I took my niece back to boarding school on Monday. The house was busy with all the girls returning at once. My niece is in a new room with girls she has not shared with before. I could see she wanted to join in the conversations that were going on, but the girls were talking amongst themselves. I felt for my niece. There is a very mature girl in the new room who is extremely popular. In the short space of time I was helping my niece to unpack, this girl had visits from three or four other girls who all stopped by to say ‘hello’ and give her a hug. Again I felt for my niece and myself. How wonderful it must feel to be popular? I hope my niece watches and learns from this girl. What is very compelling about humans is that they will often speak with their core group, but it takes a special person to be inclined to draw others who are on the periphery, in to the conversation.
I spent 5 hours last night completing a government document to get some help for my niece so that she can acquire an app called ‘Brain in Hand’ to help her during moments of anxiety. It had taken me 3 attempts to complete this form over a number of weeks, partly because I was mentally exhausted half way through trying to complete it, didn’t have the relevant documents to hand and had to remember the difficulties my niece had over the years. I always think the aim of such documents is to put you off completing them, hence the number of questions – 71 in this case! It was heart-wrenching going over the documents which I had to submit as evidence. In one, a speech and language therapist had interviewed my niece’s primary school class teacher who had stated that my niece would ‘make comments that were inappropriate, irrelevant or hurtful without meaning to’. Amazingly, it never occurred to this same teacher or the school that there might be a cognitive problem with the child. Just that there might be a problem at home. Interestingly the speech and language therapist who suspected my niece was on the autistic spectrum, was a regular member of a team of visiting therapists associated with her school. The UK system is set in such a way that in order for the local government to save money, children can only access help from a speech and language therapist c/o the school if they have a Statement of Educational Needs (SEN). As children with high functioning autism are unlikely to have a problem learning, they will not flag up as needing a Statement and therefore not get the help of a speech and language therapist via the school.