Qwyn has just turned 14 he is a young boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder that has had trouble at school since Year 4.

Queensland mum Annette Densham tells 9Honey, “He has lost 220 days of his education from suspensions and ‘flexible’ days because the system can’t cope,” she says.

“You can imagine the gaps in his education. Every report card he’s heartbroken that he hasn’t done better. He thinks he’s stupid.”

This year, in an attempt to help her son, she made the difficult decision to home school him, but says despite the relief she now feels at him being in a “safer environment”, the gaps in his education are obvious and the education system “takes no responsibility for its failings” when it comes to children like Qwyn.

“His report card for this term academically, is dismal,” she says.

“He is an intelligent human being and while he thinks he’s stupid and no one likes him, he has no idea how amazing he is.

“Sadly, the school system has contributed to his lack of self-esteem but he just keeps trying.

“I want him to know that getting high marks at school is not the only mark of intelligence and success. That being a good, kind human is just as important.”

Qwyn has previously become so distraught at his school report that Annette hasn’t even shown him his most recent, half-yearly report. Instead, she has written her own report for her son, as many autism parents have done.

“I try so hard to tell him how awesome he is,” Annette says. “I think of the happy child he used to be before starting school. While I’m not into blame games, I can’t help but feel school has hurt him.

“It destroyed his self-esteem, it put him behind and it has not helped in his recovery.

“It’s our job to protect him and we sent him into the lion’s den. We do all we can to build him up.

“This is my way of showing him success is more than doing well in maths.”


Good on you mum! The school system really needs to change.

Share your comments below.

  • Some schools have extra teachers/teacher’s assistants who help special needs children to learn at their pace but using different methods too. Some spend part of their time one-on-one with an extra person who knows how best to help the individual pupil retain their self-esteem and confidence which often helps them with their learning and communication skills.
    There simply is enough staff being employed to help those who need it. Govt. funding is not spent where it should be.


  • Bless this mums heart !! The school system certainly needs to change and a lot !!


  • What a beautiful mother.This mother should get a report saying Think before you give a child another thing to put them down A. Well done to a beautiful mother. Xx


  • What a lovely idea. I bet Qwyn’s face lit up when he read it.


  • Yes I have heard more cases of this occurring. It is such a clever idea after all we are not all gifted at everything. We excel in areas of interest and we should stop discouraging kids at a yearly point and help them through the struggles.


  • Thank you for sharing this. It has made me understand our young son’s attitude more. He has a very mild case of autism. Your son is a beautiful boy with a big heart from what I’ve read. Report cards never talk about the child, just the school work.


  • What an amazing mum!


  • Mum should get an A for caring on her report.


  • Congratulations to Mum, a job well done.


  • I love this, well done. I am the Mum of a teen son with ASD who is in the middle of Year 12. I seriously cannot wait for him to finish school, hopefully with a Year 12 pass. School has not been good for him – the academics has sometimes crippled him and we have to advocate for him regularly as he does not fit the norm. I’m used to people looking at me with raised eyebrows or cnofused looks. They know my son so can’t understand the issues he would have!!!! I keep hearing ‘if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know’ which is great for him. But, it also doesnt’ help him at school. Teachers, although briefed, forget his struggles, his challenges, his triggers. The system has let my son down. He uses many aids, in some subjects with lots of writing, and has done since Year 8, only for VCAA to refuse his special considerations for Year 12 and make him stop everything before mid-year. This derailed him so badly that he is now going unscored and can not get a study score or ATAR to get into Uni. We just need to get him to the end of Term 3 with a Year 12 pass. I tell him that when he leaves the institution of education he will flourish in what he wants to do – away from the unjust system that cannot fully cater for him, away from the students who don’t understand his uniqueness and how special he is. He will find himself once he’s out of school. We’ve worked so hard to get him here, we’ve just got one term to go.


  • What a great Mum, well done.


  • As much as it’s a good thing in some way to intergrate these kids into ‘normal’ schools .. it’s not always the best fit for the child Good job mum


  • Reports are just one measurement at school – there are so many other measurements at school and for later on.


  • Well done mum


  • I have a nephew on the spectrum, school and he just didn’t work. All he wanted was to get through school and finish his HSC. Unfortunately he got no support or understanding as the school just wasn’t equipped to deal with his Aspergers, despite him being so high functioning. So many schools these days are so focused on academic result or sporting achievements that anyone who falls out of these categories don’t get the support they should. It’s sad, it’s almost like they’re not worth the funding dollars because they don’t necessarily contribute to the reputation of the school. It’s ironic, really, education is so important but the system teaching our children is so lacking in education.


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