Sunday, April 4, 2010

When school happens shit happens

Sometimes the whole school system idea works and other times it fails children miserably, depending on the school/teachers/child/if the moon is full that get the picture.
My kidlet went to an Autistic-specific school for 3 days per week in a type of pre-prep programe.
He loved it - heck, any parent would love it! - average of 5 kids per class with 2 teachers and they closely followed the curriculum of mainstream schools as well as incorporating sensory and speech therapies.

He bloomed, he grew in confidence, his speech improved and his creche carers noted how much more engaged he was, beginning to actually react to the kids around him...not properly play with them but he began to acknowledge their presence.
Then the wonderful year of blossoming came to an end and I was going to follow my gut instinct and hold him back in creche for another year when the principal kept insisting we would be doing him an injustice if we didn't take advantage of him being primed to start at mainstream school right now.
So, stupidly I did as I was advised; he was enrolled in mainstream school and when he started, the shit started.
Not only were the teachers ill-equipped for a kid with special needs but they weren't prepared to make changes to accommodate him and his foibles.
By May I was being asked to collect him at lunchtime to take him out of the school Every.Day.
We were recommended to a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service where we saw a lovely psychiatrist. He immediately saw that our son needed medication just to cope with daily life and began him slowly on anti-psychotic meds.
This might seem extreme to some people but when a child smashes a house up and tries to break windows by throwing everything not nailed down, there's something happening.
WTF is wrong with this world when we have to drug our kids up just to cope with other human beings?
He repeated prep but he never regained his confidence or happy nature that had come to the fore during the year of pre-prep at the autistic school. He was sullen, miserable, coming home each day rattling off a litany of complaints about various students picking on him, the bullying, the subtle, sly nastiness that was brushed aside by teachers.
Whenever I tried to discuss the bullying, from 1 child in particular, it was waved away with a laugh, myself being told I was over-reacting.
By the time he hit grade 3 he was in a routine of whinging and complaining about everyone who looked sideways at him, no one ever taking any notice of his issues, telling him to 'walk away' from those trying to bully him, putting everything down to him 'being a drama queen' (blame the victim).
When the school failed to act on the attempted sexual abuse from the bully I saw red.
I contacted the relevant authorities, I reported the incidents, several other parents came forward and spoke out about the same child.
School holidays and a violently angry child who was not happy about Santa or presents or anything.
My gut instinct was to remove him from the school, from the environment. I mentally went through our options - many of these issues he would take with him wherever he went as they were now ingrained learnt behaviours.
School started back and on the 2nd day the bullying began again.
I took him out to homeschool him and it was the absolute best decision I ever made for him.

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