Disability News

Mother had no help for special needs son

A mother has called for more help for parents of children removed from schools, saying she was left "bewildered" when her son was excluded.

Liz's son was out of school for six months and later diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The most recent figures for 2016-17 show a 51% rise in pupils permanently excluded from schools in Wales.

A teacher's leader said numbers were low and decisions were taken seriously.

Liz, who lives in Bridgend county, said problems began when her son started secondary school at a time when his father had moved out of the area and his grandfather had died.

Liz picks up the story.

'He was causing absolute chaos'

"When he started secondary school he wasn't settling, he found it overwhelming I think. Then he had his appendix out, he was quite poorly and when he went back, he'd fallen so far behind, that's when his behaviour really deteriorated.

"It started off fairly small things - disturbing the class, making funny noises. Then it got to the point he was getting up in class, wandering around, distracting the other children which then went on to leaving the classroom, running around the school, no respect for the teachers.

"For him, he saw school as a big game. I was constantly angry with him, getting calls at work to collect him from school - it was on a daily basis. I just wanted him to stop, I put punishments in place and tried grounding him, but it was a constant battle. It was horrific.

He said 'Mum, I don't understand why I do the things I do,' and I cuddled him. There was nothing else to do but hold him

"The school weren't helpful in any way. The exclusion started, maybe one day or two days a week.

"In between he was playing truant. When he was there he was causing absolute chaos. I believed he needed counselling - that never happened, they [the school] said they tried it with a teacher.

"The first day of his second year, he went to school. I had a call to say he'd really gone on a 'jolly', teachers were looking for him and he was going to be permanently excluded. I was so upset. He came in the house and went upstairs. His head was bowed and he said: "Mum, I don't understand why I do the things I do,". And I cuddled him. There was nothing else to do but hold him.

Another local school was full - so what happened next?

"A social worker got involved and managed to help get him into another school [10 miles away]. That school really tried with him - it was hands on from the minute he got there and that was the first time then words about his diagnosis [ADHD] were used.

But he couldn't cope with mainstream school - me and the head of year made the decision to remove him because it was hurting him. He'd made so many improvements but it was hurting him.

"He was feeling low. I remember him saying "what's going to happen to me mum?" It broke my heart and I said: "You're going to be fine."

"He did worry. This wasn't a child who didn't want to do anything with school.

"He's now at a different school - for children like him, children with other conditions and disabilities."

From an initial two hours a day he is now back at school full time.

"From that day to this, what a change in the boy - the school are marvellous with him. He still has his off days but he's come on so much."


From BBC