Dinky is growing

I am constantly amazed by Dinky, more often since starting her special school.

She is just growing and achieving beyond what I thought was possible 18 months ago. Readers are going to start getting bored of me praising the school, but I cant thank them enough.

Dinky’s communication has improved a lot.. she has always been a talker but not a fantastic communicator, I learnt very early on that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Now she can tell me when she feels sad and instead of running off, she will ask for something.

I laughed so hard the other morning when I had this conversation with Dinky (she was in a state of lower anxiety which was great)…

Me: Yes you can have a snack once you are dressed

So with my help she gets her t-shirt, pants and trousers on… and promptly runs out of the room…

me: where are you going? You’re not dressed yet

Dinky comes back to the door- looks at me with deep concentration on her face as she sees me holding up a pair of socks… She motions to her top and trousers and

Dinky: Technically… Dressed!

Me: But you haven’t got your socks on (I was trying so hard not to laugh)

Dinky: Not Nakie (naked)

She won that one- I tried so so hard not to laugh! I put her socks on while she had an apple.

I was just so proud of her being able to use a technicality to get her way. I know most parents would be annoyed, but technically it is my own fault for not specifying which items of clothing constituted being dressed and as she frequently runs around the house and school without socks- to her they are an optional extra.

Progress shouldn’t be monitored by exams and tests… it is the little things that can be a sign of great progress.

 

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Genetics not parenting!

For those that follow this blog regularly or for a long time-you will know already how much I struggled in the beginning to get Dinky’s needs recognised. 

I was at a social care innovation meeting yesterday and the idea was brought up that I go on the video explaining the assessment process- I don’t have an issue being filmed in the general sense, but I do worry about people’s inability to see past appearance. 

I felt that people may think it wasn’t a child disability assessment service because I am often seen as a parent who would have other reasons for a social care assessment- like what the second school pulled.

I have mentioned before that I am seen as a ‘chav in a hat’, maybe not quite so much anymore since I swapped my Nike trainers for walking trainers, my typical baseball cap for a Harry Potter one with a ‘military’ style shape, and sometimes wear fleeces instead of hoodies, but the hoodies I do have are not sports brands anymore. It is sad that I felt I had to alter my apperance because people were judging my parenting and dismissing my daughters needs based on it. 

I will never forget both mainstream head teachers, not so subtly, remind me that I am working class and ‘less’ than them. 

That is me, and I’m ok with that, but when that is instantly used as a reason for a child’s struggles to the exclusion of the evidence before them… Well, that is NOT ok! 

I remember the feeling when I went back to the school with Dinky’s ASD-PDA diagnosis. It was brilliant! It was proof that my parenting was not the cause- the chav in a hat is capable of decent parenting. 

I will have to admit that they were right on one count…. it is my fault Dinky is ‘the way she is’ but not in the way they thought….

genetics- not parenting. 

5 year old…formally or illegaly excluded today? I have no idea!

Today is one of those days where you wish you had stayed under the duvet!

I had a phone call from my American friend whose daughter goes to dinky’s old school. We only spoke 3 weeks ago. It seems so much has happened this week, let alone in the last 3! As for my friend she has had a lot on her plate. Her poor 5 year old daughter was being bullied by 7 year olds. It had been going on for a couple of weeks and no-one had picked up on it at school. Anyway, that phone call lasted until just after 1am.

Dinky did her best ‘I’m asleep’ routine this morning. It took a while to get her ready to go and the only way I could get her out of the door was to let her have her headphones on. Which was fine. We got to school ok, but Dinky wouldn’t give me the headphones back. She was messing about during the activity and when I managed to get them off her she was trying to fight me for them. Needless to say that she wont have that again!
She was kicking off so the TA told me to just go.

So I left her there and went home. To find my Dad had locked himself out and needing his spare key. I let him in. Apparently he went out to smoke and shut the door on himself… muppet!  I went straight to my –it has everything I don’t need but may need- draw, where things like spare keys live. My grandad’s keys were in there but my dad’s weren’t. Hmm.

We had a bit of a disagreement as to who had the keys. He was annoyed, I was equally annoyed. If I had them they would be in the draw.

So I look everywhere I may have put them and they are nowhere to be found.

Then I think about Dinky. She has a habit of putting things on the bottom drawer of my bedside cabinet. There they were. I sent him on his way. Caught up on facebook, and got trigger happy on Call of Duty on Xbox.

I then caught the bus to town to go to my keywork session. I was just coming up to the building when my phone rang. It was the school.

Apparently Dinky had a bad morning at school and had hurt someone so was being sent home.

So I had to turn round and leave a message for my keyworker to let her know what had happened. I caught the bus back up to the school and was there for 1.30pm. The head of pastoral care was there. I had now met the full set of the senior leadership team!

He said that dinky had a bad morning, had refused to do as she was asked and kicked a teacher, so they were sending her home.

The senco brought her out to me, she was not in a good mood at ALL.

The HOPC (head of pastoral care) said that dinky was asking if she could have television on when she got home. I said no not until it would be time to come home. He caught me well off guard and I should not have said that! Dinky was starting to get more upset.

HOPC: You are being sent home, tomorrow is a new day, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow for a fresh start.

Dinky: I don’t want to come to school. I hate this school.  I am not coming to school tomorrow!

