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.

 

Advertisements

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!)

Dinky doesnt want to go to school… professionals are starting to get PDA!!!

Today I am a very mixed bag of emotions…

Dinky was not happy, so I am unhappy for her

Professionals are believing in PDA and see that Dinky fits PDA, things are moving forward with school and now more things are set in motion.. I am happy!

Dinky did not want to go to school this morning and pulled out some amazingly gifted demand avoidance strategies!

She went back to bed, she put her headphones on so she couldn’t hear me, she hid under the table, and then the washing. She asked question after question about why she has to go to school. When I wasn’t giving in, it turned to screaming and everything in her path seemed to be a missile, and I was the target. (If anything I am sure to lose my small amount of excess weight dodging them… 5 D’s of dodge ball and all that!)

So I tried to play a new one.

Me: Well, I am going to school because I want to do the activity at the craft table with all the other children

Dinky: You can’t leave me here! That is mean mummy!

Me: well, I can go to the school and then when they ask where you are, I will say that you didn’t want to come.

Dinky: Don’t leave me here!

And she started to get dressed between screaming “you are a mean and stupid mummy!”, she had a point on the mean, but not the right reasons! I was mean for tricking her, but I thought it was pretty clever actually. I will be careful not to over play this one as it would be a nightmare to carry out!

Eventually we were ready to go, but she didn’t want to leave and was having a difficult time understanding why she couldn’t wear her new, converse type, hi tops to school. So I had another idea. I asked her if she would like to listen to music on the way to school. She did and she was happy, she got her shoes on and put her wrist reins on without an issue and put her headphones on. She loved listening to the music on the way to school. Which created another issue. She didn’t want to give it to me when we got to school. She wanted the headphones in school.

Eventually I got them off her and that was it she wasn’t happy. Straight past the TA who she hadn’t seen in 2 weeks, and under the table. So I coax her out by showing her teacher the promise we made about phonics. (Dinky keeps going under the table in phonics so I made a promise to buy a magazine if she was to do phonics nicely until the end of the week. I did a sheet so the school could put some indication if she did it or not). The teacher helped and we got her out. She then did her activity and did the writing! Shock horror!

While she was busy I gave Simba to the teacher and then left it up to her when to give it to Dinky. It all fell apart when I was due to leave. She was still very anxious from the morning. While she enjoyed the music I could still sense the anxiety that radiated from her.

She then asked the teacher for Simba. Oh dear! Really not good!

Dinky went into the teacher’s cupboard, but it wasn’t in there, but she kept looking anyway, then she started throwing chairs and then ran out of the building onto the playground. I tried to calm her but she said she wanted to come home and that if she stayed I had to stay. I gave her a hug (when she calmed down enough to let me have a hug!), and then I took her back in.

Great day back for the TA… not! She ended up having to stop a very upset dinky running after me as I left.

 

I went round to get the plan from the head. Turns out it is an IEP.

The deputy head came with the head to show me the plan. He didn’t look too impressed. It might have something to do with him asking me a week ago not to go over the head of early years’ head, and then me proceeding to go over his head, which has led to the I.E.P being drawn up. I tried to give him my best ‘it was for the best’ look. Still not impressed! Oh well… I did it for dinky. If it was about keeping the school happy then sure, I may have listened.

 

Her targets are set around her behaviour. She has 3 in total…

  1. To be kind to other children and adults and not to hurt them
  2. I will go to my quiet space when I need to be on my own or feel like running out of the room
  3. To meet my adult at the end of the day without getting upset

I was impressed that the head actually got the senco to do it quickly, but then again they were fully aware that the integrated services lady was on her way out this morning!

So I got home and repaired the damage from today’s school battle before the integrated services lady got here.

Have I mentioned how much I like this lady? She came in and I showed her the IEP. Then she asked what had been going on in the past 3 weeks since she last saw us. So I told her about dinky and what was happening at home, which made me concerned about how she was getting on in school, and then I told her that I had a meeting with the Head and the senco yesterday. She said she had looked up attachment and it didn’t fit, but the more she looked into PDA the more she is sure that PDA is the issue. She recommended I definitely take the file on PDA with me to the Paediatrician appointment on the 8th (they changed the date and the paediatrician).

She said that although they don’t tend to like parents who diagnose their children, it seems Dinky has some very (very) strong traits! I asked her if she would write a report on how dinky was when she last came out for me to take with me, and she said yes!

We discussed the issues with the school, and went more in depth about the meeting I had with the school yesterday. I did say to the integrated services lady that again the home time thing was put on me, by them saying that it seemed like Dinky didn’t want to come home. I said that it would be nice if their first port of call wasn’t to blame me.

She said that it is clear to her that I am a good parent, that I love dinky and that I am acting solely in her best interests. She praised me for giving dinky the foundation in reading. (I am not a big fan of praise, especially not when it is something every parent should be doing with their child.) She said I am doing everything I can and will put that across to the school. She is going to talk to the school this week and ask them what services they can pull in for Dinky and call me after I speak to the head teacher on Friday.

Then she will arrange a TAC (team around the child) for Dinky the week of or after the paed appointment so that we can work out how we are going to deal with the transition into year 1, and get some idea of what support can be put into place! I can’t even begin to describe how much the last 2 days have felt like a huge, win!! I feel vindicated, and feel like we can actually do something to help dinky. It is miserable so I don’t think we will be going to the park.

