Sunday, January 23, 2011

Education. Education. Education.

My Asperger's diagnosis has brought many issues to the fore, not least my pitiful state of education.

Despite my love affair with learning, I have only the barest formal qualifications. I try not to be bitter about the delay in my diagnosis and that I received no support at school, either educationally, or pastorally: it's hard to study when the girl behind is flicking Tip-Ex in your hair (again) and the teacher is laughing (again) because she's too incompetent to do anything else.

I escaped the savagery of school at fifteen, with the minimum qualifications. My parents were horrified, in a predictably middle-class way, and packed me off to sixth-form college threatening withdrawal of all my human rights. Having had enough of being pushed around, I left home.

I stayed on at college though, and did manage to gain an A-level. You see, I still loved learning, it was just life I couldn't cope with.

I lasted 13-months in the workplace (nuff said). After three years of self-employment, I gave in to the realisation that I had to get more qualifications; £90 a week was just not enough to live on. Even then.

And so to university. Again I loved the learning; but again I couldn't hack the rest of it. I had a breakdown after three years, and dropped out with nothing to show for the bad taste in my mouth.

I'm still scraping a living. I sometimes wonder how different life would have been if I'd been diagnosed as a child, but I don't believe in regrets; I believe only in moving forward from this point.

It's taken me fifteen years this time, but I feel ready to give education another go; this autumn, my youngest will be starting school. And so will I. Wish me luck. I want to get it right this time.

30 comments:

Catherine Hughes said...

I wish you luck, Leigh. What course(s) will you be taking?

Tom Foolery said...

Good Luck m'dear TFx

Debs Carr said...

The very best of luck to you. x

Leigh said...

Cat - Mathematics & Statistics. Aspie porn ;o)

TF & Debs - Thank you! I'll need all the luck I can get!

Cathy said...

I think it's great that you're returning to education and it's never, ever, too late.

It's probably no consolation but most kids diagnosed with AS (and other hidden disabilities) still struggle in school. It's not their fault, but the inflexibility of the system and emphasis on league tables. My own son (not ASD) is currently picking up his education after a disaster at school. So don't torture yourself with 'what ifs', you're doing brilliantly and I'm sure you'll get support next year if you able to ask for it.

Cx

Leigh said...

Thank you Cathy - I try not to worry too much about 'what ifs'. Truth be known, I wouldn't want to be anyone else, or anywhere but here and now - I have three smashing kids, and they are worth everything that has put me here.

I am sorry that even diagnosed kids still suffer unnecessarily at school. I hope they aren't still bullied by their teachers, though. The OU (on the face of it) is delighted to offer support, so I am more hopeful this time!

Cathy said...

Yes, teachers are stll bullying verbally. That's why my son had a breakdown at 14 and there has been a recent case discussed on Twitter.
I wish it wasn't so, but I only discovered how common it is when it happened to us :(

trousers said...

Me too - best of luck to you.

Queenie said...

Go YOU!!! So proud of you. I'm not going to wish you luck, there's no point, I know you can do it xxx

Lane said...

I don't believe in regrets; I believe only in moving forward from this point.

Absolutely!

Best of luck to you m'dear. x

womagwriter said...

Maths and Stats - wow, good luck!

Leigh said...

Wow - thanks everyone! I must admit to being excited about it, in a cautious kind of way. Twice bitten, etc., but excited all the same!

Cathy - Good God, have we learned nothing? I find that so disappointing. Thought it was just me *hollow laughter*

B said...

yes, good luck. wishing you all the best.

Denise said...

I hope you enjoy the course, I have undying admiration for anyone that can make sense of maths, it confuses the hell out of me!

Casdok said...

Go girl 8)

Kaye Manro said...

Wow! Good luck to you Leigh. You sound like an amazing woman to me.

Leigh said...

Thank you, B, Casdok and Kaye - grateful!

Denise - y'see it's the rest of the world that confuses the hell out of me. Maths is easy by comparison...!

Jenny Beattie said...

Your youngest will be starting school? Crumbs; how on earth has that happened?

Brilliant to hear you're going back to school. I hope this time you love it. JJx

Sue Guiney said...

You're an inspiration. I don't think you'll need luck - clearly this is something you can and will do - but I'll send it anyway....good luck!

liz fenwick said...

First hugs for all the pain of the past and second more hugs for an exciting new start.
lx

Leigh said...

JJ - I know. She's that big, I keep thinking she's her sister :o(

Sue & Liz - thank you both; your support means a lot. x

HelenMHunt said...

I am in awe of you for doing this. Congratulations.

Bernadette said...

Well done for taking this step forward! I'm sure it will be a better experience this time round. xx

Effie said...

I am sure you will find the OU both inspiring, encouraging and just right for you. It took me eight years, as life got in the way, but I finally did my degree. It's one of my best achievements.
I quite envious of you, it's very exciting to start out on that path. All the best - but I've a feeling it will be just the thing for you : )

Troy said...

Good luck! Once you get past Key Stage One it gets easier so don't be discouraged.

Janina Davison-Forder said...

Hi, just wondering if you would like to write a piece on your condition for the moral times? I could not find an email address on your blog so if you do want to please get in touch with me jdf@themoraltimes.com i would really appreciate it.

Janina Davison-Forder said...

Sorry that emails not currently working you can contact me at jdforder@gmail.com

Jen said...

Do it. DO IT! You would be very good at studenting. Students drink beer you know. See? You're more advanced than you thought.

Leigh said...

Helen, Bernadette & Troy (haha) - thanks all!

Effie - thanks for the encouragement. It's always good to know how it's worked out for other people.

Janina - Thank you for the invitation. I'll be in touch by email.

Jen - How many credits per pint?

Janina Davison-Forder said...

Great thanks