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parents who use Autism for bad parenting

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by linzigilson, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. I have been a sen assistant (previously a teacher) for many yrs. I have experienced some wonderful supportive parents and I loved seeing the progress however small a child can make. I am now stumped I have a child who is low on the autistic spectrum his academic ability and social skills have progressed to a least a 2b yet his parents especially the father are never pleased at his achievements saying 'its a bit random' as if I making his progress up. They seem keen to hold him back saying he can't do things like dress himself but he does every week for PE and swimming. This week he had a major crisis when he came back into school after an appointment he lay kicking and screaming.The CT asked his mother to go she was on her knees saying ' if you go into school I'll buy you that game you wanted' and 'ahhhh don't you will make mummy stressed'. In 4yrs he has never done that in school but it would seem he does that most nights at home if he does'nt get his own way. The CT pointed out in his homecontact book that it was a battle of wills. This morning Dad stormed into school and right up to my face and infront of everyone and said 'when will you realise he has autism he can't help it' I refered him to the senco but he persisted 'you have no idea have you you don't spent 25/7 with him....... and so it went on until I was reduced to tears. The HT was very supportive and said he could have his valuable staff upset like this. Is it me or am I wrong in thinking that this child's autism is being blamed for poor parenting skills? I am I also wrong in thinking the unthinkable that they are deliberately boosting his condition by not supporting him at home (they dress him never read with him and never do his homework with him)

  2. I'm afraid I have to agree. Many wonderful parents but a few that just want a label and an excuse for their child. I deal with one parent who makes a point of either writing an outrageously accusatory letter or making a verbally aggressive visit each term. She is adamant her son is dyslexic and that is why he is desperately underachieving but although he has been tested and found to be mildly so by the school, she makes no effort to have him assessed herself. She prints off reams of info of the internet telling us how he should be supported but never even listens to him read and dismissed the coloured overlay we supplied as rubbish. She is making this poor child into a complete victim by telling him he will never succeed as he has a disability. [​IMG]
  3. Likewise with this child and he has the potential to be and grow into a useful member of society. To me it borders on abuse at worst and at best (huh if there is a best) the family benefit financially from holding their son back.

  4. There are some parents of a SEN child at our school who have been very abusive and confrontational with every teacher that their child has had. It is always the schools fault that their child is making slow progress. Now I can understand a parent fighting tooth and nail for their child but I cannot understand why every piece of work or home activity that is sent home is never done. This years teacher has made lots of lovely resources and games to use with this child both in and out of school but the home pack is unopened and unused. [​IMG]
  5. Absolutely! It seems that a few parents want a problem but not a solution. [​IMG]
  6. In my experience as an SEN TA and as a parent of a child who has autism, children across the board have to deal with, at least, 2 sets of "rules". Home rules and school rules. My daughter dresses herself at school but will not do so at home. She uses the toilet at school but insists on wearing pull ups at home. I could go on endlessly. Stating the blindingly obvious, school is a hugely different environment to home. As teachers/TA's we are able to walk away from the situation at the end of the day, as parents it is 24/7. This places enormous demands on parents. Children also work very hard at school at sticking to the rules, at home they relax and have to process all that has gone on during the day at school. I think you are being very harsh on these parents. Autism is very complex, even the most experience practitioners find it bewildering at times. Parents are not practitioners, they are merely parents who have been presented with a situation they were not prepared for. How do you cope when you are presented with something you do not understand? I am a qualified teacher, a TA and a parent and I still do not understand my daughter who is 11 years old and has had a diagnosis of ASD since before she was 3 years old. Are these parents dealing with grief-like emotions? I suspect they are. Show a bit of empathy and support rather than being judgemental.
  7. I agree with sgaery too.
    I'm a qualified teacher and specialist TA and also have a son, now 11, with autism. I have spent years banging my head into a wall trying to tell his teachers and support staff that he is different at home. I know all the theory and techniques etc. from my work but it puts too much strain on him to have to conform to 'normal' rules all the time. These 'jeckyll and hyde' children commonly conform at school but the strain this puts on them is unbelievable and home is the place where they can be 'themselves'. As a result though, I totally empathise when parents of the autistic children I support are in the same situation.
    What I have found useful is to make sure that you tell the parents anything that has happened at school that might impact on the child's behaviour at home e.g. an unexpected supply teacher or a simple thing like a change of lesson content may cause the child to have a meltdown later that evening. Also, what support do the parents have - are they in contact with the NAS and have they done any courses on how to understand and deal with their child's autism?
  8. I agree with each of you that have commented - I also know that an autistc child has a structured day at school and goes into meltdown at home when they are relaxed and if I appear judgemental that as not my intention. However, reducing a member of school staff to tears because they can't get their child to comply with instructions because he has 'autism' when all they do is shout at him and the member of staff calmly encourages him to comply with reasons and instructions is not acceptable.

