We all know that UK schools are not catered to handle children with special needs, but do they have to make it so obvious?
We all know that for girls on the autistic spectrum, it is like walking around with an invisible illness, but when it inevitably manifests, do teachers have to be so insensitive to their parents?
There is a UK charity set up called, ‘Hello, my name is…’ founded by the late Dr. Kate Granger, who when attending a Cancer ward as a patient, was treated like a statistic, not a human being. No nurses who were assigned to her care, ever bothered to introduce themselves, hence the aptly-named title.
It seems like insensitivity is everywhere.
Owing to extreme anxiety, the fear of being ridiculed, the fear of being watched, the fear of doing something uncool and clumsy, P.E. lessons and team sports especially, are dreaded by a great many children with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Our very shy, socially anxious daughter decided she couldn’t face Sport’s Day and bunked off school all on her own. That means she played truant.
My discerning husband suspected something was wrong that morning and rang his work-place to ask for some time off.
To cut a long story short, we trundled up to school to ask:
“Er…silly question I know, but did our child come to school today?”
After keeping us waiting in the reception area for 35 minutes, we were ushered into a private room and told our worst fears. No, she was not on that day’s register and had not attended her first lesson – added to that, a member of public had just rung the school to say a child matching our daughter’s description was seen loitering about near a duck pond.
We were then told that a teacher had gone out to look for her and that we should go back home.
I was confident that our daughter would be back inside the house, as a door key was missing. But my poor husband was beside himself with worry. With all the ‘Child Sex Exploitation’ stories flying around, he felt sick to the stomach.
But while being escorted off the school premises, there were no platitudes from the teacher. It was as if she was already focussing on her next task. There was no:
- “Oh Mr & Mrs B, you must have been so worried!”
- “I bet you’re glad someone has found her aren’t you?”
- “Has she ever done this before?”
- “Why do you think she did this?”
- “Is she unhappy at school do you think?”
- “Is there a possibility she’s being bullied?”
- “Well it’s good you realised she was missing! How awful that would have been for you to get such a phone call from us!”
- “Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be alright.”
- “Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be back at home by now.”
- “Don’t worry, we’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything.”
And when I rang her later to let her know our precious child was found safe at home, hiding and scared, I would have expected something like:
* “Oh, I’m so glad you found her!”
* “Is she okay?”
* “How is she doing?”
* “You must be so relieved to have found her!”
* “Is she very upset?”
* “Has she told you why she did it?”
* “I will speak to her tomorrow.”
* “We’ll have a word with her tomorrow and let you know how we got on.”
* “Well, I am very glad she is okay.”
All I got was, “Oh okay. Right. Thanks. Bye.”
It turns out that when our runaway returned to school the following day, nobody took her aside to have a word, to ask why she couldn’t face school, to inquire if she was being picked on, to make it clear that truancy isn’t an option. And no-follow-up phone calls or emails were received by us.
So, here I rest my case. I’m not judging, just going by experience and my experience is that unless your kid is bold, extrovert, neurotypical-brained and happy, teachers couldn’t care less.
Am I over-reacting?
Am I insecure?
Am I naive?
Am I expecting too much from human nature?
I’m more than happy for you to put me straight.
Beat Depression If you are facing teacher/child issues, know that God invites us to pour our hearts out to him. There's no better solution to a peaceless situation than to let him hear and feel our frustrations. It's so easy to 'swear before prayer' when a professional doesn't treat us or our loved-ones the way we expect and I have learnt that when somebody doesn't react the way I want them to, to go straight to my heavenly father. It's also important to forgive quickly - teachers, nurses and the like are human and therefore imperfect. I wish you success in whatever battle you are currently facing and most of all, the peace that passes all understanding.
Cast all your cares, all your anxieties, all your worries and all your concerns, once and for all, on him, for he cares about you with deepest affection and watches over you very carefully. (1Peter 5:7 Amplified)