how such bullying cliques work.

Sorry for all the questions btw.

Goblinchild Tue 14-Jul-09 07:53:48

My son (AS) in Y7 used to draw complicated pictures of people who had annoyed and upset him plunging into acid lakes, falling from great heights and being eaten by sharks or monsters.
Often frame by frame.
He moved on to a pocket death list, with secret codes as to how painful he wanted their death to be. grin
It was one of his ways of venting, never went beyond the secret pictures and notes and he stopped around the middle of Y8.
End of Y9, his coping strategies have increased, so he doesn't need the voodoo stuff and the wish-fulfillment that his 'enemies' fall into volcanoes.
What I'm trying to say is don't worry too much about her expressing her stress in a way that you wouldn't. Keep and eye on it, but don't panic.

troutpout Tue 14-Jul-09 08:53:57

Oh sad

Do they have to be in the same form?

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when i found that a certain child was in a different form.Ds had been with him all the way through primary and had real difficulty with him.

Has the senco started to put things in place for your girl when she starts at the school? I had a few meetings in the july before ds started secondary to talk over his iep for september, talk about the TA provision,communication between home and school and to look at what was available for him during breaktimes/lunchtimes etc. When ds went for induction days..they bunged in a TA to smooth over the social side of meeting lots of new children and help him with any anxieties. He has funding for 15 hours a week. He would not cope at secondary without it.
Does your girl have funding?

stripytroubletrousers Tue 14-Jul-09 21:24:01

Thank you for all of your replies.

I went into school and was very reassured by the Head of Year, who was furious that this had happened. She will be giving a very clear warning to these girls, ensuring that all of DDs teachers are aware of the situation and pay careful attention to it and she will meet with DD to explain what she needs to do if anything happens again. I have been told that if it does continue that they will separate them by moving this other girl - DD has done nothing wrong so won't have to move. I felt like they had taken the situation very seriously so I'm pleased.

The SENCO is aware of DD, and she is working with a team to make transition easier so I'm hoping that this will be enough. I did send a lady from this team an e-mail about it all last night, and she's told me to go back to the people who are dealing with DDs dx as she obviously needs some extra support. I'm waiting for the mental health team to contact me. She is still waiting for formal dx, so she doesn't have any additional funding or support at the moment.

If she is dx with aspergers (which, as I said before, is pretty certain) would she be entitled to any extra help? How would I go about getting this? She is academically very able (with the exception of Maths which she hates!!) and will probably be in top sets for most subjects. Her real struggle is the social aspect of school and she has many mannerisms which really make her stand out in a crowd (she currently chews her lip all of the time, so it's badly marked all around her mouth). She also picks her nose and scratches at herself all of the time. She continually fidgets and always needs the loo. All of these are aggravated when she's stressed, so I know she'll be doing them all loads when she first starts school. Add into the mix the imaginary world that she plays in and the fact that she would rather be isolated in it than be around other kids, and I'm quite concerned about how she will manage at break times. The SENCO said he was looking into breaktime provision for students like DD, as there are a number of them starting school, so I will need to follow this up.

On a positive note, she found out that a piece of writing she did is being published so she's feeling quite pleased with herself again today! smile

Goblinchild I like the death list! Put like that, it sounds like a perfectly natural way to vent!

I will certainly follow up the recommendations for books to read. School recently told me to get her a huge workbook that we're working on about having aspergers, and I've bought some books by Attwood that I'm trying to get through.

It's so frustrating that she's nearly 11 and I'm still having to wait for dx!! She has been failed by her last school who had her down as strange, did nothing about it and told her off about her poor handwriting rather than ever thinking there was more to it. And then there were the several hospital consultants who I went to about various mannerisms and who tested her (from the age of 8 months old, and some of them were really horrible) but could never explain any of it, so passed it all off as quirky and said she would grow out of them. It's only been in the last two years, and thanks to a change of schools, that I've come to realise that she has aspergers. It has explained EVERYTHING. It is now just a matter of making it official. Am so p-d off that the paediatrician who "diagnosed" her didn't pass her on like he should have 18 months ago, so we could have been finished with the dx process in plenty of time for secondary school.

