Today the battle with school continues!

Today was one of those days I would sooner forget! I am still very angry, but I have taken some time to calm down from where I was.

Let me start from the beginning of the day..

Dinky and I get up at 6.30am. We stay in my bed until the alarm (which dinky calls the blarm!) goes off at 7.20am

It was a bit of an effort but I managed to get dinky to eat breakfast. after breakfast it was a fight to get her ready for school. Well, I stood there and applied the 5 D’s of dodgeball!

She was shouting in a baby voice ‘Not going’. As she emptied the bookcase in my direction. Once she finally got dressed after showing me the cress (that we haven’t managed to kill yet!), and then she put the jamotes (remotes), on the shelf, then she didn’t have the right jumper. Eventually she was dressed. Then when I said it was time to get her coat on she hid under the washing and said she wasn’t going to school. When I asked why, she said it was because school was stupid and I was stupid and she hated school.

I left her for 10 minutes, then went back to her. After another 10 minutes and after being punched, kicked, and bitten, I manage to get her coat on, wrist reins on and down the stairs.

On the way to school the grass cutters were out, which meant 3 men with strimmers. So I had to straddle Dinky, so I could hold both ears until we got away from them.

We went into school and dinky went straight to the role play shop. I had to try and get her out before she got too comfy! But end of the week teacher came over to me and said that they were postponing the meeting regarding dinky’s academic progress so that the head could call everyone together.

Fine.

Dinky and I made a flower at the creative table and it was put on the wall, I left her with one of the mums that likes reading stories to the children in the mornings.

On my way home I decided to phone the lady from integrated services, I left a message, asking her to call me back.

Which she did.

I told her bits of what is going on, she decided it would be better if she came out to discuss the issues.

The whole day I am still thinking about the school, and what will happen in the big meeting. I wonder how dinky is going to cope today. I wonder if she can keep herself in check. Or whether I am going to end up dealing with meltdown dinky.

I begin to write a letter to the school. I don’t quite know what I should say, but it feels good to vent sometimes.

When I went to get dinky the teacher asked if she could have a word.

She said that dinky had found carpet time hard and that they are going to have to have a discussion about Simba.
I said that I was told her could stay as he was useful for getting dinky to comply with carpet time.

She said that it wasn’t working anymore and Is only serving as a distraction. Then she asked for the contact book.

I said that I didn’t see the point as I wasn’t getting any useful information from it.

She looked all offended and then got defensive. She said that if I wasn’t happy I should have said something, I told her I had spoken to beginning of the week teacher, I can not be held responsible for messages not being shared. She said that as far as she was aware she was only supposed to put in a small amount. So I had to explain that ‘up and down day’ did not mean anything to me. Again she was all offended.

I don’t see what the big deal is. Surely she understands that up and down doesn’t actually give an indication of what dinky’s day was actually like?

I made a point saying that it could mean that she had small periods of up and majority down or vice versa. It also doesn’t give me or them any indication of what sets her off. They may as well save their energy and not write anything.
I told her that I have no idea what has made dinky unwilling to come to school, and I may have done if the book was written in the way I was told it would be.. Informative.

She said

“well, yes they said about that, yet she seems happy enough when she gets here”.  It was said in that condescending, disbelieving tone.

At that point I told Dinky it was time to go. I had enough. This teacher obviously knows my daughter best… muppet!!!

I managed to get dinky home without too many problems. She was a little whiney but that was all. I got her in and watched Netflix and span in a circle for a few minutes, before an early dinner. It is swimming day after all.
I wrote a letter while she ate to the school, saying that communication is a big issue and while I understand that it is difficult for the teachers as there are two of them and that they have a class to welcome in the morning and pair with their responsible adults at home time. If the communication carries on being this flawed then it could jeopardise the home school relationship as I am losing faith and trust in the school as the only way it seems to get things done is to speak to a member of the senior leadership team.

I also went over the points that the teacher raised and showed how that was part of PDA.

I doubt they will listen, but I am fuming!

