School not right for DS1, what to do next?(13 Posts)
This is way longer than I expected sorry! Very grateful for any advice.
DS is 8 years old and autistic. He currently has a place in a mainstream school and has an action plan drawn up by the school outlining his additional needs. He is in primary 5 (Scotland).
Ds has been bullied repeatedly since starting school (this is his fourth school, but first within this local authority), he struggles immensely with the social aspects of school such as making friends and is so literal about following rules that he can't apply much common sense to them (if told not to interrupt he will not even interrupt for an emergency situation).
While all of this is difficult we have been told several times that he can cope with mainstream education. We were lead to believe that he had misinterpreted bullying situations and that he does in fact have friends, and has no trouble following rules etc. Each issue has always been brushed aside.
His last report card basically shows that he has made no progress academically over the last year. Every area was marked as little or no progress made. This was a shock because despite his extra needs he has always had a passion to learn and enjoyed learning.
No meetings available to discuss as reports were given two days before the end of the school year.
Over the last week me and his dad have witnessed two separate instances of bullying behaviour. The first involved Ds being roughly shoved and having rocks thrown at him (and me) at pick up time, the second a boy approached Ds dad at pick up time and told him to "warn Ds to watch his back cause we're gonna batter him". Both incidents reported immediately to deputy head. Who assures she will sort it but has no meetings available for "a long time".
Kept Ds off school on Friday as we'd heard nothing back from school and we're worried for Ds safety.
Have been speaking to Ds over the weekend and it's become apparent that there's nothing at school benefiting him at all. He sits alone at playtime, doesn't choose lunches he likes as others pick on him for his choices, doesn't enjoy any of the classes or work (he did last year, and all previous years), and frankly school makes him miserable.
I can see it at home too, during school holidays he is lovely and happy and full of life, but during term time he just seems so depressed.
So what do I do next? We can try and push the school, but I'm not sure what else they can do, they can't force friendships or academic progress, and speaking from experience not many schools have a grasp on bullying at all.
We can look at other mainstream schools but I can't see how they'd be much different.
There is a local specialist school for ASD but I have no idea how it differs from mainstream or if Ds would be entitled to a place.
And there is home education, which while I'm sure I'm capable of I'm not sure of the practicalities as I also have DS2 (age 2.5) and DC3 on the way very soon.
DP and I have decided not to send Ds back to school until we can have a meeting to at least address the bullying and guarantee Ds safety, but what's next? School is sucking the life out of him.
Hi Bonesy that sounds like a very stressful situation for both you and Ds.
I would suggest you repost in SN chat where you will get amazing advise from people who have been where you are now.
So sorry to hear all of this and my heart goes out to you. I don't home school. But have looked into it and would consider it in the future. People who go it say you can fit a whole day's study into about 90 minutes. If you had the money to afford it, you could get someone to come to the house for an hour or two each day to baby sit the others while you concentrate on your eldest. Then you could do outings and less structured activities with all your kids.
Hi I have an 8 year old who has autism too. We tried two different schools and then pulled him out aged nearly 7. We currently home ed, we are looking into the possibility of a new specialist school that is opening soon but if he doesn't get a place then we will continue to home ed rather than send him back into mainstream school.
The reasons we pulled him out were due to similar problems you are describing- bullying, unable to cope with the playground environment, wasn't learning anything. What was the point of sending him to school in those circumstances? He was getting nothing out of it except misery and his confidence crushed.
I also had a 2 month old baby when we pulled him out. He is thriving now, and is working at a high level. He can socialise on his terms in little home ed groups and we can leave when he had had enough, we can nurture his interests. And most of all his soul isn't being destroyed by being forced everyday into an environment he could never cope with.
Here is a thread I started at the time, under an old username, if it helps at all.
P.S. We only received his ASD diagnosis this year which is why I spoke of additional needs on the old thread.
Thank you for your replies, Chablis DP was talking about a tutor for DS which just didn't seem possible with the costs, but a babysitter is something we hadn't considered which would be much more affordable if needed so thank you very much for that idea.
Stitch the thread you linked to is extremely useful I have bookmarked it to show DP later. The advice you received there was very good and the way you and other posters explained the issues you faced is incredibly similar to DS problems. Such a shame that there's an obvious pattern of children with SN getting nothing from the school system and no real solution is being offered. One poster on that thread says as long as you can do better than the school is currently that you have nothing to worry about, I'm certainly sure I can achieve that. It's great to hear that your Ds is doing so much better now!
And rosegarden thank you for the suggestion of where to repost, as I see that's what brought stitch here with the link to her other thread.
Is this a school or a torture camp? - throw rocks at him!!! Speak to the head and the chair of governors - oh, and get DS right out of there.
Does he have an ECHP? A special school is unlikely to be an option without one. Special schools also vary considerably in their intake so definitely go and have a look round to see if it would be a fit.
Saying they can't meet with you for a 'long time' is absolutely rediculous . If your ds doesn't have a ECHP, then you should apply for one (you can do this.)
DS doesn't have an EHCP, I have no idea what that is or how to go about getting it. The school we are considering says that the local authority must approve all applications, we can't even visit until a place is approved. I don't know anyone with children there but it looks good on paper (as did his current school).
EHCP is an Education and Health Care Plan. It replaced 'statements of special need'. It is a statutory document (so must be complied with) that lays out a child's needs and what support must be put in place to meet these needs. Local Authorities don't like giving them so they can mean a bit of a fight. The folk on the SN boards can give you the run down (and some stories about the struggles to get them and tactics used by councils to avoid giving support). You sometimes have to persevere there as posts can be missed. IPSEA.org.uk have details of how to apply.
Sorry not to offer more help - I am in Scotland so have a
even worse different system to deal with.
Thanks for the info, we're in Scotland too, is it any different to what you've already explained? Not sure I've got the energy in me for another fight, seems like I've been battling for Ds all his life.
Sorry I missed the Scotland bit. Up here the nearest to a ECHP is a co-ordinated support plan (CSP) but you need significant involvement from more than one agency (eg education, social work, NHS) to get one. It doesn't sound like your ds would qualify (few do). The next thing is a Child's Plan. These really started just this year but I can't see they would help with an uncooperative school.
Mainstream schools are not all alike so I wouldn't rule out another one but the attitude towards meeting you to discuss bullying at this one is telling. Did any of the schools have any sort of resource base for ASD/ other ASN children? A school with such a base may have a better understanding even if you are not in the base.
You would probably need the school/council on board to go to panal for the special school under normal routes. However, you can make a placing request for a special school (include a base which may meet the criteria to be a 'special school'). If you are turned down you can appeal to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal and get help from 'ASN Talk' (Govan Law) for free to do so. If you make a successful placing request, you wouldn't get transport though.
Thank you again blaeberry for all the information. I'm waiting for current school to call back with an appointment for a meeting this morning but they do have a history of saying the right things and not actually acting.
I guess the outcome of the meeting will determine our next move. DS is considerably happier for not being dragged into school this morning.
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