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Competing needs - what would you do?

(57 Posts)
KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 12-Jan-13 14:41:22

DS2(6) has being undergoing various assessments with SALT and OT and has been referred to the comm paed. It looks so far as if there is SLCD that is secondary to ASD.

There is another boy in DS2's class who fits the bill perfectly for AS/ASD. Textbook. I have spoken about DS1 in particular and behavioural similarities in a subtle way. Nothing. Mum speaks to the class teacher after every day because of behavioural difficuties. Special dispensation is made for the child. Mum (used to be a secondary teacher) will watch him spin and say 'aren't you dizzy' - he looks at her disdainfully and says he never gets dizzy. Dad is an academic (statistics) - so there might be some denial. Parents are very much 'he is terribly bright - that's why he stabs other children with pencils - he is just not challenged'. Mum says behaviour is never problematic at home.

Thing is that a social skills group has been set up for this child - actually a Friendship Circle (why not just go the whole hog and call it a Billy-No-Mates club?). I am not opposed to this. But... this child is not statemented or on SA+ whilst DS2 is on SA+ and has external advice of the need to attend social group. I've been told - sorry we don't have an appropriate one - and the need has not even been recognised whilst another child has a group set up for them without external advise. Dad is the chair of the BOG confused

I am conflicted - I do not doubt that the child needs intervention but the parents seem to be going about this a strange way (provision of SEN resources should be prioritised by need, especially in times of austerity) and it appears to be at the cost of my child. eg he is not provided the 1:1 support he needs because the TA priotises the need of another child. (perhaps if his needs were assessed they would be considered 'severe' but they have not been assessed).

Would you do anything and if so, what?

auntevil Sun 13-Jan-13 22:19:00

I think it's probably that children without advocates can be directed in a way that they can provide for - rather than us pushy parents giving them a fait accompli which they are unwilling don't have the training for can't provide.
When school management teams stop treating the school as a business with projected spends versus projected outcomes and remember that their responsibility is to educate all children regardless of their abilities, life for our children might get a little fairer.

In my experience, children without advocates, get better provision (far far far from adequate, but better all the same) because it strokes the egos of the providers.

Schools can deliver on their 'working in partnership' business on their terms. They can feel good about the difference they are making to that child and they can fulfil their role of outreach.

They can't do that with us, because all they hear from us, however carefully said, is that our children are being failed by the system that they are a part of.

auntevil Sun 13-Jan-13 20:13:18

LOL Keepon
We should get a list together of levels of intervention, not for our children to receive, but for us to be involved.
Flea in Ear
Squeaky Wheel
Pain in Arse
vexatious litigant being somewhere near the top!! grin

Crawling Sun 13-Jan-13 19:09:22

I feel for you op I can see why you are finding it hard being a mum brings the lines out and we all want the best for our child which is hard if there needs are not being met but I think you need to forget about this child and concentrate on fighting for yours. Life isn't fair if it was none of our children would have sn.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 13-Jan-13 16:25:21

Thanks aunt DH has also suggested that we encourage DS2 to be more disruptive confused - it is mad that we are even contemplating this. I am less [shocked] than angry that DS1's writing slope has been 're-distributed'. I had to pay for a paintbrush that DS2 broke (wilful damage of school property).

I am trying to be a stealth squeaky wheel this time around and am the flea in the ear of SALT/OT who then become the flea in the ear of the senco. I intend to move it up to thorn-in-side level by applying for SA and getting the lea involved. I still have total pain in the arse to play to get the statement right. I don't want to peak too soon. smile

