Yes I have two amazing boys but today I want to talk about Tink. We had the children’s IEP’s (Individual Education Plan) meeting this week and whilst Stigs took a familiar format, reviewing targets discussing his progress and putting new goals in place, Tink’s was far from what we’ve come to expect.
About 6 months ago with increasing concern about Tinks anti-social behaviour and disregard for rule following in school, I approached CAMHS for some assistance. I would like to say that this organisation was at this point trying to shrug me off. I had been visiting a psychotherapist periodically to discuss the children’s progress and on my last visit had been informed, in a smug manner that, “although we had initially seemed unsure on how to parent our children, we were now considered quite competent and not so much in need of their assistance.” Just as an aside the same man also told me to lay off the “self help books” when I discussed reading around the issue of attachment. However, on this occasion they listened, asked questions and more questions and came up with the idea of assessing Tink on the Autistic Spectrum.
Some weeks later we delivered our small boy into the hands of 3 unknown adults. I knew he wouldn’t complain, he never does but I also knew he was afraid. The telling signs of silly behaviour funny voices and general rudness were present,. Mr H and I retreated to a close by coffee shop and surmised the possible conclusions that this assessment could produce. “Yes, he’s a little bit angry,” Although he’s on the spectrum, it’s very mild”, “He’s a bit quirky but charming” Oh boy how far were we from the mark?
Attending the feedback session a couple weeks after, we joked and made small talk as we entered the room. The laughter was soon gone and our jaws dropping wide open at the opinions drawn. The 2 therapists smiled sweetly but shifted uncomfortable knowing the news they were to deliver. His conversational skills are clunky and awkward, no creativity, no eye contact, but lots of talk of aggression and violence towards others. The report reads He showed no insight into social relationship or his role in them. His social responses were either odd or inappropriate. He reported liking “tasting” girls ‘hair and eating or sucking various flavours and food out of it. And more and more, heart wrenching reading. Handed the report at the end of the meeting I fought back the tears, it seemed such an injustice, this was not our small boy.
Sat in the IEP this week, We’d come to terms with the truth of the matter. They are right, he is all the things they said, just luckily we don’t usually have it all on displayed in one session, as they did. Everyone around the table had read the report and everyone around the table agreed, Tink needs help. Some intelligent suggestions have been made for improving his school life but finality has to be based on the full outcome of the assessment which is not yet complete.
And although we’ve come to terms with this report and the seemingly hurtful things said about our child, we’ve also taken stock of every amazing characteristic which makes our boy. Did I tell you he likes to dress up? The outfits he creates are amazing, dresses and shawls, masks and heels worn with panache and flair. He reads and reads and reads, his intellect, when amongst those he trusts is bright and his wit sharp. The cuddles are warm the kisses never ending and he loves nothing more than a good old snuggle, be it on his terms. He has nerves of steel, aged 6 he ran away from home , stole magazines from the local Coop and started a fire, all a single day of activities for our little toughie.
So here is the opening chapter in this small boy’s story, hold on tight because it might not always be for the faint hearted, but I promise you there will be days when you can’t help but smile.