I met one of my parents recently. She uses the same supermarket as I do and although I’ve seen her many times this was the first time we had spoken for many years. She caught my eye and said ‘You don’t remember me do you?’ I assured her that I did and asked ‘How is he?’
Her son was that child who was known to everyone in the school. He was a big lad. Not fat but stocky and very strong. He loved to run which was a real problem given the long corridors that the school had.
As a junior school, we had been provided with warning notices from our feeder infant school of what to expect when he joined us in Year 3. Some of us tutted and shook our heads when we read some of the apparent misdemeanours he had committed. Surely it couldn’t be true? Not from a child so young!
Despite all our positive thoughts and preparations, it wasn’t long before we realised we needed help to support this lad and so began his journey into SEN that was to last for years.
Over the four years he was with us, we learnt a great deal about him and his condition and met lots of acronyms. He was always hot and if you could cool him down things were much calmer. His family was very supportive and understood when he had to excluded at times for being such a danger to the other children. He was fearless so never seemed a danger to himself.
Unfortunately, we never found the magic letters. I have to believe they were magic and only known to a small number of people because despite our research and careful monitoring of hi progress or lack of, we never got the help he really needed. We knew when we sent him off to secondary that he would not last long.
Mum confirmed that he had very little time in a school after the age of eleven but she said with resignation in her voice – ‘he got 2 hours tuition at home each week’. Her response to my original question was that he is doing well. She reeled off all the sports he is involved in and told me how the rugby had been especially good because he had to learn how to channel the aggression he felt.
All told, she was really pleased with his progress. Her last comment however made me very sad, ashamed and dejected.
‘He finally got his diagnosis though. Three weeks after he should have left school. It was all those things you thought – OCD, ADHD, XYY Chromosome Deficiency Disorder, aspergers.’
Ah – Magic letters!