Christina Edmunds and son Caedon, 5, are struggling to find help for educating children with behavioural difficulties.
Christina Edmunds and son Caedon, 5, are struggling to find help for educating children with behavioural difficulties. Mike Knott

Child frozen out by local schools

CAEDON Edmunds is not a bad kid.

But his mother claims no school in Bundaberg will accept her son because they cannot cope with his behaviour.

Five-year-old Caedon has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and is undergoing tests for Asperger’s syndrome and oppositional-defiancy disorder.

His mum, Christina Edmunds, said she had been forced to home-school her son after he ran away from Kalkie State School eight times in just one term — and other schools in the region refused to enrol him.

“He’s not violent, he’s not stupid, he’s just not good with people,” Mrs Edmunds said.

Mrs Edmunds said she had overheard other students in her son’s class teasing him because he was “naughty”, and other parents had complained he would disrupt their kids.

“It’s not surprising he doesn’t want to go to class when that’s what he is hearing,” she said.

“It’s ruined his self esteem. Caedon told a paediatrician the other day that his teacher thought he was stupid and naughty.”

She said Caedon had run away from his teachers and classmates many times, including once when he was found walking down a footpath away from school.

“I’ve gone to school and found him in the playground by himself when the rest of his class was in the library,” she said.

“Another time I got to the car park about 15 minutes before class ended, and he was there waiting for me.”

After regular meetings between Mrs Edmunds and the school failed to help, Caedon’s school hours were cut back to two hours a day, three days a week — in a bid to give the boy, his teacher and classmates a reprieve from the nerve-wracking situation.

“We hoped that he would be less stressed and could gradually build up to normal school hours again,” Mrs Edmunds said.

But that tactic also failed, and Caedon continued to get upset at school and leave the classroom.

“The principal suggested he was not progressing well and he might be bearing a grudge (against his teacher), so perhaps he should go to a new school,” Mrs Edmunds said.

“But no one can take him because they can’t deal with him walking about.”

Last week, Mrs Edmunds made the difficult decision to remove Caedon from mainstream school and turn her home into a classroom.

“Home schooling is the only way he will be able to get the supervision he needs. There’s no funding available to have someone by his side for every minute he is at school,” she said.

“We are not the only parents out there who are having this problem. Just a few weeks ago I heard of another mum who had to quit her full-time job to home-school her son, for the same reasons.”

Mrs Edmunds said while Caedon was being assessed for the disorder, it might take several years to have him formally diagnosed with autism.

An early intervention centre for autistic Bundaberg children aged up to six is in the planning stages, and is expected to be finished by mid next year. But it will be too late for Caedon, who will be past the cut-off age.

She fears he will always struggle with schooling because there is not enough money or resources to cope with her son’s needs.

“There needs to be extra support for (mainstream) schools, because without funding, we are caught in a black hole,” she said.

“It’s ruined his self esteem. Caedon told a paediatrician that his teacher thought he was stupid and naughty."



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