ARGHHHHHHHHHH! 7 calls in 7 days. 7 calls in 7 days from my son’s primary school!
I mean is this not verging on harassment? My son is not the worst child in the world! His behaviour doesn’t come close to warranting an ASBO for crying out loud! ARGGHHHHHHHH This will be my ADHD Rant!- Stop Calling Me! I’m sure you will feel me!
My son’s miracle meds have slowly decreased in efficacy and need to be adjusted. As parents of children with ADHD know, getting a CAMHs appointment is about as easy as licking your own elbow. Anyhow, I managed to get one and the Dr. agreed with me and has written me a prescription for a new medication, Elvanse. She recommended having a five day break before starting the new meds. This was on the Monday, so I could start the new ones on the Saturday. This works well because I can be with him all day then and make sure there are no weird and wonderful immediate side effects.
Obviously, I informed the school about this. They have been calling me a fair bit recently as my son’s impulsiveness has once again crept back into our lives. I have explained to them on many an occasion that I am aware and I’m trying to get an appointment. I’d understand if I was unaware or not willing to acknowledge his ADHD, but I do see it! I live with the little man who I see on a daily basis struggle with all these mixed emotions.
You’d think he was the only child to ever have had ADHD the way he is treated. Don’t get me wrong, some of the teachers have been great. But what is with the calling every bloody day! And not just once! Missed calls plural. I even emailed back at one point and said, truthfully, I am in a meeting, if it’s an emergency then of course I will make myself available (they know I am a single mum), but if not, my working hours are, and I work with vulnerable children and cannot answer my phone! Would they allow their staff to take this many calls in a working day?!
The school are aware that we went to CAMHS on Monday. I also emailed to say that the medication was being altered and that my son would be off meds for a week and the reasoning behind this. I stated, please bear with us whilst he transitions onto the new meds. I know it will be a tough week but its toughest for him at the end of the day.
So, Tuesday, I get a call, he has thrown grass at a boy. Apparently there are huge mounds of grass from the fields being cut. My first thought was that the other boy must have been hurt or upset by this. But no, it was his friend. So, my child with very impulsive ADHD, that I have kept the school well informed about, threw grass at his friend. He seriously cannot help that. His impulsiveness is crazy. You may have read the blog post where I told you he set the fire alarm off; or the time my friend allowed him to touch her newly done tattoo because as she showed me and said don’t touch, she realised she had said those tempting words, ‘don’t’ so he had to (I’d like to point out he did but very carefully), it’s like a compulsion; or how I let him jump in the brook every Friday to try and prevent daily dips! Honestly the list goes on.
In my eyes, and forgive me if I’m wrong, but a big pile of grass is very tempting to throw and have fun with! I know we use to always play with the grass on the school fields in the summer. As far as I know, nobody was harmed during that time, no one died from it and no one got PTSD from having it thrown at them. It was grass. Easiest thing for a school to do is surely collect the grass to prevent children playing with it. I mean god forbid they have fun with it!
Wednesday I got a call, during my working hours, to ask if everything was ok at home as my son appeared ‘a bit tearful’. I’m sorry, I believe I have told everyone in that school, including the cleaners by now, that my son is not on medication this week and will be starting his new one at the weekend. It’s only a small village primary school by the way. Not some massive school where nobody knows anyone. Everyone knows everyone! I had pre-warned everyone that this was going to be a tough week for him and to please watch out for him and make reasonable allowances. Why are you calling me to say this?! I took the time to reiterate everything, including my working hours.
Oh and I also forgot to say in this rant of rants, meanwhile, Elvanse 20mg is not to be found anywhere. My normal pharmacy couldn’t get hold of it and couldn’t find any supplier that could. I called around all my local pharmacies and then extended the range, still nothing. I found two tablets in one store 5 miles away. Two. I can’t start him on a new medication with only two tablets. Eventually I found 22, I’ve taken the gamble I’ll find more in three weeks..
So, Thursday, I took the executive decision to start him on the meds having discovered my friend would be working in his class that Thursday and Friday so could observe him. I couldn’t face another day of his emotions all over the place, the sad look in his eye, and another phone call from that school. Thursday was a great day. He got two house points! Yay! He came home so chuffed. It made my week! The meds were working already. He felt great. I felt great. I didn’t get a phone call this day.
