Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Little Things Please Little Minds

.. and mine is no exception.

Several things are going on in my life in a strangely orchestrated fashion, but it would be daft to go on about dreams, delayed-effect life changing experiences and spiritual direction in a post about a kitchen spatula.

Daft, however is my middle name. You have been warned.

Daft bit here:

A while back I had this really, truly horrible dream. The kind that wakes you in the middle of the night, keeps you in a between-worlds state until daylight and is sitting there like an ominous vulture on your shoulders, when you wake. Here it is, if you're bothered. At the time I brushed it off as physically, more than subconsciously influenced - the side effect of external matters rather than a penny dropping on the flat and calm surface of the near-stagnant pool otherwise known as my psyche. Or something.

In short, I was killed, with nothing left to do but get on with the process of being in shock, pre death. The fight stopped and my 'enemy' helped me to a comfy chair. No, no mentions of Spam, promise. Nor Soft Cushions, (and here, because I couldn't find a Spanish Inquisition video, is something, erm, different. But not completely.)

The thing is, as any psychologist could argue, it may not really matter what the dream actually meant, what matters is what, ultimately, my subconscious accepted it to mean. This is that:

With some overlap between them I have gone from teenage (always a screwed up state to be in) to a bad, oppressive first marriage, to 23 years of being the defensive parent of four kids, two of them with rather tiring special needs needing a lot of care and a lot of explaining. I've been on amber or red alert for the past thirty years, or there abouts, like I lived constantly at the corner of a boxing ring, ready for the bell to go. Human messes took up all my time, saving hearts from getting squidged by a bad dad or a bad school system or whatever, took everything, and (cough) I got to the point where I was fighting against myself, simply out of habit.
Stuck in a pugilistic rut.
Becoming routinely focused on the intense things in life.
Narrow minded.

In the dream I attacked me, I fought me and I killed me, or at least the bit that was so passive aggressive (did, did, and died).

I am out of the ring, then. Boxing career over. Gloves off and no going back. Finally, finally I am looking round for tea and biscuits, a comfy chair and a nice magazine. Finally I quite fancy having a few material comforts and pleasures.

Looking at these before now would have been like being asked to go window shopping for dreams at the expense of conceding the match. It wasn't on, and all that daft stuff like owning a home or having a holiday or fancy clothes or new, well, anything, even having any item 'just so' (instead of nearest, cheapest and 'it'll do') - to be honest it all looked to me like the pointless pursuits of those with too much time on their hands. Yup, I guess I'd had my martyr's hat on so long, I was getting a superiority complex from it.

So anyway:

Here I am, then, free (from myself) to relax and look at all the pretty things. Free to get ideas. One friend is helping me work through what it is that I want; I've also been picking up the philosophy behind things like NLP and Huna, albeit originally with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

I find I am actually now ready to believe that if I sit here and focus, even on material things, the universe will help me out. That if I decide what I want to have/want to be and relate that to being 'all about the real me' (yes okay its always all about me, but the question is, which one? Pardon?), in other words if I can see these things as natural expressions of who I am right now, then we're only one step away from the Huna/Silva idea that visualising yourself as having something already is the surest way to get it.

Yeah (cough again,) sorry, that just got too frilly for me, too. But I'm up for believing it.

The kitchen spatula!

Phew, I knew we'd get here.

This morning, given the date and all, an msn friend and I were discussing the pros and cons of tossing over turning. Pancakes.

Neither of us, however, could remember what the turner-flipper thingummy was called, so I went googling, and discovered that some online kitchen shops simply call them turners, whilst others call them spatulas. It seems to be down to personal preference.

The odd thing was (and I swear, this just doesn't happen to me; ever) I found myself going all girly and daydreaming about kitchen utensils; scrolling page after page of ravioli tins, pasta machines, garlic presses, designer coffee pots; you name it, and actually enjoying myself. No little voice in the back of my head telling me I'm being daft, or selfish, or greedy. Peace. I started getting a picture of my dream kitchen, which, until today, I genuinely didn't know existed. Tres bizarre.

