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ASD ARP vrs Special school

(13 Posts)
kyz1981 Fri 21-Mar-14 09:26:39

We are starting to look at schools for my DS he has ASD/SPD and Lang Disorder, He is very passive and sensory seeking. He is verbal but only has limited functional language - almost all of this is learnt in chunks from Peppa and other programs.

We have had a few incidents lately where other children his age have come over to him and shouted at him to stop laughing or taunted him with waving toys round his face, he is oblivious to this and just carry's on laughing he would never lash out he is just passive to the point where other children could hit him and he would not respond.

He is a very very anxious little boy and I think where ever we choose it will be difficult. I know all schools are different but just want some general ideas.

We are looking at ARP'S and Special schools the main reason for choosing an ARP would be the language models for him and because they are supposed to help with academic attainment.

I have a few questions for other mums with children in ARPS or Special schools.

If you child is in an ARP with children of varying ages is there still a feel of a peer group?, and are you generally included in school events and made to feel welcome?

Is there generally a feeling of being separate from other children the same age in mainstream in a unit?

And for parents who have children in special schools:

Do you think they push your child enough academically?
Do they try and work on life skills that promote independence?

We are in South Bucks if this helps.

Thanks in advanced.

OneInEight Fri 21-Mar-14 10:12:05

Slightly different because my children started off in mainstream

ds1 is in a BESD school and extremely well supported. They work a lot on pragmatic and social skills - it is a constant rather than a half hour session once a week. Academically also because there are small classes and a high staff:pupil ratio they can meet his needs e.g. he is very good at maths so is being given Level 6 work to keep him interested. In a lot of ways it has "normalised" him as all of the children have behavioural problems which by itself has reduced both his (and our) stress levels. He trots off to school with a smile each morning and accesses all of the curriculum including much such as singing, dancing, trips out that he was simply unable to do in mainstream.

ds2 is in an ARP. The goal was to integrate him into the mainstream classes and they do succeed with most of the children in the unit but so far ds2 has not managed it. He did enter the unit with an awful lot of baggage from his needs not being met in mainstream though so they have had an awfully hard job to reduce his anxieties. It has just been agreed that he will go to a specialist school for secondary which I think will suit him better as the peer group will be much more similar to him.
I think for him this has been one of the problems with the ARP as he is academically more able than the other children in the ARP but too anxious to join in with the mainstream class.

autumnsmum Fri 21-Mar-14 12:29:10

Hi I have a dd2 who is four and has autism we were offered a place at a arp and a sp sch . Her sp sch is amazing she has an individual programme of work , a reading book and some of the older students at her school sit gcses. The arp I felt was poorly organised and dd2 would not of coped with being moved between the unit and mainstream class . I grew up in high Wycombe by the way

kyz1981 Fri 21-Mar-14 12:49:16

Thanks for the replies, Its such a hard decision, I think he would be happier and I would be happier with him in a special school from the inclusion and less stress point of view - However my lovely SALT mentioned that our local SS are MLD schools and all the ASD children that went this yr were essentially non-verbal, she feels he would do better in a unit but agrees this will cause him more stress.

I am torn between trying to push him to reach his potential in an ARP or allowing him to just be himself and develop at his own pace in a SS.

Everyone I have met with a child in SS says they are so much happier and this is the thing that I guess holding on to -is I want my little boy to have a happy time at school, well as happy as I can make it.

He hates nursery and its a battle that has got so bad he won't now change out of his pjs and is scared of getting in the car.

We would have no luck at getting him in an ind SS unless placements failed.

I think I am lucky to be in Wycombe as there are around 4-5 ARPs in the area so I ahve a good choice -(If they have space) x

MeAndMySpoon Tue 25-Mar-14 12:51:27

Sorry OP, I don't know what an ARP is - is it like a specialist unit embedded in a MS school? smile

I'm just over the border in South Oxon btw.

kyz1981 Tue 25-Mar-14 13:32:51

Hi Yes it short for Additional Resourced Provision - its like a separate part of a school that integrates in to Mainstream for some things when possible, there can be as few as 5 places or as many as 15, some are Just ASD some are for LD and some are for other disabilities, The age ranges are mixed. We are on the border too, so could get into one or to in Oxfordshire if there were none available in the local area ( the nearest one to us in Oxfordshire).