I wasn’t told the outcome of the meeting or what was discussed. I was only made to feel like a neurotic parent.

I will see what the integrated services lady says tomorrow

integrated services visit

I am really starting to like this integrated services lady.

when I first imagined her turning up, I imagined a woman, late 40’s, brown hair tied up in a bun, glasses, brown tweed skirt suit with shoulder pads, name tag precisely placed, and a clipboard.

In reality I got a late 30’s, dyed blonde hair (with visible roots), trousers and flowery top, back pack, lanyard with name tag the wrong way round, no clipboard.

I imagined the worst, I imagined bad parenting, my past, our homelessness to come up and be used as a reason for the way dinky is.
Instead I got ‘you seem to be doing your best for dinky’.

I didn’t know what to expect today. I didn’t know how dinky would react. It could have gone many ways

  • She could have been the ideal compliant child (making me look crazy!)
  • She could have jumped all over the lady
  • She could have hid the entire time
  • She could have tried to be herself

What did she do?

She was ultimate PDA child!

The lady came in, she got some pictures out for dinky to colour in. Dinky didn’t want to colour. So she read the lady one of her reading books instead, when the book was finished she tried again, dinky decided to try the reading again. The lady asked if she had any colouring pencils. I got dinky’s colour box out. Which Dinky had filled with toys. She started showing the lady the toys. The lady coloured a little while dinky lined up her toys. The lady asked dinky to colour with her, dinky showed her all the colours and said she couldn’t because she didn’t have the right one. She showed the lady how her pen had a click top. I was reading the new CAF form we did on the last visit (chuckling at the demand avoidance behind the paper). The lady started asking dinky about school, dinky then picked up a yellow felt tip and said she was going to call it golden. She completely ignored the lady and started colouring, Again I was chuckling.

Unable to stop the questions she answered with wrong answers. Then she went off into fantasy, she told an awesome story about a dream about a wolf that snuck in her room to eat her. But she caught it by the tail and split his head in 2 (don’t ask me where she got that from). He wasn’t alone, he had an army! An army of 152 wolves and she did the same to them, then there were 55! Then they had babies, the babies were very small. She wanted to keep one of the babies.

I tried to make the lady a cuppa, but dinky wanted to come in with me to make it. I tried a number of things to get her to stay in the living room but she didn’t want to. So I got my ipad and dinky showed the lady pictures from London zoo.

Then Dinky coloured a little more, then decided she had, had enough and turned the TV on. The lady commented on the fact that dinky is a character! Oh yes!

Dinky then wanted a film on. I said she could when the lady left. She then hit punched me twice, I said she would get a warning if she carried on. she punched me again, I went to the warning chart (which doesn’t work but I use it anyway, it was good for her to see how useless it is), dinky took the warning off and threw it in the bin. I tried to stop her going back to it, she kept hitting me, screaming and reaching full meltdown, no-one needed that. So I backed off, let her trash the chart. She grabbed my keys and ran upstairs with them. I explained that me stopping her would have added fuel to the fire. I told her that if I leave her she will calm down and that is what happened. She was jumping on me and cuddling and slapping my leg at the same time, but apparently she wasn’t the one smacking, it was a ghost.

She made noises so that the adults couldn’t have a conversation and tried to control both of us.

I felt dinky had shown enough at this point to show the lady the PDA criteria.

She was wide eyed and nodding. She asked if I was going to show the paediatrician this on the 9th of July for our appointment, I said yes, although I was semi reluctant as I don’t want the paed to think I was consulting doctor google.

She agreed dinky fit the criteria and we went through just the bits she had shown.

The demand avoidance for the colouring- distraction, suggesting alternatives, making excuses, arguing, before withdrawing into fantasy.

Dinky appears sociable, but it is obvious she struggles socially.

She said it was amazing how quickly she switched from content to violent with no provocation.

I had given her the SaLT report and she nodded at the language delay.

After the London zoo Pictures dinky shoed her the ones from her 4th birthday, which everything was space. Obsessive behaviour.

Controlling, yes.

