Thursday, 1 December 2016

Honesty is the best policy.

As some of you know, we are going through a few issues at school.
Having been communicating with PDA boy's secondary school for over a year now, when he was still in primary school, and having been assured over and over again that they understood the problem and were able to meet his needs, we are now worried as it appears they were not telling us the truth.

Also, as anyone who reads this regularly knows, PDA boy masks exceptionally well, something we have always been very honest about. This is something we have been told repeatedly by every school PDA boy has attended that they understand. But they don't.

I wrote a short profile giving a brief description of PDA, listed the signs that PDA boy will display when anxious, and I was promised that this short document would be photocopied and shared with each and every teacher who would have contact with PDA boy. At this point I was giddy with relief, as it really felt like we were getting somewhere, and had finally found a school who would deliver on their promises.

In the last two weeks, things have started to spiral out of control. PDA boy is receiving detentions for apparently ridiculous reasons, and even a detention for displaying autistic behaviour (he corrected a teacher who had not followed a process correctly). This has led to an inability to carry out homework, greater difficulty in carrying out school work, and an increase in silly and impulsive behaviour, leading to more warnings and more detentions.

For PDA boy this is awful. His mental health has taken a severe dive, he is talking more and more about wanting to kill himself, and we are concerned about him, and expect school to step up and carry out what they told us they would do.

But this is not happening, although we will have a meeting soon and will hopefully get to the bottom of what they can actually offer to improve things.

And here's the thing, had they been honest from the outset, had they explained that rules were rules and they will not be flexible under any circumstances, and that they could not meet our son's needs, we would have thanked them and continued to search for a school that would be the right fit.

We fell hook, line and sinker for the sales patter that persuaded us that this school was The One™. And I'm ashamed to admit that this is not the first time we fell for it.

This isn't fair, and we are not alone in ending up in difficult situations because others haven't been honest with us.

I'm not sure schools realise that they are toying with real lives here. I wonder if it's a case of "increase numbers at whatever cost, then deal with it later". But by this point, there are real children whose futures rely on their disability being catered for, real families despairing and not knowing where to turn, and having to prepare for yet another battle, which may well turn out to be fruitless, again.

A policy of complete and utter honesty from all schools would save a lot of heartache for our children, and those of us who advocate for them, we would be able to choose a school knowing that they will do their utmost to carry out their promises, instead of telling us amazing things about the school and leaving us to find out when it's too late that our expectations, fed to us by them, were unrealistic, with very little comeback to prevent this scenario happening again and again and again.

School protocols and processes are not my forte, but this is definitely an area I must educate myself about if I am to advocate effectively for my boy.

1 comment:

  1. I really hope you have some success soon. My little 5 year old grandson has been diagnosed with severe anxiety caused by stress. Autism, PDA links have not been confirmed but the affect it's having on family life can't be underestimated. Meltdowns mainly occur at school and new guidelines have been set out, as to how he should be treated. Your comments don't fill me with confidence. Callous and uncaring attitudes where there should be educated enlightenment.