Thursday, 11 May 2017

The End of the SATS is Nigh!

I spoke with Miss B this morning because one of Picklepot’s classmates said to me that Picklepot was hurting him. This kid keeps coming to me and telling me, and I keep saying, “You need to tell the teacher, or a dinner lady, when it happens” Because he won’t, he’ll wait til he sees me which could be the day after or it could be three days after the event. Anyway, I know this kid has similar issues to Picklepot, so I know he’s obviously heard somebody at some point say “I’ll tell your mum!” and so he thinks that is the way to deal with it. I spoke with Picklepot, and he said that it was yesterday, during ICT, this kid kept telling him he’d done it wrong, and he said no I haven’t, but the kid insisted he had and kept going on about it so Picklepot got annoyed with him. I explained again that even when he gets annoyed he isn’t supposed to hit people, and that if the kid wouldn’t get out of his face and telling him he was wrong he needed to call over the teacher and let them know what was going on, not resort to hitting the kid. So I spoke with Miss B, and she said OK, we’ll have a chat about the right way to handle things, because not only does the kid keep telling me instead of the teachers when he feels that Picklepot has done something wrong, but also because Picklepot felt the best way to resolve the situation was to hit the kid, which obviously isn’t the thing to do.

While we were chatting she said the SATS would be finished tomorrow and she was hoping that once it was all out of the way things would calm down. It’s not just Picklepot who has been up in the air about it all – a lot of the other kids in his class are finding it tough too. I found out Picklepot has to go off alone and do his SATS away from the other kids, because not only does he chat to them when he shouldn’t, but also because of his constant narration of everything. I don’t know if that’s just him, or if it’s to do with the ASD? But I’ve noticed it at home, too, he doesn’t do anything silently – he’ll narrate it, just like they do on those YouTube videos he’s such a fan of, even if there’s nobody there to listen, I’ll hear him from the other room rambling on about whatever he’s doing. Anyway the oher day it was Mrs S, the headmasters wife (she’s also a teacher at the school) who took Picklepot off for one of his SATS and he was quite proudly telling her that his scores didn’t matter, that mummy & daddy loved him anyway, that the SATS weren’t to test him but to test that the school had taught him everything they should have done, to test that the teachers had been doing their job properly – all of which I’ve told him, and his dad has told him, and we’ve gone through time and time again at home. He then finishes off this explanation to Mrs S by saying, “If I fail, Miss B will get the sack!” Where on earth he has heard that I don’t know. It’s certainly not something I’ve said to him! Poor Miss B! Luckily Mrs S laughed about it, and told Miss B who laughed about it and she was laughing when she told me, but then I walked home with one of the other mums and she said her daughter had come out with the same thing the other day at home! So it seems the kids have heard it somewhere, it’s beyond me where they’ve heard it, but apparently all the year 2 class believe that if they fail their SATS then their teacher will get the sack!!

Anyway as it is the last day of SATS tomorrow I’m hoping that we can do something to mark the occasion, maybe go out for dinner as a family or something, my mum is visiting tomorrow and it was her birthday earlier in the week so it’d be nice to take her out with us too. No plans so far for Saturday but I think Daddy P had a couple of presents hidden away for Picklepot for after the SATS so he might get those. Then on Sunday we’re off to my in laws for dinner.

Today I went for a lovely walk in town with Sunshineface, met up with a friend and we went for coffee, then we took a walk alongside the river in the sunshine, it was lovely and just what I needed to lift my spirits this morning. I felt a bit blugh first thing, I’m not really sure why. Tonight I’m out with my team from work, we won the ICE award for the month for being so damn good at what we do so as a treat we’re going out for dinner. I’m looking forward to going out with the gang, and going out in general – I get so few hours off from being ‘mum’, it’ll be nice to be me for a while! 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Our quest for ADHD assessment continues

You may have read my previous post about the ridiculousness of getting to this point. Once the GP had sent the referral, I received a letter back which basically asked for me to justify why I felt assessment was necessary, and questioning whether I had really done everything I could to help support my child or was I just a lazy parent looking for excuses. On the letter, it said call us to discuss further. So I called them, and spent 10 minutes on the phone with a lady telling her all about the SENCO reports from school, the diagnosis of autism in December 2015, my attendance of a Solihull Positive Parenting group and subsequent pass of the course in July 2016, the amount of extra people that had observed Picklepot in class and the reports they’d written about him, all of which said that his behaviour pointed to ADHD as a co-morbid condition alongside his autism.

