I have recently become a SENCo at a large comprehensive school. A number of pupils that I have with ASD are showing the 'Jekyll and Hyde' characteristics (Attwood). In other words, they are behaving well and fitting in at school, but having huge meltdowns as soon as they get home. I would love to be able to support parents, as well as these pupils. Has anyone got any ideas of what I can do at school to help, when there don't appear to be any problems and the pupils aren't verbalising any issues? Thanks
Hi,I'm 52 so Sencos hadn't been invented when I was at school and nobody really knew anything about Aspergers/HFA and I didnt get my diagnosis until last month. I just about got through primary school but had a breakdown in year 9 and didnt go to school for 9 months finally returning full time yr 10 spring term. Up to the point of breakdown I was very Jekyll and Hyde, I just about got through school but had no self worth and no energy left by the end of the day due to all the bullying, wind-ups and social exclusion etc. The three worst areas/times where I could have done with help were;1. Sports/PE lessons - the changing rooms were the worst place ever for bullying! The actual sports were no better either - I like many aspies had poor co-ordination and hence was useless at most sports as I couldn't kick/hit a ball to save my life and I am not naturally a competitive person (again a common aspie trait) so to be forced into team sports was pure hell. When I returned to school I was excused from all sports/PE lessons and spent the time studying in the library. My opinion is that forcing kids on the spectrum to do sports in a situation like mine is at best counterproductive and at worse abusive.2. Breaktimes on the playground - the 2nd best zone for bullies - when I returned to school I was allowed to spend breaks in the library this helped massively in me getting through my last 18 months of school.3. Getting to and from school - probably the most difficult area for a school to deal... I ended up cycling which helped a lot but even so I got cornered and attacked by groups of yobs also on bikes.I realise my experience was 35-40 years ago and things maybe (hopefully) very different but I thought it worth mentioning seeing as you asked. I'm really pleased that you have gone to the trouble of coming here to seek out advice, its a shame more Sencos dont do the same. Deepthought's recommendation of Tony Attwood's book is a very good one. There are some excellent seminars on Youtube by Tony including this one on reducing bullying and teasing;www.youtube.com/watch
Thanks Jonesy, this is really helpful and certainly some excellent ideas. I am worried about this student becoming a non-attender. It's good to see that some of things I have been planning, fit in with your experience. Most of my students arrive after a very stressful bus journey (teasing, noise etc). I'm trialling some older 'buddies'. Also taking students out of a specific trigger lesson to give time for homework catchup (another massive issue) or just some down time. Now to convince SLT! (Senior leadership team)
Tony Attwood is rapidly becoming my favourite person
Another excellent speaker on the topic is Sarah Hendrickx, she's Aspie herself and also does stand up comedy so her presentations have some great humorous moments too. This one to teachers on anxiety might be worth a watch... its much shorter than the Tony Attwood one too!www.youtube.com/watch
Ooooh just remembered another practical issue that affects me and maybe some of your students... flourescent lights do my head in! I can see their flicker and find working in them for long periods very difficult. A room with regular lighting at school would have been very welcome.
Yes the Tony Attwood one defeated me, although I did watch some of his shorter ones. The lighting will be very difficult. Even the sofa in my office has those lights above it. Thanks