Updated: Sep 13, 2021
As a parent of a child with Dyslexia, ADHD Aspergers or Dyspraxia etc, you will need to be your child's advocate. You will need to negotiate with teachers, educational professionals and others including the medical professionals. You will need to be strong and resilient, yet reasonable and positive.
When my son went through the educational system, I went with him - not into his lessons of course, but into the school to negotiate his needs.
Moving to a new school was a sock for my son, as more was demanded of him than he was able to deal with. Changing classrooms and teachers for lessons, finding his way around the school etc and adjusting to stricter rules and higher requirements and standards of work and strict teachers who did not understand his difficulties was enough to make him give up trying, give up on school and teachers etc, which he did from Middle school onwards. Physical Education was one prime example. My son had Dyspraxia among other things, meaning he was slow at dressing and undressing and he most often forgot to bring his P. E. kit with him, leading to punishments and detentions.
You may know already, but Dyspraxia also means there are memory and organisational issues a child has to deal with - a school diary often didn't suffice in this area. P. E is also difficult when your child's coordination isn't good or they find it difficult to follow the teachers instructions and directions. This got my son into more trouble. You can imagine the resentment that built up in him plus a breakdown in confidence, followed with
bullying from peers.
School became torturous at this stage. my son started misbehaving and refusing to go to school. I only just got him through the first few years at Middle School but decided enough was enough. He needed more specialised education.
We choose a special unit attached to a mainstream school, because despite wanting him to go to a school for dyslexic children, the LEA refused to fund this. My son ended up in a autism base attached to the school. The teacher was excellent and understood his behaviours etc. I was quite impressed with her. He made a little bit of progress.
But more trouble came our way when my son had to move to High School. This was an utter failure. They moved him to another mainstream school with a different type of unit - it was a learning support base, which you would think would work but in his case, it didn't. This was all the LEA had to offer and it was the wrong place for him. My son and his teacher did not get on at all and his behaviour worsened. Two teachers who were in the base had no real understanding of his needs and were intent on punishments, which again, made it all the more troublesome. School became a battlefield. Our communication broke down and
our emotions were raw. Teachers meetings were like hell on earth. There was no understanding or trust anymore.
In the end my son was expelled and we felt helpless in helping him. He couldn't take anymore schooling and neither could we. All of this could have been avoided if our son was placed in the right kind of school or unit.
I'm sharing get this to help parents avoid these pitfalls and all the heartache that goes with it. I would advise parents to make sure that the school your child attends IS the right kind for them, with the right kind of attitudes and the right kind of support all around. In the right hands our children can excel and make good progress - I know this because my second son, who also has Aspergers syndrome and Dyspraxia, thrived in the right school.
He failed in mainstream Middle school but when he was properly assessed and sent to the right kind of autism base unit, he was able to manage school and passed his G.C.S. E.'s. After many more years, he is now studying at a university in the USA.
Through the years, I've needed to be both my son's advocates, through their failures and achievements. I totally understand how parents feel and some of the struggles they go through, and I now tutor children with Dyslexia and other difficulties after taking some training and having work experience at a private school. I really enjoy what I do and find it fulfilling. If I can help you or your child in any way, please contact me.
Meanwhile parents, make good choices with your child's schooling and education and keep strong!