Monday, October 10, 2011

The Boy who cried Wolf

Aspie boy loves wolves.  There is always a wolf calendar in the kitchen that he can see from his seat.  It's a tween version of the daily schedule that many parents use with children on the autistic spectrum.  When he was younger, one of our favourite stories was the Boy who cried Wolf.  He loved it because it was about wolves, and I loved it because it emphasised the consequences of telling lies.  I have a problem with lies and liars.  I can only recall telling lies myself on 2 or 3 occasions and I felt terrible afterwards.  Perhaps PR suited me as a profession because I've got good at spin, in order to avoid telling actual lies.  

Perhaps I did not read the story enough.  I thought that aspies didn't tell lies.  But it seems that he has been doing exactly that.  Or, in his own words, 'half-lies'.  And now he is seeing that his lies mean that no-one now knows whether to believe him or not.  Even me.  You see the problems are at school and I'm getting one story from the school and another from my son.

I knew that school would be more difficult for him this year and I tried to prepare him.  All his friends bar one had moved on to secondary school, the teacher he loved has left and more work is expected of 5th year pupils.  So I was anticipating problems.  But not lies.

Almost every day he came home saying how much he hated school, tales about all the trouble he was causing and begging me to do something about it.  Now perhaps I should have noticed that the school was not contacting me, but I guess I was a soft target as I'm so worried about my Dad at the moment.  So I rang the school, emailed the school and even turned up one day, but the principal was too busy to see me.

Finally I received a curt note from the school.  This is an extract from it:

**** continues to tell you lies. I don't know how many times so far this year **** has told you complete rubbish yet you continue to believe him. 

After seeing this I took all his consoles and locked them in the garage and stuck the house rules back up on fridge again.  He was to get the consoles back one at a time if he behaved.   As I told him, dealing with anger and violence and social deficits is one thing, but I cannot help him if he lies to me.  Cue another enormous meltdown.

It also looks like my relationship with the school is now in tatters.  I've no idea how to get over this.  Worse, I'm now getting reports that my son is starting to misbehave in school.

This last weekend my son was in a downward spiral.  He barely ate.  He begged to be let off school today.  He says that all his classmates bar one are 'annoying' him.  He says the amount of work he is being given is 'abusive'**.  He says that no-one is listening to him or being nice to him.  I don't know what to believe.  I know he has control issues and I am so afraid that he is just playing a game.  Push me and push me and scream and scream just to see if he can control my behaviour - in this case getting me to go back to the school and 'fix' everything for him.  Which might mean him changing classes or schools or getting less homework or getting a home tutor.  But I don't think he'll be happy then either.  Somehow he needs to learn to enjoy the life that he has.  If only the autism service providers would do more than just organise meetings and provide some real help and advice....

**not true!

15 comments:

  1. Did the school actually give you some alternative version of the events that did happen? Or are they really saying that nothing happened? It is, obviously, in the school's interest to deny that anything untoward happened and heads will often defend their staff even if they were in the wrong if there is some way of blaming the child or the parent. Frankly, the wording makes me more suspicious of the school than of your son - I would have expected something like "we have investigated X's claims and have found no record of Y happening" or "teacher Z gives a quite different version of events".

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  2. Oh Gawd, I don't know what to say. I don't understand why school hasn't contacted you prior to it getting to this point. Shame on them. I often tell them at school that I know NOTHING that goes on there. Its like a whole other world and I have to be notified of anything so I can intervene at home. I'm concerned with the school's approach as well. It does not sound like they're working to solve the problem. Sigh. Let me know what's going on. I'm worried for you both.

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  3. For a lot of my life, I did not like lies or liars. However, I learned that when a person lies, it is because they do not feel safe to tell the truth. When I thought about this, it made & makes sense to me.
    I agree with the other two posters, that was a shocking letter to get from the school, especially when you had tried to meet with them!
    Maybe you need to trust your son!

