My 14yo with Asperger's hates school and the more interaction I have with them the harder it is not to see why. His in a unit within mainstream and passionately hates being in a unit or having any support. Several incidents some of which my son hasn't helped and others where the school hasn't dealt with bullying or outright discriminated against him. I've had meetings, discussions the lot and nothings improved. He has a year and a few months before finishing.
I've tried to encourage him to stick it out as it's such an important time in respect of his education but now not so sure.
Trouble is feel there is no solution. If he stays, how well can he learn when his so angry and upset? Main issue is him 'being in the unit' having support follow him around and other students calling him derogatory names. If he goes to another school it will be a big upheaval for him requiring using public transport and not having his current convenience of a 5minute walk. He also won't have support which is 100% what he wants but I'm worried he'd struggle.
School has become such a source of stress for both him and I for a long time now that I'm at the point I want nothing further to do with them.
Any thoughts or words of wisdom would be very much appreciated.
Hi Struggling Mum,
I feel for you, too. I know the stress my own parents were under with my problems at school. Back then, though - in the '70s - Asperger's wasn't known about generally. I didn't have a diagnosis of anything, either. I was simply 'unfocused', 'shy', 'hopeless', 'incapable of learning', etc. I wasn't in a unit. I was in with all the others. I was clearly bright and had been way ahead of everyone else in my first year at primary school. That was the only year of my schooling that that was the case, though. From then on, things went from bad to worse. By the time I reached the 4th year at secondary... I was bottom of the entire year! I was bullied - by teachers as well as other pupils. I learned practically nothing. Then, my parents moved from London to Devon, where I finished my schooling. I expected things to be better there - but they were actually worse. I was routinely beaten up. Finally, at age 15 - after a beating had landed me in hospital with a broken cheek bone - my parents said enough was enough. I had no qualifications and no prospects... but I was free of that place for good. The sense of relief I felt was enormous. It was one of the best times of my life. I managed to find work not long afterwards... and so life has gone on. It hasn't held me back. In fact, ten years later, I took evening classes and managed to get into university to study for a degree. That was where I had my first experience of education on my own terms. No set curriculum to follow, study at my own pace, motivation because I was studying what I wanted to study rather than what someone else was prescribing... and in an environment where people were, at least, grown up and no longer cruel and sadistic towards me.
I really question whether 'school' is about true education at all. Of course, it's important to learn to read and write (practically all I learned at school - honestly)... but beyond that? Isn't it more about drilling people to pass exams so that they can then go on to be functioning players in the workplace? I always think of it as a bit like taking driving lessons. My driving instructor said to me once 'All I'm doing is teaching you to pass a test. It's after you've done that that you'll learn how to drive.' I've learned much more outside of school - and things I both wanted and needed to learn - than I ever learned when I was there. This has been my true education. And, as I said, it's never held me back. Until uni, I always managed to find work - and I've always found work since. Usually with employers who wanted me for my intelligence and abilities rather than my exam certificates.
The moral there, I suppose, is... the end of school doesn't mean the end of education and everything else. It may be the best thing for him, to enable him to find his own way. If he's like I was, he prefers to study alone and at his own pace. Having said that - it's still a big and difficult decision. Ultimately, it's whatever you and he think is best for him... not what other people say is best.
Just my story and perspective. Good luck with whatever you decide.