I’m off to bang my head on a brick wall…. (school issues… more school issues!)

It is getting to the point with the school where I just have to expect the most ignorant and irresponsible things to occur!

Take today and the last 2, no 3, actually 8 weeks.

Ok seriously today was the biggest joke.

This morning Dinky decides that again, she doesn’t want to go to school. So I get kicked and punched while she ‘thinks’. Her choice was a simple one.

  1. She stayed home which means she will not be allowed to go to the attendance treat, which also meant no tv, no tab, no ipod, no toys= no fun
  2. She goes to school and gets to go on the attendance treat at the end of term.

It was a battle for her to accept her choice of the attendance treat (dinky can not turn down a go on a bouncy castle!).
Once it was time to leave I could sense that we were going to go through the same thing we had for the past 2 weeks, so I decided to try and head her off. I said she could take her, now fully grown, cress into school today. She was holding it carefully so I managed to get out without being attacked!

 

On the way she said the usual

“my tummy hurts”, “my feet are burning”, “I have runned out of energy”, “I’m too tired to walk”.

God forbid that one day she does have a tummy ache, I would not believe her for a second!

When we got to school she was interrupting all the adults showing them her lovely fully grown cress. She paid no attention to them saying they were busy, she had the cress, they had to look at the cress! She was then messing about with the activity which involved scissors.

Once she was done she went back to end of the week teacher and was showing her the cress again, then she was showing the other children, she got them all to sit around her while she told them what she used to make them grow.

As I left I asked end of the week teacher if Dinky was allowed on the school trip. Apparently it would have been ok, up until last Thursday when Dinky was playing up… Contact book says

“”Dinky is still very wriggly on the carpet but has had a good day. She has been mixing all day with a new friend (smiley face)””

Hmmm, nothing in that to suggest anything out of the blue! Friday was majorly different. As I wrote on here she cut a hole in her school jumper, had spat and all sorts at school.

I asked if she meant Friday, she said, Thursday as well, and she couldn’t understand the trigger for the change, Friday is music and PE, and most kids find Friday harder as it is much more structured and different to their normal routine.

She said that I would have to speak to the head teacher about it as there is a risk element.

Basically Dinky is not being invited on the school trip.

Ok I thought, I would just go and see the head teacher as I am supposed to be meeting her now. So I left dinky teaching her class mates.

I went to the office to be told that the head wasn’t in this morning, but she would be in in the afternoon. I told them she said to come by today after I had dropped dinky off. She looked puzzled. I told her I was not happy and that I expected better from a head.

I went into town and got more ink for my printer along with some other supplies, and came home to read up on the disability discrimination act, SENCOP (Sen code of practice), and the equality act. All in regard to schools and children.

I then wrote a letter to the school saying that Dinky is classed as having a disability, hence having been awarded DLA, and that means that she should be protected by the disability discrimination act. I highlighted the relevant parts, and then wrote this at the end

“”This means that under the above legislation, reasonable adjustments must be made to ensure that Dinky is not discriminated against on the account of her disability. Her disability, while not yet defined by medical professional in terms of diagnosis, includes her behavioural issues.

The school can not say that I have not informed them, or tried to inform them, that Dinky has additional/special needs, which includes the nature of her disability.

Also, while caution is advisable, I might remind the school that Dinky has been on a number of successful trips, both with her previous school and with xxxx. (xxxx is a charity which runs groups for children with special/additional needs- disabilities). Granted she requires 1:1 on such occasions, but I do not see how this is not a “reasonable adjustment” that can be made for this trip to ensure that dinky is not discriminated against by being excluded.

Of course if the school has reasons which do not pertain to her disability, I would be happy to receive this in writing on headed paper and signed by either the Head teacher or other responsible member of the senior leadership team who are responsible for making these decisions.””

 

Hopefully this will mean that she will be accepted, if they have a loophole they can wiggle through then I will have to say that not allowing her to go will cause more issues because the staff, going on what was done previously, will talk about nothing but the trip for weeks leading up to and after the trip. Dinky found the whole thing rather upsetting and I think the only reason she wasn’t more upset is because I took her to the London eye, the aquarium and London Zoo. I will have to do something else with her to distract her from the fact that once again she will be excluded.

This will bring me nicely onto the point about her SEN status, as they can’t exclude her from 2 trips and then deny there is an issue. It doesn’t work that way.

 

So I printed off the letter and took it to the school, the receptionists face was a picture, as she scanned the letter… it was a mix of shock and disbelief!

