Mayhem and Stardust

We are the proud parents of, amongst others, Jig, who has a handsome collection of diagnoses (ADHD, AD, FASD) which probably mean nothing and a generous smattering of fairy dust which probably counts for everything. School was a huge challenge and so we decided, probably rashly, to move to the country and home educate him. No medication, no 'support', chickens, space, a farm on the doorstep and a beach nearby. What could possibly go wrong?

Archive for the tag “SENCO”

Dear Teacher,

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Thank you for trying to include Jig in your class and for altering every one of your behaviour policies to be fair to him, and then changing them again when that didn’t work either.  Thank you for recognising how good he is at reading, story telling, debating, researching and how much help he needs to sit in his seat, not to shout out, not to punch people who get too close and to add two simple numbers on one day and then not on the next.  Thank you for trying to hold him safe during the panic that noise or the transition between activities, rooms and spaces creates.  Thank you for understanding that his own noise is merely a defence mechanism. Thank you for trying to find a way for him to play with his peers without either him, or them, getting hurt and thank you for always being willing to take him with you on trips, even if you know you really need a back up team of experts that you simply don’t have.

Thank you for noticing that some of his worst behaviour is handed to him by others and for continuing to smile good morning to him even when he is sullen and uncooperative because you know he is really just overwhelmed.  Thank you for continuing to do your job when other support systems such as CAMHS and the LA are nowhere to be seen.  Thank you for shedding a quiet tear when I shared the earliest photos we have of him for the dreaded family tree project and for staying awake at night fearing for him, just like I do.

Thank you for trusting me to know him.  Thank you for listening to me explain things that don’t really make any sense.  Thank you for coming with us on this exploration of his mainstream potential and not flinching when we came up against the fact that we are probably on the wrong path and will need to retrace our steps.  Thank you for not making us stick to that wrong path, the path that you believe is right for almost all of the other children in your care.

Thank you for letting us cobble together a unique and probably annoying patchwork of a timetable to work towards some success while we work on a longer term solution for him even though we don’t know what that might look like, yet.

Thank you

Jiggy’s Mum

Jumping off the path

I write here about Jiggy.  Of my six children he is the one that I have been so totally responsible for and he is the one who is now so entirely under the radar that I feel the need to speak publicly about him, to hold our stories out as proof that we are doing what we can and that we are being careful with him.  I don’t want the sort of ‘support’ that leaves us feeling smaller and weaker, less able to raise him, less able to understand him the way we do.  However, being off grid is a scary place.  It is quite isolated out here. I occasionally consider pointing out to the local authority that they really should be keeping an eye on us but then I picture hordes of grey suits bearing down on our colourful and chaotic little world and shudder.

That said, Jiggy isn’t the only one who would benefit from some time in this bubble of ours.  Moo has had nearly four years of education and still can’t do simple number bonds to 5. She has been on School Action for some time and the academic gap between her and her peers does nothing but widen. Many children exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero need to go over and over a thing before it sticks and school just don’t have the time. I think I probably spend about thirty hours for each hour that school has to bank simple basic building blocks such as money, time, number bonds and times tables. She loves school though and gets much more socially out of it than Jig ever could, or did. So, with her blessing, I am considering suggesting a flexi school arrangement for her, to scoop her out of the race she is so clearly losing, to move the goal posts and to make a new Moo shaped space for her in this quirky world that is our day.

It is IEP week this week, perfect timing.

 

April 29th

IEPs are all about writing a to do list that doesn’t actually impact anyone nor does it require any actual resources or input from anyone that is out of the ordinary run of things. I am happy to play those silly games when I need to – which is when I am letting my children settle, giving them time, waiting to see what will happen.  However, those times end.  I don’t expect anyone to know that I have changed my tack, or that I am now going to start requiring actual action rather than virtual action and it may be unfair of me, now, to be demanding that learning deficits be addressed by the application of some sort of actual teaching when I didn’t before.  But then life isn’t fair and they have had a good ride thus far.  If the SENCO doesn’t have a plan for me by Wednesday 3.30 then Moo will be home with us one day a week on a maths workshop day pending their further communication to me regarding a real individual education plan – with actual teaching.  No doubt I am not as good as the teachers, no doubt they could do a much better job, no doubt there have been umpteen training days and policy wallah meetings about how best to teach her but, in the end, no one seems to be actually doing it.  Better me than no-one. Flexi schooling has never been a first choice and, if I were a different, braver, calmer woman I would have had her at home full time anyway but I’m not.  This may well be a good enough compromise.

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