I am just so tired and fed up (SN related)
ElfDragon · 19/03/2023 15:49
I have just come back from what was supposed to be a nice afternoon walk with dd1. Dd1 is 18, with ASD and learning difficulties. She has a dog phobia. We have worked on this many different ways, over the years, to no avail. She is currently having a course of therapy to try to help, but I am not holding out much hope. The therapist is lovely, and clearly trying hard, but is finding it quite tricky to explain concepts to dd1, so I’m guessing limited value at best. Dd1 is fully engaging as much as she can with this process, and I am (as ever) blown away by her perseverance and effort.
we went to a local-ish place, which we have gone to many, many, times. We went often, because there is a no-dog policy. (Aside from assistance dogs, which dd1 knows, understands the dogs are to help people, and tbh, a working assistance dog has never been an issue, as they are always well trained). The place now admits dogs, and there is no way to avoid them, at all.
I am thoroughly fed up. What used to be a proper stress free outing, no longer is. I have 2 younger dc, as well as dd1, and it was nice to be somewhere where we could all actually relax, and get on with having a nice afternoon, without being constantly on dog alert.
we already can’t easily go to:
playgrounds or parks
most NT properties
shopping centres (no idea why anyone thinks this is a good day out for a dog, but many now do)
local high street is overrun
theatres are becoming difficult - last time I went (thankfully without dd1!) there was a dog sitting a few seats along.
most local restaurants now admit dogs too, so eating out is difficult for dd1 too.
dd1 has recently been turned down for one of the (incredibly rare, difficult to get funded) SN college places because they have a therapy dog that visits, and feel they can’t have dd1 there too (tbh, this is nonsense, her school have a therapy dog visit, and it takes time and work, but it is possible, but yet another instance of bloody dogs apparently being more important than dd1)
I checked with the place on the way out (we managed to stay all of 15 minutes) whether the regular trails and events they do would be in the (very restricted) dog free areas - dd1 has always enjoyed these trails, and had already seen signs for one she wants to go to at Easter, and was reassured they would be. It would mean the trails are much shorter, as the dog free area is very small, but better than nothing. I have just gone to book tickets, and the notice reads ‘please be aware the trail goes through both dog free and dog friendly areas’
dd1 already has a limited life, and now it is more limited. I know people are entitled to have their dogs, and I know that this is very much our problem, but I am still massively pissed off. The only place we could guarantee was dog free, and now it isn’t.
we will manage. We will probably still go, but it won’t be as fun, or as easy. We will, once more, as a family, be constantly looking out for dogs, working out ways to avoid them, planning more than a few steps ahead, and not being able to just stroll along chatting and relaxing. It is just so bloody tiring.
just to be clear, this post is not about any assistance dogs at all, we have always been very clear with dd1 that even dog free areas may have a ‘helper dog’.
There isn’t much point to this post, as there isn’t anything that can be done. But I am so tired of trying and trying, and everything just becoming more and more difficult.
ElfDragon · 19/03/2023 18:06
I know that I’m just ranting to myself, but it’s really made me quite upset.
I’ve just been to collect ds (10) from a party, and had to bring dd1 along as she can’t be left alone. She has to wait in the car, as the family has a dog (fair enough) which meant ds had to do a quick exit, not stay and play wi to the rest of them. Party mum was all set up with coffee and cake etc for mums while the dc played on a bit, but we had to go as dd1 was waiting.
I’ve had years of this. Never able to just relax and join in as other parents do. And now, the one dog free place we went to is no longer a possibility.
it just restricts everyone’s life so much. And dd1 tries so hard, and we do still get out and about but it so so much harder.
HelloJackieULookNice · 19/03/2023 19:34
I'm sorry, OP. It's bloody hard. And exhausting. And relentless. And restrictive. And isolating. I hear you.
ElfDragon · 19/03/2023 20:16
I am so done with today. Have just also had a message from exH saying he can’t have dd1 to stay at his tomorrow night (arranged because she usually sees him on a Sunday afternoon, but he couldn’t do that this week, as he had arranged something else). And he couldn’t be bothered to tell her himself (he messaged me having literally finished talking to her on the phone), so I get to break the news. Marvellous.
quite apart from that, he is also supposed to collect dd2 from school tomorrow (long-standing arrangement, as I can’t be in 2 places at once, and ds has an after school club), and can’t do that either now since he will still be away (social visit, not work) and so I get to let one of them down, as cannot manage both pick ups.
megletthesecond · 19/03/2023 20:22
I hear you. That is incredibly restrictive. Can you appeal over the college place? Surely it's up to your DD whether she wants to go, the dog isn't there all the time.