I left to get dinky and was met by the head of early years. Dinky did not have a good day at school…

  • she refused to take part in learning activities today
  • she hid under the table during phonics
  • she messed about during PE and music
  • she hid during playtime, giving end of the week teacher the run around (which I had to try NOT to laugh at!)
  • She wouldn’t sit for carpet time
  • And finally… she punched a kid in the face for seemingly no reason

At which point Dinky piped up

“Yes, but I did write the boy a sorry letter.”

Hmmm.

So the head of early years wasn’t impressed and nor was end of the week teacher. To be fair I can handle all of the stuff accept her punching the kid in the face!

Then out of the blue the head teacher turned up! She asked if I could meet with me on Monday at 9am. During this Dinky asked if she could go to the park, and I said no because she punched a boy in the face. That was it… she was off. I had to chase her, then get her to go back in to get her book bag, she then went under the table and threw books at me. Then she tried to throw a chair at me. All because we were not going to the park!

I calmed her down by taking her to the shop and letting her choose what we were going to have for dinner and letting her pick the weekend lunch snacks.

Once home I realised that we had left Simba at school! Dinky was not happy, but she didn’t kick off. Actually she was much calmer this afternoon, which was very nice!

I think (obviously apart from punching other children which I do not condone and I feel terrible for the boy involved), that I much prefer it when she avoids all demands at school. It makes for a much nicer home child and now the school cant give me that superior judgement grin, because it is not a home handling issue, as she can be good, and now just as bad for them! I just hope she doesn’t hit the teachers, as I can guess that that will lead to her being permanently excluded!

 

So my meeting with the head teacher did not go ahead, but now I have more ammunition for Monday. It will be very interesting to see what they have to say.

So that is today… we shall see what the weekend brings… which is hopefully a lot better than this week!

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

When is an attachment disorder not an attachment disorder… When it is PDA!

 

Today, I had a brief conversation with the Head teacher of Dinky’s school.

She is just like the head of dinky’s old school, and it does not surprise me that they worked well together in a different county!

I was explaining the whole ‘experience’ of dinky starting at her school. At one point she cut me off….

HT: Is it just the two of you

Me: Yes, we did share a house with a friend, but it is the two of us.

HT: Well, I thought I would ask as from 0-3 children form attachments,  but if someone just disappeared out of her life it could cause an attachment disorder.

Me: I don’t think it is an attachment disorder.

She went on to say that she is going to get all her staff who come into contact with Dinky together and get a better understanding of what she is like in school. She said she would contact the first school and speak to her good friend. Also she wants to contact the CAF lead professional.

I am not sure what is going to happen but she is going to get back to me Friday.
I’m just so sick of everyone assuming that it is anything but what it probably is. Thankfully this ignorant and arrogant head teacher is not a medical professional and her opinion matters very little in terms of Dinky. I was shocked by her assumption and plan on putting her straight, I intend to write a letter to her explaining that while she is entitled to her opinion, even if it is after meeting me for all of 10 minutes and never having met Dinky. Also that dinky will be attending the autism spectrum clinic within the child development centre for assessment. This is the direction the medical professionals are going in and I would appreciate any other gems of unqualified assessment be kept to herself in future.

I understand that this may seem harsh but I will not allow someone to make out that I am to blame for dinky’s difficulties, when I finally get round to stopping blaming myself for how dinky is. Also if I let them walk all over me now they will continue to do so.

Dinky’s refusing to get ready to go to school is getting worse, and the meltdowns afterschool, while not as bad as Friday or last Sunday, are still happening and is now almost a daily occurrence. However today she was a pickle coming out of school as the teacher wanted to talk to me. She had had a bad day at school.

On the way home I let her pick dinner from the shop and she could pick a snack for the way home.

Once home I let her pick when dinner was, and how much she had. She span for a few minutes and then sat to watch Netflix. After dinner I sat down with her and asked her, when she was relatively calm, if she liked school. She said no, her reasons were:

  • I don’t like being told what to do
  • I don’t like carpet time because I want to sit on my own
  • I want to be the teacher
  • I don’t want to write- all we do is write, write, write

add that to her previous reasons from last week

  • My teachers don’t believe in me (maybe meant believes her?)
  • X wont play with me anymore
  • My teachers tell me not to worry but my brain does it

I must admit I did say to the teacher, after she said Dinky was harder to handle today, that I was less than impressed with the head, and that dinky is getting worse at home too. That dinky doesn’t want to go into school in the mornings and we had a massive meltdown last week because she realised it was back to school. I told her I don’t want to see my daughter suffer, she is 5 and in her first year of school, and I can see this is only going to get worse. I also confided that I am losing faith in their willingness to support her, she may be academically able but she needs support with the other side of schooling, the social and behavioural aspects.
The teacher agreed, she said that they will try to find a way forward starting with the meeting tomorrow. She will try and make sure that the SENCO is brought in properly, as now she is playing up more in class.

