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MS making a case to move 4yr old DC to SS

(42 Posts)
Lesley25 Fri 11-Oct-13 17:51:37

I've just heard (and this will out me too but blow it) that my primary MS are making a case for my ASD DD to be moved to a special school.

They have had experience of her during nursery the year before and we have a full statement. However, parts 2,3 and 4 are being appealed by our solicitor. Briefly we all feel the TA isn't qualified enough, no OT on there or ST on there (i pay for all of these anyway).

I'm confused and angry. Surely the school could have given me heads up before our meeting next week instead of telling me the reports are on their way..now i have a couple of days only to get my head round this.

I have no idea on how i should proceed without getting defensive at this meeting.

Should the hunt commence for special schools then? I'm angry, my DD was pulled out of her nursery to go here to prepare her for school a year and a half ago and she loves it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated ladies.

sickofsocalledexperts Fri 11-Oct-13 18:17:53

The only criterion they can legally use to chuck her out is if educationing her is "disruptive to the efficient education of others" AND if they have exhausted all "reasonable steps" which might be taken to overcome such disruption (eg a desk in the corridor or an experienced TA"

It really isnt their decision, unless they can prove the above

Be charming but use this language, or get an advocate like Fiona Slomovic at the meeting with you

sickofsocalledexperts Fri 11-Oct-13 18:25:01

A useless teacher tried to chuck my boy out of mainstream after only 3 weeks. I basically rained down on her with the full power of my legal right to mainstream, and with Fiona at my side. My boy did not get chucked out, and had over 3 very good years in mainstream. And they later made that woman the SENCO!

Lesley25 Fri 11-Oct-13 18:46:24

Honestly, i think they will try and use "is disruptive to the efficient education of others" AND they have exhausted all "reasonable steps".

However, i feel like we need a more qualified TA. How the hell do i say that in the meeting? The rep from the LA has said they cannot interfere in staffing matters and i'm currently appealing (need a better qualified TA) in the statement with a solicitor but to get to tribunal will be months..
My reviews next week... The main reason they will use is that they need more then one person to engage my child (my answer will be "so why isn't that in the statement?") but that comment doesn't help me now.

On the flip side, emotionally as many other parents will feel . "if they don't want my child there, then do i want my child there anyway?", but i am cross they are making me feel like that.

All the necessary provison should be in place for her to learn and they should put this in. I wouldn't mind but its not like the school is new to my child, she's been in the nursery element joined to the school for well over a year!!

cansu Fri 11-Oct-13 19:58:38

Ok I have a child with quite severe autism in a mainstream school. It works well because TA is excellent. Ask which school they are pushing for and go and look at it. If you think it is better and will meet her needs more effectively then you can consider it properly. If you are unhappy with it, what else is available? If what is available is not better and you still think the mainstream with proper support is the best option then stick to your guns and suggest that a more experienced TA is sought for your dd. I would also look at an expensive independent provision as part of your search. If the LA think you are considering an expensive independent school they may be more likely to help you convice the mainstream school to make more effort. i do however agree that I would not want dd where she wasn't welcomed. It may be though that with the right support you can get them back on board.

Lesley25 Fri 11-Oct-13 20:16:52

Thanks ladies, my child is non verbal and quite severe, but what bothers me (and has bothered me for some time), is that my DD was brilliant with the teachers at her old nursery- always had a smile for them when they entered a room. I cant say the same for her TA at school and that does bother me. She cannot tell me and she doesn't cry going into school but its just a feeling i get. The TA has looked after a child on the spectrum and by her own admission that chid was severe and she was spoon feeding food - and only very specific food at that.

They can't seem to focus my child. I've just had an OT in who says she has high sensory needs, i'm not looking for a magic bullet but i was hoping that once some of these exercises were in place this would make the focusing part easier -or am i wrong?

sickofsocalledexperts Fri 11-Oct-13 20:20:05

Aba was the key for my boy - also severe and non-verbal at 4

I would recommend an ABA trained TA as a minimum. An ABA programme with a Consultant running and monitoring it even better.

lougle Fri 11-Oct-13 20:58:38

Why don't you want her to go to a special school, Lesley?

Lesley25 Fri 11-Oct-13 21:14:13

Where we are in the UK there are no ABA schools or private tutors that i've been able to find. I've posted messages up and had students at university reply who would like a "go".
I jut concentrated on TEACH and PECS with a speech therapist and did ABA a lot of the time by reading (and reading!) through the principals years ago.

I'll admit, i haven't spoken to my LA representative and she's never mentioned to me that it was an option. Going off some of my own research has proved fruitless.

Sickof- How did you get ABA for your son?

Starlight, Do you think i could ask for an ABA trained TA in my annual review meeting next week? If the school are saying they don't feel this is the right environment for her even with all the support - would that request just fall on deaf ears?

