Thursday, 27 August 2009

Result!

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know that my youngest son, Jacob, has Asperger's Syndrome. An autistic spectrum disorder, Asperger's affects communication and social interaction among other things.

Over the years while Jake was growing up we experienced a range of problems most of them to do with his behaviour. Any form of change or uncertainty caused him to become anxious and frustrated which invariably led to major tantrums. Holidays, birthdays and Christmas were a nightmare!

School, as you might imagine was often the trigger for these outbursts. He started at the same village primary school as his three brothers but problems started from almost day one. It was obvious to me he needed extra help and so the long process of getting a diagnosis and a statement of special educational needs began. Over the next three years we experienced endless problems but with no viable alternative, mainstream school was the only way to go. Various tactics were employed - one in particular involved Jacob being taught within the main classroom but surrounded by screens to isolate him from the rest of the class. I wonder what "expert" thought that one up! Jake soon put an end to that by posting a notice outside the screen which read "Jacob's office. Please knock before entering." Another teacher had the affront to tell me I didn't know what it was like having to deal with him... try living with me lady!

Eventually after an extended period in a special assessment centre Jacob was permanently excluded from our local school and the formal reason I was given by the then headteacher was that "Jacob will never access the national curriculum and we don't have the expertise to adapt the curriculum for him." I might add that particular teacher apologised to me several years later and admitted there were mistakes made.

We had an extended period where Jacob was taught at home - I was given one hour per week of private tuition from the local education authority. During this time I was offered two alternative schools - both boarding - one in Norfolk for children up to the age of 16 all of whom had severe behavourial difficulties and the second in Essex for severely autistic children. I was seen as a difficult parent as I refused to send my eight year old to either school. But I truely believed he did not fit either category. Eventually another primary school in Cambridgeshire took Jacob part time and for the rest of his primary education he only ever attended three days per week.


When he transferred to secondary school there were more battles as I fought for him to come back to our local village college where his brothers had attended. They agreed to take him on the condition that he was full time, took the full curriculum and was expected to behave and be subject to the same rules as all other pupils... and it worked.

I'm not claiming it has always been easy, or that he has always enjoyed it but he has got through the past five years without major incident or without a single day of exclusion. Much credit must go to the school but most of all credit must go to Jacob. He has overcome many obstacles, including the onset of type one diabetes last year and has matured into a delightful young man with a great sense of humour and a good circle of friends.


And today he came home with nine GCSEs and a place at sixth form college... not bad for someone who would never access the national curriculum!


Well done Jacob, I'm very proud of what you have achieved. You are a star!

52 comments:

  1. WELL DONE JAKE!!!

    9 GCSEs is a great achievement for anyone and even more so for someone who has overcome as much as Jacob has. Here's to a productive A level career and a kick up the backside to those primary school teachers who chose to exclude him!

    Well done to you too - it takes special parents to raise a ASD kid and clearly you're doing an outstanding job. He looks like a fabulous young man.

    xMx

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  2. The boy done good!

    (So did his Mum)

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  3. Well done all of you, especially Jake.
    Dealing with "the system" can be exhausting and a hard battle. So pleased to see that you beat it.

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  4. Congratulations on your great results Jacob.

    And Gina, thank you - you give me hope. One of Mark's Doctors told me that my job was to get him through school intact and then watch him fly. Sounds like you've given your son wings.

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  5. Congrats to Jake!

    P.S. I think Jake's mom is a star too. :)

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  6. congratulations to Jacob, what an amazing achievement for any child, let alone one who has gone through so much!
    You must be sooo proud of him - and he's very lucky to have a mum like you.

    xxxx

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  7. He's done brilliantly - and so have you! I bet he's excited for the new chances at college to study exactly what he's interested in too. Onwards and upwards!

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  8. Wow- Jacob has done incredibly well and I'm sure he'll continue to do so. The school situation must have been so difficult for you, but your hard work has clearly paid off. Looks like he's a promising baker too- that cake looked DELICIOUS!

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  9. Huge congratulations Jacob! You have a fantastic mum and have clearly done brilliantly even though it has been hard. Have great fun celebrating!

    Lucy x

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  10. That's so wonderful 9 GCSE's is such an achievement for anyone but to come through what you have and not give up!
    You should both be very proud, and best wishes for the future.Congratulations!!!!!
    It's all credit to you both not the system. Well not until the secondary school anyway.

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  11. Well done Jacob and well done you for your devotion over the years.

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  12. Well done Jacob and well done Gina, it takes a special Mummy to know what will work and fight so hard to get it. It was worth the wait and the struggle. Here's to a fruitful FE career!
    xxx

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  13. I am typing this with tears in my eyes Gina. What an achievement for Jacob - well done. And what an achievement for you too (I wouldn't send an 8yr old without problems to a boarding school). I am so glad that everything worked out in the end after such a long struggle.

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  14. You rock for knowing your kid well and fighting for what worked for him.

    The kid rocks for doing the hard work of growing and working on his own behalf.

    The last photo? That young man is alive! I loooove that photo.

    Hugs to you both from Lansing, Michigan, USA

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  15. My congratulations to Jacob as well. You must be so proud of him and well done to you for not being brow beaten by so called experts. Who knows best what is best for a child more than their own Mum.

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  16. Wow, Gina, you must be bursting with pride.

    Well done Jake!

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  17. Congratulations Jake - the view from the top of the mountain is appreciated more when the path upwards is steep and rocky. I wish you every success at Sixth Form College and new opportunities to find the things that you excel in.

