Confusion when explaining an incident.

Hello All, 

Not sure if this is a familiar situation or not? 

My 7 year old son has suffered from bullying at school the worst of which was dealt with but he has suffered verbal bullying and things like boys shaking their wet hands at his trousers after washing them and laughing, sort of low level less obvious bullying if you like. The other day he came home and said that while queuing outside the classroom an older boy who has picked on my son before, had pulled his ears and stamped on his foot and he had pushed this boy away from another younger boy when he'd turned on him. However the Head teacher said she spoke to the 3 boys involved including my son,  and all had a different story. So she viewed the CCTV and it showed our son pushing the other younger boy because he had threatened to pull our sons ears, while the older boy was bouncing around and trod on his foot. Our son is extremely honest and very rule abiding, but as with our older son who is also AS, it takes a lot of careful questioning to get to the actual facts. Unfortunately what has added to his anxiety is his class teacher telling him off for lying and that she is disappointed in him. He now thinks it's better not to tell teachers anything 'incase he's lying'. I guess my question is, how do I make sure he can say something if he is being bullied but cope with being able to sort out the sequence of events and get his story straight before saying anything? I feel like just telling him to keep his head down and don't say anything as I feel like the teachers don't understand that he struggles to communicate his concerns. 

I hope this makes sense as its kind of hard to explain.

Thank you.

Abbi

Parents Reply
  • I am surprised that there isn’t at least an online resource for teachers to access, so they may learn how to approach and tackle any problems they encounter with regards to autistic children. In fact, I wouldn’t be too astonished to learn that it is a statutory duty to have procedures in place to help autistic children navigate what is a problematic time for them.

    There isn't. The only training I received on my PGCE for students are labelled as disabled by society was 1/2 morning on dyslexia. My PGCE class specialised in teaching basic skills and courses for disabled students in FE. The majority of our training was based around academic theory and how to write a lesson plan. I now work alongside the autism mentors in HE and the government (who fund this support) only require them to undertake a one-day training course and a lot of these providers only cover general autism awareness and provide no information on how to help autistic students navigate their higher education experience.  

    A friend, whose a primary school teacher, has had no autism awareness training too. As I previously mentioned, even as an autistic person autism only came on my radar after I attended a training session when I moved to work in HE. This focused on general info and didn't discuss at all how a student may react in certain situations, such as discussing any perceived behaviour issues. The case of your sister is the expectation rather than the norm. I've been teaching since 2007 unqualified and 2011 qualified. Last year is the first time I've ever had an autistic student and that is because I specifically asked for some due to my personal interest. The primary school teacher I know has been qualified the same amount of time and as never had an autistic student. This isn't surprising as she teaches yr1 and 2 and as these board show a diagnosis often comes much later than this age.

    I suspect we both want the same outcome, better resourced schools and better training for teacher/autistic pupil relationships

    What I want to see is greater understanding and more realistic expectations from autistic individuals and their parents, around the workload of teachers and how unrealistic it is to expect someone to be an expert in a neurology they may never work with. Most of the teaching profession are willing to learn if autistic individuals and those involved in their care will take the time to tactfully point out any genuine mistakes and to teach those members of staff why their behaviour has been perceived as an error and how they'd have prefered the situation to be handled. 

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