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DS (HFA ASD) getting into trouble at school for doing things like stimming and hiding. Opinions please. LONG SORRY

(20 Posts)
AboardtheAxiom Sun 04-Oct-09 09:21:46

DS is 5 next week, he has HFA and is currently being assessed for an offical DX.

He was upset coming out of school the other day at having a star removed from his chart (they all start the day with 3, and if they forget one of the class rules "eg hurting a friend") they have a star removed. At the end of the day any children with a star remaining get a tick on the reward chart. hen children have 10 ticks they get a treat. Anyone else think that is quite complex for F2? Some children have only just turned four.

Anyway, when I queeried what he had been up to, it turns out he was tickling the child next to him (wow I thought HFA DS being affectionate and sociable with a classmate). However it was during a learning time I think s disruptive. Apparently he is also hiding under tables (he also does this every morning in the playground), and clicking his tongue (he does this all the time, it is one of his stimming noises). He is also wandering away during group time, or protesting loudly about things he does not like, such as another child having a toy he wants.

I know he needs help to learn what is acceptable, and to help him learn. But I do think some of these things, they should be looking at why he is doing them and trying to make the classroom situation less stressful/confusing for him, rather than telling him off, removing a star in front of everyone for something directly related to his autism.

School SENCO had mentioned over a week ago that they would be contacting the outreach worker from the special needs school for advice on behaviour and how to work with him to improve it, but I assumed they meant things like sharing and taking turns.

First week of term DS came home one day with his bottom covered in dry poo, and had only eaten a cereal bar out of his lunch box. The school were very apologetic but it turned out his teacher hadn't actually been told by last teacher that he was toilet phobic and soils himself, and at lunch time they had been 'really busy'. DS came home that day, ate for about two hours, then asked to go to bed and just laid in bed wimpering and rying a bit for another hour or two before falling asleep. sad sad They have since been encouraging him to sit on the toilet for a wee like I am doing at home though so that is good. Now they know they seem good with this area.

Does anyone have any thoughts on all this as a parent or teacher? I am going to put a link in education to this thread too as looking for a range of opinions. I have always really liked the school, DS has a few 'friends' (children who started F1 same time as him basically). But I am now worried his teacher has no grasp of his HFA needs, and that he is being let down a little.

CybilLiberty Sun 04-Oct-09 09:38:37

Does he have a helper at school? I work at a school where there are sefeal children on the autistic spectrum and in partnership with the parents have been put forward for a social communication package (and got it) which meant they had 1:1 support.

We also reg. meet to discuss the needs of these children and change structures accordingly, smaller group playtimes, smaller lunch areas, etc.

It sounds to me like you need to have a long meeting with the SENCo and Head about how your sons difficulties can be managed at school so he gets the most out of his day.

I don't like these charts where you can only 'go down' and not up, and for children who find the class set up challenging they are always on a hdidng to nothing..

CybilLiberty Sun 04-Oct-09 09:38:59

several not sefeal

AboardtheAxiom Sun 04-Oct-09 09:41:37

No helper at school no. I do think he needs someone. Theyhad said last term if he was struggling they would get a helper from another class to come in (taking them away from another child/group I presume?).

bigTillyMint Sun 04-Oct-09 09:45:07

shock at having star removed. Stars should be given for good behaviour and NEVER removed, for all children, regardless of HFA or whatever.
Then children who have earned 3 stars could get a tick, etc.

All the things that he is doing on class are typical of an ASD child, and can be managed by sensitive TA's / teachers who may need to treat him a bit differently to the rest of the class if they want to lessen the impact of his "disruptive" behaviour.

I am not surprised that the teacher has no idea what to do - she has probably had no training in dealing with ASD children and is under pressure from those above to push acheivement. The SENCO probably doesn't have much experience in this area either - that is not a criticism, just that it is very likely!

I would go in and discuss again with SENCO and get a date for you all to have a joint meeting with the "expert" - including the classteacher. Then you can share experiences and strategies.

OmicronPersei8yourbrain Sun 04-Oct-09 09:54:23

AboardtheAxiom, I'd make an appointment to see the teacher and the SENCO at the same time. You can go through al your concerns with the teacher, and it would be useful for the SENCO to hear what you say and the response of the teacher.

As someone who taught for years before having DC, I'd say that a teacher's training or experience wouldn't necessarily prepare them for teaching a child with your DS's specific needs, and they will need some guidance from you. They will however, have the best interests of your child at heart.

I'd also say that it is quite difficult to make the mental shift to focus on one child to this degree when you teach a class of 30. Teachers do focus on each child in the class as an individual, but within certain learning and behavioural boundaries, and it is sometimes a challenge to think beyond these and still keep the needs ofthe the other 29 children spinning around in your head. So for example a teacher will think in terms of acceptable behaviour (and disruption) in general but it is quite a leap to look at a child's behaviour for a completely different point of view and think 'how can I change his learning environment to make it less stressful'. It can take a bit of time and some pushing to get them there, although other teachers will respond quickly - depending on experience, training and personality. Some excellent teachers will think like this from the start, of course.

