Real Stories

Not coping at mainstream

My son was diagnosed as a high functioning autistic child when he was aged 5. He was always a little quirky and very determined!

He was considered to be academically able, in other words he did not have an additional learning difficulty. However, what his primary school failed to realise was that his anxieties, sensory processing, distorted perception and paranoia had huge impact on upon his ability to cope with school and his peers.

My son became school phobic, depressed; and made several attempts to seriously harm himself and yet still he was not deemed suitable for a statutory assessment of his special educational needs!

HACS became my life line and the driving force behind my quest for a Statement of his SENs.

After a very lengthy process and numerous appointments, letters and reports with the wonderful support of HACS my son received his fully funded statement and moved to a specialist autism school.

My son was isolated at school

My son Josh* is a lovely witty clever young lad; all he wants is to have friends, be liked and to be understood…

Despite having a statement of SEN’s to start school he only received 15 hours of funding by the LEA; his school had to try and support him for the rest of the time from their own budget. My son began to change from a happy child to a very withdrawn and angry young man; he was no longer invited to other children’s parties or their houses to play after school.

With the help of HACS, together we were able to unravel why. During his playtimes which he really struggled with he was being left to his own devices without any supervision. Josh was trying to join in and play but he would go too close to the children and put his face in front of theirs and keep asking the same questions over and over again; if they did not answer he would shout – no wonder the children were getting annoyed.

HACS supported me at a school appointment with the class teacher and the SENCo. HACS spoke to the staff about strategies and managing unstructured time. The school did agree in the end to use money from their own SEN budget to fund an additional dinner lady to support Josh. This has helped Josh tremendously as the dinner lady is able to ‘hover’ and can often intervene before things get tricky!

Thanks a million HACS for your ongoing support

A big thank you for all you do

I just wanted to thank you all for the help and support you have given me over last year. Also for the excellent conferences, the use of the library, the play scheme, which Jack still raves about and the lovely theatre trip.

But more than that I want to thank you for being a shoulder to cry on and friendly voice at the end of the phone who knew exactly what I was going through when Jack was diagnosed with autism. Even though I suspected something it still came as a massive blow. With the written diagnosis in my hand I felt as if my expectations and dreams were wiped away, like the Jack I thought I had was dead and gone. Two months went by in a blur of depression, self-pity and ignorance before I got your phone number from the NAS.

You have taught me so much over the past year. You have shared your experiences, lent me books and provided brilliant speakers at the conferences and workshops you run. You have slowly given me back some hope for Jack’s future, without unrealistic expectations, but most importantly you have given Jack and Gail a fully functioning mum. I can accept Jack’s future, whatever it brings and I now enjoy and celebrate his unique differences. I also know that when it comes to talking to Jack about his autism I can honestly say that I love him the way he is and would not want him any other way.

I know that with your continued help I can keep learning and support him as he grows up to face a life with autism. Thank you for helping me put my life back together and enjoy it again. Jenny