The potentially factious topic of boarding




It’s funny how your views change as you (and your children) get older; individual wants and needs differ with progress and time so you inevitably find yourself contemplating scenarios you once never thought optional.


Today has been an horrendous day for Jude. He was awful this morning, throwing a wobbly about fifteen minutes before his bus was due to arrive – he spent the forty minutes prior to this running around from room to room, picking things up, putting them down (or throwing them) in random places, pretending to hit Emmeline but not actually doing so (attention seeking I guess). He wanted breakfast but then when I made it I was greeted with the typical for this mood reaction of “no, I don’t want it” and then Jude pushed it away and ran off – all signs that something is brewing.

Sometimes he will pour his food into the bin and then freak out ten minutes later when he asks for his breakfast and you say that it’s in the bin. I literally pray for the arrival of his bus and then either cry from exhaustion or dance around to Hey Duggee with Emmeline depending on how this nightmare has left me emotionally.


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This is what we were faced with this morning when his bus arrived.

“Jude, get up your bus is here.”



What can I do? He’s a big boy now and I can’t physically haul him onto his feet. Eventually, he was coaxed into the bus by the escort but its a flippin’ nightmare and happens more often than not these days. By 8.20am each day I’m a broken woman, promising myself that something needs to change for the sake of all of our sanity. I can’t cope with it any more. Literally can’t.


So, following my conversation with one of the council contacts a couple of weeks ago (can’t remember who…you know how I am with all of their roles and functions) I contacted a special needs school that is either full time or weekly boarding, to arrange a viewing. It’s pretty nearby our town and actually looks really beautiful with lots of space and specially trained staff. The lady in admissions sounded lovely, she took a few details about Jude and booked in a visit for me next Tuesday.


What do you all think? Am I the mean, evil, repellent mother that Jude’s father says I am? (yes he said this to me tonight.)

If I’m honest, I’ve been slowly breaking down over these past couple of months because of one thing or another however Jude’s idiot of a father’s predictable insults about how I never want Jude around is like water off a ducks back…been there, heard it all before *yawn*


In my heart of hearts I truly believe that Jude needs more one to one time; he needs the consistency and support that isn’t physically possible at home or in a normal school. He attends a special needs school at present and even in that environment he needs one to one care most of the time because he literally can’t cope with the world around him. Obviously, there are times when he is wonderful, friendly, sweet and chatty but on the flip side Jude can literally be unbearable. He needs professional care. We can’t live in the world within which Jude seems to reside and as a mother of THREE, not just Jude, I have to work out what is best for everyone. I think if Jude could attend a boarding school during the week but came home at weekends then everyone would be a winner. The girls could attend school, have friends over (stress-free) and Jude could have 24/7 support from carers and professional staff. At weekends, we could have fun as a family. Is that really that bad a scenario? 


I know children at boarding school and they are very happy, in fact many of them chose to go there. What do you all think?


Antecedently praising this school so highly is of course irrelevant until I have the OK from the council that they’ll fund his attendance. And we all know how much fun that’s going to be, right? Eeeeeekkk



Spectrum Sunday
Diary of an imperfect mum


  • Caroline Scott on

    This is a big one, I have no idea, but I’ll randomly throw thoughts at you, remember this is from someone who has no clue just how hard it is to raise ‘a Jude’.
    On the one hand it would be great for everyone as they will each have their space/place. On the other hand having no Jude or for Jude having complete routine followed by weekends together could be a massive transitional problem.
    Do you already make use of the respite and how does Jude deal with coming home? I remember it took a while to get back into to the routine of home at exeats and holidays. There were times I genuinely thought my parents had been taken over by aliens (I was watching a lot of X-files at the time).
    Could it be more helpful having home help? An au-pair maybe or a rent a granny type that can come for the morning.
    How about trying an extended respite of a week/fortnight and see how the transition is when he gets home. Is the peace outweighed by his return. It’ll be hard for the girls too as they will all need to find their place in the family each time he comes home.
    Also Jude and Emmeline seem to have such a great relationship at the moment it would be sad to take that away from them.
    That’s enough from me, good luck. Cxx

    • admin on

      Hi Caroline. Yes, good points. I just think that because of Jude’s massive anxiety with change, even with waiting for the bus in the morning something has to give. If we make coming home for weekends part of our family routine then it’ll be something for him to process and get used to. He’s actually pretty good with change if he’s given warning i.e. if he has a substitute teacher then he’s ok if you tell him beforehand. If not then he’s hell child!
      I’m excited to go and look around the school, I think I’ll know pretty quickly if it has a good feel or not.
      As for Emmeline – yes she adores her brother but she also adores her sister. She will still see him at weekends plus holidays and over the next year or so she’ll start making friends of her own which is important. Her and Dooood will always be close 🙂 A xx

  • Steph Curtis on

    I’m sorry to point out the obvious, that it’s a decision only you can make… I know you know that and it doesn’t make it any easier. But you should not feel guilty about this; you will decide what is best for you all in the long run, and that includes for him. Plenty of parents send their children to boarding school for different reasons. You could follow my motto and say ‘nothing is forever’ – give it a go, see if it works? Wishing you luck with the LA if you do go down that route 😒

