I have Amy's annual review this week. As she was diagnosed with autism when she was 3, I've sat in many of these reviews, some I've enjoyed and some I haven't. Last year's was a mixed bag because it was her first review at the special school and it brought to light many areas in which she was falling behind, that hadn't been picked up at her previous school. There were other issues we had to face head-on, too. I don't know what this year's will bring but I have a funny feeling I'm going to be told she isn't concentrating in class enough and is a little disruptive. She's doing well in some of her subjects, fortunately those being English, Maths and Science, but the subjects she isn't interested in she naturally isn't excelling in them. I was exactly the same. As I suspect are most other children on the planet. Still, it doesn't make it any easier to hear your child is falling behind and could do better. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and hear she's doing absolutely fine and I have nothing to worry about.
The thing is she seems to have a problem with some of her teachers. This is quite normal for a teenager but it's all new to me because Amy has always got on well with teachers and been known as polite, chatty and respectful. I fear however, this may not be the case as much because she really does get her knickers in a twist over some teachers. The amount of times I've said I'll ring school only to have her back down and make out it isn't probably as bad as all that is more than I care to admit. I wouldn't ring school unless I thought she was genuinely being picked on of course; I do believe the teachers know what they're doing and all the ones I've met have been very professional and extremely complimentary of Amy.
The other thing is that this is the first review where Amy will be present. And I'm not altogether sure I agree with that. Someone said the child has every right to be there because it is about them, but it will be impossible for me to bring up my concerns about Amy's problem with teachers and my other concerns about her vulnerabilities - she has feelings and I know if I say something in front of her about this it will embarrass her. All previous reviews have been parents, teacher, headteacher, SENCO, and some reviews have had a few other professional bodies also, like Educational Psychologists. I can see that it's important for the child to be present but when your child has autism things aren't quite as simple as they sound. Amy is dead against attending the meeting and is dreading it. But it's the way they're doing it now and they insist on Amy being present. To me, it's unnecessary stress for a teenager to cope with and means if I want to discuss the above issues I'll need to make a separate appointment. Why do authorities need to change something that's worked for many, many years? Maybe you have the answers...
Quick Edit: I should have pointed out the review is Pupil Centered which means Amy has no choice but to be there.