This post is now available in the ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ ebook available to download from Amazon.
I am humbled by your ability to raise your precious son with such love and candor…I am the mom of 4 all nearly grown and I thought my little stair steps were a lot to deal with…whew! I just had death by numbers…you guys are obviously beautiful parents and I praise you for the steadfast ways you handle the day-to-days…..love to read! preacherswifeintheknow.wordpress.com—I am a fan!!
This is all so, so true for us. H’s old school had a specialist unit, so being quiet in assembly wasn’t such a big deal, but however much they tried to include the chidren with SN, those sorts of occasions always left us contemplating the chasm between him and his typical peers. Usually in the Christmas play kids like him were given parts like ‘tree’ or ‘star’, but one year they made him an Innkeeper, pairing him with an Innkeeper’s wife whose grip was one of iron. Despite this he managed to wiggle free and the play was distinguished by him running all over the stage, ignoring the anguished whispers of TAs and swerving around the long arms of teachers crouching beside the stage. We laughed with the rest of the audience; he had a lovely time (chasing being a favourite activity) no-one appeared to mind, but he was never given a named part again.
Your blogs are always so timely for me! I laughed out loud when I read he was a sheep. After being called into a meeting at my son’s school and advised he wasn’t going to attend assemblies in the near future, due to his inappropriate behaviour and screaming (raising awareness as i like to call it) I received a letter saying he was being a sheep in the Xmas play. “Oh no he effing isn’t” was my immediate response (in the privacy of my own home) I will be having him home for a lovely xmassy day. But it raises the issue of true understanding and acceptance. Like you say, why make him wait that long? Would it be so difficult to do his award first – it’s no less difficult for your wife than going through torture for an hour. There seems to be a fine line between inclusion and making reasonable adjustments. Have a great Xmas and keep blogging, it helps to keep me sane 🙂
Quite! Who is making adjustments for whom, I’d like to know?! Thank goodness we’ve never had any of this with my son’s Special School, where each child is celebrated as an individual. I’ve never heard of these awards in mainstream school for my non-ASD kids, though.
Kudos to all parents doing their best and making choices according to what they think is best for their family, especially parents of SN kids, who have to be superheroes every day! 🙂
I agree with Al, inclusion is a great idea and should be followed whenever possible but this seems to make him stand out more than necessary. This is the sort of experience that’s making me think very seriously about mainstream vs special education. I’d love to know more about how you reached the decision to go for mainstream education despite the difficulties, you’ve mentioned before you feel it was the right decision for your family. And frankly an hour’s assembly is far too much for 90% of the Foundation stage and probably half the rest of the school too. I’d be surprised if one or two of the teachers weren’t yawning as well!
One point, maybe those other Mums do work but part-time, maybe evenings or night-shifts. Maybe they’d like to work but can’t find any jobs at the moment. Maybe they go without alot of things to manage on one wage? Possibly they’re self-employed or run party-plan? They could be lone parents with a preschooler existing on benefits. Not everyone attending school at 9pm is a kept woman for a wealthy man as you seem to suggest LOL.
Yeah, sorry about that. I let my inner right-wing nutter escape for a moment. We don’t really resent the mums in assembly. It was more about the feelings of guilt that assembly provokes than a dig at the other parents.
B had no choice but to go to mainstream- his statement and hours of support arrived after the decision had been made. We were told that mainstream had to ‘be seen to fail’ before they would look at special education.
We still feel mainstream is more right for him than special education. Maybe not during assemblies, but otherwise he is progressing. Ideally, there would be a half way house between the two that could offer bespoke learning.
Having said that, I would not hesitate to send him to special education if he started to fail at mainstream school.
Thanks for the reply. It just shows the postcode lottery at it’s worst! Here they are very keen on joint placements with each child spending some time at the Special School which then supports the mainstream placement for the time the child is there. There is a flow between the two placements with some children becoming fully mainstream by Year 1 and others fully Special.
Not every child at the special school even has a statement, my son doesn’t because we’ve been told they are the best people to apply for and actually get one that will be meaningful and useful.
Glad B is progressing,as you say it’s seems to be your wife and older son that are more embarassed by his behaviour in the assembly! B actually likes getting the certificates.
oops. assemblies are usually 9am not pm. Unless it was a really really long one!
OMG OMG OMG, exactly what I wanted to write but haven’t got around to, again!!! I’m going to cheat and link to yours to save me the time, thanks 🙂 Our Christmas play is next week, 2 of them, yipppeee, and I can feel the dread rising in my tummy already. I cannot put into words how awful it is to have to sit and watch and smile at other people’s children when yours has been ‘escorted’ out or maybe even refused to come in in the first place. This year I shall be making a speedy exit too if that happens, no more Mrs Nice Mum. Then they can all stare at me instead 😉
Great post. It gave me a flashback to my daughter’s music night last year and I am reminded of why I took her out of public school and enrolled her in a school for kids with autism. I will not miss music night, or field day or any integrated social/performance activity.
A brilliant post as always. Like you, my working hours are not flexible, and I miss quite a lot of these sort of occasions. I missed my oldest Sons nativity today as I’ve had so much time off lately for autism related appointments for Olly. I guess in time I will find the right balance for this sort of thing. I agree about your comment on “everyone gets a prize” as well.
I am a Research Assistant for a local authority in the UK (it is the sandwich year of my Psychology degree) and i am currently creating a pack for the Autism Spectrum Team surrounding the initial information that parents want following a diagnosis of Autism.
I have been following B’s Dad for a while now, and i thought maybe some of you could give me some insight into what information you feel is helpful in those first few weeks and months?
Given that many of us wait months and even years to get a diagnosis we tend to have picked up most of the useful information while pushing to get the said diagnosis! The time for useful information is when you first realise that your child is not developing along “standard-issue” lines. But then it may be difficult to give specific information because no-one is quite certain what the difficulty is at that point. My friend’s nephew exhibited many of the same symptoms as my son at the age of 2. He turned out to need grommits whereas my son has ASD.
I understand that is the case the majority of the time so I hope we can create something that can be picked up regardless and will give out information relevant to all. Was there particular pieces of info that you sought out? E.g. education, diet, local groups? It is extremely difficult, you’re right, but hopefully we can create something that will be helpful on some level. Be it questions about their child’s development or a starting block.
This is probably too late now, but information only helps if There’s something to inform us about. We got packs about “help” on offer, all of it my son not eligible for for various reasons. We’ve come to the end of a years waiting list for respite care to be told by the council the policy is the waiting list can’t be longer than a year so we’ll be taken off it. No respite care has materialised. Brightly coloured leaflets are not “support”, communication is not the same as actually taking action.
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