School Issues

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BellzMum, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. BellzMum

    BellzMum Guest

    Hi everyone ~ I haven't been in here for a long time, and can't even remember what my user name was back then!

    My daughter is 7 and has Aspergers. Academically all is fine [despite her lack of interest in homework hehe] but socially she really suffers. She overreacts to other kids and gets quite mean very quickly with them. Consequently they don't like her much ~ or one day they love her and the next they don't. She has also become a target [her teacher's words] because she gives such fantastic reactions. I know this is all to be expected, but wasn't expecting so much resistance from the school when I have tried to address it.

    My daughter has a teachers aide, and her funding only allows 25 mins a day with the aide. They're linked her with another boy who needs the aide full-time, but it means my daughter has to be inside with him every lunch time. Before this she was out in the playground on her own and most days she was very distraught about things happening in the playground. I requested she get help in the playground, as did her psychologist. Their answer was to keep her in at lunchtime.

    She has always been hard to get to school, but lately even harder. She's miserable. She says she's being bullied. The VP outright said that was not true and that the aide had told her that my daughter can be "nasty". They seem to be concentrating on that rather than the fact that my daughter needs help socialising. And her teacher told me she was being bullied.

    I feel as if I am banging my head against a wall when I talk to the school. They are condescending and dismissive. Has anyone else had difficulties with schools??

    Thanks :)
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome--

    I too have a daughter who had a lot of difficulty with social skills and was usually very mean to the other kids.

    Unfortunately, my daughter had such a poor understanding of social relationships that she didn't understand that her own behavior was inappropriate and she routinely accused other kids of bullying her...which just made it worse.

    We handled it by going to the guidance counselor. The guidance counselor would step in any time there was a conflict between difficult child and another student. Then she would pull them both into her office and help them work out a solution. (And yes, sometimes the solution was just to keep them separated....difficult child never did grasp the concept of "compromise", so sometimes separation was the only practical solution.)

    What are you hoping the school can provide for your child? Do they offer any "friendship groups" or afterschool clubs that help kids make friends and teach social skills?
  3. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Social groups supported by speech, guidance counselor, or other willing adult. Does your daughter have an IEP?
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    We have been through the same problem here. There is hope! At 10, Tigger is doing much better. What helped him was to break it down into small, small steps.

    Last year, the social worker took Tigger and a regular ed kid (with good social skills) and they ate lunch together or played a game 4-5 days per week. The social worker would narrate the entire time (Tigger is doing good sharing. Bob is doing good turn taking, etc). If there was a conflict, the sw would immediate stop the boys and talk them through it. Once he could do well with that one child in a 1:1 situation, they added another boy and then another. The sw would bring in 3-5 boys (out of a pool of about a dozen) each day. Then we added in regular recess with a 1:1 aide who would stay right next to Tigger and redirect him or any other child as needed. (This took an entire year.)

    This year, 4 boys from his lunch period were chosen and prepped that they were chosen to help a special friend. They kept one table just for the 5 of them with a 1:1 aide and it went very well because each of the other boys were told that Tigger was working on being a good friend and they were excited about being chosen to be his friends.

    Tigger now eats at a regular table, often with one of the 4 original boys but sometimes with others that he has gotten to know through his gym/art/music class. We have moved the 1:1 aide back away from the table. She still stays where she can see everything but she is no longer at the table with him. She goes to recess with him but stays to the fringes of the playground - again, close enough to see any body language cues that something is going wrong but not so close to make him 'different'.

    Tigger has been able to verbalize more than his very poor (mean) treatment of other kids was based on his fear of being bullied. He felt that the other kids all wanted to hurt him and if he didn't strike first (verbally usually, occasionally physically) that they would hurt him so bad that he wouldn't be able to save himself. It broke my heart to hear how scared he was/is of school.

    But he is doing much better! And your daughter can get there too! It just takes time, a lot of time, and dedication on the part of the school staff.

    A good book is Lost At School (it is written to cause school staff to take a hard look at how they treat difficult children).
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Oh, and if you have an IEP, they CANNOT use funding as a reason not to provide a needed service.
  6. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    My 7 yo difficult child does not have an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis, but comes pretty close. He receives "autism inclusion" services through his school. Your school could be doing a much, much better job.

    Several things jump out at me: The school basically has acknowledged that your daughter has social skills problems and needs an aide at recess. However, instead of providing her with an appropriate service (ie, her own aide at recess), they have attached her to another child and are providing her with a service--no recess--appropriate for that child, NOT her. This is completely unacceptable. If she has an IEP, this violates everything about the "individualized" aspect of that.

    As for her being "nasty," this seems more like a symptom of her Asperger's (poor social skills) than something to be punished or used by the school as an excuse for not taking you seriously. This nastiness is precisely what she needs help with and why she needs an aide. If the school doesn't get this--and it doesn't--then you might need an advocate to help you out. Also, sometimes it can be helpful to take your own outside expert (eg, your psychologist) to an IEP meeting to make the case for services. We did this at our first IEP meeting and it was very effective (though expensive).

    Also, why doesn't she receive social skills therapy at school? Is it offered at her school? If not, can she be transferred to a school that does offer it. My son has a transfer to a school with a social skills therapy program. It has helped him a lot. He gets help similar to what JJJ described in her post. He is matched with another child (who also needs help with play skills) and they play games and such in therapy several times a week. On the playground, difficult child's aide organizes games to help him learn how to follow rules and to encourage friendships with other kids. The games are fun and other kids are eager to participate.

    Last year was a social disaster for difficult child, especially at recess, with him routinely having meltdowns and threatening other students. He had no friends. This year, he has a best friend and a wide social circle. His aide stays within listening distance in the cafeteria and on the playground (unless she is organizing a game and then she is in the thick of it).

    In short, there is a lot your school should be doing. It definitely should not be providing her a "service" designed for another student.

    Good luck.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Aspie son here.

    Do youh happen to be outside of the US? If so, it's hard for us to know how to approach your school district because it is different in different countries. We have a wonderful gal here from Australia, if you are from there. We have some posters from Canada too.

    Like a few others, I feel that the school is using her disability in social skills as being "bad" rather than needing help. I would not want my child to be punished because he has Aspergers. It just wouldn't fly with me.