I just hate seeing her like this.

I have to think about the good things though… she still cracks me up on a daily basis!

We were walking home and dinky wanted to stroke a dog, so I let her. instead of saying goodbye she barked at the dog. I asked why she barked

 

“Because dogs don’t speak English!”

Gotta love her!

Tomorrow should be interesting with the meeting at school!

 

I never thought I….

would have become a mum, let alone a mum of a special needs child!

Todays post is inspired by an email I got this morning asking what I am doing now that I never thought I would. This is the biggest…

 

Let me explain….

It is no secret that I had a rubbish childhood, I always said I did not want kids. I did not like the possibility that I could end up like my mother (As an indicator of just how far she went… I still have very feint scars on my arms from where she attacked me with a hot iron). Of course I was told that was a stupid notion, by the same counsellor that said maybe she was abused which is why she did what she did. Truth is, I will never know.

When I fell pregnant with Dinky I had no idea until I was 6 months gone. It took the question of termination out of my hands. I wondered almost every day of my 3 month pregnancy, whether or not I would have done it. Termination is a very personal thing, and there are very strong opinions on it. I don’t think I could have terminated the pregnancy, even if I did have the choice. However it would have been nice to feel like I had a choice whether or not to embark on being a single parent whose only idea of a mother was one who was always angry and who used me like a human emotional and physical punch bag. Even if it wasn’t a real choice.

I worried continuously about the type of mother I would be. I was scared.

It didn’t take long before my contingency plan was that if I ever hit my baby in anger I would give the baby to social services myself, and tell them what I had done.

The day Dinky was born I almost lost her. She became distressed and then got stuck as the cord was wrapped around her neck twice. They had to help her out and she was blue, she wasn’t breathing and I didn’t hear her cry. I was on my own and it was one of the scariest moments in my entire life and I never felt so alone. Eventually she cried, which meant she was breathing!

Once she had pinked up a bit I was allowed to hold her. In that moment I fell in love. I couldn’t see how I could ever harm such an innocent baby.

She was a very easy baby, she rarely cried, and I felt I knew what she wanted when she got grizzly.

There I was… a Mum! A day I never thought would come…

 

Fast forward 2 years…

Dinky was walking and even though she didn’t say more than 10 different words 5 of them being 1-5, she was a character and had a giggle that could melt even the hardest of hearts. However she was a handful! At her 2 year health check she seemed to be above her age for most things apart from speech and language and something else which included personal care, which the health visitor said was ok, but she wanted to send dinky to speech and language. I wasn’t all that bothered, maybe she was a late talker.

I did ask about the speech and language as she got older, then just before she started playgroup I got a drop in flyer, except by this point she was saying so much it was hard to keep her quiet at times! So I didn’t bother.

Fast forward to the start of the blog,

January this year she was identified as having special educational needs by school. I had people telling me she was autistic, and the school saying she wasn’t. February I find out about PDA, which creates the infamous PDA parent ‘lightbulb moment’!

Even when I found out about it, it didn’t instantly change my perception of dinky from average kid, to special needs child.

I think it was a combination of being referred by three different people without saying a word to the special needs group and her being accepted, the DLA award, meeting up with the young boy with PDA and every time I we go to one of the special needs things I am always asked… “ASD?”, that finally made me admit dinky has special needs.

I just never thought I would be a parent, let alone the mum of such a beautiful, intelligent, yet special needs child.

It is a weird realisation and a horrible one as well.

I think most special needs parents go through a kind of grieving process for the childhood they thought their kids would have.

For me personally, I don’t think I am all the way there yet, but I cant pin point why.

I know that dinky struggles, and that she is not a typical 5 year old. She is not reaching her academic potential and that she is unlikely to because of her anxiety. I know that she is likely to struggle socially and does because she is very overpowering and controlling. I know she finds it hard keeping herself in check and she doesn’t fully understand what is going on in the world around her. And I know that I cant have a conversation with her because she doesn’t always understand what I am saying, she wont try at times to understand, and she finds it hard to express herself verbally despite being able to talk the hind legs off a donkey.

I know that all this is down to PDA which is an autism spectrum disorder. All I am waiting on, as Jane put it so perfectly, is ‘for someone with the letters after their name to confirm it’.

Yet here I am wondering if I should press the publish button… But I am because it is a true reflection of how I feel about it all.

So there you have it the biggest thing I never thought I would… is be a parent… a parent of such a wonderful special needs child!