  9. Hopefully I didn't come across as unsympathic either and I have had lots of experience with a range of conditions but surely the best support we can give these children is consistancy? If there are mixed messages between home and school, it must confuse the child even more and make school appear to be 'The bad place' ? I know it is probably a real cliche but I really believe in the learning triangle of parent, school, child. All sides should support each other. [​IMG]
  10. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    I don't want to come across as being pious here - just didn't feel the demonisation was helpful. I've met some parents of ASD kids who were pretty poor at parenting - but also many who weren't and didn't feel the practice of having a go at some as being anything other than unhelful. No one would have posted it in about a racial group - even if they had an unfrtunate experience or two - because we hopefully realise such generalisations are harmful
    PS - nothing excuses horrible behaviour from parents to hard working staff though
  11. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I totally agree. I have worked in a Special School, used to be a teacher and have an autistic son (15).
    Homework is terrible. When I plough through it with him it quite regularly stays unmarked in his bag for months.
    He regularly behaves differently in school to at home.
    Think about things you would say in a staff room to colleagues and things you would say at Parents Evening - I would be very surprised if you said there was no difference. For autistic children home is where they can let the front down they have been struggling with all day.
    As for parents - well you don't know how stressful a day they had had. Even if you didn't lecture them you may appear to be doing so to someone under great stress who may just have had a morning of their child in a public place with any number of strangers feeling free to give them parenting advice. They may have had a few years battling for every bit of support.
    Under these circumstances a word or two of criticism, especially along the lines of you're not bringing them up properly, can lead to very high levels of stress, fury, distress.
    We're there all the time. You go home at 3.30pm.
  12. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    And by the way, I don't think there are any advantages to anyone "exaggerating" their child's disabilities. Carer's Allowance is less than Job Seekers Allowance, not to mention a job..
    The battles a family has to go through to get help at an appropriate level are many. If a child is showing independence parents would not stand in the way.
    Children are more experimental in different settings. A friends mother-in-law completely floored me by persuading my son to eat an ice-cream. It was years before he'd repeat this trick at home...
  13. Oh, I think they all want a solution. Just not one that involves them in any inconvenience or graft.
    I think the "mildness" of the autism may be the key here. If you have a child who is much higher on the spectrum, then you have autism to deal with, and I dont think you'd ever mistake it for brattiness caused by **** parenting. It seems that this child has a fairly low level and his parents have latched onto it as a method of excusing and appeasing his behaviour - which may indeed be based in his ASD but could be managed better with more appropriate parenting methods.
    Begging indeed. Never let me see a parent beg a child to do anything, ever. Grrrrrr!
  14. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    In my experience begging is not effective and gives away lots of power AND is done by parents when they are completely exhausted and desperate, so some sympathy might be nice and help would be better . . . . . . but you feel free to get angry at the parents who may well have been grafting deep into the night, every night for a number of years
  15. Thank you my point exactly.

  16. Thank you R13!

    I worry how judgemental and negative some posters sound. When you are stressed anyway, exhausted and embarrassed by your child's behaviour the last thing you need is someone watching and obviously thinking how much better they could handle the situation. Or worse deciding the child is only like that becaused you're such a **** parent.
    When you have situations like this everytime you leave the house, then it does all accumulate so people can feel too self conscious and anxious to leave the house with the child. Think of disapproving looks / comments day in day out - people either cave and end up an apologetic wreck or they go the other way and think 'sod the lot of you'
    I repeat, we can all be perfect in a school situation, a different environment with colleagues for support, only having the child for 6 hours a day, not being up all night, not being totally worn down, breathing space to think of and implement new strategies and having that 'distance' where you are not emotionally upset by the child's condition.


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