Hi, my soon to be 12 year old son who has Aspergers started high school in September and he is trying really hard to fit in and not have the kind of blow ups he did at primary. As he is getting better at blending in and isn’t presenting issues to the school, he isn’t getting help from the SENCO. I have to push and keep filling up. There are 700 boys at the school and we have had episodes of bullying but as he hasnt started it he is not getting attention or support.
I'm considering a much smaller school that regularly practices meditation. Does anyone have any advice on the kind of high school to choose?
Maybe some mainstream schools in the area have specialist autism support, although would have thought those were the bigger ones. Does he like meditation? What help exactly could the SENCo provide? Yes, victims of bullying should also get support - if he had friends and allies, they could be informal support in learning how to cope.
I'm autistic, at my very last year in high school I had to drop out due to bullying and the work. Instead of a mainstream high school, i went to a PRU (Pupil Referral Unit) These are very small schools for those who struggle with the typical high school, I'd consider looking online and searching to see if there's any in your area.
I don’t think I understand exactly what the problem is from your post, so I have tried to cover all bases...
Do you mean your son is not having meltdowns anymore like he did at Primary school? This could be a good thing; it could mean he finds his new school less stressful, he may be really enjoying how organised and routine high school classes are (highly structured, formal lessons and academic content, and everyone seated at desks etc.) in comparison to primary school classroom bedlam. However, it could mean that your son is learning to introvert and withdraw instead, which you may need to keep an eye on. Isolating and withdrawing in this way rarely bothers the school who may not even notice, but can be a painful and alienating experience for your child.
If your son is the victim of bullying, his school should have a bullying policy which outlines their procedures of dealing with bullying. If you believe your son is being bullied I would suggest you contact the school directly and inform them of this because your son may not be able to communicate his distress effectively to his teachers and may need you to talk to school on his behalf. At the very least I would remind school that your son is vulnerable and may not alert them to the fact he is being bullied or tell them about distressing events when they occur (at the time).
If your son has SEN, for example, barriers are occurring in school which are negatively affecting his wellbeing and ability to join in ‘whole school life’ or access learning, his SENCo should be helping him and supporting him with these. I think that a diagnosis alone is not enough to trigger SENCo support (rightly or wrongly) and instead SEN support needs to be based upon each child’s individual need and not their diagnosis. If you feel that your son should be getting more support or adjustments in school for specific areas he struggles with, you need to raise this with the SENCo directly as, if your son is introverting, school may be entirely unaware of his struggles.
In my experience Secondary schools often have a different ‘organisational culture’ than primary schools which is, in my opinion, far less holistic. By this I mean that generally, if your child’s grades are okay, and they are not presenting any difficult behavioural difficulties to the school (i.e. not fighting, swearing or being disruptive,) some high schools don’t give a single toss about anything else.
I can’t answer about the meditation; I guess some kids may really benefit from this. My ND sons however would not have been able to access meditation (see these types of things as pointless, and cannot understand the purpose or benefit of them.) Relax techniques can be good I guess, but I am personally wary of ‘mindfulness’ as I secretly suspect that, poorly executed, mindfulness can simply encourage us to accept the unacceptable.
700 kids at a high school seems a really small school (I am assuming you stated ‘700 boys’ as it’s an all-boys school?) With regards to what sort of high school to choose…what opinion does your son have about what sort of school he would like to attend?
Thanks for the responses, I think a smaller school would be a calmer atmosphere and he would get noticed more by the staff. Because he doesn’t want to ‘be a snitch’ he’s not speaking out, but a smaller school may check in on him more. I thought that a bigger school would give more opportunity to meet children with the same interests and humour, but I think being in an all boys school is too aggressive an environment as he is bothered by the swearing and name calling (even if it’s in jest), which he doesn’t always recognise.
am going to look at a free school next week and there are only 18 in the whole year instead of 140. Not sure, but want to feel that staff can notice when he needs support as he won’t ask for it.
thanks all x