The day started off with trying to get an extremely avoidant Dinky to stop adding handfuls of cereal to her bowl and agree to join me in getting dressed for the day. Of course dinky was less than impressed by the notion. Eventually we got ready, just in time to run out of the door.
She went in talking the hind legs of a donkey, which incidentally she overheard me saying to her 1:1, and said “what donkey?” I do love my child!
I got home, ran a bath (TAC wasn’t until 11am), and my phone rang. It was the integrated services lady. I had been advised to call the Child disability team and ask them to assess dinky for respite when I went to the parent carer conference, so I did. Apparently because Dinky is not ‘at risk’ every thing is just fine. Which it obviously isn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t be phoning a branch of social services, whom I detest as they seem to ignore all common sense and try to put unique circumstances in boxes, and toss anything that doesn’t fit. So I’ve always ended up being ‘out of remit’.
My personal opinion of social services aside, the integrated services lady came round before the meeting. Which was annoying as I was looking forward to a nice long soak to gather my thoughts.
I was very frustrated when she came over. She is lovely, and agreed once or twice that dinky has PDA, But she is useless as a lead professional. I asked her if she would do the referral to CAMHS, she said she will. I vented my frustration at the slow arsed system and we headed off.
We went in to the room, and we all sat round. Myself, PP (parent partnership), ISL (integrated services lady), FLW (family link worker), GL (the special needs group leader) and muppet. I asked about the SENCO and was told she was going to join us later. So we went over the actions from last term.
Most of it was now done. The letter regarding the restraint was brought up and the head said that had gone to governors. She didn’t seem bothered, neither was I.
FLW said she was helping by offering ideas to help with behaviour (well I let her think that. She has had 2 useful suggestions, the rest have been pants), and said she wrangled something to get dinky into doing the magic carpet, which is rubbish. Children and family centres typically cater for 0-5 year olds, however I know in our county they cater to up to 18 years for children with additional needs. Guess what… Dinky has additional needs, so she wrangled nothing. I did mention the fact that this was the case and she said not for the carpet, I kept quiet, but she was just trying to make out she does more than she does, when in fact, she has never met Dinky.
I told them she has found it difficult being back at school. She is all over the place and swimming is now a complete nightmare. I told them about the restraint at swimming.
GL said dinky had been quicker to anger and been a bit more unsettled than she was over the holidays.
PP had nothing to suggest.
Muppet had a lot to say as usual, and as usual it was rubbish. Apparently dinky is better than she was last term although still tricky. We were talking about the assemblies and she said the problem was dinky is a power seeker. Which I think is a bit harsh. Dinky likes to be in control. Or at least feel in control, she is 5, what 5 year olds go out to get the power. Although she said Dinky was no longer bossy. Ok, so she is still power seeking but not bossy with it… That makes everything ok?
We discussed all the professionals coming in, and by the sounds of it Dinky will be having lots of visitors in school. There will be speech and language and the social communication team. She will also be discussed at a planning meeting, also with the educational psychologist, and we will find out if she will get a statutory assessment, or not.
The SENCO didn’t turn up.
I mentioned the fact that the school don’t always pick up on her difficulties, and mentioned the fact that they noticed that her teacher having PPA time unsettled her, so have acted, but didn’t see the connection with moving lunch and being unsettled. Obviously the other side is it may not have majorly unsettled her, but the idea of having senior leadership come take her to play May have sounded better than PE.
I also mentioned that smiley/sad/indifferent faces drawn on Dinky’s contact book didn’t give much of an indication of what went on during the day, and it would be beneficial to have at least one or two sentences to sum up her day.
Overall it was pretty pants. I mentioned not being able to take dinky to parents evening as the last parents evening I took her to she almost flooded her classroom as she didn’t want us talking about her, so the head said she would sort it. Then everyone started leaving as they set a date toward the end of November, and the head said I could talk to the SENCO before I left if I would like to.
So after everyone had gone the SENCO came in to talk to me.
What a different story she had to tell about Dinky in school!
As anyone who has read previous posts about the SENCO before will know, I have always felt the SENCO was a little (sometimes more than a little) work shy. Of course it is October, which means new IEPs. She hasn’t done Dinky’s yet (guess who will be writing IEPs on the inset day directly after half term!). But we discussed what might be on it. I had a(nother) few words in the contact book about 1:1 and phonics. The 1:1 said they don’t do phonics, the class teacher (and the head) were under the impression she does and we’re short in their replies. So I gathered it was a short term thing. Nope. They ant have been unaware. So they lied about phonics, which became less paranoia feeling after I found that actually, dinky wasn’t doing better, and is much more than ‘tricky’. In actual fact they find it hard to get her at a table as she tends to go under it. Although they haven’t done much in the way of work Dinky is falling behind due to her (avoidant) behaviour. The best bit was her saying that they can’t even test her academic ability because she won’t do the tests. The evaluation week is this week, and she knows it will be difficult to get Dinky to do what is asked of her. (I did refrain from saying that I have given them enough strategies by now to at least give it a go but they do insist on ignoring me and coming out with more outrageous stuff.) she said this was all being noted and will be good evidence for the statutory assessment.
Because dinky is more visual and doesn’t listen when stressed they will draw up a more detailed behaviour plan as the SENCO believes that even if dinky has a certain amount of 1:1 time she will always struggle academically because of her behaviour.
Finally someone was talking sense! Admittedly I never thought it would be the SENCO!
She seems more open to the notion that Dinky has a definite ability for avoidance! Which is further than before with the school.
When I got home I was angry that the SENCO wasn’t in the TAC. The head had again minimalised Dinky’s difficulties and the extent of her challenging behaviour in school and it’s impact on her own learning (not to mention the other poor kids trying to learn).
Here was my answer to changing the format of the contact book