Monday, 26 October 2009

Coping with emotions

It's been busy still in my Bristolian world.
I have had a very fruitful, so far, meeting with
Cirwen's teachers.

They have expressed a lot of praises. Not only
problems. Cirwen has a very strong personality.
She knows who she is and what she wants. She
also does express her individuality in many ways.
One of the teachers pointed out that this usually
happens with children in years 9 -11, around the
age of 14 -16. In this way my girl appears more
mature. This is what they are drawn to. She may
be interesting but also intimidating, which leads
to friendship or teasing.

It is all understandable, however Cirwen has lost
the ability to judge the behaviour of others towards
her. Any kind of comment or question regarding
her looks or character, she sees as attack and the
act of bullying.

Her own behaviour became erratic. She goes to
school in a very defensive mood bordering paranoia.
She is unable to confront teasing in a calm, rational
manner. A lot of the times she bursts into tears and
leaves the classroom.

Teachers I spoke to admitted there were a few bullying
incidents which have been dealt with and taken very
seriously. Most of the time, however, these are the
cases of almost harmless remarks or bickering. Any
other person would be able to ignore or brush off such
things, yet Cirwen cannot.

Her need to be accepted, fear of confrontation, and
slowly degrading self confidence are overwhelming.
As any autistic person, she finds it difficult to cope
with strong emotions. At this point, she can't cope at
all. Tears appear in her eyes when I ask her to tidy
up her room as she is scared I will tell her off (where
there is no intention from me to do so). Instead of
anticipating something good, she anticipates the worst.

I do not know yet how we will deal with it. At the
moment, when we watch her programs I try to point
and discuss with Cirwen the characters' behaviour
in difficult situations. I'm looking for social stories
as well.

At school she will have a diary to write down her
experiences everyday. Once a week one of the
teachers will read it with her and try to help Cirwen
see the difference between serious bullying and
easy to deal with teasing. Since Cirwen's "specialty"
are words, this should be enjoyable, but also could
help her in making a better judgement of events.

I am still looking for advice and resources. It is
going to be a long journey and time consuming.
But I know we will find a way. We always do...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

It's a jungle out there...

I haven't been around as much as would like to.
I have read my blogs I follow, but didn't have
enough time to comment.

Little Dragon just started to go to a nursery for
two and a half hours a day. In the afternoon, so
my day is broken up into short intervals. He is
loving it and first day was without a drama. Just
a simple "Bye mum!". Completely different from
his sister, who sent me on a right guilt trip with
a proper scream, holding to my leg till I ran in

And now again, although without the dramas, I
feel guilty. I feel guilty for having to pretend it's
all going to be fine soon. But I don't know if it will
be fine.

Cirwen has been bullied at school and after school
on the way to the bus stop. One day, during a lunch
break, a group of kids through plastic bottles and
stones at her. Nothing actually hit her, but she was
upset and scared. She is constantly pushed to the end
of the queue at lunch, so she is late for lessons.
Another day she called me in tears, as one boy through
a stone after her with insults, and threatened to beat
her up. Yesterday she got into a fight with another girl.

These incidents have been reported to the headmistress
and some steps have been taken. Cirwen will attend
a lunch club, where they have a separate room to eat
and hang during breaks. She has an assigned "buddy",
an older girl who will help her resolve such situations.

It's all good, but is it a right course of action? The school
separated the victims of bulling. Yet I haven't heard what
they going to do with the bullies. Shouldn't those hooligans
be separated from the healthy minded kids?!

This way, the school created a group of children, who now
will be marked as victims. A easy target. They might have
as well stick a sign on their heads saying "hit me!".

Some of the bullying goes after the children leave the premises.
Obviously, there is nothing teachers can do about it. My hands
however, are tied too. If i come and pick her up everyday, she'll
gain another label of a "baby", "sissy" or whatever they call it now.
I have to keep sending her to school and just hope she will be far
away from those she knows are nasty.

She puts her brave little face on and she goes to school. Because
she likes it, she likes the teachers and she likes her new friends
she made. Yet, I can see, there is a little bit of fear, of what bad
might happen as well. Although, both my husband and myself
told her to stand up and don't wait for the first punch any more.
No one likes to be hit. Even bullies.

We'll see. The lunch club and the "buddy" have just been
introduced on Monday. We'll see how it will affect her life.

We'll see. Yet, I still feel guilty. For choosing this school,
(although others wouldn't be any better), for my determination,
to teach Cirwen live independently, for saying it's going to be
better, for telling her now to fight for herself even with fists.

For not telling her earlier - it's a jungle out there...