NB: This post contains inappropriate and offensive language.
I was rudely awoken by Bob Marley and his three little birds pulsating through the house at 8.11 am. I never realised that Bob had the vocal ability to make a house shudder.
“Shit.” Realising how late I was I unwrapped myself from my warm cocoon and scurried downstairs.
“Turn that down!” I shouted to Brendon who looked like he hadn’t even moved from the Starship Enterprise where I’d left him last night.
“Did you go to bed?” I asked, arms crossed in my fluffy white dressing gown.
“Nah, got caught up in a battle, I’ll go in a bit bro.”
“ERRR, we’ve got to be at school in 45 minutes so NO. How stupid. Get ready now!” I stormed out to the kitchen and flicked the kettle on. Bryony arrived downstairs, make up expertly donned, hair in a messy concoction of gorgeous (which I know would have taken ages to perfect ) and her skirt rolled up just to the perfect length.
“Oh My God are you not dressed yet?” she rolled her eyes.
“Tired. Overslept. Get yourself some cereal and get some for your brother please and there’s a fruit salad in the fridge for lunch, I’ve got to get ready.” I grabbed my tea, “NOW BRENDON!” I shouted as I rushed past his room.
On route to school Brendon took his tiredness out on Bryony. “Why have you got all that SHIT on your face? ‘Ooh, My names Bryony and I have to follow what everybody else does because I cant think for myself .“ He mocked in a schoolgirl accent.
“Shut up and leave her alone.” I snapped.
Bryony stuck her middle finger up at him from the back seat.
“Less of that!” I glared at her through the rear view mirror.
“Do you wanna do that again?” He threatened, twisting to look at Bryony in the back seat.
I let her out of the car quickly near the lower school reception so she could walk with her friends. “Bye darling, see you later.” I smiled. She slammed the door and scowled at her brother through the passenger side window as she walked past, pulling to get her skirt just so.
“MARDY BITCH!” Brendon yelled through the window he had quickly zipped open, as we drove by her to the upper school. I gave him a stern look as I shut his window from my control panel. I decided not to start an argument right then as we were just about to have his weekly review with the SENCO on his behaviour and he was already on the edge of being more vile than usual.
I made my way to reception of Hillfields School to the lady on the desk as Brendon skipped through school via a shortcut.
“Hello Ms. Rhodes. For Mrs. Armitage?” She knew that’s exactly who I was here to see because I came at the same time every week. Plus those additional days when Brendon had one of his episodes and would neither leave the school premises or attend a lesson and I was called in to assist in his removal or calm him down by phone.
“That’s right.” I filled in my visitors pass for the umpteenth time and made my way up to the BASE unit. The BASE was a retreat area for kids with special educational needs or behavioural issues that needed time out or had scheduled sections of their day there. Brendon had right of access as and when and would go there when he felt like it.
I walked in to see Brendon, coat still on and slumped at a desk with his head down in his folded arms. Mrs Armitage (Janice) was sitting next to him.
“He didn’t go to bed last night.” I said, just so she was aware that he was likely to be hideous today.
“Are you OK?” she smiled and put her head to one side as she looked up at me.
“Getting there.” I pulled a chair out from the desk and sat down.
“Right, well I’ve got the weekly report on Brendons behaviour.” The school had a comments policy that rewarded ‘normal’ behaviour which I had often voiced was rather ridiculous. For one, what is normal behaviour? For Brendon, his behaviour was normal. We had adopted a new approach and reward system whereby if Brendon managed to make it through the week with very few, negative written comments or no detentions then he would have extra computer time or Janice would give him chocolate treats. The reward had to be tangible to him to be worth attaining. A firm slap on the back and a “Good on ya, kiddo!” would have meant nothing.
Mrs Armitage pulled out the sheets of reports. The fact that there were sheets made me realise it wasn’t going to be good.
“Unfortunately there’s been a few incidents this week, some of which we’ve talked about on the phone, so if we can just go through some of those... Mr Locks will be joining us in a few minutes to talk about some of them.” Mr Locks was the deputy head. He was a big jolly guy who reminded me a little of Stephen Fry. She put on her glasses and began to read:
‘Ms Limson - Brendon was constantly shouting out silly words during the lesson when they should have been revising for their additional maths GCSE exam.’
“ So was Liam, so was Joe - did they get a written comment? Err, no.” Said Brendon’s voice from under his arms as he remained head down.
“This is about you Brendon.” Said Mrs Armitage.
“If you re-read the sentence I think you’ll find the word “They” in it. Should give you a clue.”
He had a point but it was trivial and we both ignored it.
“ You know I got an A in my mock exam for maths so what’s the problem?” He pushed.
“Your behaviour.” I replied indicating for Mrs Armitage to continue. Brendon’s intelligence was never in question. He was exceptionally clever and Mrs Armitage believed he was bordering on genius with a photographic memory. He had made all the SEN teachers do an online IQ test which was a mistake as his came out 20 points higher. And that (he’d said) was even when he was rushing and not concentrating. Because of this he would never deal with substitute teachers as they weren’t proper teachers in his mind. If left in a class with a sub teacher he would find their weak point, push their boundaries and have them quitting for a job in retail within minutes. Their lack of skills in managing a child like Brendon, only fed his internal scripted belief that they were not up to the job and he would only deal with senior level staff.
We skipped through the numerous mildly rude and defiant comments. Whilst these would be considered unacceptable by usual standards they weren’t that bad for a child with Aspergers or PDA and it was only the really awful incidents that had to be punishable. Like the one Janice read out next:
IT department: ‘Brendon broke into the Impero computer system for the 7th time this year. He somehow managed to close down the whole system so it could only be controlled by him and then set to printing several copies of the World Of Warcraft book from different printers around school. When asked why he had thought it was ok to do something like this he replied “My friends can’t afford the book.” Isolation issued.’
“Well, they can’t!” He raised his head. “That’s called being nice to my friends. You said I had to be nicer.” He nodded towards Mrs Armitage.
“But not by manipulating the whole school system and bringing it to a standstill.” she retorted.
Mr Locks came through the door. “Morning, morning,” he gushed “ So terribly sorry for my tardiness I’ve been dealing with another pressing matter.” He grabbed a chair and sat next to Janice.
We all spoke about the incidents of the week and how severe improvements needed to be made, particularly since this was GCSE year. Janice and Mr Locks tried to explain to Brendon how his actions, particularly with the school computers, were wholly unacceptable and how he would be serving an isolation. Isolation’s never worked well with Brendon. You had to sit in a room on your own all day long without any breaks or time outside. For people with Aspergers it borders on torturous and serves no purpose but to make them nastier. Whilst I didn’t agree with isolations, I had to accept it and support the teachers in front of Brendon to form a united front.
“ I also have to inform you that Mr. Fothergill has told me that due to the nature and defiance regarding the computer incident, Brendon will now be moved straight onto Governors report.” Mr Locks, looked seriously toward Brendon.
This was the last thing he needed. He sat with his head in his hands breathing rapidly and staring down at the table. I felt utterly drained bar the faint onset of palpitations and it was only 9.30 am.
Governors report was like the last chance saloon. Three strikes and you’re out. Brendon could get three strikes in half an hour. Mess that up and you’re expelled. Forever. Education over.