Earlier in the week, Sarah from The Puffin Diaries gave me the heads up that this week’s WASO was to be about Education…..my ‘baby’ or my ‘bug bare,’ however you want to see it. I was very excited and began thinking of all of the tales I could write about….this week however, has been a really rough one – not at home, but with school. I had begun to feel positive about changes that were being made, but it feels like it has all come crashing down.
Now, I am sitting at a computer, my mind has gone numb and I can’t face retelling all the tales that you would probably be shocked to hear. What would be the point anyway. People would read, gasp, get angry perhaps and (hopefully) leave comments of support….but what would this actually achieve in the grand scheme of things – nothing. Therefore, I have decided that my post for this vastly important topic must do something, make a difference, inspire at least one person to make a change….so here goes….
What I want to do is write a letter. Not a letter of complaint, and not a letter from me. I want to advocate and speak up for my son, reach to the depths of his being and on his behalf write a letter to Sir/ Madam Education in his words…….
Dear Sir/Madam Education,
My name is Tom. I am 6. Well in saying that, my body is 6 years old and I look 6 years old and sometimes I even act 6 years old. But other times, I ‘pretend’ to be a baby (or thats what some people think). I actually do something called ‘regression’ which is when I go back to being a baby. This means that I can’t do things that I usually can, such as getting dressed or controlling my tantrums. I don’t know why I do this, I just do. Teachers get angry at me for this and think I am just ‘attention seeking’ or being ‘defiant.’
I live with my ‘forever family.’ I am telling you that, but I don’t want you to tell anyone else. I just want to be ‘normal’ and so I don’t want to tell people that I am adopted. That’s why, when my class are doing ‘weekend news’ on a Monday, I go and hide in the quiet corner in the room. I’m too scared that anything I say might give clues away that I am adopted. When I was little I wasn’t cared for like other children. This taught me that I had to do things for myself all the time. This was scary. I got taken away from my ‘tummy mummy’ and put with strangers. That was really scary. I kept getting moved around lots of strangers. That was really really scary. This has made me who I am today.
My forever Mummy and Daddy are nice (At least my Mummy hopes I would say this!!!!). When I moved in with them, they used a chart with pictures on to show me what I had to do each day and in what order. This was to help me learn what they call a ‘routine.’ They also began to talk to me about ‘rules.’ At first, I didn’t like these so I tried not to follow them, but then they also gave me something else called ‘consequences.’ These meant that if I followed a rule, I got something called a ‘reward.’ I like rewards. So If I eat all my dinner, I get to have a pudding AND sweeties. That is cool! I didn’t believe that they would always do this and so I tried testing it sometimes. I would pretend I didn’t like my dinner and told them I wasn’t eating it. THEY NEVER GAVE ME A PUDDING OR SWEETIES. How rubbish is that…..I only tried it a few times more and then I stopped that and just ate, because I LOVE sweeties. My favourites are Milkyway Stars. I have learned that these things called rules are actually good, because they make me feel safe.
At school, there are rules but I don’t like to follow them. If I don’t follow the rules, I get a big red circle on my ‘behaviour chart.’ This shows me that I am BAD. The more red’s I get, the more ‘Golden time’ I get taken away from me. I don’t really care about Golden Time. At home I get a consequence as soon as I break a rule, but in school you have to wait a whole week for the consequence – thats mad! Most weeks I can’t even remember what the loss of golden time is for!!! Some weeks I get lots of reds. I’m just a BAD BOY…..weird thing is though, my Mummy and Daddy don’t tell me that. They tell me that I am a VERY good boy who sometimes just does naughty things. I’m not sure who to believe.