    • admin on

      Thank you! Yes, let’s see how it all goes x

  • dragonriko on

    It could work in making the transition to school everyday easier as he’ll already be ‘in school’, it might also have the flip side of making the transition to and from school at the weekends harder. It might be easier though because there’ll only be two transitions a week. It’s hard to judge whether it will be better or not, but it’s worth a try if you think it’ll work, and you’ll know him best so you’ll know whether it’s likely to work or not.
    I can relate to having a child who is difficult to manage, my middle child can get really hyper and silly, especially when we are out in public. I realised it was his way of expressing anxiety, although grabbing anything to hand and throwing it doesn’t look like anxiety of the surface. I’ve realised I can’t stop this behaviour but I can help reduce it by reducing the times we are out and making sure it’s at quiet times. There have been days when I’m relieved that he isn’t with us when we are out and it might seem mean, like I don’t want to include him, but it’s stressful for him and he doesn’t get to take part when he’s like that. My eldest son’s nativity play took place on a day when middle child was at nursery and I was relieved because it meant we get to watch it in peace but it also means that he doesn’t have to spend most of the time outside like last year’s play because he was too loud to be inside, he missed out and it’s not fair to put him through anxiety just to be seen to include him. It’s about finding out what’s best for the child, even if that is different to what is best for other children. If boarding school is best for your family then that’s what’s important.

    • admin on

      Thank you for your thoughts. Yes it is tough working out what’s best but I need to try and think it from Jude’s perspective as he doesn’t see the world as we do. A x

  • Brandi Puga on

    I think you are trapped between a rock and hard place. No one really knows what is best for your child but you…and if you truly believe that he will thrive better with more help, no matter how awful it is for you…then you are right.

    • admin on

      Thank you, yes it’s hard but I’m looking forward to visiting the school next week.

  • Emma on

    I too have a Jude. He’s called James. This is difficult to write so I’ll be quick. His behaviour was so difficult that when he was 7 he went into foster care. I was suicidal. When he left it was like being in a different life, that would be the drugs too but having managed till I broke it felt really alien. He is now 13. He currently comes home 2 weekends a month. I see him every Tuesday and he spends school holidays with us. The foster family are now an extension of my own family. We have been lucky. (!) Boarding school was my first choice but, as you know, we had to take the LEA to an educational tribunal and, I believe, that had a huge part to play in my breakdown. We failed to get him moved. Our children need a calm, consistent environment. Family life (I have one other, younger child) is neither of these things. Trying to meet the needs of everyone is impossible. Write down a list of everyone’s needs. Including your own. (Laughs!) how can you make this happen. I think by being honest and practical you will come to a conclusion which works for you ALL. I am now stronger and more capable of being a FANTASTIC mum. I needed space from James so that I could be what James needs. I also needed to give my daughter what she needs and, sometimes, give myself what I need. Good luck and merry Christmas. X

    • admin on

      You’re totally right, I can’t be what Jude needs by being with him all the time. I love your idea of writing a list, I’m going to do that tonight. Thank you for sharing something so personal x

  • twotinyhands on

    Agree with the PPs, it’s your decision to make and it doesn’t have to be forever. I’ve no experience in this at all but wish you luck in getting funding if you want to go ahead. Thanks for linking up to #familyfun

  • The UnNatural Mother on

    I think sometimes you have to try something and see if it works. No one can prodict the future and taking a leap of faith is the only choice. In times like this i write myself a list of the pro’s and cons. Like now writing things down can help #FamilyFun

  • tammymum on

    Ah lovey I have already read and commented – you know my thoughts on this and my personal experience. I hope the putting words on the page and a few days have helped you in making some decisions. If you ever want to talk or sound board to someone who has lived through a very similar situation, you know where I am. Have a lovely Christmas and thank you so much for joining us at #familyfun xxx

  • mummyhereandthere on

    I think you know what is best and you have to what is right for him and yourself. It is a hard situation and if I (autistic) could of boarding at school I would much prefer then actually go to school each day. For me I would more comfortable long term being in a place rather then temporary and constant build up with anxiety X #ablogginggoodtime

    • admin on

      Hi there. Thank you for your comments, it’s really interesting to hear your views. I look forward to viewing the school on Tuesday so will let you know how it goes. A x

      • mummyhereandthere on

        Good luck X

  • Mary Peterson (@carolinatwinmom) on

    Your distress and utter frustration is COMPLETELY understandable. My grandmother’s older son was diagnosed with autism in the early 1950s. Because she had my dad also who was a good bit younger and her older son was getting more and more destructive and difficult to control, she ended up deciding to move him into a group home nearby.

    She became extremely involved with the parents’ group and board of this home and never regretted her decision. In the end, she realized that she didn’t have the resources at home to properly care for and protect her disabled son, not to mention protect my dad.

    I am sure that you are finding it impossible to care for yourself during this time, although I wish this for your immediate future! I don’t have personal experience with what you are going through, so all I can offer is support and urging for you ALSO to take advantage of every resource that is available to you.

    Blessings to you and your family. #familyfun

    • admin on

      Thank you for your lovely comments. You’re right, I don’t look after myself at all and really need to rectify this before it takes it’s toll on my health. I think if Jude was getting the one to one support he needs then I could be the better mother that I strive to be. Thanks again, your words really touched me. A x

  • Rainbows are too beautiful on

    I know a few that have borded both with SEN and without. I think the school has got to be a good match – and only you will know that. Whatever you decide and the council let you do I hope it goes well – kepp us updated ( I know you will!). Thanks for linking to #SpectrumSunday

  • Someone’s Mum on

    I honestly don’t know what to tell you – it’s so hard. But this *could* easily be choice that makes everyone’s life better. Or it might not be. But you won’t know unless you try and so you shouldn’t feel guilty for just thinking of it. you are just doing your best and you will work out what is right. Thanks for linking with #SpectrumSunday. We hope you come back next time.

    • admin on

      Thank you. I need to get through to the council first and apply for additional funding zzzz It’s painful x

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