As if by magic my next battles came in the form of a phone calls and an email.
At least I know what is going to be going on for the next week.
First I got a call from the education welfare officer. She said that she had received an email from the school who requested that she do a home visit. The SEN team had also asked for an update. I told her that Dinky will go back to that school over my dead cold lifeless bodySo she is coming out tomorrow afternoon.
Then I phoned the sen team as I was confused by need to be updated, I thought I was clear that Dinky would go back to that school over my dead cold lifeless body. Typically the SEN caseworker wasn’t in, but the lady said she would get the SEN manager to phone today. (Which he did but I’ll come to that later..)
I then got this email
Hi Dinky’s mum,
I hope you’re both well and had a good Easter. I tried calling but it went onto voicemail. I just wanted to talk to you about a meeting that I’ve arranged for next week for us all to get together to try and sort things out. I also wanted to explain as to why I haven’t closed dinky and am hanging on!
The meeting will be at 12pm on Weds at the family centre.
I’m not about after 3pm today but will be on email tonight although it’ll be better to speak. Please don’t worry about this – it’s nothing bad!
So I phoned the social worker back.
I will just say that Dinky has been very much in her own little world today, and sat at the table with her lego while I had the phone calls. Which was much easier to cope with.
She said that the meeting would involve
The SN group leader
My keyworker (who isn’t involved anymore)
Integrated services lady
And the new paediatrician
At first I said I wouldn’t be in the same room as the school nor integrated services. Also I didn’t see the point in being there with people who are not actually involved anymore or don’t know us. If she took them away it would be myself and the SN group leader.
I said that Dinky will go back that school over my dead cold lifeless body. She said it wasn’t about getting her back into school and that they wanted to get everyone on the same page, she said if the school didn’t come, would I be willing to go? I said that I wasn’t sure. I got the report she had done and I was not impressed at all by the things that the integrated services manager said, nor stuff that the school said.
She said this was my opportunity to say something. She said that they have NO concerns at all about my care of dinky, I said I wasn’t perfect, she said they are not looking for perfect, but she said it isn’t a parenting issue. I told her to invite the school and tell that to them as it would be nice to hear it said to them. They couldn’t make up their minds, it was me then it wasn’t, then it was, then it wasn’t, and then they said what was in the assessment.
I told her I know I get rather stressed and snap at people and I apologise. She said she understood that and that she gets stressed with her children and they haven’t got the needs that Dinky has. She said I need to stop blaming myself as I am doing very well, especially given the fact I have her home 24/7.
She said I am the expert on Dinky. I said they should definitely get the school and integrated services to come and say both of those things.
She said that this was my chance to say what we need, I told her it was also a good idea to go so that I knew what people were saying. She said she wanted to get everyone on the same page and go from there.
It is not ideal, and I don’t particularly want to do it still, the school and integrated services won’t be involved but it will be nice to be able to say – ha! Now say it is me!
So I had to find someone to watch Dinky which is not an easy task. Luckily my local autism family came to my rescue and someone is going to have Dinky at the new special needs clubhouse for me.
I phoned the SN group leader to ask her if the clubhouse would be open. She said it would. She said she was glad the meeting was going ahead as she says we need more support and there is no way Dinky can go back to that school. She is a completely different child since I took her out.
I know I definitely have someone else on my side. Which is good. The social worker has been very understanding and pretty good with everything, she is just part of an assessment team so can’t issue any type of support.
Then after I had given up all hope, I got a call from the manager of the LEA SEN team. Apparently the reason that they contacted education welfare is because Dinky is not at school. I said that it would be more concerning if she was actually at the school! I explained what I have explained to everyone. She will go back to that school over my dead cold lifeless body because:
1) They were not able to meet her needs.
To which he replied “the school hasn’t said that”
To which I said, they wouldn’t as they believe that it is fine to exclude her 9 times in 10 weeks, call me to peel her off the gate and stick her in a room for 3 hours with an untrained TA. However I don’t call that coping.
2) she is not safe there. The ed psych turned her back for 10 seconds and Dinky was gone, which shows what dinky is like there. Also I was called a few times to peel her off the gate, and more. The point is she is not safe and is too unpredictable for the school.
3) they have refused to listen to any advice from the professionals.
4) they have her with an untrained TA in a room with no access to a qualified teacher on a part time timetable. So she isn’t doing much learning.
He said that she had to be receiving an education, I said that I am providing an education, but not close to the one that she should be getting in a suitable school, which the current school is not!
He said that he was just saying that there was no hidden agenda. Behind the contact to the education welfare, he just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the current situation.
I told him that it might be a good idea for him or someone in the office to attend a meeting next week held by the social worker. He said he was busy but would see if he could send someone.
He said he would call me tomorrow regarding my amendments to the statement as he was just leaving the office but wanted to make the call as I was expecting him to do so.
I hope he doesn’t even consider trying to say that the ‘current’ school can meet her needs, as I will not have it!
It is going to be really difficult to get everything sorted by the time I have to talk to these people.
What I am sure of is that I will fight for Dinky’s needs and I will make sure I get an apology from the school and integrated services, when I confront them about the comments on my parenting!
So yesterday I was gearing up to find out where my next battle is…. Now I know…
Erm… Not quite what I was going for, but never mind!