Behaviour modification not working- not only the warning system, but I showed her the incident reports from the 4 hours yesterday at the leisure centre.

She said she was going to amend the CAF form. I don’t know if she is going to add the PDA into it. If she does she does, if she doesn’t, it can get brought up at our first TAC.

She said she was going to phone the school next week, as she couldn’t get hold of the senco the week before half term. She is going to ask what support they have put into place. I laughed and said none. She smiled and said yes, she knows they haven’t, but they might after she speaks to them.  Also the will have to in consideration to the SaLT recommendations.

Have I mentioned that I quite like this lady!

Right now Dinky is in my room with the curtains shut, watching Netflix on her 7 inch tablet I got with her DLA. She desperately needs some down time. Especially as she has swimming later.

It looks as if this lady is really on our side!

Integrated services home visit

Yesterday was the visit from integrated services.
I spent most of the morning getting ready….You know, putting the books back on the bookcase in some sort of order, moving the boxes out of the dining area, taking the piles of washing to the relevant rooms, then tackling that pile of letters on the table and trying to think of a place to put them.

(Is it just me or does facebook make every job take twice as long? ‘oh I’ll take a break and look on the ipad for just a second’, an hour later and still only half done the jobs…)

In typical professional style, she was late.

1.15pm I got a knock at my door.

We sat down and she said she had looked over the CAF paperwork from the old school, and because we are now housed and Dinky has changed school that she thinks the best thing to do would be to start a new CAF.

I asked her who our lead professional would be, as I don’t want the senco from new school. She said that it was fine and as she is the one starting the CAF she would be the lead! I can not tell you just how pleased I am, it means I can battle the senco and not have to worry about it affecting the TAC meetings.

She did it differently to the old school. The old school just asked me the questions on the boxes. Whereas, we had a conversation about Dinky and she put the information in all the different boxes. It was much nicer as the questions were not all “what are her strengths/weaknesses” for each box. The questions were “So, how do you see dinky?”, “how do you think dinky comes across to others?”

I will admit it, at one point I cried because she said that it seemed I was doing everything I could possibly do, with and for, Dinky. She said as soon as she walked in she could see how much she means to me. (There are 6 pictures in the living/dining area, Dinky’s drawings have pride of place, both doors are dedicated to dinky’s visual timetables- they area way of making indirect demands-, and her school achievement certificates for reading are in the dining area).

I will also admit I didn’t bring up PDA. The last thing I wanted was for her to think I am one of ‘those’ mums who consult Dr. Google for everything, also it is hard enough trying to get the professionals to take me seriously with my mental health issues, I didn’t want being one of ‘those’ mums to be added to the things I have to fight against. Once she has met Dinky, and spent some time with her (which she is going to do during half term), then I will point out PDA and how dinky fits the criteria. Hopefully she will take that on board and help me to get others to agree, or at the very least agree to use strategies that work for dinky.

When I told her about the referral to the paediatrician she asked if they had sent out the conners questionnaire, which I have heard is for ADHD. I told her they sent out the autism spectrum questionnaire. She seemed to accept that too.

I think most people, when I first describe dinky, tend to think ADHD. It is true she can come across as hyperactive, but that hyperness stems from, being 5 mostly, and some from anxiety. Maybe I need to slightly edit my description? The mental health nurse mentioned ADHD once, although the old mental health nurse also said I was slightly hyper. I almost fell off the chair! I love sleep, I just don’t get enough due to being stressed and Dinky getting up at between 5 and 6am every morning. I fiddled with my headphones because I found it difficult being there and explaining why I was, and what my life is like. Me, hyper… ok then!

Anyway, the integrated services lady said Dinky sounds like a character and cant wait to meet her.

We discussed my background and mental health. Always a pleasure… not!

As she was leaving, she very kindly offered for me to phone her if I ever needed to, even if it is just to let off some steam, and reassured me that she would do what she could to get us both the support we need.

All in all it was a very nice surprise. I was fully expecting for her to blame me, want to send me on some parenting courses, have the same leaflets that the health visitors brought out last year about listening to your child.

