Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another letter to teacher's of ASD kids.

 Dear teacher,

This is specifically for those of you with the overbearing parents, who refuse to believe their child is autistic, who just mollycoddle their little darlings and expect you to do the same.  My big secret - I was one too! Let me share why with you...

By the end of my daughter's first week at pre school her teacher asked me to ok a referral to speech and language therapy.  I didn't ok this as I'd already sought out our own referral, which as I said to you was hopefully coming in soon.  You very kindly let me know my daughter should be potty trained, especially as you did not have the staff members to change her nappies for her.  You also kindly invited me to a special session on potty training where I brought up with another mum, where you listened in, my worries about my child's autistic behaviours.  You then said I shouldn't be worrying so much about my child not being potty trained which I wasn't.  I was there because you invited me, but maybe there were crossed wires somewhere.

The next snapshot is when I discussed my fears about my daughter being autistic with the nursery nurse over the water play on the open stay and play day.  She told me about her two sons, also on the spectrum, and agreed that I was probably right.

Do you remember the cakes I made for you at Christmas to say thank you?

Do you remember me bringing PECS into school to try and combat my daughters school refusal - you said you would use them as I asked you too, but then you changed it to only include the activities that were new. This was such a shame as at home we'd been advised to use them as a timetable by the local branch of the National Autistic Society, and it confused my child to use them differently.  We stopped using them not long after.

It was also a shame that the discussions about making it clear to my child when staff changes were happening (as advised by the NAS, whose print out I took in to show you) were (as you said) simply impossible.  I mean keeping track of 3 full time member's of staff and 2 part time must be difficult, I see that.

I do wonder if you ever had answers to the questions in the home/school book I started? It's SUCH a shame you lost it.  I completely understand you couldn't read out the social story to my child to help with home time - again not enough staff. Although apparently too many to note their comings and goings.  How do you live with the dichotomy?

I get you were surprised when my child didn't return for the final term but what with you not being able to change her nappies, read her social story  and the three hour meltdowns she'd have she when came home (often wearing the same soiled nappy that you couldn't spot) - well I simply didn't have the energy.

I admit my email expressing my concerns about your ability to safeguard my child during school years was quite strong and angry - I'm sorry about that.  I should have kept my temper.  I didn't expect you to reply saying you were withdrawing my child name from your school rote (the pre school was a feeder to the school) - I think that counts as discrimination?  But discrimination is such a nasty word isn't it?

Is that why it's easier for you say "Oh Mrs X got ever so angry, but then she never accepted her child was autistic."

I repeat - is discrimination such a nasty word it's easier to blame the parent for not understanding?  Which is sad, really sad. How much MORE would you need to convince you I was trying to work with you. Why - because you had my daughter and she is more precious to me, than I am, and I get that tolerance and understanding, breeds tolerance and understanding. I'm a Buddhist also, and every night I would mediate, trying to shine love on the situation so I could deal with it calmly, I failed and I'm sorry.  But I'm also human.

 It is hard when you suspect your child is different, it is hard when you are trying to open dialogues before your child is diagnosed, and you want your child's needs listened too.  That makes parents sad and angry.  It's also a dialogue you will have had many times with many other parent's who also appear "not" to understand - so please make the dialogue easier for us by listening. Often we do know our child is autistic before diagnosis day, it's just difficult to start that dialogue with you.  Especially if you're not listening.  Please listen.

I knew my child was autistic, I tried and failed to share that with her pre school and 2 years on I am blamed for not accepting she is autistic.  I wish I knew how to build a better dialogue so other parents and teachers don't have to have the same pointless battle whilst the child looses out on an education and suffers instead.  Four weeks after I took my child out of her pre school she turned round and said to me "I so happy".  I'd forgotten when she'd last said that, it been so long.

This is based on what happened to my family and the real sadness is that it happens all over.  Please share if you wish, so people in this situation on both sides (parents and teachers) can find a better way of building that pre diagnosis dialogue.  Our kids are worth it.

1 comment:

Ailbhe said...

Oh Rachel. Hugs.