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Mainstream vs special schools?(6 Posts)
DS1 is Autistic. In his first school he was mainstream unsuported officially, but I was being called in every day and they had one of the classroom assistants pretty much focused on him. We moved area and he was quickly assessed and had full time 1-1 in a small class of about 6 pupils also with 1.5 teachers. We've moved again, having got a statement, and he's now in a special ASD class within a mainstream school. He's yr5. This is for our situation the best of both worlds. Its what I hoped we'd be able to get when we moved but what the inclusions team recommended as his first choice schooling.
The advantages are: a small class with a very focused team of teacher plus two support assistants to 8 pupils. He doesn't stand out and has to take turns. He can't use his Autism as an excuse to avoid things rather they work with him to find ways of achieving things. He's very positive about school. He lives on the fringe of mainstream life. He is on the school council as his class rep (he's got a badge to prove it - prove it he does to anyone who'll listen), he sits in the main hall to have lunch (doesn't actually eat it yet but thats being worked on), he has managed an asembly siting with the headmaster who kindly escourted him and sat with him at the back after doing the welcome. He doesn't have a 1-1 to be over reliant on or to use as his personal slave.
Disadvantages: label of special - I got shunned by a parent of a child at his school when I said which class he was in (the only parent I've ever spoken to at the school). Fear that allowing him to be so open about his Autism means that he won't try to fit within societies norms and will not work towards the long term goal of achieving some independance as an adult. The school is not close, the council begrudgingly provide a taxi but I can't be at my middle sons school for collection at the same time as he's dropped home. As its not the local school I don't really feel connected with it for fetes etc.
ds2 and ds3 both have statements for asd. ds2 has been in ss since he was 2.5 but he also went to a mn nursery, at primary he had a dual placement going to the local rc ms for one afternoon a week and ss the rest of the time, he was full time ss for secondary
ds3 was at sn nursery as well as ms too, he went full time ms with 20 hours support. His secondary is a small independent - he wouldn't have coped in a large comp even with full time support,
I support in an FE college and I see the results of parents insistence on putting their children through a ms education when there is specialist provision which imo could serve their children's needs far better. Sometimes I wonder if parents think that if a child requires a ss placement they think of it as a failure. That is so wrong, you are doing what is right for the child, not what is right for your particular ideology. It is unfair and cruel to keep a child in an environment when they are clearly struggling. Role models and peer group are one thing but you can get that outside the classroom -or by having a dual placement. imo ms will never have enough resources (time money staff no matter how willing they are) to cater fully for all the sn children in their schools in the same was as a ss could
ds2 (6) is in mainstream primary still, and statemented with 1to1 support. Hes doing very well. I will not make the mistake I did with ds1 though, and will try to get him into a special school for secondary and wont bother even trying to mainstream for that, unless something drastically changes
it depends on the child. I think in most cases, mainstream is fine for primary school unless there are severe aggression issues, but I think it is really down to the individual child and the school itself.
My boys have autism, and I am in the process of trying to get my 12 yr old ds1 (year8) into a special school, as mainstream isnt really working anymore. Primary was fine, but its a very different set up at secondary, and adolescent children are not renowned for their acceptance of differences. Its very difficult.
We have a daughter in mainstream who is 6.75 years old. Mainstream has helped her in many ways and as such I think for us it has been a good experience. The fact that she now has lunch in the lunch hall with mainstream children is amazing. She is the fruit monitor and hands out the fruit to her class mates and is slowly becoming more aware of the children around her. It's a lot of work, and without an aba programme it would have failed. Please get in touch if you want to chat. Thanks Manish
Those of you with children with SEN, at what point do you think they are best served by being in a school which caters for theirs needs, rather than being supported in a mainstream school? What do you think the advantages are of one vs the other, and did you get a choice? If your children are in mainstream schools, are you happy with the support they get?
Thanks in advance for replies.
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