Saturday, 25 July 2009

It's not Aspergers or High Functioning Autsim

Thank goodness for that, I was really beginning to worry that my little boy was destined for a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum but as the weeks and months have gone on so it is less of a likelihood. J is still experiencing problems in school and the latest meeting with the SENCO teacher brought me the unwelcome news that he has slipped back behaviorally in the classroom. He is also at least 2 terms behind the other children in the class and his progress is being measured with a system called P-Scales which is used with children not yet up to National Curriculum level.
Mrs N J's lovely class teacher explained that she was not sure why his behavior had slipped backwards but wondered if it had more to do with the possibility that the social skills of the other children had moved forward more and so J's less well developed social skills stood out. J continues to have problems in social situations and struggles to read them leading to issues with the other children on occasions. In recent weeks there has been a fight between him and another child because the other child was ignoring J and J did not know how to cope with this. It ended in J's words with "he spitted at me and I spitted at him and then we fighted"(repeated word for word) "but I didn't hit him". My thoughts were "actually I think you DID hit him because your teacher saw you do it". We had a long chat about how to manage if you feel cross and upset and about how hitting other people is wrong and not a very nice thing to do. I have a fabulous book called "A Volcano in my Tummy" which helps children to explore anger, I use it a lot at work. I used one of the more easily understood worksheets with J to explore his feelings when he gets angry. The worksheet was the outline of a body and asks the child to colour in where they feel their anger. J coloured in the hands and explained that he gets "fizzy fingers". We used this as a basis for exploring what actions he could take when he got his fizzy fingers which didn't end with himself or anyone else getting hurt. I also told him the anger rules which state that it is okay to feel angry but that he shouldn't hurt himself, others or damage property. We looked at other actions he could take instead, like running round the playground if it was playtime (as it was when the fight occurred) or counting to 10 in the classroom and repeating this if he still felt cross afterwards. In the classroom though it is easier as his one to one supporter is there every morning. Mrs N says that she would not be able to manage J in a whole class situation without that support.

So - no Statement of SEN, at only 2 terms behind J does not meet the criteria. I am anxious about this as J definitely struggles academically and socially. He will have a new one to one supporter next year the lovely Mrs M being moved to another child. J will be working with Mrs L instead who he already knows from Gym Trail ( a class he attends to help improve his fine motor skills). His new teacher Mrs M is a long serving member of the school's teaching staff and a stickler for the rules, there is no doubt who is in charge when Mrs M is in the classroom and she won't put up with bad behaviour. Luckily for J she thinks he's cuddly and cuddles him at every given opportunity. I just watch and think "you'd better be keeping that cute face kid" as it might JUST save you next year.