back to school blue

21 09 2015

GM is met by LIttle Miss and her TA as always.  She can tell it hasn’t been a good day by the look of defeat and depression on the face of the dedicated and loving TA.

“It hasn’t been a good day” she confirms as they meet.  “Little Miss has hit a number of children today, she has threatened to hit a number of members of staff and has been swearing and aggressive.  I have worked hard with her to calm down but every time she has seemed calm she has immediately started again the moment I have let her move away from me.”

GM listens and nods and has nothing to suggest.  Everyone knows that this is no longer the tight setting for Little Miss.  She is not coping and the school are also struggling to cope. The review meeting to amend her statement had been planned for the end of September months ago.

As GM leaves the school ground another teacher runs up to them, calling. The head teacher would like to have a word.  GM and the girls return to the school and go to see the head in her office.  She repeats the litany of awfulness and says that she is confident that they will be receiving complaints from parents tomorrow.  She tells GM that they will have to undertake a new risk assessment and it is looking like Little Miss is going to have to move to more intensive 121, maybe even solely 121, in order to ensure the safety of other children.

GM is due back in school for a governors meeting the following day and has agreed to meet with the head before the meeting.

GM is not really looking forward to a Happy Birthday.





Role on the weekend

24 01 2014

Message to GM from CD – “So, LML escaped from school twice, once out of the grounds at the front. Exposed herself, shouting look at my Tilly. Did very little work and did lots of shouting.”

GM sighs. It has been a very tough week for LML and lovely TA. She isn’t sure what else they can do to help get things back on a more even keel … She believes that LML is feeling confused and terribly insecure following her TA’s absence last week and has no other way of expressing how unsafe she feels the world is, than by her behaviour. She tries to explain this over and over again at school,  but can see that it isn’t really understood or even accepted.

GM and CD suggest strategies and ideas to help, but it all feels insignificant in the wake of the chaos that LML is currently inhabiting at school.





The week that was

19 01 2014

GM sits on the sofa. Its ten past six on a Sunday morning. LML has her first breakfast and juice, GM her cup of tea. Cbeebies is on, LML mesmerised by the Teletubbies. GM thinks about the day ahead, about what she needs to do to have a better day, for them all to have a better day. Stay calm, remember PLACE, be playful and spend a chunk of the day outdoors .. Its a plan of sorts.

GM sighs. It’s been a tough week. Lovely TA has been off sick all week. GM purses her lips as she thinks about LML’s teacher waxing lyrical about how well LML has dealt with the changing TA’s, how much more compliant (GM’s word!), focused .. It feels like the list goes on. The teacher doesn’t see the anxiety, stress, anger, confusion that comes out at home. LML misses Lovely TA desperately, but doesn’t speak of it. She talks a lot about missing her lost Cheeky Monkey (that is a whole other sad tale), hits out at Lolly and generally finds self regulation impossible without significant support from the mostly functional parents.

All week LML has been enjoying the challenge of getting into the mostly functional parents bedroom early in the morning, the focus to ensure that both parents are awake and available. This means that whichever parent has got up first has to be hyper vigilant to stop her going upstairs. Any lapse has resulted in a bolt for the stairs and a early awakening for the parent who is supposed to be getting a lie in. They are tired, feeling stretched thin. Everything seems a little more brittle, a bit more precarious. Really it’s the same as always .. Just more so, thinks GM, as she sits LML on her knee for the fifth time that morning. “Feel your heart racing sweetheart, drop your shoulders. Take a deep breath and blow out slow slow slow ..” She instructs and explains and hopes that one day LML will understand what it is to be calm.





The Meds

4 10 2012

Day 1
LML ‘lights up’ 45 minutes after taking the medication. She maniacally colours sheet after sheet, after sheet of a colouring book for the next 4 hours. The mostly functional parents look on in astonishment. At various points Lolly tries to distract her, to engage her in the normal chaos. “Doin’  busy work Lolly, leave me alone” she insists.

