Yet another silly day

Posted by Sarah on Sep 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Once again I got to Beth’s school tonight only to see her teacher come out to see me. Once again I thought ‘what has she done now?’ Apparently Beth had what her teacher kindly said was a ‘silly’ day. Of course she was speaking in front of Beth and I don’t think the staff like to call the children bad or maybe even naughty to their faces. Miss L told me that Beth had sworn. One of the girls was leaving and they were having a party for her. There were smarties on the table and Beth of course wanted them early. When she was told she couldn’t Beth turned to the teacher and said “That’s bullshit!” Lovely darling, so pleased you’re using such colourful language. When told that she shouldn’t speak like that Beth then went on to tell her teacher that she could make decisions for herself, after all, she is a woman! Well so much for not wanting to grow up. I must admit I do like the sentiment and found it hard not to laugh. But wait, there’s more! When the other kids in the class were being naughty and told off Beth felt it was her duty to tell them they could do what they wanted. So for example if there was a boy called Dave and Miss L had told Dave to be quiet Beth would say “It’s ok Dave, you can make as much noise as you want.” She’s such a delight when she’s in one of those moods. She was so eager for me not to know what had gone on that on the way to the car she said “So Mum, you want to know what I did today do you? Well I did maths, I did art, etc etc” something that she knew would please me as she’s usually hard to even get a sentence out of her. Then of course she’d follow with “Well done Beth, I’m proud of you for having such a good day!”

I can’t believe that I’m saying it but I’m so glad the holidays are nearly here. Getting Beth to school this week has been so hard. She just doesn’t like school. I can totally see the advantages of home schooling and know that she’d love it and I think I’d quite enjoy it too, especially the not driving side of it. But that’s not what she needs. She needs to learn how to behave in society in an acceptable manner, how to socialise, how to deal with not getting her own way. She needs to be where she is.

I spoke with the coordinator again last week after Beth had told me about the girls on camp telling her she was ugly. I had said about another boy telling me that lots of the kids were telling her that. It turns out that the boy had in fact been walking past the girls bedroom and overheard it. While I had known about the one time I had worried that it had continued on but no, they had put a stop to it after the one time. I’m very happy with how quickly the school deals with situations that are not acceptable, they’re straight on to it.

It’s the end of term three already. It still feels like we’re going to ‘Beth’s new school.’ It’s been such a big year. Building and moving into our new house, getting a new pooing machine puppy, Beth’s high school beginnings. It’s all going way too fast!


A good follow up

Posted by Sarah on Sep 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Beth had a good weekend, she didn’t speak much about her camp last week but she did say that she enjoyed it. When I went to school yesterday to pick her up I was a little worried though. A boy who had been on camp came out and told me that Beth had had a bad time at camp. When I asked him why he told me that all the kids were telling Beth that she was ugly.

When Beth had first told me that the girls in her room had said she was ugly I thought that maybe Beth had said something first. It’s the type of thing that she says and I thought that horrible as it was, maybe she’d learn by being on the receiving end. I was worried after yesterday though because if a boy had heard about it it means that it hadn’t just happened in the room, that it might be a bit of a peer group pressure thing. You know what they say, kids that are bullies are often bullied themselves. It’s better to be the bullier than to be bullied by the main bully if you know what I mean.

I wrote an email to the middle school coordinator explaining my concerns and received a prompt email back last night. I’ll call her Mrs M. She had said that she had been aware of this in the room and that she’d spoken to all girls concerned. She said that she thought it had only happened once so perhaps Beth told this boy that it had happened. Mrs M. said that she’d speak with the girls concerned, with Beth and also with the boy who had told me. She also told me what a lovely time Beth had had on camp. She said that a boy called Callum had taken to Beth and had made sure that she was always with the group, holding her hand to get her going and looking after her.

I was very happy with the response I had gotten and will let you know the outcome.


Beth’s back!

Posted by Sarah on Sep 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

My big girl’s back from camp. I think she was a bit painful and whingey but there you go, I’m sure that’s what you get when you take 16 special needs students to camp. I know how much Beth hates walking or any sort of exercise really and she let that be known. They did have a night hike which she seemed to enjoy, she told me about the mouse that she saw. Her teacher told me that she had to hold Beth’s hand when they walked to continue her walking. Beth seems to have two speeds, either galloping like a horse or really, really slow!