One word answers are coming and she will say a few words now - forgive me, does that make her non verbal? she's not able to tell me anything else except, No, Water, and basically (as the Senco put it) language is at the 11-23 month stage. But she is repeating words and her comprehension is coming on leaps and bounds.

lougle - I'll be honest, i just thought that by being in a state MS school she would learn or one day start to emulate those behaviours. A lot of schools around me are not solely focused on helping children on the spectrum but cover such a wide range of diffciulties within their remit, i'll be honest - i just didn't want her to emulate those difficult behaviours as well as deal with her own.

I'm now beginning to see though that a Special school would be better trained to deal with the asd and find strategies to help her cope and thus focus to learn. This school/TA can't seem to do that. However, we are only in the first term, OT hasn't been introduced and the request for yet more support hasn't been granted (more hours with specialist asd teacher).

Lesley25 Fri 11-Oct-13 21:16:07

Thanks Cansu- we live in a big LA area so i will start to google independent asd schools not funded by our LA and indeed make apts to go and see them.
Best to be prepared.

lougle Fri 11-Oct-13 21:22:40

"I'll be honest, i just thought that by being in a state MS school she would learn or one day start to emulate those behaviours. A lot of schools around me are not solely focused on helping children on the spectrum but cover such a wide range of diffciulties within their remit, i'll be honest - i just didn't want her to emulate those difficult behaviours as well as deal with her own."

I'm wondering why you think that your DD will emulate difficult behaviours?

DDs school has:

OT for every child using 'Rainbow Road' (an OT programme)
SALT therapy from SALTs fortnightly
Embedded SALT within the daily curriculum
Break times and Lunch times are designated 'teaching time' - the staff teach the children play skills, eating skills, etc.
Small group teaching as the minimum standard
Small class sizes
Tailored curriculums
PECS expertise
Makaton throughout the whole school (total communication environment)
Specialist PMLD classes
Specialist ASD classes (for those children that can't cope with the less specialist classes)

It's a fantastic school, but very similar to many other special schools.

I just can't understand why MS is seen as such a prize, tbh.

Lesley25 Fri 11-Oct-13 22:10:28

You're absolutely right lougle re. MS being a prize. I guess even with a diagnosis a part of me just wanted her to fit in with everyone else. I do realise that says more about me.

I start the hunt for special schools and have just stumbled upon the gabbitas guide which lists them all out per authority. And you can order it online.

lougle Fri 11-Oct-13 22:53:18

I'm not judging you for your hopes smile We all want what's best for our children; we just have individual ideas on what that looks like in practice.

Your LA should have a list of all its special schools online.

If you PM me your county, if you feel comfortable, I may be able to give a hand to do some digging smile

lougle Fri 11-Oct-13 23:03:48

Incidentally, it's a very personal thing, but I'll just share two experiences:

1. One day, DD1 was going to KIDS - it's a respite club - at her school. We were early, and waiting for the doors to open. DD1 stood with 2 other girls. One was in a specialised buggy/wheelchair, the other two were next to the wheelchair, flapping and making noises. I got distracted, looked away and spoke to a Mum. I looked back to realise that one of the of the girls was my DD1. I knew, at that moment, that she fitted here, more than anywhere else. Here, she was 'normal'. Here, she fit. Here, she could be her, with no explanations or excuses.

2. In her first year, we went to sports day. It's not like MS sports day. It's more of a 'have a go' day. You get a card and tick off the activities as your child 'has a go.' We queued behind a girl who had to use a hockey stick to push a ball into a goal. As she picked up the hockey stick, it twisted in her hands and turned full circle. She tried again, but once more it just rolled in her hands. I thought 'I'm lucky really...DD1 isn't that bad...poor girl.' Next, it was DD1's turn. She picked up the hockey stick and to my amazement, it rolled in her hands. She tried again. Again it rolled. I realised that she was no different. She belonged.

DD1's in her 4th year at her school. She has real friends there. Some verbal, some nonverbal. Some sign, some use PECS, some use objects of reference. Some eat a range of food, some eat a restricted range, some need food cut up, some need pureed food; some need g-tube/ng tube. Some flap, some spin, some screech some yell. Some walk, some use rollators, some use kaye walkers, AFOs, Splints, wheelchairs. In DD1's eyes, they're all the same. Genuinely. They treat each other with genuine love and hate!

The prize isn't Mainstream or Special - it's the right place for the child, regardless of how it's designated.

Lesley25 Sat 12-Oct-13 07:29:00

Thanks lougle.I've pmd you x

I have to admit at the school gate i hang back with her and i know deep down that i can't be sure she will actually fit in here as the months and years roll by. Already its me going in with strategies and ways to focus and doing a lot at home.

There's also the view that i am uneasy with forcing a school to take my child if they don't think they can help to support her needs fully...
is it honesty or laziness? whichever it is, that view is not one i want around my child.

And i'm ok with that actually after reading through all of your lovely posts.

I'm now getting cross that i wish the school had informed me earlier...they were late by 10 days with their reports and had i known their intention i could've gone to see those special schools and knew how to conduct the review better to benefit my child. As it is, i just feel now a little ill prepared.

