I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, about Amy and either a need for some much needed manners or that our ideas about boarding school might come to fruition sooner than we anticipated. Academically she's doing fine, albeit with a large amount of support, a good school and an inquisitive mind. But this week, and not for the first time, I have noticed how poor her social skills really are when her "BFF" has been for a sleep-over. The friend is adorable; she's patient, softly spoken and a well mannered ten year old who has, without a doubt. got a very bright future ahead. I keep hoping the friend will have some kind of influence on Amy but it doesn't seem to be the case. Amy speaks to her friend terribly; she's rude to her, abrupt with her and has absolutely no patience yet the friend comes back for more, much to my gratitude, and surprise.
And so I found myself scouring the Internet recently for a) special needs boarding schools in the north of England, and b) boarding schools for autistic children, again in the north of England. The results were pitiful. There are some of course but the fees are so astronomical that we would have to take out a small mortgage to get her through the next five years of her life. We're talking around £15-20k per annum. I appreciate they may be worth it, but on a farmer's wage it isn't easy. But what I do know is that she needs something to help her with the extremely poor social skills she appears to have. It is something I will be speaking to the school about in the near future as I am sure they will help me, but for my sake as well as Amy's, the respite of a boarding school will probably do us both good. Autism isn't an easy condition to cope with; one day she will be my best friend, giggling with me, wanting to spend time with me, and the next day she will hate me; her rudeness pushes me to the limits and with my new found grumpiness (not just in the morning as the Farmer would point out) which is due to my new medication according to the consultant, it doesn't bode well for a happy atmosphere. But I can't help thinking as I'm sure other parents of children with special needs and autism will too, that to have to fork out £20k to send our child to boarding school because they need a greater support than is currently on offer is absolutely scandalous.