Beth shared a cabin with three other girls. One is in her class and the other two I hadn’t heard of. When she got in the car yesterday when I picked her up the first thing Beth asked was if I thought she was ugly. I replied that of course I didn’t, I think she’s really pretty. Apparently one of the other girls had said she was ugly and the other two had agreed with her. Now the girl in Beth’s class is lovely, I’ve seen her interacting with Beth and she’s always nice to her. It’s interesting though what happens when there are other girls around. I know nothing of the ‘ringleader’ here but if you get a mean instigator it’s often easier for the others to agree with them. I asked if it meant that Beth didn’t enjoy her time and she said that no, she didn’t really care, she had told them that she is pretty and didn’t believe them anyway. Still, if it was the first thing she said to me it must have played on her mind.

I found it useful that this had happened. I could then relate Beth being called ugly to Beth calling her teacher ugly. I asked if it made her feel bad and when she said yes I told her that was how her teacher had felt when Beth had said it to her. Hopefully she’ll think a little bit more before she says hurtful things.

I also wonder if the kids were a bit annoyed with Beth at night. If I fall asleep before her she’ll do what she can to wake me up as she hates the snoring or heavy breathing noises I make when going to sleep. I asked if the other kids fell asleep first and Beth told me that she kept opening their door to wake them up. She can be so bloody annoying at times! I have to monitor her tv watching too. Apparently she told her teacher that she had seen Scream and kept saying that I was dead or being eaten by wolves. When I picked her up she said (not for the first time) “You’re alive!” When I spoke with her later she told me that she had turned it over after I had fallen asleep. I let her watch tely because if it’s not on she goes out to the kitchen or gets into other mischief. Luckily now she’s discovered the home shopping channel and loves to watch the repetitive ads. I’ll just have to make sure I hide the credit card!

Anyway, they went out for pizza and Beth entertained the kids by ordering with an italian accent. They went to Sovereign Hill and Beth did archery. It sounds like they had a fun time. When I asked Beth if she enjoyed it or if she was homesick she told me that she enjoyed it. That was an excellent sign, I didn’t know if she would or not. Apparently she was still a bit of a loner but she joined in when prompted. Lots of the kids were having today off as they are so tired so I’ve let Beth stay home too. Tomorrow is footy day at school and she gets a pie for lunch so it’ll be a nice end to the week.



Posted by Sarah on Sep 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well I’ve survived. Bethie’s home from camp tomorrow, I hope she’s had a good time. It’s been wonderful weather for a camp, 24 today, spring truly has sprung.

It’s good timing for pickup, I have to pick Beth up at 12 noon and my other kids aren’t at school tomorrow. It’s a teacher’s strike day which means I don’t have to drop off, pick up Beth, come home for an hour or so then go back to pick up Bill and Bridie. We can all go to pick up Beth, get the promised MacDonalds for lunch and come home for the afternoon.

I talk to a lot of parents about autism, either through my support group, through facebook or through this blog. I fully support the teachers striking, I believe their job is unbelievably difficult and often thankless. I see both sides as far as kids are concerned. By that I mean I can see parents points of view as a parent of a special needs child but I can also see the point of view from the parents of kids who have no disability. Notice I didn’t say ‘kids without issues’ as I believe most kids have issues.

The more autism seems to rise in the community the less help schools seem to get. When we started school with Beth we (after an appeal) got level four funding which was nearly a full time aide. Mind you we had to make her out to be almost unrecognisable in the paperwork to get that funding. Sadly it was all true but to see every little thing down on paper was a slap in the face. Same thing again for high school funding. The thing is though that every parent has to go through that gut wrenching process to get aide funding and nowadays many kids don’t get any. I know of several kids who aren’t much ‘better’ than Beth and they haven’t received funding. It’s unbelievable. I couldn’t have sent Beth to school without an aide. Unfortunately many parents don’t have that option, they have to both work and they have to send their children to school.