auntevil Sun 13-Jan-13 15:51:09

Another HONK from me Keepon

I read the first page, and the last couple of posts. It made me sad as I have a similar situation - although my DS3 s needs are not as severe as the little boy that takes all the TA's time up to the exclusion of her being able to help anyone else.
It often seems to me that either the child has to be so disruptive to learning, or the parent has to be the squeakiest wheel, and everyone else has to fight for crumbs.
It is total and utter bollocks that each child's educational needs are looked at separately, and that their needs are met.
At DS1s last school the SENco actually said that they only had the resources to deal with the 'worst' 6 or 7 and DS was just outside. I asked should I make him more disruptive so he would be in the bottom echelon. She gave me this shrug - as if saying that it might be the only way, but she couldn't verbalise it.
I bought my DS1 a writing slope several years back now. Each year I have a fight with the CT as they have 're-distributed' it. This year it apparently spends more time with a lad who has a 1-1 and has CP. FFS school - buy the lad one himself so my DS1 can have the slope that I paid for!!!!
As for DS3 - when he finally has his assessment, and we pretty much know what it will say, I have decided to go hell for leather in getting him support in class. I will turn myself into the squeakiest wheel parent.
We shouldn't have to though, but unfortunately it is the world in which we live in. Fairness has nothing to do with it. sad

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 13-Jan-13 11:51:35

Thanks for the HONKS (my firstsmile)

DS2 is 'disruptive to the learning of other children' according to his IEP and in the mad world of SEN I thought 'Thank God'. Both children are differently disruptive, neither are 'chair chuckers' but DS2 doesn't 'attack' the other children - hence the other child has difficulty making friends - hence the friendship circle. If only things were so simple.

I guess funding is what really pisses me off. The previous head employed a ft LSA for a child with downs without requiring a statement - ie inhouse provision. This is a true display of empathy. I don't care who funds the provision just that it is made. The current head however is trying to do things on the cheap.

Whilst DS2 is becoming increasing problematic, the other child has been a problem for teachers since day 1 (they are now in class 2). The other children in the class refer to him as the 'naughtiest'. I can understand that the teachers need to do something - I would not be surprised if the parents of other children in the class had complained that their child could not access the curriculum or complained that their child was 'attacked'. Even DS2 complains about not being able to learn because of the other child 'being naughty and fighting' the other children sad. As the school can fund according to their own criteria (however injust this may feel) I had hoped that they would properly support him. This would have a knock-on effect for DS2 in terms of his accessing support and other DC in the class. I am trying to think about the future - not just the transition from KS1 and KS2 but the make-up of his particular class.

So if this child needs an LSA it seems likely that he will need to go through the assessment and statementing process because the school will not provide an LSA from its own budget under the new head to make it unneccessary. His parents seem to be actively resisting that route preferring to agree with teachers that he is 'naughty' than considering that he may have SEN. I have defended both DS when CT etc have tried to blame their behaviour on their being 'naughty' or 'lazy' or 'awkward' etc. I have seen what these comments have done to DS1, lying on the floor in a foetal position punching himself. I'm not angry with his parents but I do have to suppress the urge to grab them and say 'look at your child, you are his advocates'.

I am trying to restrict my focus to DS2 but that means that it is in my interests that the needs of other children in his class are properly supported.

Besides which it is OK to scream 'what about DS2?' without being accused of anger toward children receiving support. And I may not have used PC language in my OP but I'm with Francesca Martinez on that one ('I don't get up til midday. I asked by doctor whether it was because I had CP. He said 'no, you're just a lazy cow' ... the line between CP and laziness is very, very blurry'). Also wrt the relevance of parental profession, I agree with Temple Grandin ...

Maybe its raging against injustice rather than accepting it that makes me stubborn.smile

Handywoman Sun 13-Jan-13 08:56:35

keepon I don't have a clue what you should do but can hear the upset and despair at unmet needs and your desperation that history should not repeat itself for ypur ds2. I reckon we can all identify with it and am honk honk honking for you for the hard road ahead (and also the PhD - impressive).

Handywoman xxxxx

MovingOnNow Sun 13-Jan-13 08:09:03

You have to forget about this other child and concentrate on your own son. It must be very frustrating and sometimes I think it can be a case of, if your face fits, you get more co operation. My son needs lots of support. I have a friend in a similar position, not as serious, and she obsesses about who else's child is having difficulties, she doesn't want to be the only one with a 'problem' child. It makes no odds to me. Mainly, because my child probably has the greater needs of all the kids in his year. I am painfully aware of this, and while it's nice to have people to identify with, I just concentrate solely on him. If you pick up ideas from how this other boy is being supported, you can use this for ideas but I think it's a mistake to mention him. It weakens your case I think and staff will be wary of talking to you if you are (inadvertently) stirring the pot.

bochead Sun 13-Jan-13 00:45:42

keepingon - I didn't mean to sound quite so harsh in my response.