Instead I go the opposite…. “You are doing really well, keep it up, and I will find you and the little one some support”.

She left at 2.30pm. I went to get dinky at 3pm.

When we got home my head started to pound. I ended up in bed just after dinky and got up with dinky at 5.15 this morning.

CAF Form, integrated services, and dinky’s teacher

I’ve never actually spoken to the head but she is lovely. Formidable, but lovely.
We started the form which was done without the questions. Each section was done purely on strengths and needs. It was hard to hear the school’s view of dinky. The look on the deputy’s face when behaviour and independence was brought up, as a parent, was devastating. The deputy has seen dinky first hand. I don’t think I have heard the word challenging so much in my life!
Dinky is slightly behind in her reading, and is behind in PSE in particular managing feelings and behaviour , and listening and attention, which are below age related expectations.
We went through dinky’s strengths and weaknesses in every section. The deputy was diplomatic but needed to accurately describe what happened at school. When it comes to what happens when she is home, I let them know. I had to tell them everything. It was in Dinky’s best interests.
The head teacher was very kind when it came to my own insecurities as a parent, my mental health and the wider family question. It was very hard to discuss some of those things, but again, it is for dinky.
When it was all done I left feeling like I’d completed an exam, and failed.
The worst part was as I left all I could hear was “MUMMY!” It took some time, but eventually they managed to get dinky to a point where I could leave.
I did some shopping in the local shop and as soon as I got home I put some soup in the microwave when my phone rang, I didn’t get to it in time but it was a missed call from the school. I phoned back and it was the deputy. She said integrated services had phoned and wanted to know the circumstances of our homelessness. Apparently she was very optimistic that she could at least help with the housing situation a little faster! I couldn’t believe it! The CAF form had only been completed 20mins before hand! She also told me that integrated services have called a CAF planning meeting (professionals only), for the 12th of February! That is 2 weeks away! I couldn’t believe it! In 2 weeks I might have some support plan for dinky!

My head is spinning!

I tried to relax a little before going back to get dinky from school.
When I went to get her the teacher called me in. We sat down and she told me that they were going to take dinky off the normal reward system at school. At present the kids all start on the fluffy cloud. If they are good they move to the sunshine, if they are really good they move to the rainbow. The flip side is, if they do something naughty their name gets written on the grey cloud, and for persistent bad behaviour (like dinky’s) the name goes on the whiteboard. It is possible to have their picture on the rainbow but their name on the whiteboard. They don’t agree with taking the previous achievement away, however this works both ways as the child will not get their name removed from the board. Every day this week dinky has been on the whiteboard.
So new strategy! Dinky is to have 5 mins in one minute disks. If she is good she gets more minutes, if she is bad she gets minutes taken away. At the end of the day she can use her minutes to pick an activity to do.
I brought up the contact book, and the teacher said that’s fine, but it has to be manageable. So she will do a book and tell me he minutes dinky has. If she has done something bad that will go in the contact book. For instance… Today dinky had to write her name and the teacher had 5 other children to get started in the group. Dinky refused point blank to do it. It took a while but the teacher managed to get her to do her name but she crossed it out and began scribbling. So the teacher said she was going to tell the deputy and went off. In that time dinky wrote her name nicely.
So stuff like that will go in the book.
I asked about the chewing. Apparently dinky does it quite a bit. I told the teacher about the necklace and she said it was a good idea and would ask the deputy if dinky was allowed it in school.
We had a little chat and it seems dinky is getting on ‘better’ with the teacher, but still not doing as she is told. However I did say I had noticed dinky had been ‘more compliant’ when it came to group was in her reading diary and the teacher laughed. She said she loved reading dinky’s reading diary as it had the best comments! I don’t know if that is my version of what happens or some of the things I put down that dinky says about the books. To be honest I thought she was getting annoyed because I kept asking for more printed sheets for the diary. However this time she was prepared and put 3 sheets in!

I guess it has been a very dinky day, but I feel much better knowing things are getting sorted.