Branded Unteachable

As you may be aware my son is 8 years old and has a firm diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and various professionals have also mentioned dyslexia and PDA as probable issues as well, however we have to wait for assessments on these. Today another label appears to have been added to my son ……. UNTEACHABLE.

According to the LEA transition team he is “difficult to engage”, “…insists on staying ‘in character'”, “needs to be in control” and has “absconded on several occasions”. I nodded sagely through this whilst my inner voice screamed “WTF, you know all this from his diagnosis and school records, he isn’t any different to how he was before the summer break, YOU are supposed to know how to help him with these issues not tell me the unit may no longer be the right setting for him!” The LEA representative couldn’t advise on ANY maintained schools, mainstream or special, that could meet his statement end needs as they’d already turned him down for an emergency placement, however she did say a letter would be sent to all LEA special schools asking if they can meet his needs now, how they can offer a permanent place when they couldn’t on a temporary basis two months ago is a magic trick I’m dying to see.

However, I still had a glimmer of hope. Although one of the Independent special schools couldn’t ‘meet his needs’ (a euphemism for not wanting him) I was still waiting to hear back from a second one, this one had spoken knowledgeably about ASD and PDA, when I explained about his behaviours they said they couldn’t see it being a problem for them, surely they will come to our rescue and then it’s just a case of getting the LEA to agree funding.

On returning from the meeting I’m thrilled to find an email from the Independent school I’ve pinned all my remaining hopes on so you can imagine the shock as I read on……..

“Currently our primary centre would find it difficult to support R due to the challenging behaviours that he can display. We are not a school that is trained to deal with high levels of behaviour and we don’t restrain our young people which may make it difficult for us to support and control Robert when he is in a high state of arousal.”

So, there you have it, my son is (unofficially) unteachable. Where we go from here I honestly don’t know. What I DO know is that this Amazon may be down but I’m NOT out, I will take a day or so to regroup and research then I will come up with a new plan of action. In the meantime I will remind myself that my son is oblivious to the fact that the education system wants to write him off at only 8 years old and that, as long as I have faith in him, he will remain oblivious.

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7 thoughts on “Branded Unteachable

  1. I eventually gave up on finding a suitable placement for M when it dawned on me that she would never be able to cope in any placement regardless of the provision. She just couldn’t cope with her relationships with peers going wrong due to her need to control and with the effort required to keep her outbursts in. Growing maturity and self awareness meant that she did not want to have meltdowns in school but she was aware that holding them in was not an option for her. Mollie stays at home now and we follow and autonomous philosophy to learning. She is a different child and I haven’t looked back either. This may be an option worth exploring if your experiences with the LA or your son’s inability to cope continues. Its all chronicled in my blog in the education category. The removal of school has removed so much anxiety and we have no demands at home. The violence is now nil, although we still have verbal outbursts, but no where near as often. xxx

    1. The idea of home schooling has crossed my mind once or twice but I know that I don’t have the knowledge or perseverance to do that. I have spoken to a fairly new (1 year old) special school and they didn’t seem phased by the PDA/behaviours at all, fingers crossed it turns out to be the right one, if not it’s back to the drawing board!!

      1. It’s well worth trying the special school. I certainly exhausted every avenue before I made the decision to homeschool. If you follow an autonomous philosophy however you don’t need to actually teach them anything. You simply support them in pursuing their own interests and they will naturally learn through play and life in general. It may be worth looking at if the next placement is unsuccessful xxx

    1. Thank you, I’ll take a look. Apparently the top Ed Psych in the county will be assessing The Whirlwind and I’ve heard he’s amazing so hopefully he’ll pick up on exactly what it is x

      1. Fingers crossed for both of you. Ed Psych’s, in my experience, can be far more knowledgeable than clinical psych’s. Let’s hope he has an open mind to PDA. Good luck xxxx

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