As you know the council named a school on my daughter’s final statement of SEN without our full agreement. I was angered by this and also their decision to terminate my daughter’s home tuition with immediate affect. In fact it was the latter that really upset me because no thought had been given to organising any transition. Bearing in mind my daughter has been out of school for over a year then anyone with an ounce of intelligence would understand the importance of a programme of transition from home to school. Alas it seemed that education officers did not (or did not want to) consider this. Incompetence or cost-cutting (or both) – either way it’s pretty crap.
So, rather than push for some sort of transition, I decided to do it myself. (Sometimes you may as well get on with it yourself as arguing for things to be done actually wastes time and energy which could be used more fruitfully.) Also, with a threat of court action hanging over our heads regarding our daughter’s non attendance (brought on by the lack of support in her old school) I felt I had no choice than to show I was doing my best to integrate my daughter into school.
Unfortunately getting her into school has been hard going. Her anxiety was so high that she initially found it very difficult even looking at the school yet alone going inside the building but we persisted as we know from experience that repeated exposure to anxiety-inducing situations helps to overcome the anxiety in the long run. As a result we were able to move her from looking at the building to looking around the school to siting in a classroom with two of her classmates. Unfortunately the latter stage is where we hit a stumbling block. My daughter found sitting in the classroom so overwhelming that she has not been able to go back to school since. In fact such was her anxiety that she became withdrawn and unable to talk about school for a week. In my experience these setbacks are to be expected and are part of the course of overcoming serious anxiety; you know one step forward, two steps back sort of thing.
Unfortunately the school have not been very understanding. When we tried to explain our daughter’s reaction and the need to start again the head’s response was that she didn’t want any pussyfooting around. From that crass comment I can only assume she has no understanding of the complexity of aspergers and mental health difficulties. I also wonder how much she believes of what we’ve said.
You see part of the problem we face is that my daughter masks her distress at school and lets go at home which means that what school sees doesn’t match with what we see (and vice versa). Hence it wasn’t obvious that my daughter had struggled with sitting in the classroom. To the teaching staff she appeared as though she was coping but later at home it became clear that it was too much for her. As a result, it falls on me to tell the teachers but the problem with this is that the school have to trust what I say. If they don’t, if they view me as some form of lowlife who knows nothing about her child (or aspergers) then we will run into difficulties and our relationship will flounder. I don’t want to fall out with school but I do want to be treated as the person who knows her child best. Unfortunately the school appears to be dominated by a power hungry head who doesn’t understand enough about the autism spectrum and who doesn’t recognise the importance of working “WITH” parents. It feels very much a case of “you do as I say” which makes me feel as though I’m back in my daughter’s old school with a head who thinks they know it all but who clearly doesn’t.