"Chair chuckers" do get priority for access to "interventions" BUT those interventions are all to often at geared at giving the teachers a quite life and nothing whatsoever to do with actually educating the child concerned. (It's heartbreaking to see child after child just babysat in the corridor instead of learning)

I can get a bit bitter at times over how many years of our lives we lost fighting the system to get the bleeding obvious recognised.

I nearly drove myself nuts about the sheer injustice of it all at times, and in the final analysis it doesn't help in the long run. (I'm personally convinced the term "early intervention services" would be more approporiately aimed at those due the telegram from Queenie in their current incarnation)

You WILL get it sorted out for your child - you are too stubborn not to wink I'm honking for you.

wasuup3000 Sun 13-Jan-13 00:16:50

Probably the reason that the other child is getting support is because of the term "disruptive" in that this is more of a problem to the school themselves than a child who may have needs but may not be as disruptive or better behaved?
Anyway you do need to focus on your own child. I realise that you were probably just having a bit of a vent moment.

lougle Sat 12-Jan-13 22:18:32

It's hard on both sides.

When DD1 was a preschool there were two girls who needed full 1:1 - DD1 and another girl who shared the same name, ironically.

I listened politely to the INCO's views, went along with all the suggestions, watched it fail (because staff didn't understand the jargon or didn't believe that the profs knew DD1 as they did), waited until I got fed up of waiting, then told the INCO 'I don't want to tread on your toes, but I thought I'd let you know I'm not prepared to wait until you're ready to 'look at' statementing - the paperwork is in.'

The other parents listened politely to the INCO's views, went along with all the suggestions, then got issued an 'inclusion plan' for MS. Now, I have to say the other girl seems to be doing well and certainly isn't SS material. Whether she should have had a statement is another question.

I wasn't going to sit back and watch DD1 fail because the other girl wasn't having a Statutory Assessment.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 12-Jan-13 21:54:56

maria I do have personal emotions about this but they will pass. Repeat - butt out, butt out, butt out.

I have to return to writing up my PhD soon after a leave of absence - maybe this can be my 'distraction activity'. Make the most of that stress!

Thanks everyone smile

mariammama Sat 12-Jan-13 21:34:07

Aha. Distraction activity. Anxious enough so you can't "not stress", but trying not to fret too much about your DS / tribunal, or you'd go mad. So this child's situation fills the gap.

PS: I may be wrong, but I got myself very tangled up worrying about a friend's situation when ds1 was being really, really hard to manage and I was preparing our first application for statutory assessment.

It was a bad situation, I still worry a bit on her behalf, but at that time most of the emotions were my own recycled ones.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 12-Jan-13 21:10:38

I know that the disruptive child might be the child with the greater need.

I also know that access to the curriculum is considered (rightly) to be vital and that therefore disrupting the learning of 30 children gets more attention than only disrupting the learning of 1 - yourself.

DS1 was compliant but he is not in m/s - he is being tutored at home by the lea pending the outcome of tribunal for specialist placement.

Most disruptive does not always equal greatest need. Hence the need for standardised criteria of need based on professional assessment/opinion so that the school does not automatically assume that the most disruptive child has the greatest needs in terms of its provision of interventions/allocation of budget.

I suppose part of my concern is due to my experiences with DS1. This other child will not be 6 forever. 'Naughty and friendless' is not a good self identity. We all fight for a different label for our DC and as they get older we recognise their need to explain their difference to themselves.

I can't believe that any parent going through the statementing process would not be on SA+ (in fact, in my lea you cannot apply unless the child is on SA+) and would agree to a Friendship Circle. Yes, atm the other children in the class are not his friends. Why? A Friendship Circle will not meet his needs - on the contrary it assumes they don't exist. His Mum seriously does believe that he is 'naughty' because he is bright but not challenged. If he were stretched he would not be 'naughty'. I know his self-esteem and well-being are nothing to do with me but it doesn't stop me caring.