At school, I get cross. I sometimes get REALLY cross. Sometimes I don’t know why though. I have heard the grown ups saying I have ‘triggers.’ I don’t know what they are. Sometimes though (but don’t tell anyone because they will think I am crazy and need yet another person coming in to observe me….they think I don’t notice that by the way, you know, people coming in to observe me, but I notice EVERYTHING) I have times when I fall asleep or something – It’s like I hear, see, smell, touch or somebody says something and I am like, back with my tummy mummy….I’m not actually there, but I feel like i’m there and i get really scared. I then must start doing REALLY BAD things, because when I wake up, sometimes I’ve got someone ‘restraining’ me, or the room is a total mess and they say I did it, or sometimes, people are saying they have a sore leg because I kicked them….whooooops! I don’t remember doing it though!
I don’t know why but there are some things that REALLY scare me, like when a different teacher comes in or something that is meant to happen doesn’t or something changes. I go to try and tell someone but I don’t have the words. I either freeze or I try to run away. But, would you believe this, sometimes they try to stop me from running, but I have to get out so I fight them – okay, so sometimes I do remember kicking or hitting them. I AM A BAD BOY.
There are a couple of really strange things you know, but my Mummy has helped me to figure them out. Like I HAVE to be at the front of the line ALL THE TIME and woe betide anyone who gets in my way. My Mummy says its because I like to always see what is coming in front of me. My Mummy and I together have also worked out that I can only eat my lunch if I am sitting in a seat where I can see everyone in the room and there is just a wall behind me. I managed to tell my Mummy that I like to see what is making the noise. I don’t like loud noises by the way or even just lots of noise. I don’t like busy places. My Mummy told me that it is so fantastic that we were able to work this out together. She promised she would write a letter to the teacher to tell her. She said she did. but i’m not so sure because sometimes I don’t get the seat that my Mummy says I need.
My Mummy is clever (hey, It’s her blog, so she can make me say what she likes….but she is though, you know!!), she has done lots of reading about something called ‘attachment issues.’ Her favourite book (she calls it her ‘attachment bible’) is by someone called Louise Bomber. My Mummy has lots of ideas of her own though because she was a teacher too and taught lots of different kinds of children. She has come up with lots of ideas for my school that I think that would really help me. She asked for a picture timetable just for me, a box of things that would make me feel calm, a chart showing me all the teachers I would be seeing that day, a ‘reward chart’ like I have at home that apparently she says ‘I respond very well to’…..whatever that means and egg timers so I know how long I have before I need to move to the next activity, plus lots of other things too. The school said they would think about it. I don’t know if they did think about it, but they never did any of the things she said….it’s the thought that count’s though eh?! The one thing I am so glad though that they said no to was her idea that I should have a consequence as soon as I do something I shouldn’t. That would be rubbish.
At home, my Daddy has to work quiet late, but that’s okay because I have my Mummy at home all the time (apart from once a month when Daddy lets her go and ‘lunch’ with one of her friends.) I see my Daddy at the weekend so that is great. We usually do things together as a family. I can cope with one main person and an extra person (who is also main too, if you are reading Daddy, which you probably will since you have become a tweet too!!) But at school there are 7 people trying to deal with me! I thought you only had that many people at High School. Wow, I must be SO BAD that no one person can control me and I have to have 7 PEOPLE. That makes me scared. I know this sounds silly, but I wish there was a special one person dealing with me that I could go to and that would help me – like a Mummy at school. I thought Mummy could come and work at my school because she is a teacher….Mummy says no though because she is on a career break to look after me. I like having her there everyday though at home, but I wish she or someone like her could help me at school too. Mummy tells me that this is called a ‘Key person’ or an ‘additional attachment figure’…..yes, from that ‘attachment bible’ she talks about.
Mr/ Mrs/ Miss/ Ms Education. Please listen to me and to people like my Mummy, Louise Bomber, Dan Hughes and everybody else who cares about people like me who have suffered trauma and loss and need extra support.
Okay, so Tome never wrote this, but a lot of truth of what he is feeling is there. He and all the children in schools who have suffered trauma and loss NEED educational reform. It’s time we fought for this. It’s ‘Time for Change.’