I thought I'd give an update of how Star is getting on a Secondary School as a few people have asked lately. We had hoped that things would be good for her. We spent a lot of time checking out the school and talking with teachers. After she started we reviewed how she was getting on and talked with the SENCO about her extra needs.
I was impressed when I had a call saying that they'd assessed Star for p.e. and sports and were trying to include her as much as they thought safe. This was before I'd even submitted her medical notes so I was happy they were on the ball.
I was impressed when we were called in for a chat with the school counsellor who told us that Star had been going to speak to her about her fears and worries. The sort of things that were quite natural for a young girl starting secondary school to be scared and worried about, at least she had someone to talk to about it all.
I was impressed at how quickly they've called me when she has been ill or fallen and they have been very understanding. They have also been very understanding about the times she's not been able to attend school due to illness or medical appointments. She's definitely not going to get any awards for good attendance.
Today, I was impressed that the head of the year was available to speak to me at short notice.
Last night was awful. My poor girl was so upset she was talking about life not worth living. She sobbed all evening and it took us forever to calm her down and get her to speak to us. Eventually she told us she is being bullied...by four boys!
It started a while back, she told the teacher and the teacher talked to the boys. It happened again, so she told on them again and said that nothing was done. When we mentioned this to the head he explained that the teacher may have just got it under control in their class and not realised that it was happening outside of class.
Star told us that the boys had threatened to hurt her if she told on them again. So far it's just been name calling and minor things, but enough to upset her. Now it's turned to threats of violence and that is totally unacceptable and needs to be stopped immediately.
I do worry a lot about Star being hurt by other children. You see those horrid bullying video's being shared on Social Media and I can't bear to watch them. I know they get shared to shame the bullies but it upsets me so much. With her body being so susceptible to injury and her neck being so weak, it really scares me. Someone pulling her hair hard could cause such serious damage, someone pushing her over could dislocate her bones. She is not like a normal child. I want to wrap her up in cotton wool, but I also want her to live a normal life. I cannot tolerate bullying of any kind and she must not get hurt in any way.
My eldest child was bullied when he started Secondary School. His reaction was to turn violent himself and he was hard to control for a long time. Constantly getting into fights and subsequently into trouble at school. He'd come home every day filthy and his bag was in tatters. I tried to work with the school but they were useless, they just didn't understand. They segregated him by putting him in the special needs classes. He hated that even more and his rebellion got worse. I ended up taking him out of school.
My eldest daughter was turned on by her old primary school friends. They no longer wanted her to be part of their clique and she couldn't accept that. She was really upset and hated going to school. She had a lot of other awful stuff going on at home but couldn't talk to anyone at school about it. She became withdrawn and depressed and life became unbearable for her. I ended up taking her out of school.
I have not had a child complete secondary school yet and was hoping that Star would be different.
I hate that this is happening and that my child is so miserable.
The school was doing so well but these awful boys are making her life unbearable and it has to stop.
She is also upset because no-one talks to her at school, no-one wants to be her friend. She's not really shy and is very friendly and always smiling. She is different though and has different interests to the girls at school. She's really not a girly girl at all. Neither was I when I was at school, but I was never bullied and somehow made it through unscathed.
We are also having an issue with homework which I need to speak to the school about. She comes home with loads of books and has no idea what she is expected to do at home. She is probably told just like the other kids but it's not sinking in with her. She needs to have clear instruction which she is not getting, apart from one lesson, English. Her English teacher writes down in her book what she needs to do and the date it needs to be completed. If only all the other teacher's did the same.
I want to prove that it is possible these days for an autistic child to make it through Secondary School. Maybe if she didn't have the Elher's Danlos Syndrome which causes her physical problems, then I'd be more hopeful, but I have to admit my hope is waning already..and we are only in the second term of the first year.
She's already said she wants her home tutor again. She did work well with a home tutor but they are not readily available. I don't think that Star should be segregated from her peers though, I'm sure it will make her future more bearable if she can tolerate other people.
My eldest son ended up in another school, a bridging school, the purpose of which is to ready the child for a return to mainstream school. He was there for three and a half years and never made it back to mainstream. while there he never spoke to any of the other pupils and I often had to go and pick him up as he'd either gone into meltdown, or frozen out. ( he would walk out of the school and lie face down on the grass outside and become totally unresponsive to anyone until I came to pick him up.)
He says now that he wished he'd been able to talk and interact with his peers. He feels it may have made it easier to talk to people now. I really think that Star needs this interaction now.
After talking to the head today he has promised to get to the bottom of this and make sure that the boys leave her alone. The school is strict on bullying and the parents of the boys will be contacted. If they cause her problems again they will be excluded. I hope this is enough to stop them right now. Star is also being sent to speak to another lady at the school who is available to chat to her first thing every morning to make sure she is happy to be at school, and last thing in the afternoon to talk about how her day has been. That's reassuring for now. I'm just keeping everything crossed at the moment.