“I hope it’s not going to be like this all the time” says Grumpy Mum concerned about the disturbing change they are witnessing.

Day 3 (first day at school)
TA to Crap Dad,  “That was an interesting day, she’s certainly been different today. A little quieter and a little more focussed.”

Day 7
Bring-bring, Bring-bring, Bring-bring
“Hello” says Crap Dad hesitantly, not recognising the number.

“Hi Crap Dad, it’s LML’s TA from school. It’s nothing to worry about, its just I’m a bit concerned about LML’s behaviour this morning. We’ve had such a good week but today she has just reverted back to some of her more challenging behaviour. She’s been banging her head against the doors and floors, hitting out, screaming and spitting, burping in peoples faces… Erm… Did she have her medication today?”

“Yes, she had it just before she left for school. You know, the medication doesn’t modify her behaviour, it just helps her to focus on an activity for a little longer. Call me back if things don’t improve.”

“OK” says the TA, “Thank you.”
Brrrrrrrrrrr

Day 11
The TA comes out of school to hand LML over to GM, “She’s had a good day” she says, “We have noticed though that her being more focussed means that she is less spontaneous, more considered with her actions. This has been particularly difficult when she does a runner. She’s really waiting for her moment and when she goes, she really goes, she has thought about her escape route and she’s off. We really are having to watch her really closely.”





Half Term – day 1

25 10 2010

When she was at nursery, it was clear that LML did not really enjoy ‘time off’.  Holidays at home tended to be stressful for everyone, so the mostly functional parents kept her in nursery for her two days a week, unless it was closed or they were actually going away.

School holidays are something that the family will have to navigate carefully.

Day 1 – Lolly & LML are at home with GM.  A quiet and domestic morning is followed by a bus ride to a nice park with a great playground.  GM has arrange to meet a good friend and her children, the eldest being the same age as LML.

GM leaves early, deciding that it’s better to be out than in.  The girls have a lovely time in the play ground, but are starting to flag a bit, when the friend arrives half an hour late (that’s babies for you, always holding things up!).  The children renew their friendships, run and play , chase and generally interact.  LML only hits or pushes her friend 3 times in 15 minutes, and the friend copes well.

After 20 minutes GM can see that LML and Lolly really need to move on from the play ground so the group walk, skip, run and zig-zag through the lovely park, to the animal house (rabbits, rodents, fish & reptiles).  It’s closed – it shuts it’s doors at 3.30pm!  GM and her friend grumble at the stupidity of that and take the girls to the bandstand for a run around.

After 5 minutes LML has hit her friend about 6 times, so she is confined to the push chair.  It’s clear that she has had enough running and social interaction as she puts her thumb in her mouth and settles into the buggy.  Lolly still seems raring to go, and runs away over and over again as the group make their way to the exit, and screams her objection to being put on the buggy board.

The bus is due in 10 minutes so snacks are purchased and eaten, to ease the wait.  The bus doesn’t turn up.  Eventually, after 30 minutes, four tantrums (Lolly – 1, LML – 2, GM -1), a push chair switch-over and  half an apple, the family are safely and warmly on the bus.  LML wants to sit on a seat by herself, but GM makes her sit on her knee – “you need my body heat sweetheart” she explains and soon LML is wrapped around her mum, snuggling under the coat and warming up.

Fish fingers and chips go down a treat and it’s nearly bath time.  CD texts to say that he is stuck on a stationary bus in almost unmoving traffic.  LML has hit or pushed Lolly a dozen times in last half hour and GM is flagging big time.

After much roaring (GM) and crying (LML), both girls are bathed and ready for bed.  Peace is restored, rice cake and milk consumed.  Lolly is dozing in GM’s arms when she is carried upstairs to bed, and LML is having a cuddle and nodding off when CD finally arrives home.





Playground

9 10 2010

As Crap Dad returns Lolly to her pushchair LML spots two girls from her class laughing and giggling as they chase each other around the playground. LML sets off after them.