The school’s don’t have the right to say no to these children. They have to have somewhere to go. And there’s the problem. There are classrooms with special needs kids and no aides. They can be a danger to themselves and to others and to keep the peace the poor teachers have to let them do what they want at times otherwise they may run off. I have a friend who has moved her son at least four times because the school can’t control her child yet as he is not aided it’s not really the school’s fault. Other parents complain because they don’t believe their child is in a good environment with all of ‘those’ children. And as I said, I can see both sides. I feel for this friend of mine because it is so hard that she can’t find a school to suit her child. But I feel for the teachers at his schools too, and for the other kids in his class who have to bear the brunt of his behaviour. It’s just not fair on anybody involved and the government need to see that autism is now at nearly epidemic proportions. There has to be SOMEWHERE for these kids to go. If society wants our kids to not be a drain on the government when they are older they have to be able to teach them now.

Anyway, I just want to wish all the teachers out there good luck tomorrow. And the wonderful intergration aides. I was (and am) so thankful for the teachers that have helped mold and nurture my Beth. They were supportive of both her and myself and I’ll forever be grateful. But I’ve got to tell you, I wouldn’t be a bloody teacher for quids!



Posted by Sarah on Sep 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

Beth’s gone off to school camp today. It’s her first with her high school so I’ve got mixed feelings about it. She has too.

We had a school production on Thursday night for Bill and Bridie’s school. As Beth’s old friends still have siblings at the school they were watching the production too. It was strange not having Beth in the production. We’ve been lucky, Beth’s a born performer and loved being in school productions. Lots of kids on the spectrum don’t like performing and are often working backstage or not being involved at all. Beth has always been on the stage, our primary school is very inclusive and always made sure that Beth had the opportunity if she wanted it. This is the first time in eight years that the whole school production didn’t have Beth in it. I thought she’d be bored shitless but she quite enjoyed it. She certainly loved seeing her old friends. It showed me how she still considers these girls to be her true friends. If we talk about having kids for a playdate it’s Jessica and Erin that she talks about, not her friends from this year.

This is why I thought it was important for Beth to go to camp this year. I know she wanted to stay at home with me. I know she wont like having no computer or ipad for two nights. I know she’ll have to socialise more, not just with kids in her class but with ones perhaps unfamiliar to her. And that’s just what she needs. It’s good for her to step out of her comfort zone once in a while.

For me it’s a funny feeling. I love the fact that I wont have to drive an hour and a quarter round trip twice a day. I love that I don’t have to leave to pick the kids up until 3pm instead of 2pm. I also love the ease of just having two kids at home. It doesn’t matter which one isn’t home, it’s always easier with one less. The other side of me will miss Beth dreadfully. As I said goodbye to her this morning on the bus we said that we loved each other, she said she didn’t want to lose me. I don’t think she was necessarily thinking that she would, maybe she thinks if she says things like that I’ll change my mind and let her be at home. I of course reassured her, telling her that as I would be picking her up at 12 on Wednesday that we’d get MacDonalds for lunch on the way home. In many ways Beth is my easiest child, she’s easily pleased and can entertain herself all day if she’s got her dvds and ipad or computer. She eats well and she does what she’s told. And she needs me which is lovely. Most kids grow up and become fairly independant, Beth still needs her mummy lots and hard as it is I also love that about her.

To make the trip more exciting we went clothes shopping yesterday, Beth got some girly tops and new boots which she wore today. She had her new magazine for the bus ride which she started reading as soon as she got on the bus and put her seatbelt on. I asked if she was looking forward to the camp and she said a little bit. There’s a dinner out, a visit to Sovereign Hill, night hikes and bike riding. I told her teacher that Beth can’t ride, she said they’d teach her how to. It’s specifically a special needs camp which is great, there’s 16 kids and three staff members, two of them being women, one being Beth’s teacher. I couldn’t ask for a better crew, she had friends going with her, she’d shaved under her arms in preparation this morning, she’s got her new clothes, what more can you want. And the weather is amazing, perfect for a few days of bonding. It’s hard but it’s also necessary. My baby’s growing up!

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