It went backwards and forwards, but she was adamant. Then:

HOPC: Well, you need to go home with mummy now.

Dinky: I don’t want to go with mummy. GET AWAY FROM ME!!! I hate her! I’m still not coming to school!

I won’t pretend I wasn’t a little hurt.

HOPC: Are you ok carrying her out?

I had to carry her while she was literally kicking and screaming. Which was not good. I had to put her down once we got outside. Then she refused to come home.

It was hot and I am not a fan of the heat at all. It gets me all flustered and short tempered. I quickly got frustrated with dinky as she refused to walk home. She said she wanted to go back to school. When I eventually got her to move she stopped outside the gate to the early years playground as the early years children had come out to play. Which meant again, she wouldn’t move. We were blocking the pathway so I had to get her home. I picked her up, again kicking and screaming and got her to the community centre across the cul de sac. The nursery children were playing, dinky was screaming and shouting and crying.

One of the kids started shouting “cry baby!” at her. Which made her more upset. Then one of the nursery staff laughed. I then called across saying that allowing the children to name call a child who is obviously in distress is completely unprofessional, and to laugh about it is worse!

So I had to pick her up and get her away from the other children.

Then there were teenagers having lunch, or at least trying to while Dinky was still in a state. They were talking loudly about what a little shit she was. So again I had to move her.

Then she bit my hand and kicked and I dropped her.

Oh dear!

Dinky: you are mean mummy you hurt me.

We had this battle, walk a bit, sit a bit all the way home.

Once in dinky went straight up to her room and started trashing the place.

Then she got into the hugging state. SO she came down and we had a hug. She lay on me and I tried to reassure her. Then after a few minutes she went to sleep, again a few minutes later she was woken by me, trying to get the phone.

It was the integrated services lady. She was really nice and asked how dinky was. I told her she had just gone off to sleep before the phone rang. She apologised to which, I told her there was no need. She said the school had phoned to say she had been send home as she had a bad day at school and kicked the teacher. She said that she had arranged a meeting with the head teacher just after my meeting with her on Friday, and that she would like to come and see me after.

I told her how it took us 30-40 minutes to get home and she said that for dinky to now be calm means at least I’m doing a good job by managing to get her calm quickly. She said that she is going to support me to get dinky the support she needs.

Dinky was then awake so I let her watch some T.V as it was now nearly 3pm. She was much less anxious and said that she was sorry for being naughty at school. I told her it is ok and that I love her. She replied “I know, mummy I know.”

She was laying on me still and out of the blue she said

“They put me in a dark room with no toys, and no teacher to look after me.”

I looked at her in surprise. She carried on…

“There were spiders…. And …. Lots of bugs!”

Well, she was coming back to herself properly now, her sense of humour was back!

We spent the afternoon relaxing and had pizza for dinner. I decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to push it and go swimming tonight. So I left it.

She is still messing about in her room and not going to sleep but she at least seems content enough.

I phoned the ISPEA helpline, as when I looked on facebook I was informed that Dinky was actually informally excluded.
After a lengthy call with them, it turns out that they were spot on.
Dinky was illegally excluded, unless I turn up tomorrow and have written confirmation of a fixed term exclusion, and even then I have grounds to complain about the exclusion as I wasn’t aware of it being a formal exclusion and that it seems no reasonable adjustment was made to take dinky’s SEN or disability into consideration. It also seems drastic for a 5 year old.

As for the school trip, I was spot on they are not allowed to discriminate against her and I have some more information.

Again statutory assessment was brought up.

Just these two incidents prove that this school can not meet dinky’s needs. They should have been able to handle her on site and sent her home (illegally) and the fact that they are again saying they do not know if they can manage her behaviour on the trip, goes to show that they do not have the resources for her.

So I have to decide whether or not going down the statutory assessment route is worth it. It could mean dinky gets a set amount of hours 1:1, which will not only help dinky, but the school too. As if they can keep her calm, and someone is tuned into her anxiety levels then they may have the ability to avert some of the situations the school find themselves in.

This leaves me with some thinking to do.

Do I say something tomorrow? Do I ask if she was formally excluded? If she was do I fight it? DO I use this to show that they need help to cater to her needs?

Do I say yes but wait until I meet with the head on Friday?

I don’t know.

The whole situation has been a nightmare. I don’t want dinky to think that if she behaves like this then she will be able to just come home, and I do not want the school to exclude her formally or illegally!

Getting her hoe was a nightmare and again this shows that the school are not thinking properly. Dinky’s IEP acknowledges her problems with transition yet they still excluded her, which meant something completely out of routine and completely different. They did not take into account how she would react to it, or what effect this would have on her!

They didn’t think. This I will definitely bring up.

 

It feels like I have been tossed into some parallel universe!

Most kids go to school and the most the parent worry about is whether or not little Timmy got paint on their jumper again.

Here I am trying to work out whether or not they just formally or illegally excluded my 5 year old!

You cant get any more different to what I envisioned for dinky for school…

But I am here now and I have to suck it up, place my amour on, put on my war paint and prepare to do battle….

(At least I can not say my life is dull and that I am not learning anything! By the time Dinky is in secondary school I will probably be able to recite the SENCOP and DDA, and equality act!)

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