When I was looking at schools for Dinky one of my main concerns was how far away it was. This was for many reasons, one of which being, that at the time I didn’t own a car and I was still taking driving lessons. More reasons included
- What if they didn’t turn up?
- What if they were late? Dinky isn’t a fan of waiting around
- What if they didn’t get Dinky? were too bossy, too strict, too much for her
- What if Dinky couldn’t cope with the journey?
- What if she had a meltdown at the end of the day because she hadn’t finished and couldn’t get in the taxi?
- What if Dinky doesn’t like them?
There are lots of variables and I can tell you that I am not a fan of variables! Too many what if’s. The problem is that in the end that choice was taken away. It was ‘go to this school that is out of county’ or her not go to school at all.
While I love my child, I utterly respect those parents who are able to make that decision and home school, but 11 months at home with Dinky showed me that we both needed our space and that 8 hours a week respite at the time just wasn’t enough to recover from the challenging behaviour and the constant walking on eggshells. I felt that if this became the only option then of course I would happily take it on board, but I felt we owed special education at least a try to see if Dinky could cope with it.
I have written quite a few posts about the fact that she goes to a school for children on the autism spectrum with moderate to severe learning difficulties and while Dinky hasn’t got a diagnosed learning difficulty (except her reports from school say specific learning difficulty and to be honest I haven’t asked them what that is because I keep forgetting due to the reasons I have had contact with them lately). The reason I am happy with this is it gives her the slow paced and less demanding atmosphere she needs in her education placement. The school, to their credit, have been very accepting of Dinky’s demand avoidance and have been proactive in coming up with strategies to get the most out of her while not poking the PDA bear.
Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I’m just so happy that Dinky likes school and that she is learning, might not be anywhere near as much as her peers, but I am more than happy with the progress she has made.
Things are not allowed to go smoothly for us though, it would be far too much of a change for us both and we would start to believe that we had been transported to a parallel universe (Sometimes it already feels like that due to the complete turn around in terms of health, education and social care that we have seen in the last year or so).
We have had nothing but problems with the taxi firm since they started in January. Lateness was my main issue with them, the escort that was in the back of the car with Dinky would constantly blame the driver (although how much of that I believed at times I am not entirely sure)! They changed drivers after the summer and low and behold they were still late! Which only confirmed my suspicions that she was the one holding things up before the summer! The second day of this term they didn’t even show up in the morning!
The school were struggling to get Dinky in her taxi and I was having more difficult mornings even though Dinky was more than happy to go to school and play with her teacher and her favourite TA. It got to the point where Dinky had started refusing the taxi and I have collected her a few times over the last couple of weeks. As one other parent pointed out, it was a good thing that I managed to get driving lessons and went through the hassle of sorting out the car and then went through the hassle of getting the car I have now, as I would have been stuffed otherwise.
I was a bit wary of picking her up from school the second time she decided that she didn’t want to get in the taxi and up to that point we (school and I) hadn’t gotten to the root of the issue. There are a few things we thought it could be initially
- She didn’t like the escort (who is a sour faced moo! And I’m not the only one who has said it), it isn’t surprising as she can be a bit hard on Dinky and gets frustrated with the repetitive songs Dinks plays. I had absolutely no sympathy for her as her husband runs the taxi firm and she knew what she was getting into, Dinky has a transport care plan which points out at various points that she is autistic, if you can’t handle repetition, especially considering the main times it would be used was due to her own poor time keeping which messed with dinky’s routine.
- She didn’t like the fact that I am now volunteering for the parent carer forum and am not at home where she thinks I am, and this is her way of being in control.
- She wanted me to pick her up because the other girl in the class that she likes gets picked up by her mum who lives in the same town as the school and isn’t eligible for transport because she lives within 2 miles. (we have to add on 23 miles to that!)
- She loves the new car and wants to come home in the new car.
This was the list myself and Dinky’s teacher put together.
As it happens it is a mixture of all of them which I found out after a very stressful conversation ‘with’ Dinky ( I say with, but it was more me explaining the situation and her shouting at me in response).
So I phoned Transport last week. She said she would try and sort something, she called me back Thursday to tell me the taxi quit! This initially made me think ‘what cheeky so and so’s! Quitting insinuates they have had enough and decided not to continue but they were the ones who displayed poor time keeping and upset dinky enough for her not to want to go in the taxi!’. However my response was, “Good, Dinky didn’t want them to continue anyway”.
Between school and I we decided it was probably a good idea for me to do the school run up until the contract ended, but I have already promised my time to some very important meetings for the parent career forum, and I could do some afternoons but not the mornings. I gave Dinky the options and she has agreed to go in the mornings and for me to pick her up every day but Wednesday and we are going to go out from school Friday as she finishes early on that day. After half term Dinky will have a new taxi service!
I confirmed this all with transport Friday, who are going to reimburse me the cost of pertol. I don’t think the current taxi company were happy when I text them, but I don’t care. Actually I have been thinking they should re-brand their advertisements, I have some suggestions…