Teachers sometimes get defensive in this position, but it's worth keeping at it until they understand. You are your DS's advocate and he is lucky to have you. In the past I've been that defensive teacher, but I learnt quickly that parents really do know their children best and that I had to listen - I became a much better teacher for it.

So on a practical note, make the appointment, get some strategies agreed and in place, check what's on his IEP: this exactly what should be on it - a need, a strategy for helping with it and a way of measuring if the strategy is making a difference.

Tombliboobs Sun 04-Oct-09 10:02:49

I am a teacher, it sounds as though both your Ds and the teacher are not being supported. Your DS needs much more support than he is currently receiving. I would make an urgent appointment with the senco and head and try to push for some 1 to 1 time until a diagnosis is made.

I can understand how upsetting this must be, especially as it is having such a negative effect on your DS. From a teachers perspective it is very difficult with a full class, I am not sure, how without any help, the teacher is meant to meet his needs tbh. If he needs help with toileting he needs 1:1, if he is hiding under tables, the teacher can't stop teaching the class to work him through it. This is not meant defensively, but more as ammunition for you to go in to the school and make sure they know that his needs are not being met.

It helps that you like the school, has he just started? Things should hopefully improve as they get to know your DS better and especially when you get an official diagnosis, as that means the school can access funding for 1:1. Don't be afraid to be pushy, make appointments to see the teacher too, use your knowledge of your DS and pass it on to her. I found this invaluable when I had a boy with aspergers in my class, you know your DS best and will know what works.

I really hope things improve for you and your Ds soon. smile

AboardtheAxiom Sun 04-Oct-09 10:22:31

Thanks for thezse replies.

DS was in F1 at same school for over a year doing half days, then went into F2 and full days beginning of September. Compared with F1 he is actually a little happier about going in which suprised me, he used to cry every morning in F1. He does still say he doesn't want to go in, and I know he still cries at certain points during the day (transition times, or if something not how he wants), but when he comes out at end of school day he usually says he has had a nice time.

It is a small caring school with a good Ofsted report. His class has two teachers, one little boy has a 1:1, and they have a parent helper most days too, so that helps I think, I knew it would be harder to meet his needs in a full class of children and expressed my concern about this last term. sad I don't want him being anxious and upset, or overlooked.

Will definately make an appointment with school to talk about all this. I am concerned that I don't want teacher to feel I am putting her down, she does seem nice and whenever issues have cropped up school have been helpful. Even though I felt the star issue the other day was a bit crappy, I did still back up teacher to DS and tell him he needs to do what teacher is asking him, I am not soft with him or think he is a little angel, I just don't feel like teacher 'gets him' yet.

Definately need more information about HFA for school as I think they have only had one other boy with ASD in the school, whose teacher's aide is lovely and helped me set up DS's visual timetables in home and school (we orginally thought DS had aspergers but apparently his early language, or rather lack of, points more towards HFA). He has a lot of quirks and needs, and is very hard to 'get' even close family don't grasp all of his needs, as long as people care and try to understand him that is all I ask.

I guess I just want confirmation regarding how they were currently managing his behavious not really being apporpriate for his individual circumstances. Argh. Will try to write down some points I think before meeting.

Thanks everyone for your opinions and advice.

Tombliboobs Sun 04-Oct-09 10:46:28

From what you have said, You won't make the teacher feel like you are putting her down. As Omicron and myself said (cross posted due to my so slow typing!), the teacher should understand that you know your child best and be open to learning from you. However, if she isn't then unfortunately that is her problem and you should continue to focus on what is best for your DS.

You seem to have a really good grasp of what the problem is, what the current constraints are and are very supportive of the school, that imo, is important to moving forward with any issue.

Making a list is a good idea it will help you to focus on the things that are important to you and your DS.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 04-Oct-09 13:55:39

Hi ATA

Your son needs far more support at school than what he is currently receiving. It is clear too that they are not really understanding his additional needs and any one to one they do get will be short term as the funding can be cut.

I would keep pushing to get him officially diagnosed. Even without an official dx you can apply for a Statement.

I would tell the school that you will be applying for a Statement of special needs for your son. A Statement is a legally binding document (unlike other plans they may mention to you) outlining his educational and social needs and support to help him with these.

Its yet another battle for you (and I have replied to other threads of yours, I think you have had a very rough time of it the last few years) but this is one you will have to enter into for him. You need to think longer term as well, how will he manage in the Juniors?.

You are his best and only advocate. No one else is better placed than you to help him here.

CybilLiberty Sun 04-Oct-09 14:32:27

Your ds CAN still do what is required of him at school but it may have to be tailored to suit his needs.

