Our children deserve better communication …

By | February 20, 2012

As soon as I see my D coming out of school, the first thing I want to know is “has she had a good day?”, it’s something that I NEED to know and I’m sure you’re the same – whether your child is at nursery, pre school, school or college.

Unfortunately she is not always in a position to tell me. If she has had a bad day at school, she tends to bottle up any negative or anxious emotion and let it out as soon as she sees me. This then manifests itself in either screaming constantly or bolting (running off with no thought for her safety).

If this happens, I have to spend the next 20 minutes or so calming her down, trying – and usually failing – to find out the cause and then I have to walk to pick up T from his school. You can imagine that I am walking along sometimes wishing the ground would swallow me up, especially as we have to go past a secondary school and another primary school before we get to T.

Why don’t I use school transport, you’re probably thinking? Well, I like the interaction with the school and if I’m being honest, some of the transport aides and drivers look as if they would unable to catch a “bolter”. I also don’t agree with the policy of letting the child walk to and from their house unaided (if they are able to walk), from what I have seen, the bus waits until they are inside before driving off but in my opinion, if a child is special needs, you need to escort that child to and from their front door.

Out of the 140 pupils that attend D’s school, there are a handful of parents that collect their children themselves, the majority (90%) go by school transport, so for the majority of parents the only interaction with school is at a termly parents evening and IEP meeting. Home-school diary for the majority of the term is their only contact.

I’m rambling… eventually we get home, take her home-school diary out and inevitably it is blank for the day. Or “a good day” written in, just that. I know that staff are very busy but it would really help understand triggers and anxieties if both the positives and negatives could be written down. I’m not expecting a blog but if something has happened in school that affects her, I need to know. Negatives during the day tend to manifest during night time so if I’m going to have a sleepless night, warning would be good!

I know that I am lucky in that D is verbal but there is a non verbal child in D’s class who also goes home on a regular basis with nothing in his diary. How on earth do his parents know what has been going on, similarly the teeny ones in the nursery classes and the wheelchair-bound severely disabled pupils.

When I have asked the school, or written a comment like “she was very distressed, told me xxxx hit her in class etc”, the answer is “we don’t have time to write everything down”.

I’m not asking for everything – just anything that is likely to affect her, it doesn’t take long to write one or two sentences and lets face it, we have enough to worry about, don’t we?

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