To give you a rough picture, I still have the gas cooker I bought new as end-of-range (on sale) 23 years ago (plus or minus a few bits like the numbers on the buttons, or the handles on the grill pan). The cupboards are 1970s Council cupboards old enough to have traditional hinges on the doors and were here when we moved in. The electrical goods have been bought only as their predecessors blew up, on sale and from the nearest shop with the quickest delivery, except the fridge freezer which we had time to shop around for and therefore purchased second hand. No dishwasher.

Like I said - I had a serious case of 'It'll-do-itis'. Opus Dei's got nothing on me, mate, I've been birching my soul, by the looks. Bloody bonkers.

The kitchen spatula (but really, this time):

So my mum has this family heirloom kitchen spatula. Don't laugh. It was my gran's and was kept and used because it is just such a fantastic shape. Worn in, over the years, it always was just the right thickness, with an odd angle at the tip, which made turning things over in the pan a lazy, easy, flick of the wrist, instead of the shovelling motion you have to use with the modern, straight ended things. These days, scrubbed to a sliver over the last hundred years, it has this slight curve to it like worn silver, fits my mum's hand and 'flipping' angle perfectly and everything she ever fries turns obediently on command like something out of a Disney movie. You sort of expect mushrooms to giggle and burgers to sing a little chorus in tune with cartoon bluebirds on the windowsill. Honestly.

I grew up using that spatula, and looking back, I've never found anything quite so handy. If you think I'm nuts, that's fine, but just imagine being given something different to peel potatoes with. You're used to what you're used to and you want what you want.

So here (finally, after searching about 60 google links) is my spatula. IT'S MINE, I TELL YOU! Even though I don't own it yet.
Fairly typically, I can only find it in an American store that doesn't do exports. Just as typically, a search for the manufacturer 'World Cuisine' came up fruitless from this end.


So I'm just going to bookmark the page, focus on this decision, and let the Universe help out. I want.

Sending vibes out now.......

"Here spatchy-spatchy-spatchy, come to mummy."

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006


One of Son's troubles is that he will try too hard to make friends. Trying too hard involves taking on all the arrangements; feeling that he has to come up with a plan for a game in which he is instigator and producer and ultimately (although he doesn't see it that way), boss.

He comes on too strong, his efforts are too desperate but appear controlling and he scares people off.

I can only hope that out of this disability will come a lifetime desire to understand the intricacies of how people tick - a self imposed degree course in manners and human fallibility and need and making others feel wanted and validated. Its a real likelihood; unless he gets too wrapped up in the concept that they are all miserable so-and-sos and nobody understands him. It has to flip on its head - he has to realise that if he understands them instead, then he can modulate what he says and does to be in their specific language.

Anyway, yesterday's end-of-the-world scenario came about because he was posting to a forum - a games forum where, after a shaky start getting to grips with the concept of spamming, they allowed him to stay and he now has forum friends who take him by what he has to say. Its great, plus I seem to have ultimate control now over what he says and how he says it because he wants to give a good impression. These guys and this forum are important to him. He will sneak on to the boards, but if he wants to post, he ends up asking me how to spell every second word and even asking me to read and edit so that he doesn't look silly.

Before visiting the boards he had signed into an online game. He was winning. Because he was winning, somebody made him their 'buddy', ie had the computer record them as a team, so they couldn't shoot each other. It was probably a tactic on the other kid's part, but to Son it was like six birthdays and a Christmas all at once - all he saw was that somebody liked him, just because of his skill.

The post he then went to make was not a suggestion, but a rather imperious sounding announcement that he would be formulating a team to play this game - he assumed forum users would rush to sign up and be on his team and then he would have more 'buddies'. There was no telling him that he sounded pushy and would put people off, he was too enthused. We fought over whether he could post it or not, I insisted no, and he ignored me, becoming increasingly belligerent. In the end I had to crash his dad's computer to cut the broadband access and save him from himself.

