I think more than ever I feel like I have to be by the phone in case it rings and it is the school.
The problem is I have very fixed ideas about what I thought Dinky’s schooling would be like.
When she was a baby I had decided to get her into the best school I could and work my backside off to give her everything she needed (and some things she just wanted), and watch her soar.
In reality she started brightly in playgroup, the pied piper of the children. Until January, when, in the words of her key worker was “going backwards”.
Still I worked hard to pay the rent on a property that was slightly out of my price range and with someone I detested, all to make sure she went to the outstanding rated primary school.
She got into the school as we were made homeless. After the first term, when she was put on the SEN register, that is when I found it really hard to see her education as anything but ‘she should be in school, learning, and come home happy’. She was coming home and spinning, then flying into rages.
Then I was cornered by the head and the play therapist. The post is on here, must have been end of February 2013. I was told I was the one who was inflexible, and that another school would be better. I had to give up my own idea of what was right.
Get to this school and they have questioned EVERYTHING about my idea of Dinky’s education.
When do I draw the line between discrimination and protecting Dinky?
When do I say NO, and when do I concede?
Today I got a phone call from the school.
It was around 11.30am and I was going to go out and get Dinky’s tiger costume for her nativity on tuesday next week (don’t ask what tigers have to do with the nativity… Last year she was Poland, this year a tiger)
It was the deputy on the phone, she said that she wasn’t at the stage where she was going to exclude Dinky… YET. Although this was a warning call that it was very possible seeing as Dinky had been struggling in the morning and that if she became aggressive or violent, then they would have no choice.
It was at this point I had a few things going through my head…
A) struggling… And not badly behaved! There is a mind set change from the school!
B) should I put them both out if their misery and say I shall bring her home if she is struggling?
I felt really guilty.
The deputy said that dinky just wanted to come home.
Then I thought no. She needs to be in school. If she does have a severe meltdown then she will be excluded, it will be documented and it will be more evidence.
But do I put Dinky through it?
What is more important… The next 20 weeks or the next 11 years? Struggling over the next 20 weeks could mean 11 years of better support in education.
It’s the same as the supported learning at home. I now only do what one person I know does with their 5 year old at home, I won’t push as it shows she isn’t learning in school. Again… Will 20 weeks of not supplementing her learning be something I can live with for the long term? I think so.
I got Dinky to stage 2 books at just turned 4, she could count to 30 and add and take away with physical objects, among other things. I pulled back when school started and did everything school asked and little extra. By the time we moved into our home after 2 terms she was on stage 4 books going onto 5 and liked maths.
I pulled back when the new school said attachment and her teacher said that she was bright, so she was fine. We do the reading they send home, and the homework when she will, and learn by doing during the holidays… But I don’t push. She has gone from the top end of stage 4 to stage 5 in the 2 terms since joining this school, she still likes maths, but I don’t see any movement in her ability.
It is hard to know when you find out in the PPM that her scores from after half term were guesses. Neither school has managed to get Dinky to perform in any kind of standardised testing. So no one REALLY knows how far she has come since September 2012. Actually no one knows where she has come from or too as one day she can do something, the next day she can’t… One day she doesn’t understand something, and the next day she does.
I think The Muppet is finding Dinky fascinating lately… I know the deputy finds dinky fascinating. The SENCO is just work shy… And Dinky doesn’t like her!
Anyway.. Back to the phone call. The deputy said that she had just come back from break time when she last saw Dinky and the physical release of play time can be enough to reduce the level Dinky is at. She said she would phone if things didn’t improve.
So I decided to stay home. If there is one thing you can almost guarantee for children with PDA, if they have had a good day at school they have been storing it for home… If they had a bad day at school, then they have a lower build up of stress for home. I waited… No phone call.
So I grabbed Dinky’s bus pass and went to get her, she was leading the staff on a merry song and dance about leaving and was bare foot. So I approached slowly slowly, and let her let out what she was in the middle of slowly and at me. She didn’t want her coat on because of the scratchy label, so we went to the office to cut the label out. The deputy came in, and Dinky told her that we were going to get her tiger costume. The deputy looked baffled! She had phoned me, she watched as dinky led the staff on a merry dance, yet there was me deciding to take dinky into shops looking for a tiger onesie!
And dinky was pretty good. She had a mid range meltdown at not being able to see Santa, she was rearranging the tills in BHS and was head butting the furby display in mc Donald’s. She became very closed off in mc Donald’s and went into her own little world. On the way home she talked to a police PCSO on the bus and was really happy putting her Hulk Onesie complete with hulk mask on before going to bed.
So much for PDA being like Jekyll and Hyde… More like Banner/Hulk for Dinky… My very own marvel hero.
We had a few issues at bed time, but she went to sleep.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring…
Will it be 4 exclusions in 5 weeks? Time will tell.