After 10 minutes, the lady on the phone said that all sounded fine, and please could I put it all in writing for them to look through and come to a decision. I asked why I had been instructed by the letter to phone, and she basically said it was to wheedle out those parents who are lazy and looking for excuses, as they rarely make the effort to phone. She provided me with an email address, so that night I sat down and wrote everything down in an email to send to them.

A few days after that, I received a thick envelope in the post. In it were two huge questionnaires for me to complete, and two huge questionnaires for the school to complete. I took the one for school in the next morning for Miss B and sat down that evening myself to go through the parents one. It took ages. There were loads of questions about behaviour, home life, school abilities, even asking about the type of delivery I’d had with Picklepot when he’d been born and whether there had been any issues during pregnancy or delivery. I’m not sure about the relevance of that but they apparently feel it has a bearing on things so I answered every question.

I posted back the forms a couple of days later, as despite their slowness to act upon any information it was made quite clear with the included letter that if you failed to get the forms back within 2 weeks of them being sent out then it would be presumed you no longer needed assistance and the whole process would need to be started again with GP referral. I’ve still not heard back from them, but it’s only been 2 weeks since I posted the forms back (1st class Royal Mail, sent direct from the post office to ensure no reason for it to claim to be lost in the post or delayed). I hope I hear from them soon though as things have got no better for Picklepot. He’s still highly emotional, bursting into tears or becoming very angry within a split second and raging with temper, throwing things, screaming, slamming doors, growling and being altogether a very unpredictable ball of emotion. One thing I discussed with Mrs D, the SENCO at school, was that potentially we could be heading for early onset of puberty, given that he is going to be 7 in August and is already wearing age 9-10 clothes he is very tall and she said its perfectly possible this may happen and the onset of hormones could be a reason for him being so emotional. Again though, it’s something the medical ‘experts’ need to be involved in with helping us out here, and helping Picklepot find a solution.

I’m hoping that the additional visual aids I’ve got him (the wristband and the communication flash cards) will help as it means he doesn’t have to verbalise when he’s becoming overwhelmed, but at the same time it would be helpful to be able to stop him becoming so overwhelmed so often. I feel I am constantly on his case asking him to correct behaviour, always telling him to stop that, come here, do as he is asked, don’t throw things, don’t scream in my face, don’t hit, and its tiring for everyone involved as well as repetitive.

It was a relief to go to our ASD Helping Hands group yesterday and be able to chat to some of the other mums there who are facing similar situations with their kids, and know that I could be honest and say how I felt and they understand, they don’t judge. Likewise, I don’t constantly have to be trying to keep Picklepot from behaving in ways other people see as unusual or disruptive because all of us are there for our kids who are on the spectrum so our normal is normal to them, too, and nobody looks at him differently or thinks he is being odd or tells him he is weird, so he can just get on and be himself and it’s all good. I’m so thankful for our little group, and for the friends I’ve made there.

Today we’re having a quiet day at home. Daddy P is at work, so the boys and I are chilling in our PJs. I’ve done loads of work, I’ve been running the washing machine, tumble drier and dishwasher since first thing this morning and I’ve been drinking lots of yummy coffee and doing some online shopping. In a little while I’ll go and start cooking our chicken for dinner but for now my Sunshineface has just woken from his nap so it’s time to go upstairs and sort him out and then we can do some tidying upstairs.