Bye bye January – PDA, RBH and more 

By | February 3, 2018

I’m not disappointed to wave goodbye to January 2018, it’s been a long and really quite stressful month.

A month in which we’ve had more contact with T’s secondary mainstream school than I can remember, a month in which I’ve felt both disappointed in them and then, two days ago relieved.

It’s also been a month of hospital (the RBH bit) trips – a paediatric check-up for D, an ultrasound scan for me, numerous blood tests for me and – yippee – a surgeon’s chat in which he agreed to (what hopefully will be the last) foot surgery on my left foot, then a preliminary pre-op and I’ve had a provisional idea of a surgery date.  Not to mention that my FIL had an emergency hospital stay too, thankfully he’s home now.

It’s been busy! But I feel that, with the new month, we can move forward from the groundwork started in January.

D is doing well at school (phew!), she’s relishing the added task of being a school “buddy” and sees it as a chance to help the younger, smaller pupils with any anxieties at break/lunch time.  Ironically, with this task, she is putting any anxieties she has about non adult-led activity and her focussing on those other pupils, gives her less time to think about her worries – which are predominantly around other pupils rushing towards her or “banter”, to which she doesn’t know how to respond.  

And T, I’ve mentioned before how I felt that certain staff in his secondary school didn’t understand his autism or appear willing to take any difficulties he may be having into account.  This has caused immense issues with one particular school subject, with him being removed from class practically every lesson.  Not ideal for him, the rest of the class nor the teacher.

We requested a meeting to agree a way forward and I had asked for SENco attendance.  It was a shame to arrive and find neither the class teacher nor the SENco there!

I’d taken some information on PDA with me, as the symptoms were T to a ..well… T! His form teacher seemed quite surprised at the info we placed in front of him but, to his due, assured us that this information would be passed onto his teachers the next day.  He also seemed to take on board that, if T has a bad experience in the class he’s having most issues with, he doesn’t have a means of self-regulating at school, so any emotions will snowball inside him and obviously have an impact on the rest of his day.

So…has the meeting helped? Definitely! The teacher who would previously phone me to “offload” about the bad lessons actually phoned yesterday to say that he’d had a positive lesson and the strategies agreed (consistent seating plan, clear actions for T etc) had worked and she was pleased.  She also said she’d read up on autism and PDA, watched a webinar and now felt she understood T a bit more…phew! 

There was a reason it transpires that she hadn’t done research before, T’s primary school had passed NOTHING on about his diagnosis, which explains a lot! Why we’d had no SENco support, why any emails mentioning his high functioning autism diagnosis (when he was TEN) were ignored and why any phone calls received had alluded to the “crap parenting” attitude.

To say that we felt let down by primary school on T’s behalf is an understatement.  He is 1.5 years away from GCSEs and it’s a crucial time for him.  Parents evenings are a strict 5 minutes per subject and there are no opportunities to see his tutor at all, unless we specifically request.

His teacher also mentioned EHCPs in our chat and suggested T should have one.  His primary school SENco laughed at me when I suggested a statement when he was diagnosed and told me there was “no chance”.  B*tch.  His primary school never took his diagnosis seriously, part of me is not completely surprised that nothing was passed on.

Which explains why we’d had no SENco secondary school input during the last few months (years) and why they weren’t at the meeting! 

So, moving on….we have to send in copies of his diagnosis and look into an EHCP.  Part of me is relieved at this because it will mean that we have support in planning beyond school and up to mid-twenties, if we’re successful that is.

It’s all go, isn’t it? In addition, I haven’t been easily able to access WordPress for nearly two weeks.  WP support is very basic and I’m typing this on an old phone where I can access the WP app, it just crashes on my current one.  Weird.

February will be better! 

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