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  4. I too thought the letter from the school was curt and quite rude considering the situation. Makes me more suspicious of them to be honest. And for the principle to be too busy to see a parent who has made the effort to come in and address concerns, the very least they could have done was to reschedule something.

    Just seems like you aren't getting any help from anywhere that you turn.

    Bug hugs hope you can resolve things soon. :) xx

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  5. I am shocked by the letter from your school - it sounds very rude. Surely they know that parents tend to believe their kids if they seem distressed?? However I also know how easy it is to believe our children's lies - they are just so good at it! I have the same issue with GG, and when I discover she has lied I then find it difficult to believe the next thing she has to say. It is tough. Can you make an appointment to explain to the school what is happening and figure out how best you can all support him?

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  6. Aa big hug from me. This is very hard and I regognize it.

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  7. Just a quick note to say thanks and I will respond to all your comments later...just having a very busy day, not a in a bad way luckily :)

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  8. I think the school sounds a pain in the neck. You deserve much more than a 'curt note'. How rude of them. They should be concerned that you are concerned, goodness knows there are loads of parents that don't get involved.

    Obviously I don't know all, but I feel very upset for you! Those words in the note don't sound at all professionally, ditto for delivery.

    If your relationship with school is in tatters, then they need to look at themselves first.

    Gosh, I'm ranting! Send me, I'd tell 'em!

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  9. @Indigo Jo - yes they did give their version of what had happened and I realised that it made sense. I was upset by their wording.

    @Lizbeth - I have maintained fairly regular contact with the school by email, but they don't operate a home/school copy system so I don't know what happens every day.

    @irishminx - that's a great rationale and I've not heard it before.

    @Helen - I thought so too xx

    @Actually Mummy - I was in for a general informal meeting with all the parents this week, but apart from that I'm just laying low for now and assessing the situation.

    @Amber - thank you.

    @Suburbia - I'm hoping I can rebuild the relationship with the school, I just need to work out the best way. And I'd love you here on my side!

    @northernmum - thank you x

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  10. Sorry Blue Sky, I feel like I've deserted you! I get so weird on the blogging thing at times so I apologise.

    I'm NOT impressed at how your school delivered that news. it's one thing to talk to a parent of any child like that but to talk to a parent of an Aspie kid is so not on. It actually shows how little they understand his diagnosis. in my humble opinion.

    Of course he can't get away with lies, I know, and hopefully you can get this issue tagged in with the others when dealing with the behavioural team (if I can call it that?!)

    I can tell you that my boy can be similar when it comes to telling tales from school! Not to the same extent but similar. It's like, 'if I say it happened this way then it's real' I think. Or, it is actually how he perceives things...sometimes. He misunderstands situations. I don't think that possibility should be under estimated.

    It is very difficult. I think it is time to insist on that daily home/school diary. Luckily the school, in their rudeness, have kind of given you an opening to this! Well, if you're both to sort this 'rubbish' out you have to know what's happening on a daily basis;-)

    xx Jazzy

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  11. @Jazzygal - don't worry, I don't feel deserted! I really value all your advice and comments. The school is pretty informal in many ways and that comes through in the communications sometimes too, but I was upset by this one. I have now heard that the IEPs will be coming up soon, so I will plan very carefully for that, and better home/school communications will be part of it - after all the lack of it was partly problems festered at the old school! xx

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  12. Only just catching up with this now sorry, I am HORRIFIED (see how horrified I am - it's in capitals!) at how the school have handled this. I used to be a SEN teacher myself (in an autistic specific special school) and just can not believe their attitude. Sorry for the rant but I think it is disgusting! Anyway, I realise this was wee while back so I am hoping it has been resolved now, will continue to catch up on all your posts to date.

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  13. @LittleMamma - I'm not horrified, I guess I was becoming annoying and this was penned without thinking. But if I had been kept better informed it would not have happened. We're on mid term right now and then shortly we'll have the IEP - late enough though!

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