Rumour has it …

I recently heard from one of my children’s tutors that our local mainstream secondary school (now an academy) has been sending letters to professionals telling them that they can’t accommodate my aspergers daughter.  According to the tutor the academy do not want autism  in their school which is rather shocking considering they have other SEN children.

How true all this is I don’t know but it wouldn’t surprise me if the academy have decided to reject my daughter.  I didn’t get good vibes when I visited the school recently and at their open day there was hardly any mention of SEN and disability which was very disappointing considering the school has a unit for physically disabled students and provision for dyslexia.  If the rumour is right, I have to wonder why they don’t want pupils with ASD all of a sudden particularly when I know they have students with ADHD, dyslexia and aspergers.

I am sure there is an issue to be investigated further but frankly I’m not interested in pursuing the law because the question is do I really want to send my daughter to a school that is not interested in her?  No I don’t; I want a caring school that is interested in all of its pupils regardless of difference and clearly this school is not one of those.  However, this leaves us with a problem because there is no alternative except to send our daughter on a lengthy bus ride to a school far away.  Even if I can find one, I am doubtful that my daughter will want to travel far.  So faced with ‘no choice’ we now have a big meeting planned with the heads of various services to gather the views of the local authority and other professionals.    Time to get my boxing gloves on again, I guess.

Aside from this bureaucratic nightmare what has upset me more is how we’ve been treated.  No-one has communicated with us properly and instead we are forced to listen to bits of gossip from one of the home tutors who knows little about the autism spectrum.  What worries me most however is what this tutor is telling other professionals about my children.  Only the other day I had a call from another professional who said it was vital to get my daughter out of “that house” (meaning my home).  The way she described my home upset me because it implied that my home is an awful place.  That house is my home where I work very hard to  look after my children and where my children are safe and loved but the way she said it sounded as if it was a grim place.

I think this negativity has come from the home tutor who has made it quite clear that she thinks my son is a negative influence on his sister.  But this tutor is not very knowledgeable about autism and her views reflect her bias towards my daughter who she is able to interact with much more easily than my son.  I can understand it in a way.  My daughter is passive and gentle and has better use of language; she is easier to engage with than my son who has more rigid behaviour and poorer communication skills.  So I can see that people may prefer my daughter because she is easier to get on with but still it upsets  me when I see someone not responding positively to my son.  My son cannot help the way he behaves and I wish people could see that and show him some compassion.

I have tried to explain to the tutor how autism affects my son but she makes no effort to properly understand or to plan lessons according to his needs.  Everything is verbal rather than written or visual.  Not surprisingly when she doesn’t get the desired response from him, she just goes on and on and on until he becomes more and more agitated and starts shouting “help” or “mum”. At that point I then have to intervene which really I shouldn’t be doing if the teacher was any  good.

It is a difficult situation which is causing a lot of stress for me and my family.  We are also very concerned that my son may be picking up on the negative vibes from this tutor which cannot be helping him to regain his confidence.  So at the big meeting next week we will ask the local authority to cease my son’s lessons with this tutor and replace her with someone more experienced (asuming there is one).  It is not healthy both my children share a tutor particularly when it ends up with that tutor making unheathy comparisons between my children and favouritising one over the other.  Both are in need and require individualised support.  Neither is it right that someone without an adequate knowledge of the autism spectrum may be influencing other professionals in a way that could be detrimental to me and my children.  This has to stop.

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8 Responses to Rumour has it …

  1. 1funmum says:

    Hi I read your other blog post and it took me back to this one. It’s hard being an ASD mom. I’ve gone through some hard times too. Something I’ve learned along the way is don’t let the gossip control you, your family, and your kids education. I agree with juliesmum. The chess pieces are most defiantly in play. It’s not easy being a pawn. Often it’s the family being used and manipulated for others gain. But you have a choice. You can refuse to play. A long while ago, I had to watch my family being moved around a chess board by others who play games. Im a person that prefers honesty and openness. I like to see the whole situation and make my decisions. So I find it maddening when others play games or have private conversations about me behind my back. Especially if they are about things that effect my family. When will educators learn that including the parents in the process is key. If your like me and like honesty then may I suggest you just sit back and refuse to play the game. I have made my point to many a school that my kids are not pawns for play for better budgets. Oh and by the way new tutor for sure. I agree with others on that one. Not cause she’s not a good teacher but because you don’t mesh. If it’s not working you just move on. It doesn’t matter anything she said/ done. Once you can’t get along its just a done deal. If you tried to have a good/ honest sit down chat about
    your needs and she is still not meshing with your household then it’s time to move on. She maybe a great teacher but she’s just not your teacher. You might need to find two different teachers. It may take two different teachers to approach each child cause they have different needs. I have two kids with different needs they are in different learning situations and schools. I got very tired tring to fit my square peg into a round hole. Just cause the majority has a round peg doesn’t mean I do. Even though one of my kids has learned to fit in doesn’t mean my other will. So going with two new teachers is just a suggestion to consider.

  2. Pingback: Rumour has it … | Aspie in the family | Special Needs News |

  3. JuliesMum says:

    It has occurred to me, thinking about it, that there may be good reasons why letters like this are being written. It’s quite possible that the school is engaged in trying to get extra resources to cover the extra costs of educating children with autism. It could be part of an elaborate powerplay between the school and the council who used to hold their budgets, for example. It might not mean that the school is actually going to refuse your daughter, but that they are going to try and play that card with other agencies. I get the impression that many newly fledged academies are just as uncertain about funding for SEN as anyone else. This doesn’t make it any nicer for you, in the middle, but it may explain why they might write a letter about your daughter but not cc you – they may just be trying to protect you from the grubby reality of their own bid for resources. I still think its worth trying to talk to the school and ask them directly what they can offer.

  4. Jazzygal says:

    Oh, this is so upsetting. I cannot believe that you and your family are being treated this way. To talk about your home like that is dreadful and to write about your daughter, without prior consultation with you, is despicable.

    I will keep my fingers crossed for your big meeting.

    xx Jazzy

  5. Nic Stephens says:

    I think what you’re going through is absolutely disgusting. I wonder if a time will ever come when the powers that be will stop treating parents like mushroom, keeping us in the dark and feeding us on s**t. It’s hard enough to do right by our kids without teachers with limited knowledge, of both the kids and thier situation, influencing thier futures and then the fact they are being listened to more than you is nothing short of insulting. I really hope your meeting works out well for you all.
    I wish you all the luck in the world with this. Take care, Nic.

  6. Ah Deb, this is not nice, I really feel for you. And yes I definitely think you should get a new tutor! There must be someone who understands around… have you tried all teh local support groups for help (silly question, sorry… sometimes it might be worth going back and ‘refreshing’ though…?) x

  7. Ruth says:

    Nothing helpful to add, but I couldn’t read and not comment, it sounds like such a tough situation, and frankly the tutor’s behaviour sounds hugely unprofessional. I’m sorry it sounds like you’re going to have to fight so hard to get the support your children need :( xxx

  8. JuliesMum says:

    What an awful throw-away comment (“that house”). Some people don’t seem to realise that there is a living family on the other side of their casenotes.

    It sounds like you have a really difficult situation on your hands with education. I know it’s difficult, but if you can try to ignore what this tutor says to you about it – the chances are she doesn’t know that much and is making herself feel important by relaying things she thinks she knows.

    Are there any advocacy services you could use at this upcoming meeting? It’s an important meeting for you, and you’re going to have your work cut out just arranging cover for the kids. I’m not sure how to get hold of advocates in your area (people kindly sent me links and I don’t know where you live) but you could google it. It would help a lot to have someone else on your side.

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