One thing is, my appeal hasn't gone into our solicitor yet for parts 2,3 and 4 (deadline is 10th november) so i'm now wondering whether we change the route we take with this appeal - and instead start fighting for a special school of our choice...I've sent an urgent email to my solicitor asking for a quick chat on monday.

All these views will really help me in that meeting on tuesday.

cansu Sat 12-Oct-13 08:27:41

Take your time. Can you get the meeting postponed? If not be prepared to put the breaks on decisions being taken at that meeting. Say you will consider the suggestions but don't agree to things if you haven't had the time to properly look round other options. La will try and make it sound like you don't have a choice, ignore this and state that you will make appointments to look at the school suggested and others. I think it is v unfair of them to spring this on you, don't let them railroad you. I now make an appointment prior to the annual review with my dd senco so I know any issues before the meeting. Tis way I am not surprised and put on the spot at meetings.

lougle Sat 12-Oct-13 08:30:13

You have two options:

- Dig your heels in and say that you want your meeting delayed due to the delay in paperwork. The risk there is that some counties have a plough of nit allowing you to view a special school without LA permission.

-Go to three meeting, say on reflection you think SS ^ may^ be a viable option but you'd like to view some SS before you go any further. Ask to reconvene a fortnight later or whatever, once you've had a chance to view some.

I'll get back to you about schools.

Lesley25 Sat 12-Oct-13 08:42:43

Cansu - i trusted the senco far too much. I'll not make that mistake again. A meeting with the senco is a great idea, i'll be doing that from now on.

lougle - Your 2nd option is the one i was thinking of. Great idea to ask everyone to get back together in, say, a couple of weeks.

lougle Sat 12-Oct-13 08:53:39

PM'd you about a great school x

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 12-Oct-13 11:11:59

Lesley - you mentioned upthread that your child is now imitating words and saying a few?

I was told something by a v eminent professor of ABA that I wanted to share with you.

He reckons that if an autistic child can imitate words, you can get them talking functionally, but the best and quickest way he has found to achieve that is what ABAers call the "echoic to mand" transfer.

Here is how he described it, with an anecdote from his own practice:

He was visiting a family whose boy had had only echoed speech for years.

As he talked to the father, he noted out of the corner of his ear that the boy was repeating or echoing the occasional one of their words, eg "swim".

He decided to go swimming with the boy. At the side of the pool, with the boy all excited about going swimming (his major love) the prof stopped him, stood in front of him and said "say swim" (but the "say" bit quieter, so as to be faded out soon). The boy echoed "swim" and they both jumped in joyously.

Then, out they got again, to the boy's disgust, but he got his reward of jumping in again when he echoed "swim".

Third or fourth time, Dr P did not prompt "say swim" at poolside, but just pointed at the boy's mouth expectantly. The boy said "swim". His first independent mand, or request. Immediately they both jumped in and had a long, joyous swim. Given that reward, next time they got out and stood together poolside, the boy knew to say "swim" again.

The next day he did the same drill, with a different highly-motivating activity - eg "chips". And so on.

Dr Pat ended by saying his heart bleeds to think of how many ASD kids there are globally, with echoic speech, but languishing in schools which just don't know this one simple protocol.

That would have been my boy, had he stayed in his Teacch school.

The mand training was the key, opening up in his little brain the synapse marked: different mouth movements get me different good results (= speech).

Lesley25 Sat 12-Oct-13 13:04:34

sickof- Thank you for this. Would you be kind enough to tell me where you went for ABA tutors?
This is exactly what i do. Take for example today, she says a babble of words - always the same sound and mixture of words when she wants to go out. Today we were going somewhere highly motivating, so i said "lets go". I also did the actions in a joyous punching the air kind of way. She repeated,"Go". So, by the end of the weekend whenever we go out we will use this this phrase. I will ask school to reinforce this at every highly motivating time in the day - which realistically will be home time!

We do this at home a lot after i did a course on ABA when she was diagnosed so we practice this at home. Thats why i'm constantly giving the school strategies (at every freekin' meeting) on how to also use these same principals.

If i could get my hands on an ABA TA for my child this would be great. i just think the school will roll their eyes at me, and i wouldn't even know where they would be able to pull this resource from.

This whole weekend will be used to review as many Special schools in my area - independent or LA maintained to see which could potentially be the best fit for my child.

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 12-Oct-13 13:12:12

I got my tutors through word of mouth and other mums. What rough area are you in, maybe someone on here could help? Or the ABA UK yahoo chat group? Once you have worked on"go", introduce another mand soon, or she will think that "go" is an all-purpose word. There are ABA courses you could send an ordinary TA on - eg Jigsaw, Rainbow, Treehouse,

boobybum Sat 12-Oct-13 13:23:17

Hi, you might want to try and contact a qualified ABA consultant who specialises in the VB (verbal behaviour) approach and I would suggest you go on the BCBA website and search for consultants close to you. There is also an ABA yahoo group which may help in finding consultants or tutors. If you do get a good consultant then they should be able to train up any potential tutors so don't rule out university students.

Lesley25 Sat 12-Oct-13 13:46:55

thanks for the ABA tip. i'll definitely do that.

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