However tonight I think I will relax.

So, until tomorrow!

When I have steps and dinky has swimming, and she has end of the week teacher, which should be interesting!

The meeting with the Head teacher and Senco actually goes ok… wow!

Today was a win!

Although less of a win then I first thought.

Let me explain…

When Dinky went to her first school, they were all,

“Yes, we will help and do our best and what is in her best interests”.

When in reality what happened was a lot of nodding and “poor kid”.

Which resulted in the only thing they did for her (which also helped the teacher) was give her play therapy (which I believe became a good route out of the class room for her), and gave her, her own behavioural system, which she got pretty bored with.  Although the senco did spend a lot of time with dinky.

Then they said “X school would be better, as they are used to dealing with families like yours”. Basically they used our housing situation to get rid of the trouble child.

 

 

Then there is this school… While I stand by the fact they should have spoken to me earlier and maybe, we could have avoided it getting this far. As it turns out it seems they do want to help, I MAY have misjudged them, but only time will tell…

So, today’s meeting….

It was with the senco and the head teacher (I still am not very keen on the senco, as she still seems a little work shy to me!)

Finally I hear the truth from a school for a change. I think I might actually like this head teacher as she is straight to the point and factual. I don’t like all the walking on eggshells and have made it quite clear that I would prefer the truth.

They started with the head’s assessment of dinky, which is both rather amusing and pretty spot on! This is what she said roughly….

“Dinky is very, very, bright, definitely not below average, I would say above average. What does come across is her need to control EVERYONE, adults and children. She is very smart when it comes to this and knows exactly what she is doing. For most kids they get the attention and that is enough for them. Dinky will get the attention and want to keep it. Everything is about power..”

I had to stop myself laughing… yes, I know dinky is controlling, and needs to be in control… my little miss PDA! She continues…

“She also uses running off as means of control”

Not quite unless someone is trying to control her or is giving a demand, which can be taken as needing to be in control.

“our other concern is her hitting other children.”

First I had heard of it… But then that is the teachers fault. They really need to let me know she is hitting. I tell them that I had no idea she had hit another child until Friday.

I come back with,

“Yes that sounds like dinky, and sounds like PDA.” And I show them the folder, I don’t go through it but I say, “In the folder is all the information I have collated on PDA, and one of the criteria is ‘led by a need to control’. As for the running off, it is probably when it is a structured activity, so you have avoidance. At the end I have put how PDA and dinky go together.”

So we sit and they say that they want to tackle the issue of hitting, and the issue of running off. I don’t know what I can do. She doesn’t run away from me in the house unless it is to do homework, and the hitting I do give a consequence for. It is up to dinky then to learn from the consequence. If her brain doesn’t work that way there is little I can do.

So we are going to try social stories for the hitting and the running away is a little trickier.

Dinky is on wrist reins, I took them off her when she was 3, and although we still had periods where she was unsafe, it was ok most of the time though, but they had to go back on shortly after starting school when her behaviour really went downhill and she was running more and more and it was harder to catch up with her when she put herself in such danger.

I explained this… the head said “Is there nowhere, where there are few roads where you could let her walk?”

Er…. No!

She soon realised there wasn’t. So there is nothing I can do to tackle it. As far as her running in school goes it is normally due to her high levels of anxiety and her demand avoidance. They are going to see if they can give her somewhere to run to.

I mentioned that the lead professional (integrated services lady) was coming round tomorrow morning and they are going to come up with a plan and give me a copy. Well, I have to give it to them, they are now going to make an effort. They haven’t so far, and I have had a right to be annoyed, and if they do not follow through, I will be very angry, and they will know ALL about it!

Dinky is going to get an I.E.P and the speech and Language will probably be in September. Which is fine.

In regards to the afterschool problem, we are going to have a now and next. Which gives less warning of an activity, but just may see us get home without too much of a fight. As long as we don’t have a park one!

It is hard to remember everything that was discussed.

They are no longer going to put her on the list for play therapy because we all know dinky doesn’t really need it.

They are going to use nurture a little more with her. I am going to have to look into that more. I think I know where the head was going last time with the attachment thing. Apparently all but 1 of the kids in there have attachment issues and if dinky had attachment issues, then she would ‘qualify’ to be in there. Something about boxall profiles. I will look that up later with interest. Although they have said that they may be able to use it more if she needs it.

Fridays are a big problem, and it is something they are going to look at because not only is there a change in routine (and although many PDA children do not like routine there are a number that do, dinky is one of them), and it is very structured in terms of demands, which is difficult for her too. So they are going to look at changing Friday for dinky.

In regards to the school trip… They are going to talk to the special needs group and find out what they do to keep dinky safe. I guess they will let me know about the trip when they have spoken to the group leader.

We have to draw a line under the past with school and move forward.

 They haven’t said no to the trip… (But then again, I didn’t really give them any choice!)

 

The latest issue now is that when it is phonics time, dinky will hide under the table. Today, they got the deputy as dinky refused to come out, and she still won’t sit properly for carpet time. She couldn’t at the old school either. I think she really struggles with it, but I do not know what the problem is. She tells me she just wants to be on her own.

We actually went to the park today, but only for a short time.

She walked home nicely but started getting over the top once we got in, so she is watching Netflix.

Let’s see how we get on tomorrow with the lady from integrated services.