I have spent the last five years trying to encourage Mollie to attend school and to provide her a school, in conjunction with our local authority, that will meet her needs and more importantly where she will be happy.
Five years of encouraging, guiding, negotiating, bribing, forcing, pushing, insisting, demanding, consequences, rewards, jumping through hoops and accommodating her very unique needs.
This has resulted in five years of stress, anxiety, meltdowns, physical attacks, verbal attacks, avoiding tactics, metal gymnastics to stay one step ahead, meeting after meeting, unfairly misjudged by other children and parents, mental exhaustion and the loss of emotional well-being for both of us.
In short I am done, I’ve had enough and so has Mollie.
I don’t think that either of us have the mental strength to continue jumping on and off the schooling merry-go-round. The warning signs have been there for a few months and I knew that school refusal was just around the corner. The school have lots of ideas and want to continue trying to temp Mollie into school but I have reached the stage where I just don’t see the point anymore. What will all of our efforts achieve, maybe another few months of sporadic attendance until something else goes wrong or happens which will lead to the next bout of complete school refusal.
I can continue sticking my head in the sand and keep putting inadequate plasters over a gaping wound but it is only ever going to be a temporary fix and I need something permanent. I need to make a brave decision for both Mollie and I and jump off the school merry-go-round.
I have decided to give home-schooling a whirl after all what have I got to lose because she’s spent the best part of the last three years at home anyway.
They have without doubt been the worst three years of my life. Imprisoned within my own home by a violent, abusive and egocentric dictator and cut off from all forms of normal life. I have had breakdowns, I have self-harmed, I have drunk too much, I have had suicidal thoughts, I have wished that I could go to sleep and never wake up and I did think, at one stage, that the only way that I could save any of us from this hellish nightmare was to put Mollie into care. A residential school was the half way house option and meant that I still retained all of my parental rights and that Mollie would still be at home every weekend and all of the school holidays. This never really took off and she never stayed even one night and now she can’t even cope with attending on a day basis only.
What the small amount of school attendance has done has allowed be to take stock and recharge my batteries. Writing this blog has been the best help of all, to throw all of the, whirling around my head thoughts, onto paper has been like clearing out an overcrowded and ram packed filing cabinet. It has also give me a sense of purpose in life and something to focus on. Setting up a Facebook account has given me a much-needed window into the social world and the PDA groups have given me a community which I feel a part of. Mollie has shown steady improvement during this current stint at home and talking with Julia, an adult with PDA, has given me greater understanding and empathy for my daughter and much more hope for her future.
I now feel strong enough, knowledgeable enough and empathetic enough to my daughter’s needs to start again on a fresh path. Fingers crossed we will cope and do well and you never know a bash at school may still be an option for the future but for now the outside world is just too much for either her or I to cope with.