By EllaSweet - 01/03/2017
This morning I received a text from the school, simply stating "Your son arrived late to school this morning. Could you please ensure that he arrives promptly at 8.35 as lessons commence at 8.40. Kind regards, *school name*
This is the email that I have written to the principal, but not sent. I am unsure if i will send it, but I really do think something should be said.
I have attached a copy of the text message that I received this morning, as I was deeply upset by this. This morning I told my son to get out of bed and get ready for school. He refused. I shook him. He yelled at me. I tried to drag him out of bed. He fought me. I threatened him, bribed him, blackmailed him. He refused. I informed him of the consequences, he didn't care. I did everything in my power to get him up and to school on time. But this is still not good enough, is it?
When my son started at *school name* in 2014, he struggled a lot. He has ASD and what comes easily to us, is a daily struggle for him. I tried to work with the teachers, but I when I was told by my son's mentor teacher that I needed to quit my job as it was my responsibility to be there at the end of the day to ensure *son's name* was bringing all of his things home, I had enough. I removed *son's name* from the school, as it obviously was not a good fit for him, or for me.
*son's name* struggled even more learning at home. Without the regular class times, he found it hard to commit to regular study. As the following year both my daughter and other son would be at *school name*, I decided to give the school another try with *son's name*. This worked well for a time, especially with the high level of support we received from *special ed teacher*
The lack of support from teachers and other staff, however, has been less than acceptable. I was repeatedly told that if there were any problems, I would be contacted. If *son's name* was struggling, they would let me know. They did, technically, in the form of failing report cards - but of course by then it was too late. The majority of assignments he failed was when he was required to complete work on them from home. I went to the parent teacher evenings. I met with every one of his teachers and asked for one simple thing from each of them - to let me know when he had assignments due so I could assist him at home and ensure he was handing his work up on time. Out of the 10 teachers he had last year that I met with, ONE was able to do this for me. Not surprisingly, he did well in that subject.
Every day here is a struggle. It affects my life greatly, and the health and well-being of my other children. But we go on trying. I do my best. I can not possibly do any more than I do. So when a text like this comes through, especially after the morning I had trying to get him to school, I feel angry, upset and humiliated. Like I have failed again.
Can I also just mention that this is the first time he has been late this year? At the very least have a go at me when he is consistently being late. I'm also happy to accept any advice on how I can get him to school in the future, as it seems to be really easy for you?
In summary, I am doing my best. Are you?
I am angry and upset still. Every time someone says or even hints that he should just do things because all the other normal kids do those things, like get to school on time, it's a kick in the guts and a reminder that he's never going to be like everyone else, and he is always going to struggle with some things. He also has pretty bad insomnia at the moment and is sleeping 2 - 4 hours per night. He is almost 17, and in year 11 at school. I am at my wit's end. I even got to the point late last year where I couldn't go on and tried to put him into foster care. I couldn't, because his father who hasn't seen him for two years, technically still has some custody (no orders, just has custody because apparently he's a parent) and wouldn't sign the papers. He wouldn't take the kid and help me out, either, but hey, he's a parent with rights.
I don't know or care if anyone reads this. I do feel better for getting it out there. I'm happy to give the back story, as it's been a wild ride! Started getting concerns around age 7. Told by his father that there was nothing wrong with him (father still believes there is nothing wrong him - we got three diagnoses saying otherwise). Eventually stopped listening to his father and decided to seek diagnosis. Saw three different GPs before one of them gave me a referral. The first two asked my son three or four questions and said he was fine. The referral was sent to the pediatric department of the public hospital. Told it could be up to 18 month wait. We were able to get into a private pediatrician with a three month wait, so went with that just to start getting some help. He was first diagnosed as Aspergers by this pediatrician at age 10. Then started the wait to get the second diagnosis that we needed. Call hospital every month - they just said to wait. I eventually wrote an email to the health minister saying that the waiting time was ridiculous. Shortly after I received an apology from the hospital - they had lost the referral and despite over a dozen calls to the hospital to see where he was on the waiting list, he had never actually been put on the waiting list. He was bumped up the list and a few months later we had an appointment for a second diagnosis. Unfortunately the second appointment ended up being with another pediatrician, and as we needed two different specialists, we still didn't have an official diagnosis. Another six months later and an appointment with a psychologist (I think it was?) and we were officially diagnosed and could get assistance. I was told to "not bother" getting assistance because by this stage it was less than two weeks until my son was turning 13, and any help I could get cut out at the age of 13 - by the time I had the appropriate meetings and filled in the paperwork it would be too late to get any help. I've been doing it all on my own since then - reading up, dealing with teachers, helping wherever and however I could. The NDIA - the agency here in SA which gives funding to ASD kids among others - is rolling out slowly and by the end of the year, or shortly before my ASD child officially becomes an adult, he will finally be able to get assistance. Like I said, wild ride.
By polpak - 22/04/2017
A great letter ;-)
IMHO and experience educators often need detailed medical reports that clearly point out behaviors outside expected normal range particularly those not so easily fixable by suspensions.
Depends a lot on teachers in schools who often need our help, even with their understanding do still receive standard form letters and mail-outs.
BTW things are improving, slowly, particularly when provide early diagnosis with detailed reports.
Am taking my (years almost 15) grandson to counseling sessions each month, a few more earlier when first started, as very slow to obtain his co-operation at start, even the counselor wondered if was any benefit after third session, which happily was able to identify several slight though for self useful improvements.
Minecraft encouraged him to speak louder and clearer despite difficulties to join talks with some elsewhere friends.
Did show him how to record his own talking, then play back, and left him to it, this encouraged his using it to speak clearer, some various words or phrases take a lot more effort, Including practice for a short speech he gave at start of year 6 at school.
Minecraft he plays, also Pokimon when he has my mobile. Learning and playing Minecraft provided considerable enjoyment, self notes required he do more reading and patience to follow the instructions, even improving searches for YouTube videos helps, shows also with him enjoy playing more.
Many others still fail to understand he thinks and reacts differently.
When others say or hint that he needs just do things like other kids, I calmly point out to them they have demonstrated they fail to understand his difficulty.