Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Dd1 has a friend at mainstream school. She is more looking after her though IMO. Dd1 is doing a split placement currently with local ss and mainstream, this girl is in mainstream so lots more able than dd. I have been worrying for ages this girl will get fed up and want to play with others and that dd is too dependant and it has happened. No ones fault but its making dd1 sad, school are putting lots in place, every day she has a special friend who helps her and looks out for her .at lunch time her lovely Ta is doing ball games etc with her and other children.
Bit really s this the best she will have, other children being encouraged to play with her? Her teacher is saying she is well liked and that its all going well but I felt like crying when she said about the friend a day as its effectively a system for providing friends.
Little bump. Dd just told me she cried at lunch time because she doesn't like lunch time and she wanted me. And she was tired. And she just wanted to be at home playing trains. She is always very train obsessed when stressed I now realise.
That was about the most information I have ever got out of her at once. But it makes me very sad. School think it is going so well.
How old is she? Give it time, sounds like school are really trying and TA led playing is a real positive. Can you ask school to identify a child who might be a good choice to invite over to play?
She is six and a half. I am wondering if I am over reacting but I am so upset by the idea of them choosing a child a day to look after her when they are claiming she is happy and has friends there. It's not really friends if they are on a rota I feel.
But yes the TA in particular has been great and very pro active with all this social skills stuff, she is doing it tactfully and picking children carefully.
It may be the way the teacher worded it but I feel uncomfortable with the rota of helpers thing. And tbh was worried about the child she was so dependant on before as I am not sure how her mum feels about it. Good idea to have someone round. Only thing is I struggle with dd's behaviour after school particularly aggression to my youngest who is still a baby so I had stopped with all plays after school as she didn't seem able to cope but maybe I should just give it a try.
When my son was year 1 he struggled with friendships. I made a point of being quite militant about arranging play dates. Fostering those one-on-one friendships makes a huge difference in the playground in the long run, I think.
I have had to be quite thick skinned though. If people don't offer play dates back, I used to get quite sad/angry about it, but now I just keep inviting, arranging plays at the park, etc. Occasionally I get cheeky and ask if my son can come to theirs.
I also have a younger one, but we didn't have aggression. Maybe invite the mums as well so you have an extra pair of hands. If you feel okay doing that?
Thank you. I would like to invite the mums too but used to have friends with kids she had known all her life over but it just seems she can't cope with other children after school, I think it is so hard for her she just tends to explode after school iykwim? So have had to say to people we would go to them and leave if she didn't cope but then it got too hard to get her away. It's been a tough year, healthy wise things are pretty hard too for her which hasn't helped, she is often in pain and tired but also I think just finds it exhausting keeping up.
So I am not ruling out friends coming back but would need to think very carefully I guess.
What is everyone's take on the whole having a rota of helper children thing?
I just think how can school be going well if they need to do this and is dd aware, maybe I am being too emotional about it?
Who decides the rota? Do the children have a choice? When ds had playtime problems in Y3 he used to spend lunchtime with a different friend every lunchtime, the class were asked to volunteer and he always had lots of volunteers. That seemed fine, perhaps ask school how the rota is made?
We can't do after school 'play dates' because ds needs that down time, we do them in holidays.
Holidays, that is a good idea. I am guessing they choose the children but it mst be optional. I just wonder if it can possibly be going well if the social situation is that hard. Hadn't heard of anything similar though before. Was your DS aware of it? I feel that, lovely as these girls are to dd, they talk to her like she is a much younger child and they are the adult iykwim? I worry about dd's self esteem.
She likes playing with boys and they seem to enjoy her company more in a way it's just some of them are at the yuck girls phase!
Actually put the way you have it sounds much better than the way I felt it as when the teacher explained it. For dd it's all day though not just lunch time but still, maybe its not as bad as I initially thought?
The after school thing sounds hard and not right for you at the moment. Maybe holidays, and maybe meet somewhere neutral so you can make a quick exit?
Also, maybe one way to look at it is that the school is doing the equivalent of one-to-one play dates during school time, helping her build up a network of safe hands.
I'm not sure what else they could do though? It really does sound like school are trying hard, maybe you need to ask more questions?
