Outstanding Failure

So there have been two factors recently that have again made me question just how outstanding Hagley seems to be. Just for a disclaimer, I would like to add that these opinions are not to be associated with every student and my criticisms do not reach the whole staff. However, these two factors come in the form of a student in need and a letter.

Two days before I returned home for Christmas, I received a letter from my old high school and sixth form, no doubt asking me to return to speak about my experiences of university and advice to offer for A Levels. My response, to put it quite simply, was f*** off.

When I had my mental breakdown, it was hardly acknowledged and even less so when it was discovered that I had Aspergers. Only two, maybe three, members of staff supported me throughout the whole time of sixth form, one who left halfway through for another job.

I would like to give a special shoutout to Mrs Morley, an absolute star. It was often that I wouldn’t be in school or I would turn up only to go home soon after. She was the accommodation officer and to her, my reasons were my final word and she never questioned me, nor pushed me. As for some of my teachers, they constantly pushed me for a reason as to why. It was treated as ‘suspicious’ that I was constantly ill. I was far too embarrassed to explain time after time that I had depression and anxiety. My response was generally: “it’s none of your damn business.” Of course, I couldn’t say that so I got questioned a lot.

Even with school support, I was lucky to receive even that. It was either too late to fit me in, the service was limited or I didn’t get anything at all. It was pretty dire, to be honest. It wasn’t as if I was even asking for much and I hate to think of those who needed more support than I did.

Most of the teachers were altogether okay, but I questioned whether a few were really fit to teach and still do. I had one tell me in all seriousness that there was nothing wrong with me. Even with my diagnosis of anxiety, nearly none of the staff treated it as a serious condition, one that could ail me, particularly in music. Anxiety was not counted as an illness that was holding me back. In general, I just wasn’t clever enough, I wasn’t working hard enough, or education just wasn’t for me. In every way I had been discarded as a student who had little value to them so I didn’t matter.

Furthermore, to throw this in as another reason I’m frustrated, I wasn’t doing a subject seen as intellectual, therefore, my education was not as paramount. Many times there had been complaints about Health and Social, the teacher in general. What did the member of staff in charge say? It didn’t matter because Health and Social wasn’t a ‘real’ subject. Well, thank you for your concern. I can see how much your student’s education means to you, you absolute prat.

All of this was incredibly frustrating to me the whole time I was there. As a disabled and mentally ill student, there really was no support for me. The only time I was helped was when those few teachers put themselves out for me. So a big thanks to them else I would have received nothing.

The head teacher loves to boast about their status as ‘outstanding’. Perhaps in exam results but their support for students leaves something to be desired. This is reinforced in another student in need who has been left by the school to deal with their issues on their own, mostly by the Head himself. I can’t even begin to say some of the students who misbehaved and were still allowed to stay at Hagley, and one student needs help so suddenly the school can’t deal with her. I’m sorry but that only reinforces my terrible impression of them.

I don’t look at my time at sixth form in fondness, not at all. I don’t think anything could ever change that. I’m lucky to have been able to move on and succeed on my own, and I only wish all the other students the same.

Question Time

Hello, all.

Recently, I’ve been wondering whether I should do blog posts where I answer people’s questions. These questions will be centred around the blog and questions they may have about Asperger’s, mental illness, any of my posts, and anything that is related to things I may have an interest in (feminism and socialism being a couple).

If you wouldn’t mind, I would like some feedback on this idea and if you would consider sending questions. Of course I can’t figure out how to post questions anonymously so it would have to be sent through social media to me or my mother.

Please don’t be shy and tell me what you think.

Some Things You Need to Know- Language

This leads on from my cognitive learning post in terms of traits of Asperger’s and how to recognise them easier.

One of the first traits is pronoun reversal. This is when someone may refer to themselves as “he”, “she”, “you” or “them”. Personally, I do not do that but when I was younger, I sometimes used to refer to myself in third person. However, I don’t do that anymore so this isn’t something that you’ll find me doing unless I’m joking.

Another one is excellent vocabulary. I wouldn’t say I do when I speak as I tend to get words mixed up somewhere between my brain and mouth, which is why I tend to struggle with sentences and sometimes stutter or say something that doesn’t make any sense. Although, I would like to think I write well. I always have done for my age. Additionally, conversation can become stilted, meaning very formal. I wouldn’t say always but I have been known to speak formally and I can do so very often, depending on who it is.

Furthermore, it is usual that I use stock phrases, or phrases are borrowed from other situations, or people. Even before I was diagnosed, I was perfectly aware that I copied people and their sayings, especially from television, books or movies. Nobody would notice and I always managed to fit something in. I copied a lot of jokes because humour doesn’t completely make sense to me. If people laughed to the joke I copied then I would keep it. Usually, I got told they’d already heard that one, which makes sense since I usually don’t come up with any of my own. I am unable to do that. I am, however, very good at sarcasm and that is the only thing I can use for humour.

Makes honest, but often inappropriate observations. This has to make me laugh because this is me all over. My whole time at high school and sixth form is littered with honest but inappropriate statements. This is often accompanied by people assuming I was a bitch. Fair enough. There aren’t many that I should repeat and wouldn’t want to, mainly if anyone who I directed this to is reading it. If you’ve met me in real life, you’ll know what I mean. Let’s just leave this at a few examples so you get the jist: “You need to get your bikini line waxed”, “You have no talent. I don’t know why you’re here”, and “I don’t like the way your hair is dyed. It looks terrible.”

I have difficulty adjusting volume and speed in my speech. I understand I have a boring voice, okay? I have been told that before and I can’t necessarily disagree. My voice is very monotone most of the time and I speak very quietly. Sorry, but that’s how I sound. If you point it out then one) I don’t give a shit and two) there’s nothing I can do about it so complain all you want. My voice does change but only in certain moods such as panic or excitement. That’s about it.

Additionally, another aspect is literal language. I don’t always take things literally. I can usually tell when people don’t mean it but there have been a couple of occasions where I haven’t understood why I’m being laughed at or yelled at when people have told me to do things. Don’t say things if you don’t mean it, basically. Once my dad told me, sarcastically, to put the kettle on the hob. We have an electric kettle. So I put the kettle on the hob and when he told me off for nearly turning the heat on, I couldn’t understand why because that’s what he told me to do, sarcastically or not. So, I can take things very literally. Sometimes.

Two aspects I don’t have but I’m going to mention them anyway because they are common in Aspie’s. One is that speech may have developed earlier than usual or started then stopped for a while. This may be hard to spot if it is a first child or if other children developed quite quickly, but usually it can be picked up quickly. Another trait is echolalia. This is when a child will copy what someone else is saying frequently, as if mimicking them. Usually this is mistaken for a child being naughty but can show a lack of understanding when conversing with someone else.

Lastly, a lack of understanding concerning some language, such as directions. I have a lot of difficulty understanding directions and before I was diagnosed, I thought it was because I was simply just too stupid. It wasn’t hard to find a place when it’s only a two minute walk away and you take a simple left but to me, it doesn’t make sense. You can describe the place where I live and the areas within five minutes radius but I still wouldn’t know what you’re talking about, but if you show me visually, I know exactly where I’m going. Visually, I could go for ages but by spoken direction, I have no idea what’s going on. It’s pretty annoying.

So, those are some of the traits of Asperger’s in terms of language. I hope that made sense and if it didn’t, google it.