As the girls spin and twirl in pursuit of each other LML catches them up. Crap Dad isn’t clear if the girls see LML but he watches as his little girl, desperate to join, doesn’t have the language or social skills to engage her peers.

The girls peel of from their chasing each other to play on the hopscotch ladders marked nearby. LML watches them from a little distance away. As the girls run after their mothers LML approaches the hopscotch. “Wot me” she asks Crap Dad. She does a version of what she’d watched the girls doing.

“Great jumping LML, though I think we’ll need to work on the skipping a bit more” he comments.

They leave the school playground and head home, Crap Dad feeling a little heavy hearted about the challenges that face his little girl.





Pysched-out

27 05 2010

At the end of an ISAR meeting CD calls the Ed-Psych over. She has just run through her report which will form the basis for the funding that will support LML when she goes to primary school. Her report means that LML will get significant one-to-one support, which is a relief to the problem parents.

CD, “As you know we haven’t asked for a statement for LML, do you think we should consider making a request?” he asks.

Ed-Psych, “Well, the process for a statutory assessment would mean that I would write a report like the one I have just completed, in fact I very often write reports that are less detailed than this one. All the other professionals involved would write reports too….” she goes off into the detail about the process which CD already knows, having done his research.

CD, “We are really pleased with the support that we and LML are receiving and we haven’t felt the need to make a request but I suppose my concern is about the future.”

Ed-Psych, “Yes, the thing about a statement is that if things start to go wrong then, whilst it is bureaucratic, you can refer back to it. I think given where LML is at and her circumstances I’d be very surprised if she didn’t receive a statement if you requested one.”

CD, “Yeah, I think we should talk to parent partnerships and go from there”

Ed Psych, “I think that’s a good idea.”





ISAR

25 03 2010

It wasn’t that long ago that the Mostly Functional parents regularly left the nursery after an ISAR meeting (Inclusion and SEN Action Record) wondering what they had to do to convince the nursery staff to adopt a different approach to LML. Today’s meeting, the first with staff from the school that LML will attend from September, which included the Specialist SEN Nursery Worker employed by the education authority and the speech and language therapist, was a revelation. The nursery staff  articulated LML’s support needs, outlined her issues and were very clear about how delayed she is (she is operating in the range of 8 – 20 months – she’s 4).  Before the Mostly Functional parents could respond to suggestions from the school staff about how they might manage LML in the new setting the nursery staff regularly responded with “no, she won’t be able to cope with that, you might want to consider this…”.

All crap dad could think of was ‘by jove, I think they got it!!!’

The teacher from the school looked a little shell shocked at times but remained engaged and enthusiastic. She was keen to arrange language development, makaton and attachment disorder training for her and her colleagues. As the meeting broke up she was in a huddle with the school SEN co-ordinator and the nursery’s teacher arranging to attend the nursery and observe LML.

Since making the choice of which  school the Mostly Functional would attend the Mostly Functional parents have periodically fretted about whether they had made the right decision… today it definitely felt like the right choice.





As easy as ABC…

17 03 2010

“It’s pleasing to meet with parents who don’t use their child’s issues to excuse their behaviour” said the educational psychologist.

The mostly functional parents were attending an informal meeting with the educational psychologist which included the clinical psychologist and speech therapist who work with LML. The meeting’s aim was to share information about LML and to enable the education psychologist to start to think about her transition from nursery to school in September. The mostly functional parents share their experience and are open and honest about LML and her needs.  They understand that the ed psych is NOT referring to ‘bad’ behaviour, but just how LML is, and also that she is pleased because the parents have aspirations for their daughter that are realistic.

At the end of the meeting it is agreed that the Ed Psych will write a report which will be used as a baseline of where LML is at, that she’ll undertake an ‘observation’ and this will be used to access increased funding to support LML in school.  The staff at the school will be encouraged to attend training on supporting LML’s communication development and on issues around attachment.  The ‘transition planning’ will begin as soon as possible.

At the end of the meeting the mostly functional parents feel that although it was a bit wishy-washy there was some progress made and that it’s the first step to managing the transition to school.








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