YogaLite · 19/03/2023 20:42
I know how u feel, I hate dogs myself and they almost everywhere these days. My ds was once scared by an alsatian that viciously jumped at him barking, thankfully it was on lead and the owner managed to control it.
Sadly, this sort of thing is part and parcel of sn world and being turned down by various sn establishments is pretty common. My ds was turned down by schools and colleges due to his restrictive medical condition.
There are some good residential colleges around tho not always easy to find sometimes - in the end he attended one in the midlands.
Recently we were asked to remove him from the day centre after an accident because they apparently can "no longer can meet his needs" - and there I was expecting they would ask for more funding. He has no behavioural issues and was absolutely distraught.
Different case, but similar things happens with older people, my friend had to move her dad a few times before finding a place where he lived out his life in a relative comfort.
I think if it's not possible to help the phobia, then maybe you need to play it down in any future applications or just avoid days when dogs could be present, hopefully they are not there every day. Or ask to provide an alternative activity when a dog is present.
ElfDragon · 19/03/2023 20:48
I am mulling over whether to appeal. The dog thing wasn’t the only reason the college stated, but none of the reasons were actually valid (not just my opinion, her school also say that the reasons stated are either not actually valid reasons, or could be worked around if the college were interested in trying)
BUT, it’s the same as choosing a school place - if the college don’t actually want dd (more fool them, she’s fab, and would be a great asset), then I’m not sure I want to try to force them to take her. She has another placement assessment lined up, and the choice was between the 2 anyway (both placements have pros and cons). It’s just another little notch in why life is difficult for dd1, and I am having a moment and feeling as though the whole world is against her. She constantly tries so hard, is funny, engaging, and just wants to be have her shot at doing her best, and living a good and full life, but we keep coming up against brick walls.
tomorrow is another day, and she will meet it head on, as she always does, but today has hit hard, in a way which hasn’t really happened since she was quite small.
TheClash2023 · 19/03/2023 20:49
How rotten. How is she with horses or other bigger animals?
ElfDragon · 19/03/2023 20:53
that sounds really hard for your ds, I’m sorry that happened to you, and to him.
yes, it is part and parcel of the sn world, but it’s really crap that it is.
i’m no stranger to it, dd1 was rejected by a fair few schools when we were originally going g through statementing, and we moved areas more than once to secure appropriate schooling for her. But this is the first time for years that she has been rejected for who she is, and it does still sting. As I said in my post (crossed with yours), she has another placement assessment coming up - they seem to be willing to work around the dog issue (as her school currently do).
ElfDragon · 19/03/2023 20:57
She’s not great with most animals, if they are (as she perceives) free roaming. Zoos are ok, as there are fences. Wildlife/safari parks are ok as we are in the car, and there is a still a barrier between her and animals.
most other things, even a pigeon fluttering, will cause her to double take, and check it’s not a dog moving.
she did used to go riding with school, but got too big/heavy to go as the horse they used at that stable were elderly and sedate! So she hasn’t been to that for a few years now, and wouldn’t go back, probably.
most other animals are manageable, though, as we don’t really see them everywhere. Dogs have really taken over, and now restrict so many places for her.
Whatnowfgs · 19/03/2023 20:57
I have massive sympathy for you. No dog issues here but Dd1 and Ds2 both (ASD) have various issues which means our world is very small.
It's almost impossible to do anything with both of them as it's hard enough to manage one.
School, colleges and education in general is also extremely complicated which makes our world smaller again.
ElfDragon · 19/03/2023 21:01
Yes, I hear you, whatnowfgs. Dd2 and ds are also both autistic, and balancing the wants and needs of all 3 has been an education in itself!
it is just all so complicated, isn’t it?
we’ll get over this. It’s just hit hard, probably because it was just completely unexpected. It was the one reliable place, and now it isn’t.
YogaLite · 19/03/2023 21:04
Do try appealing as long as u don't miss out on the other place. Sometimes it's unspoken way for them to say they just don't want the hassle.
If they still don't want her after the appeal, then their loss, I also looked at it like that.
Randobelia · 19/03/2023 21:06
Sorry if this has already been tried, but is hypnosis an option? It changed my life, I used to cross the street if a chihuahua was anywhere near me, now I manage. Not massively keen but I definitely manage.
Hedonism · 19/03/2023 21:13
Urgh, I hear you.
I always see posts on our local FB page asking for recommendations for dog friendly cafes etc. I would like to know the dog unfriendly places so that we can go and have a nice day out without my DD getting scared.
She is 8 and objectively knows that she is being irrational - she's quite mature about it really, but that doesn't help her when there are loads of dogs all over the place 😞
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