That's when all the excuses came out - how he 'needed' this forum, how he felt he was really a fifteen year old trapped in an 11 year old's body, how none of the kids at school understood him and his only hope of ever having any friends (and not being morbidly lonely and tormented) was to relate on forums.

I spent the night in torment, exhausted from his refusal yesterday to budge from his position, listen or relate and also worried, not just about the facts of his case (which are probably true) but about how much this was really affecting him.

Today is a new day and Son might as well be a new boy.

"So, think you might have a really good day today?" says I, tentatively.

"Oh, yes, I think so" he replies. "Yes I will. And I'm really glad I got all that off my chest yesterday. Thanks mum."

He gave me a lovely smile like yesterday was a storm in a teacup, nothing more, and I realised then that, of the two of us, I was the only one who spent the night feeling shipwrecked by it.

When I wrote yesterdays post, I really did feel I had hit a brick wall; that the only thing that could change to take these situations down a notch or two, was him. I was wrong, obviously. Time to revamp my reactions, for my own sake.

Email #26

Dear Mrs Baggage
Just to confirm that I have received your response to Lewis's propsoed statement,and your completed preference form giving P as your first preference. A copy of this has been sent to our School Admissions department and they will return it indicating whether they can allocate a place at the school. As you are aware, I had liaised with colleagues in Admissions when we issued a Note in Lieu for Lewis, and the message I got then was that P is heavily oversubscribed - but I will wait and see what the situation is now. I will then consult with the governors of P (and of the school allocated by Admissions, if this differs) and await their response.

I will try to keep you updated with progress along the way!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Psychological Over-Exercise

What I don't want.
  1. I don't want my Aspergers Son to have a bad day at school and decide to share for two hours solid in tones of doom.
  2. I don't want his mood to change from one day to the next.
  3. I don't want the yo-yo effect of switching from 'yeah great day' to 'no nobody likes me, nobody's ever liked me'
  4. I don't want all the 'but's that follow, all the assumptions (at 11) that I don't know what I am talking about, that nobody in the whole world understands him, me included, and that the world and his dog is to blame.
  5. I don't want the sight of his sister, younger by a year, keeping herself to herself for hours, bored stupid but hoping to be noticed and praised for not harassing mummy like her brother does.
  6. I don't want that sometimes Mr 'nobody listens to me' is so forceful that he gets the whole evening and she gets two minutes of my time and a kiss goodnight. That breaks my heart.
  7. I don't want the fear that on the days he says he feels like that, he might really feel like that.
  8. I don't want the fear that on the days he says he feels like that he may not actually feel like that, but feel instead that having 'issues' is a way to demand my attention even after I've told him to drop it. I must be transparent - emergencies and heartaches always, always take me from whatever I want or need to do.
  9. I don't want the occasional insight into his school life when all that does is prove how he takes the reality at home and twists it to his teachers in a most bizarre way, usually humiliating to me, to make himself feel more valid.
  10. I don't want the temptation to always assume he is pulling the same trick on me, just so I can rest easy that his life isn't really a living hell.
  11. I don't want the way that his sister has no friends either because of the way her brother is.
  12. I don't want my own imperfections, the way I feel jaded and exhausted and ultimately stressed when he just keeps droning on and on, refusing to take an answer or be proactive.
  13. I don't want the way I finally get snappy
  14. I don't want the way this seems to be the only cue he will take to shut up, anyway.
  15. Most, most of all, I don't want the memories of having gone through all this with his older brother. Even when I was ten years younger it was a killer and all the old emotions are dredged up in anticipation. I deserve to be exhausted for being a decade older, never mind for knowing what's happening. Its like having to put your feet back in the shoes that blistered them, before you've healed.
Here's the game. Today someone suggested I write a list of 'don't wants' and then convert them to their opposites, to find out what I do want. They were supposed to be one word things.

It doesn't matter anyway - four or five hours ago it was a whole other list.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Breaking Silence

Or breaking wind. Not sure which.

Not stopping - just need to share the joke that my son just told me, or rather to share that my eleven year old Aspergers son just told this joke at all.