Friday I got a phone call, first thing in the morning. I surreptitiously took the call despite being at work. It was to say what a great day my son had had. The best day in months. I felt like saying told you so. It’s a chemical imbalance that shouldn’t be discriminated against. Children with ADHD cannot help so much of their behaviour because their needs in mainstream school are not being met. But anyhow, it was nice to get that phone call.
Or was it. Of course there was a but. Apparently, and the word was apparently, my son had told another child to google something inappropriate. I asked for more clarification but there wasn’t any to give. ‘The Lord giveth with one hand, and taketh away with the other‘. I mean, could I not just have five minutes to relish in the glory of a good day and house points?? Apparently not.
Monday, two missed calls at 10 am, not sure what part of ‘I work’ they are not getting. No message left so I’m guessing it’s a non emergency. I had to race straight out after work but was due to be back home for 3:30, exactly the time my son arrives home from school. We are lucky enough to live exactly two minutes from school. That’s not an exaggeration, it’s literally two minutes, we’ve timed it. Since Year 5 he has been allowed to walk home alone, as with all the other children that live close by. I tried calling the school back, but the person who had called was at lunch so they said they would get them to call me back.
So, I was out on this Monday afternoon, completing several mum chores in the limited time before the kids come home. It had been a hot few days, and suddenly the skies clouded over and the heavens proverbially opened. I was drenched! I couldn’t find my car park ticket even though I had just had it in my hand! I’m rummaging through my handbag when the school starts calling… It’s 3. I need to find this ticket so I can get in the car and get home on time.
My phone rings again, guess who… I can’t find my ticket, I have to call the operator on the car park ticket machine and thankfully they are not a jobs worth and they actually just let me pay £2.50. I get in the car and start drive home, soaked through but happy I was not fined. It’s now 3:20, they call again, but my phone is in my bag. At the traffic lights I plug it into my car. Oh they’ve left a voicemail. Joy.
So, it’s the Head Teacher now, demanding that I come to school and collect my son as there has been an ‘incident’ at the end of the day and he cannot walk home by himself. Joy. I call the school back. I am inching along in this crazy thunderstorm that is literally flooding the roads in front on my eyes. The Head Teacher tersely tells me that my son is soaked through after an incident in a puddle and they will not release him until I collect him. I inform them that I am crawling home due to the rain and will be at least 20 minutes or I can get someone to collect him (I hope). No, it has to be me. Joy.
Driving home in this storm I feel every emotion possible from why me, to I hate this school, to I hate my life, to what do I have to make for dinner and is it too early to drink?? The school traffic around me is now heavy due to parents picking their kids up from school due to the rain. And by rain, it’s now a tropical storm with the big ploppy rain drops. Everyone is soaked and kids are kicking puddles up each other and trying to get splashed by cars! I am still inching along. I’m never not home at this time but because of my lost ticket I have literally hit the local school traffic.
I arrive, I am actually by now over it. I’m ‘greeted’ by the Head Teacher who tells me Matthew attempted to swim in a puddle in the car park on his way out. I would like to point out their car park is locked so he was not a danger of being run over and it is doubtful that he was going to drown.
So, there he is in the staff room head down, soaked through. After a discussion about, wrong choices etc I take him home and as a parting gift, I am told that he may no longer walk home alone and that I must collect him every day at 3:20. I am too tired and drained to argue at this point and just want to get my son home to dry him.
I talked to my son. His simple reply was, Mum it was funny, I was having a laugh and trying to make people laugh. He really didn’t see why he’d been kept at school. I had to agree. At the end of the day, knowing everything we all know about my son, was this a crime? He had only soaked himself. If he had splashed someone else there is a high chance that they were already soaked through? I mean it was a freak rainstorm. Surely I should be the most upset, I had to wash and dry everything! If I saw a child in a puddle, I wouldn’t complain, I’d feel secretly smug that it wasn’t my child!!
Next day I had two missed calls by 9am. 9am. He arrives at school by 8:50, WHAT could he POSSIBLY have done in 10 minutes? Now I work in a school with children with additional needs. Vulnerable children. I am not allowed my mobile for safeguarding reasons. I believe I have told this to his school this many times. I have told them my working hours. I have given them my work phone number. I am on email. I emailed them reiterate this. I stated if it was an emergency of course I will make myself available other than that please call me outside of my working hours or email.