I agree with buildingmycorestrenght's post.
I would have loved it for my son to have been supported like this at school when he was so struggling with friendships. He is still often on his own at play times and very vulnerable to bullying.
Also, I don't do play dates easily as he doesn't want people back home and it is hard work as I know something or other will bother him. Actually, the other day there was a boy who came over. DS got really upset as the boy burped, and then burped louder and said 'that's more like it' ... Maybe one day DS will be a bit more 'tolerant'. Until them, I take the easy way out.
I know they are doing lots , I think it's the fact they think she is really doing well when I see her struggling and not feeling equal to her peers.
I would just love for her to have a friend who likes playing with her rather than seeing it as looking after her. She was due to move to special school but her teacher feels she is doing too well to move her now and largely it was due to a friendship with one child, this child was doing loads for her and I worried she would get fed up. And it seems, understandably that she has and dd doesn't really have the skills to understand why.
But I know she is lucky to have them try so hard, I think I am feeling if it was going so well then it wouldn't be such a struggle.
I am not sure what questions to ask though, today I was saying thank you etc for them keeping an extra eye on her at lunch was saying she had been upset about lunch but seemed ok at the moment about lessons (which is massive improvement she used to attack children when stressed and just last week spent an afternoon under the table) and the teacher was saying she is being difficult recently and seems to think she doesn't have to try since having time at special school.
Dd's language is not enough for her to express all this so it must be guess work that it relates to ss but I can see that she may be finding it confusing.
Friendships are hard. She is only little and just learning. It is awful seeing our children struggle so much with stuff that most children do without thinking, but we do the best we can.
And thank you it is good to hear your views on this and I love e idea of safe hands , one reason for maintaining time at mainstream is the benefit of her knowing local children and it is a lovely supportive school.
After school I have taken the same tack as you nostoppingme for now anyway but things are slowly improving, we went to the park today and dd left when I asked (with a countdown etc) which is something I wouldn't have dreamed of doing a few months back.
Thanks poltergeese, yes it's very emotional. I generally have been able to take it in my stride but the combination of not knowing how things are going health wise and all the horrible stuff she's going through with that and then the worry I am leaving her somewhere she may feel unhappy and scared is finishing me off at the moment and I am not sure how rational I am.
Ah thanks and to you for helping out. Hope all is well for you.
We're ok, thank you, I've sort of reached a point where I feel vaguely competent with ds and can get through the hardest times much more easily, it is very strange, but it is easier. Time helps.
I think it sounds as though the school are doing well. My daughter went to a resource school and had a similar friend situation. The friend did baby her and liked 'looking after her' and being in charge. At times, the friend decided not to do this and my daughter would be left out.
The school were poor at dealing with it and we had other issues with her provision. I would say she only developed real friendships when she moved to a special school and now has a best friend .
Poltergoose that is good. And reassuring too! Just been to earlybird and dh enjoyed it but is now very much oh this is forever etc and actually I feel it could improve so good to hear it has for you!
Vjg, I think that is my point, I think they are handling everything as well as a mainstream school can and that as a mainstream school they are great and really supportive. It's just they are saying that the plan should change and dd should stay there instead of moving to the planned special school and I just see the social side as more of an issue at mainstream as at the special school she could feel the same iyswim and maybe the friendships could be equal. Also the therapy side which ss would be more able to provide. How is she doing at ss? Lovely to have an actual best friend.
One of the best things we did for Bee was to get her involved in activities that are in no way related to school, but are within her abilities. She competes now in Special Olympics rhythmic gymnastics (hopefully she will be competing provincially by next year), has just started with the Special Olympics swim team and she plays Miracle League baseball.
She currently goes to a school where all of the children are disabled, but starting next year she will be attending a community school part time. I fear she will have the same challenges as you are seeing. Having the extracurricular things to carry through will be good for her.
That sounds great beemom. Well done your dd! Dd1 does martial arts with limited success but I tend to stick to sn type activities whilst she is in mainstream a nd keep holidays quiet Ish to counteract the stress, she also does sn holiday club occasionally, I think if the school thing was different I may do more activity wise with her though so its certainly something to think about.