All of these "professionals", both educational and medical, have let my DD down over 10 years. All I seem to do is fight! At least her school now and the one she is going to are so much better. Fingers crossed, we will get there in the end.

Sorry for ranting again!! blush

stripytroubletrousers Tue 14-Jul-09 21:25:52

Really , really long that!! Sorry blush. It's just that nobody I know gets it - even family; it's so nice to have people to talk to who do!

troutpout Tue 14-Jul-09 22:03:32

smile don't worry about it..that is what the board is for

Yes....she could be entitled to help
ds (12) year 7... has aspergers. He didn't get the dx untill he was in year 6 of primary. He then got a further dx of dyspraxia once he started secondary school. He is in top sets at secondary school. He gets 15 hours of funding per week. The funding application was made when he was at primary school before he got the dx (but while he was being assessed). He has no statement. This does seem to vary from place to place though....in some areas it seems like a statement is necessary before they pull their finger out....or a least a formal dx.

Perhaps you need to clarify this with the senco...ask her whether it is possible for the school to make an application now.

siblingrivalry Tue 14-Jul-09 22:13:46

Hi Stripy, just looked up this thread to see what happened today.
I'm so pleased that the meeting had a good outcome. It sounds as though the head of year is on the ball - that's really heartening. I'm really sorry, I have no idea about extra support at secondary level.You could ask if they do School Action Plus at this level, for a starter?

I wondered if you were describing my dd before! She chews and bites her lips and the surrounding area so much that it bleeds. She also taps her face and has started to pick her nose. Hand flapping is also a big thing with her.

As much as she hates me drawing attention to it, I have started to talk to her about alternatives to the less 'social' behaviour eg could she tap her hands on her knees if she is sitting down, instead of her face?

As for the problem your dd has with maths -again VERY familiar. When dd was assessed by an ed psych, it turns out that she has dyscalculia - not uncommon in children with AS. It may be worth looking into. My dd is also very bright in other subjects, which is why the maths problem was so obvious.

She also has dyspraxia (sorry -now called DCD, apparently!). She can struggle with handwriting, too, like your dd. There may be no link, but Asperger's often has some 'associated' conditions, so they may need to be ruled out.

Sorry, I've rambled on grin I really do hope things will move forward for you and your dd and the right help is available for her. x

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 15-Jul-09 09:17:16

Stripy,

Re your comments:-

"If she is dx with aspergers (which, as I said before, is pretty certain) would she be entitled to any extra help? How would I go about getting this? She is academically very able (with the exception of Maths which she hates!!) and will probably be in top sets for most subjects. Her real struggle is the social aspect of school and she has many mannerisms which really make her stand out in a crowd (she currently chews her lip all of the time, so it's badly marked all around her mouth). She also picks her nose and scratches at herself all of the time. She continually fidgets and always needs the loo. All of these are aggravated when she's stressed, so I know she'll be doing them all loads when she first starts school. Add into the mix the imaginary world that she plays in and the fact that she would rather be isolated in it than be around other kids, and I'm quite concerned about how she will manage at break times".

"The SENCO said he was looking into breaktime provision for students like DD, as there are a number of them starting school, so I will need to follow this up"

The above sounds great but would think he'll run into funding issues. This may therefore be problematic to set up.

There won't be much support at secondary school re the social side of things unless you go all out to get it. The secondary school ought to get the EP in to assess her further.

I would seriously consider applying for a Statement for your DD from the LEA. You do not need a dx to apply for a statement and I would not let the school make this application either. You as parents have far more power than school ever would have, you can appeal in the event the LEA say no, school cannot. They are not just for educational needs. they can address social needs too. She should have a Statement to my mind; many children with AS can struggle badly with the social side of things particularly in secondary school. From what you write as well she does not seem to be on anything like school action plus either.

IPSEA are very good at the minefield that is/can be the statementing process and they may be worth contacting as well. I would also be speaking to the NAS.

www.ipsea.org.uk

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