Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New School/New Beginnings...

Getting used to a new school was tough for Milly, and it took her a long time to 'find her feet' in lots of ways...

Socially she struggled to fit in.  She shied away from the main body of the school and sought refuge in the safety of what I will simply refer to by it's initials, LS -  a place where Autistic pupil's can stay at break or lunch times.
It's not it's sole function and isn't exclusively for those who are Autistic.
It's also for those who are termed 'in need' in other ways.

It took Milly until around the midway point of the second year to feel as if she'd truly made a small friendship group, but unbeknown to us, this wasn't as good a thing as it sounds.
I'll explain more about that later as something initially far more catastrophic happened to Milly during that first year...

You see, Milly was befriended by a slightly older girl in LS who also has my name - 'Donna'.
Donna had been asking Milly to go 'round to her house for a few weeks and Milly was more than eager to go.
I couldn't see how or why I should refuse her - even though I had a nagging doubt as this older child was in Foster Care.
So I ignored my doubts and I didn't ask school for their input as I honestly believed they wouldn't be allowed to tell me anything even if I did ask them.

We had bought Milly a phone just a few weeks before (Christmas gift) and instructed her more than once - several times in fact - that if there were any problems she should take herself off to the bathroom, phone us and stay there until we arrived.
We could have been there within 5-10 minutes.
However, Milly didn't phone us, and she hid from us what had actually happened.
It wasn't until the following week that the truth was discovered...

I won't go into many details, but suffice it to say that Milly was sexually 'interfered' with by this other child.
Of all of the horrors that could have happened, this one never, ever crossed my mind.

(I won't dwell on this topic any more for now as it's ramifications will become evident very soon...)


Academically, the workload at school was far too much for Milly to handle - as was the increased physical effort that was required just to get from lesson to lesson.
So we took advice from Milly's Occupational Therapist - a woman who hadn't seen Milly for a while but was more than aware of her needs and her struggles in primary school, and we significantly reduced Milly's timetable.
As Milly couldn't cope with homework by the time she'd handled a day at school, this was timetabled into her school day, too.
We couldn't fault LS staff for trying to help her.


...  So Milly appeared to be doing well.
She appeared to be maturing in terms of her coping strategies and had finally found a peer group where she felt she belonged...

Friendships have never been simple for Milly, and I knew that her friends meant far more to her than me.
After her experiences in Year 6 I couldn't blame her for being so eager to be accepted.  
So many horrible things had happened to her that year...  being called fat, punched in the stomach, being sworn at... not to mention that 'noose around her neck' of a TA that she had had to endure for far too many long months.  
There's one thing in particular I have never forgotten, because I know that it must have hurt her a great deal ...

Milly used to love watching a programme called 'The Big Bang Theory'.  
On more than one episode of this long running TV show, a variation of 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' was shown.  It was called 'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock'.  And just like it's original version it came with hand gestures and a set of rules that made it into a game.

One day, Milly saw some girl's from her Year Group playing this game.  I suspect she felt so happy knowing that this was one conversation she wouldn't struggle to understand...   and based on that assumption she went over to them and initiated a conversation about it.  
Rather than accept Milly for who she was, these girl's treated her with contempt and announced that they couldn't possibly play that game ever again knowing that not only did 'she' know anything about it - 'she' also liked it. 

Life has been so, so incredibly unfair to Milly.
I've tried not to go into every single detail and bore you to death with it all, but I hope I've done enough to show you just how much Milly's been hurt over the years.

Yet even knowing all of this, I wasn't prepared for what happened next.
Nobody would be...

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