A nunnery burns down and all the nuns die.
They get to the gates of heaven and God says:
"Here is a pool of Holy Water. Before you enter, you must wash every part that has touched a man."
A little sister at the back shouts:
"Quick, let me gargle first, before Sister Mary sticks her arse in it!"

Right. Not sure whether to laugh, cry or hit the bottle. Think I'll go back to playing hunt the carpet, or scrub a few kitchen cupboards, or something.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Floaty Weird

Yesterday I hit failsafe.

The brain was obviously still doing a hundred to the dozen, any and all sense of creativity was still packed away (I have to be cheerful to be creative. I can be 'not cheerful' and still funny, but its too caustic, too sharp) and same as for the past four or five days, I was struggling to look outside of myself and my self pity, was hardly visiting or commenting on anyone else's blogs and felt my attempts at humour smacked of desperation.

What does a girl do when her racing goggles are still glued on, the wind is still billowing in her face at 100 miles an hour, but the target she was careering toward has gone up in a puff of smoke? Why, she scouts desperately for the first 'odd' newsy item that sparks a few new braincells into action (and a change is as good as a rest to a blind donkey, or something), and blogs it, of course. Hence the sperm blog. Oops, sorry about that.

Astryngia asked if I had kicked the shit out of a pile of sofa cushions yet - my cure-all for extreme frustration and adrenalin overdose. Sadly no, not this time, although I may possibly still feelinclined, some time this week. Getting to that stage involves a trip out through the bottom of ugly self pity and face-swelling tears, until the anger is at myself as much as anything else, so this time I never got that far. To be honest I haven't really got that far since the break up of my first marriage, when certain truths came out.

No, this week I was just so highly strung in anticipation of Son's special ed' statement, so much on auto pilot for losing Husband to a training course all this week and next, that when it hit, it was like a brick wall (at the aforementioned 100 miles an hour). I was a mess, and feeling far too old for all this malarky. Smashed, even. Far from being up and at 'em like some bouncy, elasticated alien facsimile of a human, I just sagged. I wrote on here in an effort to find the energy to, well, anything. Only anger would have inspired that.

Oddly, as I calm, the anger is all that's left, like a grey cloud around me. It was as much as I could do to stop myself from severing all ties with someone yesterday. I was worried, I was concerned, and they snubbed me. The one thing you don't need from a 'friend' when you are down, is power games. I didn't really expect to let someone in on how vulnerable I feel, to have them play at building and snapping rapport. It was like a double kick in the gut - not just that this happened, but that I had thought so highly of this person and allowed them into a position to be able to do that. Make it triple, the third point being that I had allowed myself to lean on someone, to rely on them.

There is always the possibility that I am just too sensitive at the moment.

Panic is like caffeine - it drains everything and today I am even having trouble stringing a sentence together - I just can't be bothered to be bothered, if that makes sense.

Time, I think, to pay a little attention to myself, my self esteem, and my house. Time to take things down a notch or three, and become deliberately slow and methodical, after the hyperactivity of this five year fight to have my Son understood and catered for at school.

I am feeling too floaty weird to say whether this stage will last an hour or a week, or anything in between or beyond. I do know that when I come back to the computer it will be because I want to, have time to, and, for a change, have something to say. It will be a treat, not a desperate attempt at procrastination. I guess its the difference between lying on the sofa to relax and lying on it because you've just been run over by a truck. I want to be here because I want to be here, not because of need.

No more trucks.

See you soon :-)

I don't want to speak to soon, but I definitely overreacted two days ago. I am still planning to create a new life routine and its all good. So far I have found two corners of the kitchen not properly witnessed or wiped since Christmas, and sorted the seven worst storage drawers, five of which have not had a proper clear out since 1996. I just thought I'd say this in case anyone thinks I've gone off to have a mental breakdown, when in reality I've gone off specifically to insure myself against one. Its a Zen thing. Sabbatical, even. Still no more trucks - I have time to clear multiple slates which have been neglected and actually get ahead of things. That will feel odd, it not being the normal situation at all. Have fun!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Japanese Soldier

Remember those stories of poor little Japanese soldiers, marooned on islands which they were charged to defend, and nobody went back to tell them the war was over or to take them home? If you could get past them taking pot shots at you, you still couldn't tell the old guys the truth without a doctor present, for fear they'd have a heart attack on the spot.

