Since the last meeting with school regarding my aspergers daughter’s difficulties, there is still not enough being done to support her. We are also still awaiting the educational psychologist to come in and do his assessment. His idea was to wait for my daughter to settle into school before assessing her which seemed fair enough.
However, my daughter is becoming increasingly anxious over all sorts of issues but particularly homework and PE which reached a peak over the last few days when she complained that she hated school and didn’t want to go in anymore. As you can imagine, hearing such words really worries me. With my son still out of school due to mental health issues, I don’t want my daughter to end up as poorly as he is and to miss vital education.
I’ve therefore decided to change tactic. As soon as the slightest issue emerges I will be emailing, writing or phoning the class teacher or special needs teacher. By bringing up issues as they arise, my thinking is that we can stop the anxieties becoming too big as well as helping her current teacher to understand her aspergers.
My daughter has a young teacher and though he has the potential to be a very good one, he has little experience and understanding of the autistic spectrum (sigh). I also want the school, in particular the SENCO, to know I’m watching them and that I won’t allow them to let things slip for my daughter.
Here is my latest letter.
Dear [class teacher and special needs teacher]
I am writing about my daughter’s anxieties over homework and PE.
With regard to homework, she frequently does not understand what is required of her and is worried that she will get into trouble for not doing it properly.
As you are aware, her anxieties are symptomatic of her aspergers and her particular difficulty in understanding language, whether written or verbal. [name] can be very literal and easily misunderstand what is said to her.
Unfortunately [name] rarely shows that she misunderstands or is confused and will often hide any anxiety until she gets home where she exhibits negative or angry behaviour particularly with regard to school life.
I appreciate that it is not always possible to know if she has understood something or not, particularly when she says she understands but actually doesn’t. In this regard, she sometimes says no or yes to end the conversation because the act of communicating can be so draining for her.
I am encouraging [name] to express her difficulties to school staff but I think she is finding this difficult to initiate.
One further matter is PE which is also causing [name] distress. [name] is very unhappy with running and is complaining of of pain in the areas of her tendons and ankles. I have told [name] to only do what she can manage but to stop if there is any pain or discomfort. In the meantime I will be organising for her doctor to take another look at her feet (she has suffered from inflamed tendons before). It is notable that [name] does have a slightly peculiar walk and gait and will spend most of her time at home on tiptoes which is a sensory issue associated with her aspergers.
I hope this note can help you to further support my daughter.
I have a feeling this is going to be one of many letters.
The letter had a positive affect. My daughter came out of school almost smiling and then the learning mentor had a quick chat with us to arrange for further literacy support. All is as good as it could be for now, except the evening was rather ruined by my daughter’s mini meltdown over mini cheddars and whether I had distributed them equally between her and her brother. Her insistence on equality to the nearest crumb is an interesting aspect of her aspergers, albeit a exasperating one for mum!