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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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Needs being neglected in school

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Newbie here so forgive me if I ramble on!

My daughter is in Year 5 and for as long as as we can remember has shown 'ASD' traits, eg impulsive, bossy, loud, insensitive etc. After raising our concerns with the Head (also SENCo) she agreed with us and brought in a service to observe DD in the first instance.  Disappointingly because they concluded she is able to 'manage' her behaviour in class their support  is not needed. HOWEVER she is struggling massively on a social level. 

Whilst she doesn't mean to be unkind her brutal honesty has obviously created friendship barriers and is now at a stage where her classmates actively avoid her. In her defence she is also incredibly loyal and can show great kindness but they just 'don't get her' and she doesn't have the level of self-awareness to see how her behaviour causes conflict. She is very lonely, spending most breaks on her own or 'doing jobs' for teachers - utterly heartbreaking.

I feel let down by the school, its as if unless there is an impact in the classroom, they are not interested. However I now have a daughter who has gone from having a unique happy sparkle, to one who dreads going into school and says everyone hates her. Surely there must be resources in schools to support these children in developing social skills? I do as much as I can to talk with her but she really doesn't want to hear it from me as a parent

Desperate for some advice please on what I can realistically expect the school to do.








Edited by e4esprit

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Hi there,


I had exactly the same issues with my daughter at primary school. Her head teacher was incredibly insensitive and generally used my daughter as a scapegoat saying unhelpful things like ''well if she can't be nice then it's no wonder the other children won't want to play with her!' or ' if she hasn't got anything nice to say then she shouldn't say anything at all', which was in reply to my daughter being thrown against the wall for saying 'no' when another girl asked if she liked her new haircut !, and as we both know, brutal honesty is par for the course with ASD and Aspergers.. Not exactly the attitude of tolerance and understanding I was hoping for. My daughter also 'managed' her behaviour at school, but had complete meltdowns at home as she was so stressed and upset.

Firstly I tried to get the school to realise they were being unhelpful by asking for our Child Psychologist who had diagnosed my daughter to send the school information and for the educational psychologist to visit the school, but this made no difference to their attitude, (though they said all the right things to them when contacted.)

Then I self referred us to social work saying I needed help , and once assessed I asked them for an assessment for an SEN ( statement of educational needs, which is usually  for more disabled children) in the hope that they would see I was serious and was not about to put up with how things had been done at the school. Once asked, they had no option but to arrange for an assessment. This meant a meeting at the school with social work, teachers, educational psychologist and psychologist. this at least forced the school to, very hurriedly, set up a teaching plan and some strategies to help my daughter cope, ( which I only found out about on the day of the meeting ! )though they still refused to allow her to spend break or lunch in the school stating ' she will never learn how to co-operate and make friends if she's allowed to avoid it'. Regardless of how much distress this caused, which meant my daughter 'stimming', which meant the other kids made fun of her....you get the picture ?

 I tried to get accross the fact that my daughter had managed to make ( and keep, with a little help from supportive teachers) friends at swimming, ice-skating, trampolining, brownies, horse riding etc and that it was simply due to lack of support that she hadn't managed this at their damn school . However, at the end of the meeting I could see everyone was shocked at the head teachers attitude, but unable to alter it, so I said I would be taking my daughter out of her school at the end of term (2 weeks away), to which the head teacher replied ' That's a waste of time because she'll just have even more problems getting anyone to like her at a new school where she doesn't know anyone....' I was livid !

Needless to say, we spent the 2 weeks before summer visiting other schools, and moved her to one which was very informed about ASD. In her new school she got twice weekly visits from Autism Outreach who set up 'conflict resolution' sessions with my daughter and other kids who had either had disagreements or struggled socially. In these sessions she learned how to resolve things herself if she had upset someone , and also the other kids learned about ASD and how kids with it could misunderstand things, or say something hurtful but not know it etc. They were also great at helping the teacher find ways to teach my daughter that focused on her ABILITIES and not her DISABILITY. Simple things like giving her written instructions as well as the verbal ones as she would become distracted and lose focus, then forget what she had to do ( and therefore not complete it). They gave her fidget tools and a special cushion to help her maintain focus without having to leave her seat ( as she could fidget and squirm happily in her seat while working). I forget what all she got, but they were small things which made a huge difference,

It was a brilliant success, and she managed to make and keep friends with this support.

All this happened when she was 7yrs old. She is now 16yrs old and about to go into 5th year at secondary school. She still has her ups and downs, but the Autism Outreach gave her the insight and the tools to help her succeed at school (and socially). She also improved in her classwork dramatically as she didn't feel so stressed all the time and actually completed her work.

By the time she moved to secondary school, the Autism Outreach had already told all her teachers of her needs etc and she never had any real issues as she had learned so much at primary about how to behave socially. She still doesn't really understand WHY people get so upset, but she now knows the set responses to help her get past it e.g 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. My ASD makes it hard for me to understand what could upset people' In fact she often tells new friends ' I won't be able to recognise if you're angry/ upset etc because I have ASD, so can you please tell me if you are ? I've definitely got my loud, brutally honest, singing at 2am on her way to the toilet daughter back !  ( and she's still behaving much better at school than at home, but then it's ALWAYS going to be safer for her to vent to family who love her regardless of her behaviour and quirks than to peers at school).And I'll never regret pushing so hard for what she needed.

I guess some schools are just more open to adapting for kids with different needs, but if your daughter is at one which isn't, I'd recommend some research to find one locally which is open to these ideas, sooner rather than later. My daughter went through two years of total misery  with social, emotional and physical bullying, which affected her deeply and took away her sunny nature for a long time afterwards with self doubts and self loathing as she thought everything was her fault and everyone would always hate her. And I'd DEFINITELY recommend finding out if Autism Outreach are available at any local schools near you.

I wish you all the best for you and your daughter, there IS help out there, it's just not always easy to find without a fight !


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Thank you Spam! Am so sorry for delay in responding, only just got picked up your reply.

Firstly I should say that we have already moved my daughter once to an alternative school (for other reasons) so an loathe to do it again.

She has had a slightly better week in that she has been assigned ‘library monitor’ (at my suggestion) and has had positive feedback in how helpful she has been. She has enjoyed this but it is becoming apparent that the separation from her the rest of the class is creating a psychological barrier. To the point where she doesn’t want to go outside and play.

i have emailed the Head/SENCo saying they whilst being given a short term job is all well and good, it doesn’t help my daughter long term. There needs to be a proper strategy put in place to support her  , particularly in social situations. This has been pretty much been swept under the carpet.

Sadly she is also recounting tales of other children being unkind to her now either to her face or behind her back.


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I understand being loath to move her as you've already done it once. What does your daughter want to do ? Stay at present school or move schools ? I ask as I was also loath to move my daughter, but she kept saying she didn't want to go to school and what a horrible time she was having every day, and I kept trying to help saying ' it will get better' etc. But all I was really doing was extending her stay in a totally miserable, unsupportive environment. She only began to believe things would get better when she began at the new school.

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