Probably DS being out of school bringing out my caring side or maybe the stress of impending tribunal. sad

Strongecoffeeismydrug Sat 12-Jan-13 20:26:15

3 years ago DS was in a class with another child with needs like his and I'm sure his mum could have written a thread just like yours.we were both at about the same stage of the statementing route,and both boys were failing dramatically.The other boys parent was very vocal in the playground,to myself and to the senco/ht about how DS was getting full time 1-1 and her son was getting nothing.
However what she didn't know was that while her DS was compliant while not learning anything my DS was attacking any child within striking distance.
I was upset about the whole situation but I had my son to think of and I didn't see it as there being a winner or a loser just as a situation where 2 little boys were struggling but at least if DS had a support assistant at least the other 28 kids were getting some kind of education.
Fast forward 3 years DS is in a special needs school getting the help he needs ,sadly her DS is in mainstream after getting statutory assessment refused sad
She's still bitter with me but I couldn't do anything about it.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 12-Jan-13 20:13:10

lougle like you say it is not my concern but I am sympathetic toward this child. I personally think that he needs more support than he is getting and that the school are out of their depth trying to meet his needs in-house. They are not blaming 'problem parents' of course but are labelling the child as naughty. I'm afraid his Mum has made several comments to me that suggests that she shares this view.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 12-Jan-13 20:03:46

Oh fuck I have to do this again!

I wanted the school to be onside this time - it was going so well with all the school requested and therefore free SALT and OT assessments and they have called in the EP. But the resulting IEP is crap. 3.5 hours - mostly small group and whole school and bloody irrelevant provision that does not even meet the targets in his IEP. Trouble is I know from my multiple SA applications before that the lea expect more provision before they will consider SA. School will not give more provision - I gave a very moving speech (to my mind wink) about the gap between school provision and the point where the lea step in into which children fall. And then the bastard sends me a finalised IEP and says that the school have called in the EP due to parental dissatisfaction but in reality they called in the EP in October.

Right - apply for SA and get the lea to put pressure on the school to provide more and write to the BOG asking why DS2's needs are not being met. I'll copy the correspondence with SALT.

Thank you oh wise ones and boc I'll get over it smile

lougle Sat 12-Jan-13 20:02:44

I do understand, though. Another Mum posted on FB that their child needed hearing aids and 'school has been brilliant' and 'full support because DC has lost confidence', etc.

My instant thought was 'my child has lost confidence. What support are we getting? Nada'

Then, I thought about it and came to the conclusion:

-It isn't her fault that her DC has defined needs and mine doesn't yet have hers identified
-It isn't her fault that her DC is displaying the lack of confidence outwardly, when mine is internalising it.
-It isn't the school's fault that DD2 is begging me not to take her, but once she's there, she just gets on with it.

In time, it may change, but right now, they aren't going to do anything because they can't see a problem. Not their fault, just something for me to work around.

lougle Sat 12-Jan-13 19:59:17

They haven't gone through the back door though, have they? They are just doing their best to work out how to meet the needs of their son. They could well be absolutely blindsided by this - imagine being a Governor, or a teacher, and finding that it's your child who is hurting other children, who isn't coping, etc.

It isn't their fault that the school can see a way forward for their DS. It is the school's role to meet the needs of the children, but regardless of conflicting needs, you shouldn't be giving another child's needs headspace - it's not your concern.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 12-Jan-13 19:50:49

I've been thinking about why this pisses me off so much.

Firstly, I have been talking with the SALTs involved behind the scenes who have been providing the school with resources and reminding them of the importance of actually doing this. After all the teachers were the ones that had problems in the first place - DS2 is demand avoidant but at home is a doddle compared to DS1. At school though they have a problem with his not responding to his name, speaking and making noises inappropriately, not following instructions, fiddling, peeling wallpaper etc etc. The senco had told SALT that he was setting up a social skills group. Instead he has set up a different group.

The group that has been set up could have been designed to meet the needs of both children not just one. Given it is a small school there would seem to be zero possibility of setting up another group in the near future.