I know how they feel.

Two hours ago, someone took the lid off my pressure cooker. They undid things, and the physical effects have been a teensy bit worrying. Quite aside from mental blankness and indecision over whether to celebrate or hide under a rock, my chest hurts. I'm still not having too much joy with taking a full deep breath and may have to go for a walk shortly, as an attempt at carefully controlled adrenalin release. As my blood pressure must have hit the roof (I can still feel the woomph, woomph of it rushing round my head) I am still quite dizzy, but feel I should post to update all you lovely, caring people who have commented and shared my frustration.

Little things nobody told me (which I have now found out via the Ed Psych):
  1. Statements no longer tell a school how to achieve the goals set
  2. This means its a good statement after all
  3. The big issue comes with hand-over between the schools, what they call 'transition'
  4. That's where the current school tells the next school how they do it
  5. And the next school decides whether thats the way to continue
  6. But nobody says they have to.
She did tell me that she had a copy, that it was a good result, and I should be pleased. I'm trying my hardest at that, honestly. Meanwhile I am still angry that this turned up just before the holidays, still pained that I could have been left in this state of high alert for a solid week, still flabbergasted that there is no mention of home-school communication etc. I am also really, truly pipped that all statements are now, by law, far less precise, and that this conveniently makes it nearer to impossible for a parent to prove their case if a school fails to make the provisions stipulated. 'Access to', I ask you. How more vague could anything be?


This is just to say that I retract the portion of my earlier post which basically called the experts within the hallowed halls of ESCC a bunch of money grubbing, unsympathetic, child-hating jobsworth wankers pushing frustrated, belittled mothers and children to early graves. Apparently they're not. Apparently the arseholes are even higher up than that, somewhere in Central Government, presumably in the DfES.


Fuck The System, It Sucks

I am so, so effing fed up with East Sussex County Council and the whole Special Needs Statementing procedure.

As per bloody usual the paperwork has turned up just at the edge of a school holiday. I don't know how they do it, but they always do - every time over two sodding years. I now have fifteen days to approve or challenge what the County has to say, nine of which involve weekends and a half term holiday. I'm too late to make appointments with any of the specialists to clarify what they feel my son needs (and whether that differs from the County's interpretation of what they are saying), if I manage to make appointments for the split second school reopens, that still gives me four days in which to meet, query, discuss, formulate a response and get it to the County via snail mail. My fifteen days instantly equate to one, maybe two.

I am so tired with being fucked over like this.

The County have listed every provision that the educational psychologist says he needs. The trouble is she did not list any of the provisions he already receives. She named them, said how essential they were, but when it came to filling boxes she used the fields to add extra assistance on top of what already is.

Trouble now is, that if I let this proposed Statement lie, he will have access to all of the frills but none of the basic stuff, like a teaching assistant to help him focus, remind him what was said, redirect him back to what he's supposed to be doing, stop him making the kind of social bloopers that make NT kids so vicious. All he is to get is equipment, and access to stuff that takes him out of the classroom and away from the curriculum, which would make a vicious circle - the more behind he feels compared to his peers, the less willing he is to make an effort.

He's the type that if he saw his bus at the stop, sooner than run for it and risk looking a fool to everyone already seated, he would pretend he was really meaning to walk, the whole time. Except then he'd swear, and berate himself, and get depressed and on and on.

I could give up and take him out of mainstream; ask for a special school to be listed, but I refuse. Aspergers is too broad a term, most of the schools cover the whole Autistic spectrum, so he would be in with a class of kids that phase out and stare at corners, and it would drive him nuts. On top of that, he'd be lucky to leave at 16 with certificates of achievement when we already know there's a 98% probability that he's a gifted child and ought, with the right support, to swan through the basic, average, mainstream curriculum in double time.

