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.