No matter how hard you try square pegs don’t fit in round holes.
Why is that simple fact so hard for the wider world to grasp?
Yes with tools you could round the edges of a square peg. You could take away the edges that don’t suit the round hole, or you could try forcing the peg with a hammer, problem solved?
You are forcing that square peg to be something it’s not, you are causing damage.
Why not accept the square peg and make a square hole?
Right now I feel this is the story of my life. It is the story of my children’s lives, it is the story of the lives of many, many families living with Autism. I am exhausted. My daughter is too.
We live in modern times where huge themes and values are equality, diversity and inclusion. They are for the majority of thoes affected by ASD just theories. We need action.
Equality is about removing barriers an individuals unique characteristics create, to offer that individual the same opportunities to participate in life as someone without those same unique characteristics.
For a child with ASD, that could mean making environmental adjustments to provide sensory input or prevent sensory overload. Helping them facilitate communication. Allowing more time to process information. Just being there to provide reassurance and understanding.
Diversity is about celebrating and accepting each individuals unique characteristics and recognising everyone has something to offer.
For a child with ASD that often means delving deeper than what you see on the surface.
Inclusion should mean included in school and in society.
All great theories. Why is it so hard to put them into practice?
We are less than three months into one of my children’s first year in a new school.
We spent two years gearing up for this transition. Huge time and effort went into planning for this.
It is an absolute off the scale disaster.
There is no other way to describe the current situation.
My child is only receiving 11 hours of education a week. The rest of the time they are at home.
Why, because she couldn’t cope. The challenges were too enormous. Too many changes all at once. All the protective measures failed. No consistency. Not enough support.
The answer, part time timetable.
I wish school understood the message their answer is giving to my daughter and her peers. It is a message that says “you are not welcome” and “you don’t belong”.
My daughter believes it is all her fault.
We failed her.
My daughter didn’t fail. That is something I want to make clear. My daughter tried so hard. For two weeks she managed to appear completely typical to all the other new starts at high school. Then the cracks appeared. I could see the legs frantically swimming whilst on the surface everything looked just fine. I knew she was drowning….
I tried everything to keep her afloat. I begged someone to catch her.
I am so proud of my daughter. I can’t get that message through to her though. She measures herself against her peers, they go to school, they manage, she can’t do that.
We are now at week 10. My child spends a few hours a day in school, the majority of that time she isn’t in class. My child is not included she is effectively segregated. My child is not accepted, nor valued, my child is bullied day in day out. My child is called a freak.
A few great teachers get my daughter and really try with her, we are hugely grateful to those few. They are the exception not the rule. Teachers were asked if they were comfortable having my daughter in their class, most refused. My daughters class were asked if they were comfortable with her being there. No one asked my daughter if she was comfortable in class.
I wish my daughter knew how beautiful, clever, smart and talented she really is. All she believes is she’s a freak. When she is in class her peers make sure she knows that is how they see her. They block her way in the corridor, send her hate messages via social media, spread lies making my child out to be a monster.
My daughter doesn’t feel safe in school.
How can she learn when feeling frightened all the time?
I have written letters, tried to contribute to meetings, plans are drawn up but never followed. No one takes responsibility. No one really cares. At the end of the day they all go home. We are the ones sitting into the small hours holding a sobbing child. We are the ones tasked with getting her back into school everyday. We are the ones trying to prevent her giving up completely.
Every day I watch my daughter slip further away. We are watching her like a hawk. I know she is barely eating, she barely sleeps. The sparkle has gone from her eyes. Huge black circles replace it.
We wait on Children’s And Adolescent Mental Health Services to decide if this time they will help, if this time there is enough evidence to finally go for assessment. They are waiting on school to return completed paperwork sent to them weeks ago, before deciding how to proceed. School lost the paperwork.
The bullying has been reported several times, still it carries on.
Seriously why does no one deal with the bullies?
The drawn up plans are not implemented. Sounds really positive in a meeting, the reality, push her back to class no support, no adjustments, the result she didn’t cope and thinks she has failed all over again.
We are at the point that school don’t respond to emails. How ironic, considering it is widely recognised communication and partnership working is the key. They know I have ASD and they know I prefer to communicate in writing. They live in a world though where verbal communication seems to be valued more by typical beings.
I think we have reached the point where nothing is salvageable.
You have no idea how heartbroken and angry I feel.
Heartbroken because she deserved better than this. The majority of my daughters needs were known about well in advance. Professional’s offered advice, they chose not to follow it. My daughters needs are not classed as great enough for one to one support funding.
Angry not just at those that have failed my daughter, I am angry that I let myself believe it would be any different for my daughter than the years of hell another of my children had. For a second I believed if we could work together. I believed we could make it work.
The hard question what to do now?
My daughter won’t cope in another mainstream school, it is going to take a long time to undo the damage now done. My child won’t meet the entry requirements for an additional needs school, her needs not deemed great enough. Home education is not the answer either. She is highly sociable, well tries to be and seeks the company of other children. Home education would be too isolating.
The heartbreaking part to this story is how un unique this situation is. This is happening to hundreds of children up and down the country who have or are waiting on an ASD diagnosis.
Inclusion, Diversity, Equality they are just meaningless words.
The reality is miss understood, broken, isolated and excluded.
When will the world realise?
Square peg’s don’t fit in round holes.