I hope that any SENCO with half a brain is going to compare the well documented reality of dealing with my Son to the viciously stark and inappropriate and non-specific list of things he should 'have access to', and scream. I certainly imagine his teachers will be screaming, but without an interpreter there, most of them will be doing that for other reasons.

He can't read faces - he reads voices, but badly. If you have a naturally authoritarian tone, if you 'tell' instead of asking, he will challenge you for being a bully, or shout his reply. If you are new to him he physically cannot absorb what you are saying whilst looking at you - its too much information. How many school teachers do you know who live by the tenet that if you do nothing else, you make sure the difficult kids are facing front and watching you?

I can see him going totally apeshit in his first week. I can see his reputation, his aspirations, his self esteem and his chance of finding a single person willing to understand him, going right down the pan.

'Access' to something, for an Aspergers sufferer, isn't just about the object being there to use. Its about being able to value it, relate to it and absorb what it has to offer. That's entirely down to presentation, to whether there is an adult there that the child already relates to, respects and trusts. Hell, being able to remember the adult's name after two terms would be an achievement.

WHY is ESCC all about the money? Why are they so rigid, so unable to interpret anything but what's in the bloody boxes? Why, after the reams of information they demand, can't they be bothered to fucking read or interpret it? What is the point of a caring system, with all the angles covered, if its staff and/or committees are peopled by jobsworths who have their eye on the piggy bank? Why is the statementing system not about showing what is needed but about politics, about forcing those in power to admit it?

Pardon all the effing. I am trying to work up enough steam to be aggressive, because the alternative is to collapse into some sort of exhausted, tearful puddle, and I'm buggered if I'm going to do that; it would be the same as letting the bastards win twice.

My God, but I've earned my grey hairs now.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Email #25


Thank you for our telephone conversation and for saying that you will accept email as written confirmation.
I can confirm that I will be available to appear at the hearing on any weekday during the proposed fortnight commencing 08 May 2006, also during the fortnights either side.
If the witnesses I want are not already called by the LEA, then I will be asking for them to be summoned, so am unable to confirm dates on their behalf.
Best regards

Email #24

Many thanks for this, Mrs Baggage.
I will ensure it is passed on to Mrs Caseworker-manager - with regards to the issuing of the proposed statement, I will be drafting this tomorrow morning and will try to get out to you as soon as possible.
Best regards,

Mrs New-caseworker

Email #23

Dear Mrs New-caseworker

I wonder if you could please copy this to Mrs Caseworker-manager as I do not have her email address, and thank her for the very positive telephone conversation last week.

Its quite long – I need to say my piece about the anticipated Statement, my school choice (as Mrs Caseworker-manager and I discussed) and, also mentioned by phone, my position as regards Tribunal.


The advices which resulted in County's decision to statement were made against a backdrop of very high support at junior school level, and I hope you will recall from the provisional planning meeting, how:

The help the junior School currently gives to my son goes way beyond SEN+
The SENCo stated (and teacher and Ed Psych confirmed) that the level given was still insufficient to his needs in a junior school

They also unanimously agreed that his special needs, (including inability to recall faces, difficulty in unstructured or crowded environments, inability to read social cues, fidgety and distractible nature) meant that even more provision would be needed to allow him to access the curriculum in a Senior School setting.

They confirmed that he needed an adult companion at all times in order to access the curriculum during structured periods and to negotiate the unstructured periods - break times etc.

In other words, that they were already treating him as if he was on a band A statement, that this was insufficient to his needs in a rarefied, small school environment and even more so to a senior school setting. (Have I told you that, even with this level of support, he has currently lost his place on the end of school trip to the Isle of Wight, based on rules about numbers of detentions? Sometimes it feels like he lives in detention)

At that meeting I mentioned my fear that he would enter senior school and be excluded almost immediately for misreading/over reacting to some situation or other, and the comment I got back, in your presence, was that without the required level of care, this was as good as guaranteed to happen. They all seemed to be in agreement on that point, so I am forced to push for the care that those experts with most direct experience of his needs have said is not simply desirable, but necessary.

