Ever since we started on our autism journey we have been open to any support available to us. Anything that would help our son and support us was greatly appreciated!
Well, it is fair to say that we, as parents, appreciated it but it was not always the case with our son.
“He constantly battled with the teaching assistant at Primary School, constantly complaining that what she offered didn’t help his anxiety and I am mortified to say that he was not always nice to her. She honestly had the patience of a saint!”
When he moved to secondary school we were promised many interventions to help with his anxiety, understanding his autism and most importantly, understanding friendships and bullying.
Sadly, few interventions were put in place before we made the decision to de-register him and begin home schooling.
Possibly, if we had persevered with school the interventions would have been successful but that was a risk we were simply not prepared to take, watching our son’s anxiety spiral out of control was painful.
When we chose an online, virtual school I rang them to discuss my son’s issues and needs. During my conversation, I immediately felt that they understood what I was talking about. I was impressed when I was told that their teachers receive more than the standard training in ASD and similar conditions because so many of their pupils have had bad experiences at mainstream schools which is why they have turned to online schooling.
How sad it is that desperate parents are having to take this option which of course has financial implications not to mention logistical implications because our mainstream schools are failing these children.
The children who are considered ‘high functioning’ do not qualify for an EHCP and do not belong in a specialist establishment, but struggle in mainstream.
It doesn’t matter if there are talented, compassionate SENCO staff if the rest of the school are unable to facilitate and support the children.
But I digress, within two weeks of my son starting online school I received an email from my liaison officer saying that she had received a message from my son’s English teacher who had concerns over my son’s anxiety regarding independent learning.
The liaison officer was concerned that my son would become anxious and disengage from learning and made suggestions as to what would help as well as ask if I had any suggestions.
My goodness, within two weeks of using this online school I felt that my son had received more understanding, more compassion and more support than he had in the previous two years.
If ever I needed proof that we had made the right decision…
As for support for me, well I rely heavily on my friendships, mu family support and mine and my husband’s dark sense of humour to get us through the hard moments.
I am lucky to have friends that have children on the ASD spectrum who understand and we support each other with the help of wine.
I sometimes wonder how my daughter copes and if she ever needs support but as I watch her completely ignore her brother having a meltdown, at the moment I think she is doing okay.. the same cannot be said for the dog, he is a nervous wreck when my son is shouting and screaming, maybe a pet therapist is needed…?
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