Tuesday, 24 March 2009

School Meeting and an incident in the playground.

Today I and J's daddy met with Mrs F the school's SENCO and had an update about how J is doing in the classroom. After the past few weeks with really positive responses from J to the phonics flash cards I was quietly confident that J's performance in the classroom had improved. I was right to feel confident as "everyone has noticed a huge difference" - finally it appears that J is settling down and beginning to concentrate - the school's investment  in 15 hours of one to one time a week for J  has paid dividends and he is starting to move forwards.  Reading has improved and so has writing as J can finally see the point of concentrating on it. Other aspects of his time in the classroom have improved too - he is sitting for story time on the carpet and eagerly participating in listening and responding in an appropriate fashion. I am so relieved.
Sop what about the Statement? Mrs F has said she is torn between not wanting J "labelled" but equally wanting to "protect the one to one hours which are working for him". A Statement of Special Educational Need would lay down J's educational requirements in a binding document - this means the hours he currently gets would be protected until he reaches the stage where he no longer needs or requires them. 
There are still concerning aspects - in the main J's sensitivity to certain sounds. A trip to Colchester Zoo today was almost cut short when J refused to enter the toilets because of the hand dryer. Thankfully the nice man cleaning reached up and switched the dryer off - J then went into the toilet happily. It was the disabled toilet - we always use the disabled toilet so that the dryer is under our control and nobody else will enter and use it while we are there. Today though even this was not good enough for J and only the fact that it was switched off enabled him to use the toilet.
 So just as I see enough signs to deem J's behaviour "spectrum like" something else happens which turns this on it's head. Two days ago at school J was running around in the playground before classes started for the day. As often happens there were younger brothers and sisters running around and just before we were dur to go round to the classroom J and one  of these smaller children collided - neither had seen the other. Being much smaller the other child promptly fell to the ground banging his head - J's facial expression was shocked and then traumatized and he ran off - sitting down by the back wall he sobbed hysterically. I tried in vain to comfort him and explained that this was an accident and that accidents happen to all of us  sometimes but J would not be comforted - getting up he started shouting "I want to go home, take me home Mummy". I had to physically restrain him from leaving the playground and eventually carried him (no mean feat believe me) into the school's reception area where the other child was sitting with his Mum and a cold compress. J was absolutely hysterical by this time - even the other little boy's Mum saying "it's okay - he's alright" and "don't worry" would not calm J down.  The school were great (as always) and Mrs M (J's one to one worker) came round to help comfort him. The school dinner lady also helped by telling J that he could "choose lunch off my special menu". By the time I left he was still crying but was calm although I was most certainly NOT. I arrived at work drained and emotionally shattered - thank goodness for my lovely colleagues who understood. Half an hour later I rang the school to see if J was okay to be told "oh yes he's fine and has even been into assembly". 
I think I can safely say that J does not have the "detachment from empathy" that many autistic children show. So back to the sensory integration delay type diagnosis then....

1 comment:

Sara said...

Hi, thanks for visiting my blog and for commenting. This is an interesting post. I have gone through similar thoughts with my son regarding lack (or not) of empathy. I have a half thought out theory with my son that he doesn't have a lack of empathy but sometimes is almost overwhelmed by the intensity of a situation and so has learned to switch off, which is perceived as a lack of empathy. When he was a toddler and I had my second baby, he used to become very distressed when the baby cried, covering his ears. However, since he has got older he now seems to demonstrate more 'detached' behaviour in emotional situations. As I mentioned before, we don't yet have a diagnosis, but have just had paed appt, who suggested it would be a good idea before he goes to senior school, this September, so we have just had OT assessment. I agree it does make you more empathetic when dealing with families. It's so different being on the other side of it and realising how powerless you can feel. Sorry for length of comment!