To explain my personal awareness of how easily this can all go horribly wrong; his older half brother moved to Seaford in 1996, was spoken to in a disparaging (he read threatening) manner by a small group of boys on his first day at SHCC, and very nearly got excluded in the first week for smuggling a rock to school in his pocket 'for protection', which, when the other boys approached, he began waving around. In that case, however, there was no statement at the time; diagnosis of ADHD/Aspergers being very much in its infancy.

As to Son, a group of children once rowed with him in year 1. He refers to it as 'The eight on to one incident.' He remains, in year 6, convinced that some of them bear him a grudge from that and he continues to avoid them and treat them with distrust. Part of the disability is an incredibly long memory and a determination that other people’s opinions are as immutable as scientific facts. He is not antisocial; he wants to fit in and wants to be mainstream, so his lack of understanding and the messes it gets him into cause him genuine distress. He has the capacity to access the full curriculum, with support. He wants to be a mainstream child, I want a mainstream curriculum, which I appreciate is a subtly different goal from his.

With the great number of staff and pupils at a senior school, plus the expectation that pupils will, in the main, be more adult and with better social skills (but not adult enough to remember who they fell out with last week), the provision of varied/various staff in the playground and corridors can in no way be expected to cover all eventualities where an Aspergers child is involved. He, and the school, need someone on the fringes, observing, who is Son-centric.

I again attach the provision list made by Sussex University for its Aspergers students. As peers at that stage are more adult and understanding, classes smaller due to the higher level of education, etc, I believe this is a fair standard to set as a bare minimum, for assisting an Aspergers sufferer to survive and learn in the louder, rowdier, hormonally charged rough and tumble of a packed senior school.

Excuse me, without the provisional statement in my hand, I remain terrified.

School Choice

Referring to any standard descriptors for the syndrome, there is no doubt that access to a curriculum and social learning, through reduction of stress factors and emotional hotspots, is greatly increased by:

  • monodirectional traffic between classes
  • lack of nooks and crannies and squeeze points in the geography of the school and its halls
  • lack of distractions as would be provided by open land (or with SHCC even a main road) between separate school buildings on or off site.
  • minimal numbers of people to encounter in unstructured periods, such as break time.
  • reducing other stressors such as loud noises.

For this reason I am asking for the P School. Its departments each occupy a dedicated wing - once off the central stairwell, all traffic goes in the same direction to or from class, via unusually wide corridors, on each floor. The break times are staggered. There is no end of session bell. In case of emergency no classroom is remarkably distant from the stairwell and the offices of the head or senco. The building was designed as a whole, without add-ons through the years, and the predictability of structure and atmosphere seems purpose built for a mind which cannot function at its best without logic, routine and sameness.

There is also the point that there is only one turnstiled and guarded exit from the building. Even if he flipped out, he couldn't do a runner.

I also believe that without such structure, one-on-one support will need to be more restrictive and immediate, further disassociating him from his peers and reducing future opportunity to offer him more freedom or independence, if/as his skills develop.

Is there any way, please, to have this school named on the statement, as the only building designed to best cope with my son's special needs? I don't ask lightly - I am facing another six to eight years unable to work or forced to work from home, to be available to attend school when there are issues, and I would plump for the nearest school in an instant, if I felt it met his needs.


I am caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, forced to keep my options open for my son's sake. I have run out of time, as he is so close to entering senior school and we are already eating into essential transition time. There is nothing militant in my actions and I really appreciate the forthcoming way that you and Mrs Caseworker-manager have dealt with me.

I am advised that I can change the grounds of my appeal, but not until I have a final statement in my hand. I am asking you please to issue the provisional statement as soon as possible, so that we can begin the formal negotiation period and get to the final statement. I hope that we can see this process completed prior to Feb 27, the cut off date for our evidences to be presented against the current appeal.

I understand that it is the responsibility of the County Council, not myself, to advise tribunal if they intend to issue a statement, my tribunal application therefore moves forward until I have a final statement in my hands and can act on that accordingly.

Really sorry, hope you understand.