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  18. Congratulations Jake indeed but congratulations Gina too! I have a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye! Since my son went to school I often wonder if teachers have the slightest idea about children!! xxx

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  19. Just a thimbleful.....


    Oh, Gina - what a lovely story with a happy outcome - 9 GCSE's is a terrific achievement for anyone, you must all be jumping round the house with joy. Thank you for sharing that with us - you never fully understand what burdens other people are carrying. God bless you both.

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  20. Fantastic!!!! Well done Jacob and Mum. What a marvellous achievement. Your post has brought a lump to my throat. xx The very best of luck to Jacob when he gets to Sixth Form College.

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  21. Congratualations Jacob (and Mum, he couldnt have done it without your help and support) It give other parents encouragement when they too are fighting to get the right educational support for their child.

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  22. you have every right to be VERY VERY proud of your boy, but don't forget to congratulate yourself for the work you did in allowing him to blossom.

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  23. Please extend my heartfelt congratulations to Jacob for a job very well done. But to you, Mom, there are no words to adequately express my admiration for you and the battles you waged. It is never easy to go against accepted protocol and authorities. But you did what you knew was right and I salute you for your wisdom and strength. We have so much to learn about autism, treatments, therapies and education. I believe you set the local 'educators' to re-thinking and re-valuing their students. CHEERS!!

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  24. What a wonderful post Gina and surely an inspiration to many young mothers who may be going through the same experience. Jacob looks like a fabulous young man!

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  25. Gina - this is a lovely post. Made my heart feel warm as I read it. Loved seeing the photo's of Jacob growing up. You are right to be very proud of him. Sounds like he has a very happy and fulfilled life.
    You are a wonderful person and very loving mum!
    Dot xx

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  26. What a wonderful mother Jacob has. Congratulations many times over to Jacob and may he have many more accomplishments in the years ahead.

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  27. Gina, reading this has brought tears to my eyes. I can imagine how proud you are. Its just a shame that you had to fight so hard.The old adage Mother knows best is really true
    ( as I keep telling my girls) :-)
    Well done Jacob and Gina.

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  28. wow, what a result for years of perserverance on both sides. I can't even begin to imagine how proud of Jake you must be. I admire your determination and I'm pleased that you have this moment to look back and appreciate how far you have come, and that you have shared it so beautifully with us. Good luck to Jake in 6th form college!

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  29. Oh my goodness, I am shedding tears as I read your story ... that's just wonderful! Congratulations to Jacob!

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  30. Oh Gina!! Tears are pouring down my face...
    I'm so so proud of you for sticking up for Jake all these years..
    Jacob...you did good!! all the very best in the rest of your education
    x

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  31. Gina, you and Jake must be overwhelmed. How absolutely wonderful. This post was amazing - what a result after such troubles and adversity. All best wishes and congratulations. Emma x

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  32. A lump in my throat reading this one. Fantastic achievements gained through team work. Well done! x

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  33. Well done to Jacob for all his hard work.
    Well done to you for having the courage to dig your heels in and fight the system.
    I hope you are feeling better and keeping safe :-)

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  34. Gina - It's not often I have tears in my eyes these day - and I feel better knowing that your story, and Jacob's incredible journey have caused similar reactions in others. Well done to you, and most of all, big congratulations and well done to Jacob. You can both be immensely proud xx

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  35. Its a standing ovation over here in my loungeromm.
    Super well done, you gorgeous young man!

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  36. What a mountain you have both climbed - is it a lovely view from the top?! Congratulations to Jacob and you!

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  37. That is just fabulous. Well done to him for his hard work and he is so privilaged to have a wonderful and supportive family behind him. x

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  38. This is great!
    Congratulations to Jacob.
    I will be sharing this with my sister as my nephew who is nine was diagnosed with Aspergers and she is going through quite a difficult time.

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  39. Well done indeed Jacob, Gina and all the family! Onward and upward!

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  40. I know I'm a long way down this list but I had to make a comment. What a moving post . Well done to you for your determination and to Jake for his success.
    And I hope your eye and your bite(be careful with that..can get nasty) soon improve.
    I was going to say keep your eye on that bite but it didn't seem appropriate.

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  41. As the mother of two ASD sons this is heartwarming to hear, especially as one starts senior school in a weeks time.

    Though my battles have not been the same, I appreciate what you and Jacob must have been through and admire your courage and tenacity.

    Congratulations Jacob and good luck at sixth form college :-)

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  42. an amazing achievement and a fine young Man and well done to you for fighting every step of the way.

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  43. I'm not surprised you're proud what a fantastic achievement. Well done Jacob and a big well done to you too missus !!
    twiggy x

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  44. What an impressive result and a moving story: so glad all that persistance paid off!

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  45. Excellent news :) You must feel so pleased to have had your faith in him upheld by the system, finally.

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  46. I can't add anything to what has already been said, Gina. What a huge acheivement for you both, I'm lost for words!
    P S Hope your eye is on the mend too!

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  47. What a wonderful post about a wonderful young man. Your pride and love are clearly evident. What a great job you've done Gina, in helping him get to this point; in not giving up the the face of 'expert opinion' and in being a wonderful mum.

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  48. Lovely post! And I'm sure some of the credit must go to you as his mum. Well done Jake, good luck with the A levels.

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  49. a friend sent me the link to this post as I have a 6 year old son with Aspergers. It was lovely to read about your successes and I can relate to your struggles too. I'm lucky that we seem to have stumbled into a school which is doing their best for my son and I also live in an area where the Council gave him funding that allows for full time help in school. Hopefully this school year (his first with the full time help) will be better for everyone concerned.

    Congratulations to both your son and yourself for the great results!

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