Tuesday, 21 September 2010

AA: A's Autism pt.3

So where were we? Just to recap: diagnosis done, nursery years done...What next? Primary school...

But did I mean to start writing about his education? No, probably not. However, this is where A's Autism is most visible, where his idiosyncrasies are most palatable and so the two are inextricably linked. I promise not to blog all of the individual primary years.

So we got him into this mainstream school with it's separate classroom for autistic kids and thought that everything would be fine and it was to a certain degree. I joined the PTA in the first term as I was keen to make sure that the kids from the support class (that's what the school called it) were represented and began to be actively involved in school affairs. Because A was now registered as special needs he took a taxi to and from school with the rest of the children from his class and this cut out pretty much all of my contact with the school on a daily basis. The teachers implemented a home-to-school diary to let us know how he was doing, what therapies he had undertaken that week and if any incidents happened. This was just amazing, I cannot begin to describe the weight that was lifted off my shoulders knowing that his every need was taken care of and that the teachers were working their hardest to make sure A got the most from his education. Over the next few years (there was a slight delay in the actual organisation that put A a little behind his peers) little by little he began to be absorbed into the mainstream class. His playtimes were fun and he made a great number of friends in the school and he really was happy. 

Now I don't want the autism posts to revolve solely around the difficulties we have had but I need to get these things out. I spend so much of my day, so much of A's life, sticking a big cheesy grin on my face and pretending that I'm taking it all in my stride. I was very surprised by some comments from a friend the other day when she was talking to me about A's autism. She had been following my blog for a while, something I still find strange. I'll start up a conversation or start to reiterate some piece of news from the week and she'll say "Oh yeah, I know...I read it in your blog!" Her comments were that she forgets that A is disabled and that he is different to other kids. When I asked why she forgets she commented that it's because I don't make a big deal out of it, that I try my hardest to make sure that he fits in anywhere comfortably. I compensate for his disability and protect him voraciously. Also for her, the big deal breaker is that I don't bemoan my situation or make him stand out from his peer group. 

I hadn't thought about that until she said it. It does take a lot of effort to do it and it does have it's negative impact. That people can treat A as if he's completely normal so any autistic traits that occasionally rear their heads as bad behaviour. And this caused a problem at his school with some of the parents. The support class was a fantastic opportunity for him but one that I found out only a matter of months later that had some pretty stern opposition from the PTA, the very organisation I joined to serve the interests of the support class. The had a meeting that was kept secret from me where they drafted a very stern letter to the local authority protesting against the inclusion of the support class within the school building as apparently they were taking up valuable space that could be 'better' utilised by the existing pupils. Add to this the fact that the school held information evenings for parents on what autism is and what work the support class were doing and a total of ten parents out of 360 pupils turned up. It was going to be hard to become a part of the school community...

  

2 comments:

  1. Very insightful post into your world and the world of so many other mothers with similar situations - I'm sure your blog is a great support for many of them. Really well written. Keep it up. K x

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  2. Thank you Kate. Enjoying reading your blog. xx

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