Yesterday dinky was happy(ish) to go to school for the last day before the half term. Although she is getting by me a little with her new ultra stealthy ways of distraction! This morning was a discussion about why she can’t take her box of sensory/fiddle toys and an assortment of combinations in which she would take just two. I put a PDA leaflet into Dinky’s contact book… I’m sick of her being treated like a difficult child, not a child with difficulties. It will probably go down like a ton of bricks but I’m past caring now.
Eventually we were out and then after “my tummy hurts” and “my feet are burning” we got to school and her lovely 1:1 was waiting for her. Dinky was straight into a monologue about the leaves that she saw on the way to school, and that it is no school next week, and how she is off to chessington with her special needs group, she is going on Halloween dressed as a vampire for the vampire ride, to show she is a fan. (I love the fan thing. It is because she asked why we wear our football shirts!)
So I got the bus, then the train, then found the way to the school. The building is new and looked lovely. I signed in and waited for the deputy head. She took me into her office and asked how the statement process was going. I told her we are close to hearing if we are going to get the statutory assessment. I explained the difficulties Dinky was having at school. I asked about how much experience the school have with PDA. She said they have a few children with PDA at the school. She said they have settled in well and enjoy being there. Which is great, and i think that is testimony to the school if PDA kids turn up happily!
She asked more about school and Dinky. I explained that it was hard to see her struggle so much after school. She seemed quite knowledgable on PDA (BIG BONUS), and sensory seeking behaviour. I explained that the school wouldn’t let her have her new sensory timer in her tent. And she asked about Dinky’s sensory needs. I told her we are on the long waiting list for OT however from one OT I did speak to, it sounds like dinky is a sensory seeker, and I mentioned Dinky’s chewing of everything remotely rubbery and she asked if dinky liked to bounce on trampolines. Slightly confused I answered yes… Dinky loves bouncing, although she does it on my sofa or on her bed as we do not have an indoor trampoline. She said it was actually surprising the a punt of children that chew and like to bounce. She said for kids like dinky they would have an OT set things up for her, and the school would do sensory snacks (let them do some sensory activities and then go back to their classroom).
We then joined a husband and wife duo with a social worker on a tour of the school.
I loved the fact that there was an outside area attached to each classroom. Opposite were calming rooms for those children who needed class breaks. All the children we came across were happy. We went into an autism spectrum condition classroom and in all honesty it looked like it would be fantastic for Dinky. Most of the classrooms were devoid of clutter and as dinky is one of these children who are easily distracted by anything, I thought the individual work stations would suit her. There was a clear now and next and not too much, in terms of demand.
They had a nice sensory room with magic carpet (Dinky’s second favourite after school activity other than swimming). I was falling in love with the school! The deputy and all the staff were lovely.
I asked questions and they allayed all my fears. The biggest pull was that the school would understand Dinky and see the issue that causes the behaviour and not just the behaviour itself. The school would do a behaviour plan and find out what the triggers are and how to de-escalate things before things got too far. The school is equipped for bright children and offer a range of GCSEs but also other courses which would be accepted at colleges.
It seems to be a much better solution to Dinky’s current school.
I collected dinky from school, she was ok, she was asking what we were going to do next week. She was extremely happy it was half term!
I was supposed to get a run down of how dinky came to be in the puddle on Wednesday, and the response in her contact book was pretty useless. The teacher explained Dinky was not doing as she was told and tried to climb out of the window, nothing was mentioned about the puddle. Muppets.
I have a form to sign for the social communication team to go in.