The reply was it wasn’t an emergency. They emailed and told me come in for a meeting after school today. I replied I couldn’t as I had to take my daughter somewhere, I actually did. Response, tomorrow will be fine. I wrote back and said it will have to be Friday as I had to take my son somewhere, again I did. I asked what the meeting was regarding, they said they would call to discuss. Of course they would call, no doubt during working hours!
I collected him from school that day and walked him the two minutes back to our home. We survived. Phew.
10am the following morning. Guess who?! I was actually alone so I answered the call. Can you talk? Not for long, I work in a school! She wanted to tell me the meeting was to discuss how they could support me. I wanted to say you can support me by not ringing me every damn day in work hours. But, I thought fine, this is a nice gesture, don’t bite. I said fine, see you Friday.
I collected son from school, no major incidents on way home. Phew.
Friday. Hottest day of the year. Really just wanted to be in my garden in the kids paddling pool but yay I had the meeting. Basically they wanted to signpost me to social services, family support and other such groups that I was either already aware of or had used before. Why do people think parents of children with ADHD don’t do any research?? Do they seriously think I just sit at home filing my nails hoping that my child will grow out of ADHD? They know I’m on the case with CAMHs. It’s not like I’m not acknowledging it. I’m trying my very best. I’m a single mum juggling three kids, two with ADHD and I don’t think I’m doing a bad job, despite how this school is making me feel. They could support me by acknowledging that I’m doing my best. I left wishing I had just sat in the kids paddling pool. Total waste of time.
However, I did manage to up date them that on Monday’s and Friday’s now I would be covering my friends maternity leave, which had literally started that day and had been preplanned long before this new pick up rule had been put in place. I would now get home till 3:20/25 and would walk the two minutes to school, so could they keep my son for 10 min max on these days. Or my eldest son could pick him up, he’s 14.5years old, on his way past. The primary school day finishes at 3:20. To be fair by the time the class had emptied and he’d walked to reception I would probably be there. She said she was sure that would be fine and would let me know Monday. Oh goody, another phone call to expect during working hours *insert eye roll.
Monday morning, I send an email to the office at 11:15am (seeing as I hadn’t had my daily phone call), asking about whether they could hold my son for 5-10mins in reception or if my son could pick him up. Nothing. not a dicky bird all day! Until 14:57 when I get this:
Miss XXXX and Mrs XXXX have asked me to contact you to let you know that due to his behaviour XXXX does need to be collected by you or a nominated adult and this does need to be at the end of the school day at 3.20pm.
The school policy for collection is attached – you are able to be late for collection twice, so this week it is fine and we can help, however beyond this there would be a fine applicable so if you can find someone else to collect him that would avoid this.
The other option is the after-school club XXXXXX – if you require their details, please let me know.
Is it me or is that passive aggressive? Does this sound at all supportive? I particularly like the fact that 3:20 was underlined. Maybe I should resend my working hours and underline them to clarify?? And how nice of them to attach the school policy. Afterschool club?? Their hourly rate is more than mine! No point me covering maternity leave! I couldn’t believe how ‘supportive’ they were being. And at 14:57 I didn’t exactly have time to organise anything else! How very ‘supportive’. I was fuming. Thankfully I managed to get in my car and find another mum to collect him and call the school to let them know who this would be, but my drive home was unnecessarily stressful. I pulled up on my drive just as my friend got to mine with my son. Literally the same time.
Please don’t think I don’t have sympathy for teachers and schools. I do. I work in one and see on a daily basis how amazing and supportive some teachers are. I also hear how certain parents speak to them. I have never been rude or lost my temper with a teacher and no teacher was hurt in the making of this post. To date. But I also see how genuinely supportive we are to the parents in my school.
My son leaves this current school in 4 weeks time to go to secondary school. We cannot wait. We’ve just got to hold it together for 4 more weeks. I wonder how many calls I will get in this time? I will keep you posted.
This is one of the main reasons I started the support group on Facebook, please do click this link to join ADHDinchildren. I needed to vent to like minded parents or carers who’s children have ADHD and ‘get it’. Sorry for the length of this rant! If anyone is on Instagram, I’m also there ADHD Mum! Come find me for a rant!