You may find bee is ok, dd1 struggles but has had a good experience over all I feel, and everyone so far has been kind which is half the battle. Also I think going from ss to a bit of mainstream is a great way around, I always wonder what would have happened had we started at ss then done integration to mainstream, I suspect it would have been a better way around.
I understand where you're coming from, used2bthin.
I've just been considering gymnastics for DD1. Do I put her in a MS class with extra help, or find her a disability gym class?
I think I'd like her to do a disability gym class, because there she will make real friends and she won't be 'mothered' by other children.
There, she may even be good enough to compete or be 'developed', whereas MS gym would only ever be 'for fun' and 'having her along'.
I want her to be included, but I don't want her to be 'accepted' or 'tolerated'. I want her to be 'embraced'.
Thanks lougle I have been wondering how you were getting on, is your dd still doing well at ss?
I feel like the teacher and I have different expectations, although I realise dd is well looked after and nurtured, I worry about how it is seen as looking after her rather than being her actual friend.the teacher says its the same but I am not so sure. The children mother dd and talk as if talking to a small child , one of them actually offered to look after her while I got something from my bag...
Ds had no friends and no interest in his peers throughout mainstream primary or in the unit at secondary. In fact he successfully avoided and ignored them throughout. At 16 and in independent specialist school he got his first friends and the school have taught him how to be a friend and have given him the desire to be interested in his peers. He has two close friends now who are as thick as thieves and who he socialises with outside school too.
DD1 is still doing well, thank you.
Arrgh...I can't lie to you. Everything you say resonates with me so strongly.
DD1 is going for her first 'play date' away from me this week. She is getting special permission for the taxi driver to drop her off at the house of one of the other girls and they are having tea and play - 3 girls with SN. The mum is quite barmy
I honestly feel that the difference for DD1, apart from specialist teaching, in being at Special School is that she has friends. Real, honest friendships, where they are friends one minute, enemies the next - just like 'normal' children.
There are no special cases at her school. Wheelchairs, kaye-walkers, standers; PEG feeds, NG feeds or oral food; no speech, minimal speech, complete speech; nappies, pull-ups or pants - the children just don't see it. Their 'normal' is whatever the child is and there are no special dispensations.
In fact, I have to tell DD1 to wind her neck in when she's telling me how rude so and so was for blowing raspberries. She doesn't see that they are non-verbal and that is their biggest communication achievement. She sees it as 'well, I'm not allowed to do that, so it's rude!'. I have to remind her that it's only rude if you can do something different and choose to do it to be cheeky.
DD1 gets celebrated at her school, not because she's got SN, but because of what she can do.
You are her parent. You have the right to push for SS if you feel it's right. Just as you have the right to stay in MS if you feel it's right.
If you don't feel your DD is in a place where she has meaningful friendships, that's something that needs to change, somehow. Whether that be a change in the way the school deals with her, or another school.
That's why I'm thinking that Disability Gym is best - I want DD to start equal, not to be the 'special one.'
Thank you both. Dd is so desperate for these friendships and so bereft now that her friend has decided to play with others. This means not playing with dd too which just tells me really that dd cannot access the friendships there otherwise she would just join in too.
Feeling very upset today as had a chat with our psychologist who observed dd at playtime and mainstream and said the friend was moving around playing with a group of girls and dd was following them but not included or able to join in , I had already been awake half the night worrying about her. But then. The TA had said a boy at mainstream has been looking out for her and she's been doing racing games with the boys so has been better. So I had felt torn again but not so much since speaking to the psych who says she feels dd is not going to cope in mainstream long term so is probably best leaving while its not too bad.
Great to hear how well your dd is doing lougle, I think my decision is made. Wish I felt happier about it, I feel really sad today and anxious about the way mainstream teacher seems to be saying dd is doing well there and is too able for ss. I hope we still get our place.
Unless the MS teacher has access to all the progression data for the SS pupils, then I'd say that's her own perception of SS shining through.
DD1 is doing well, but I saw work today of other children in her class that was better than hers.
There are some really bright children in SSs, they just can't access the curriculum in the environment of a MS school.
I agree lougle. And it's a back to front way of thinking which I had before, the idea that she would be held back whereas its possible its the only thing that could help her progress to her full potential.
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