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HELP - how to proceed pls? New to English system(17 Posts)
I've just moved to England (from Scotland) where it is entirely different.
We chose a small Middle School. I met the current Head, told her my concerns, showed her my ds work and she immediately said: 'sn group in School, on Thrive programme, and we will refer for Assessment re ASD. Meeting at end of 1st month in School'.
We had had a bad time in our previous setting but she looked at our reports - 1 from a private Ed Psy re Dyslexia and 1 from Daphne Keen and at his work and said she could see there were issues needing looking at.
We have started the School 2 weeks now. Ds is already struggling academically, socially, not sleeping, looking ill with the strain. School say: 'oh, he seems happy enough' (he is very very good at masking).
He is crying in bed before School / not sleeping / saying he cant cope.
The Head has moved (turned out she was acting head but is still in contact with School as she is assistant Director of Ed for the area). The New Head is part time. The Senco says she will not make any provision until she has seen his old school file (though she has reports and a letter from his old teacher that I provided which list lots of issues). She says we will have a meeting by Christmas and see if he needs anything. She was impatient and seemed a bit sneery. She is new in post, mid 20's and seemed surprised that a kid with dyslexia 'could have some good ideas' which I found really depressing.
I'll be lucky to get him in next week, yet alone Christmas.
How to proceed pls?
I have found the most useful approach with secondary is an email to school (SENCo and tutor) saying 'ds is having problems with X, I've tried everything at home but just wondering if you have any suggestions or if there's anything you can do at school to help?' Keep it very simple and friendly.
Keep lines of communication open and think of it as a collaboration. Think Peter Falk/Colombo not Bruce Willis/Die Hard
Things got a lot easier for me when I realised that ds's masking means school genuinely weren't seeing what I saw. It is very hard to put stuff in place for a problem you can't see for yourself, which is why I'm doing things differently now.
whats the class teacher like?
Ultimately if he can't cope you keep him home. What you don't do (from experience) is allow others to decide what he can or can't cope with.
School doesn't have to be the main focus of any child's life. The learning must be done but you can have a whole happy well supported life outside school hours. YOU can do all of that so you don't have to rely on others understanding or compassion.
As Polter says, email is a great way forward. It's difficult for them to ignore and you end up with a load of evidence. Give some thought to the wording to cut off the possibility of vague non committal replies.
So, if he's too anxious to attend, you phone him in sick for those reasons and then email SENCo/tutor 'ds was too anxious to attend this morning, he can't articulate why but he was showing signs of X, Y and Z. I feel we need a joint plan to support him to attend school and am available to come in to discuss this on whatever date'.
Don't go on about the past. Don't go on at all. Brief and to the point. This is the problem, how can we solve it.
Polter thank you.
Yes, School genuinely ARENT seeing what I see at home, I accept that.
They are seeing quite the opposite in fact.
I mentioned to the Senco that 2 nights ago he was awake until 12.45 am and then again at 3 and at 5 (so no wonder he cant get up...). She said: 'well, I'm not in your house what can I do?' v defensively.
Yikes! I had not meant to imply it was her problem but was asking which direction to go with it. She suggested GP so that is what I will do.
I am certainly trying not to channel Bruce Willis. I think I come across that way though I don't mean to. I try to reign myself back in but I'm not great at it. I am not very good at social interaction myself and find it all quite difficult. Friendly email is the way I think.
I think I've lost the impetus of the Dir Ed
Ds cant cope with anything outside School when he is attending School. It drains him of everything, and then some.
I managed to get him to a tiny local am dram group. He just came alive.
Laughing smiling happy - it was wonderful to see.
But, it's Sunday night and he is high for about 3/4 hours after and so we prob have to choose this or School between now and Xmas. He'll not cope with both.
He came home yesterday. 3 other kids in his class have been learning a long poem. In the 5 days total he's been at this School and HE now has it, word perfect (it is the Charge of the Light Brigade one, a long poem). He recited it for about 2 hours last night. And was still doing it in bed at 11.30. He's not in the group of 4 kids and not even supposed to know the poem, he was just listening in!
Can I apply for ASD assessment or can I only do it via School?
What is the system in England, pls?
I think you need to slow down. It is very early days. Let school observe. Keep them informed and see what happens. Keep him at home if you need to, keep him happy. Chill out, seriously, step back and focus on making home as lovely as easy as can be.
His interest with the poem is a very good sign, he's observing and interested. Focus on the positives for now.
I'll say it again, slow down, don't rush, don't get in a frenzy. Stop, think, sleep on it, think a bit more before doing anything.
The system is you go to the GP and ask to be referred, it's nothing to do with school.
I'd do happy am drama and not worry about tiredness at school.
To be honest I wasn't really talking about groups more lovely home.
Yes, I will slow down
Trying not to let the past influence the future.
Keep quiet and see what happens.
I am trying to make home lovely and easy.
He has a big Tech corner in the sitting room, a lovely bedroom.
I am insisting he showers (a whole other battle) and gets undressed for bed, but that is it.
I want to keep the drama going if I can as it gives him an arena he likes.
But, if I do, his attendance will start to fall and they will bring in SS which makes me nervous.
He is very very articulate, bright, funny and clever.
But he wouldn't go to the Halloween disco last night as:
'the sooner they get to know me the sooner they will discover I'm a FREAK'.
I don't care about some silly disco but I do care that is how he thinks of himself.
He says he hates to go out as people stare at him. They do, sometimes. He is 5ft8 and walks into lampposts and lays down on the pavement when he is tired. With his toy cat, quite often. He flaps his hands and says: 'little circles' repeatedly. He doesn't 'see' other pedestrians and barges along. He is just 12 but looks 16 and people get annoyed
He is mostly able NOT do this at School (terrified of being 'in trouble'/ other kids bullying him as a freak) but the strain of it is clearly enormous.
I wish he would do it, weirdly enough, as then we'd all 'see' the same kid, but he is who he is and this is how he copes, by compartmentalising his life. That is why we were told by last local Paed that he cant be on Spectrum, because he can compartmentalise, but he clearly is, to me.
I would encourage him to embrace his 'freak-ness' and be himself. Help him stand tall. Drama will definitely help. Look here
I do. I really do. I am his biggest fan - he is a fantastic person with so much to offer.
Thanks for link for Jamie and Lion - I'll show him that.
He will like that a LOT.
He has one cat who is definitely his alter ego and does all the 'naughty' stuff and one who is his quiet grown up side.
I am trying to let both of them know that 'different' is GOOD and interesting and amazing.
Which is fab, you just need to work out the priorities for now, this moment. Most of us are just muddling along doing the best we can.
Ok. I will email School if he is unable to go due to tiredness / anxiety.
I'll see new GP re sleep. Will mention some of the other ASD traits he has.
Get it on record in new location.
I still wish that it was clearer in my head whether I should get in touch with Dir Ed re referral or I should ask GP now but I will sit on my hands for a few weeks and see what happens with Senco / parents night etc
I knew how the other system (didn't) work. This is less clear to me.
I don't know what a Dir Ed is!
Assessments for most SENDs in England (apart from dyslexia) are considered medical so it's all through GP or sometimes school nurse (google your LA + school nursing to find your one - they can be a great ally).
sorry, the Acting Head who said she'd refer on turned out to be the Director of Education who was stepping in as Head for a term before the new Head started. I was unaware of this.
Helpful to know about School Nurse / SEND thing - thanks.
Let's hope new GP is good too.
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