We do a 'now' and 'next' system with children at our school, so they know exactly what is expected of them and when they are free to choose. It also creates more independence for their own working.

Also every member of staff is informed of our strategies so there is uniformity of approach. Perhaps your ds can use visual prompts to tell staff what he needs, all these things can be preapred quickly and cheaply .

Littlefish Sun 04-Oct-09 21:19:08

I agree with Attila - I think you need to put pushing for statutory assesssment at the same time as pushing for the offical diagnosis.

Punishing a child for stimming is awful.

AboardtheAxiom Mon 05-Oct-09 08:00:19

Atila - I applied before for him to be statemented and was turned down. Is it worth asking again now he is in a full class of children all day. They claimed he was coping without even seein him even though his teacher agreed he wasn't. sad angry

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 05-Oct-09 08:08:58

ATA,

Yes, yes and thrice yes to reapplying. You have even more reason to do so now.

BTW most such requests are turned down initially by LEAs as a matter of course/routine.

If the LEA say no again you as the parent can appeal. You must make the application to the LEA personally, do not let school do it. Also you know its been done then, many schools can sit on such apps for ages without doing anything.

IPSEA's website is very good at this sort of issue and there are model letters on there you can use:-

www.ipsea.org.uk

Also they very good at issues pertaining to appeals.

Good luck!!

AboardtheAxiom Mon 05-Oct-09 09:12:45

Thanks I used the ipsea letter last time.

Will send it off again and if they turn it down this time I will appeal. DS didn't want to go in today, had to take him in his major buggy.

AboardtheAxiom Tue 06-Oct-09 14:05:29

Feel really upset about this again today. He didn't want to go yet again this morning, and I feel so bad and guilty sending him in (the other morning I had to actually put him in his maclaren major to get him into school on time).

I have done my IPSEA letter asking for him to be assessed for a statement, and will be sending it off, and appealing if they turn it down, will call IPSEA for advice if I need to appeal. Just don't know how to handle things in the meantime. sad I feel so bad for my little boy struggling with our world, it makes me cry for him. sad

ommmward Wed 07-Oct-09 11:02:47

Do you have to send him to school? Lots of people who have a child with needs like yours, and whose child's needs are not being met by school, and whose children don't want to be in school, come out of that environment and home ed. I don't know how many HFA children there are at the big weekly HE get together in our city - I can think of 4 off the top of my head without even beginning to count (that's in something like 40 children).

Many of their parents would say that by HEing, they are helping their children to acquire the skills they'd need for school (toileting, eating fast, coping with being on other people's agendas, social savvy) at their own pace and within a parentally supported environment - setting them up for success when they are (if they are) eventually ready for the insitutional setting of school rather than the parents fighting to try to get the school to invest sufficiently in the child to give them the support they need.

Just a thought.

But I am a rabid HEer, as is well known...

If interested, get hold of Terri Dowty (ed) PAths are MAde by Walking: Home Educating our Autistic Spectrum Children

and/or

join the HE-Special email list

ommmward Wed 07-Oct-09 11:04:42

Oh, and...

you'd probably find SO MUCH ACCEPTANCE of your son's and your family's dynamic and needs in the HE community, because so many of us have children with additional needs of one kind or another.

AboardtheAxiom Fri 09-Oct-09 09:11:41

Ommmward - I have considered HE before, but have lots of niggly doubts about doing it.

Main ones are financial (if DS at home FTI can't go out to work which reduces family finances - not working ATM but was hoping to settle DS at school and go back to work)

social - although school not really meeting this one either IMO

stigma

responsibility of solely being responsible for his education - suffer from depression on and off and fnd the thought overhwelming.

Browsed the book on amazon and am going to order it, as it looks very interesting.

Have a meeting with school senco on Monday morning, not took DS in today.

ommmward Fri 09-Oct-09 18:57:58

Where are you? Might be worth going and checking out the local HE meet ups (while your son is in school? Or take him along?). Then you'd have a better idea of whether the social needs might be met locally or not.

Stigma - I think there's less and less of that TBH, especially in SN circles. As more and more of us are doing it, people are more and more likely to say "oh how interesting, do you know x, y, z? They HE their little girl" rather than "is that legal?" I'd say there's been a shift in that just in the last 5 years.

Depression: maybe finding strategies for riding the depressive episodes would need to be part of the 'trying-HE package'. I've certainly met a lot of parents HEing children with SN who have depressive episodes, but they usually say that the episodes are much less overwhelming with their children out of the stressful environment of school - I don't know if it would be similar for you

And finance - yeah - HE does usually involve a family making less money than it could with both parents working. Some families have one parent working part time in the evenings or weekends so there's a lot of just-one-parent-with-the-children time. Some have a parent working part-time from home around HEing. I think that if you decided it was the right route for you and your son then you'd make the rest work, tbh.

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