The thing that really annoyed me on a personal level was that I received the same letter as every other parent in that class. That seemed to be rubbing my face in it. I am not all-knowing and it is quite possible that I would never have found out if they had not told me.

I am not trying to personalise this. I believe that the needs of every child should be met. I may be idealistic but I believe that this should be done as fairly as possible (given unequal personal resources). I went through the front door with everyone else. I believe it is morally wrong to allow back-door access to parents who for whatever reason are very involved with the school.

I am unable to understand why after a year of assessments the advice of SALT has been ignored. No - thats not true - I am used to advice being ignored and I was OK with it when I thought it was par for the course. But now it feels more personal - as though DS2 has been singled out for crap treatment.

I am anxious about this and other needs identified in the SALT report not being met because I know only to well the potential risk and find it hard to bear possible consequences to self-esteem. I already have one DS unable to attend and I fear history repeating itself.

Just read OP, but to be short, YES I absolutely WOULD do something. I would go all out to get what my child needs for my child, and let the other child's parents do what they need for their child.

If there are common interests, I might consider teaming up with the other child's parents, but only if that will really benefit my child.

The rest. I would ignore. I do not and will not compete directly and overtly for resources with other vulnerable children. It happens of course, as even securing a statement means other children lose out, but that is not my failing, it is the failing of those who have allowed these types of scenarios to arise.

bochead Sat 12-Jan-13 19:21:51

Life's not fair, and we aren't all equal - get over it. (favouritism exists in every walk of life, though most are far too PC to admit it). You can't change the world, only your own response to it. Life's really tough at times when your kid has SN, for the sake of your sanity focus your energies on the outcome you want for your own child and ignore everyone else.

Sadly without a statement your kid isn't entitled to diddly squat if the school don't feel like helping him. It's very, very wrong, but it's exactly why I fought tooth and nail for the legal protection a statement gives my own child. (I'm not alright Jack about it now though and try very hard to help other Mums get to the same point where I can).

Gather your evidence for a statement, (never email when a phone call will do blah, blah, blah), apply for the damn thing and just get on with it.

You still have the statementing process on your side - apply for one using the IPSEA model letter and the data you have gathered that relates to your own child. Write to the chair of the governors of your child's school asking why your child's needs are not being met. Write to Ofstead if it makes you feel better.

If you feel that the group being organised is one that would be detrimental to your own child's progress to be a part of then put it in writing, including the reasons why to the HT. get her to respond in writing as to why the school cannot meet your child's needs. I cannot see why the group shouldn't take into account the targets set for your child's communication needs.

Get in there and email asking for an appointment every 1/2 term to discuss your child's progress against his IEP. take notes and email out the minutes. Ask for a weekly update meeting with the HT if the CT is too busy to see you. Be a polite PITA - you know how wink.

or Ask for a homeschool book recording what's happening daily if the CT does not have the time to talk to you.

Read and reread mariammama's posts - her comments on the actions of Ms Cynicalle Budjet-Hollder were spot on imho.

lougle Sat 12-Jan-13 19:02:54

If the parents are refusing the help of outside agencies (we don't know that they are, but it's possible) and the support of an LSA is effective in meeting the child's needs, then they could conceivable be on SA with 1:1 support.

It seems that you see it as a case of:

Total budget £200
Child A has 1:1 £200
Child B has 0
Total Spent: £200

You feel that because the father is on the BoG, this has been done in a way that favours him and gets his child support by association.

However, if that child is causing disruption in the class, then giving him support is effective in helping all the children to learn.

Either way, it's irrelevant, because the school may spend their budget as they see fit, and while the NHS can make recommendations, they can't dictate, which of course is why we push so many parents towards applying for statements, because then the LA has the responsibility to provide what is stated.

zzzzz Sat 12-Jan-13 18:54:15

I'm sorry your responses don't always get to me before I post as I have to multitask at this time of day.

No not all parents can take the hands on approach, not all disabilities are equally life limiting, not all of us have equal backgrounds or social skills. I don't think I can help but sincerely hope you manage to get the provision that your son needs.

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