MeAndMySpoon Tue 25-Mar-14 14:18:53

I've heard of Chinnor Units for ASD in this area, which sound similar/the same. DS2 still just 3 so only beginning to start thinking about schools. Daunting stuff!

kyz1981 Tue 25-Mar-14 14:42:53

Yeah my son is a September baby so will be next September intake, he is statemented already. The Chinnor one is supposed to be very good - that is the closest to me, and one of the ones we will be looking at. I will also look at some over in Flackwell that I have heard very good things about.

Due to the epic failure of my sons nursery our SEN officer suggests looking at schools soon for the Sep 2015 intake as units get full fast.

kyz1981 Tue 25-Mar-14 14:46:36

I am also taking a detailed check list as recommended by my salt to include, Things that are essential for my son, things that are desirable and things that would increase risk to him and with this in hand I intend to vist all the units and SS I can and then If I have to fight Panel for a school place I will have detailed information as to how it will meet his needs and the others less so.

MeAndMySpoon Thu 27-Mar-14 22:30:30

Thanks, KYZ, will bear that in mind. Our Eysenit said initially we wouldn't need to start thinking about schools for Sept '15 entry until this autumn, but you have to apply by January, don't you, so that is really very little time if we want to do visits and a lot of agonising. We're going to start looking in a month or so. smile Sorry, by 'next september' do you mean '14 or '15?

kyz1981 Fri 28-Mar-14 16:58:11

My son will be going September 15, so probably the same time as your Son, I have spoken to a mum who Son was at a local unit and she had a really good experience, but when she called some of the units they were already full so she could not even get in to look around. I think it is January - God that's so scary isn't it ....

Loueytb3 Tue 01-Apr-14 11:55:10

My son with ASD goes to an SRP (I think its the same as an ARP) within a ms school. He is thriving there. He was lucky enough to get in from reception. He's now up to 80% of the time in his ms class. The rest of the time he's in the unit and has SLT, OT and various other social skills/attention classes.

He is very much a part of both the unit and his ms class. The school do everything they can to integrate them as much as possible. How effective it is does depend on the child though.

We looked at ss and there were none that were really appropriate for him, he's of average intellectual ability and (now) verbal. He's also reasonably sociable. The ss around us were very much aimed at children with ld or who were non-verbal.

Our unit reviews the position at various points to see if its still an appropriate place for the child. So we are just coming up to the end of Yr2 and its reviewed then as the move to KS2 is a big step. I know of one child who was struggling academically/socially and they did move to ss at that point.

I would suggest you go and look around both SSs and the ARPs and see if you get a feel either way.

uggerthebugger Tue 01-Apr-14 17:10:57

My DSs were in ARPs for most of their time in primary. They're now at indie special schools, but here's how the ARP set-up worked for them (and us!)

If you child is in an ARP with children of varying ages is there still a feel of a peer group?, and are you generally included in school events and made to feel welcome?

Both my DSs had a very strong peer group with the other kids in the ARP (10-15 kids) - there was a definite bond across year groups too, with the oldest ARP kids looking out for the younger ones.

We didn't get anywhere with peer group stuff out of school (playdates, birthday parties etc), but this was very definitely down to cultural differences and the distance that most ARP kids lived from each other. I know other ARPs where the kids see each other regularly after school.

Is there generally a feeling of being separate from other children the same age in mainstream in a unit?

My DSs both definitely felt separate from their non-SN age group. Imo, the school couldn't have done much more to promote social inclusion in the classroom and playground, and there was a lot of good-quality reverse-integration going on (kids without SN working with kids with SN in small groups in the ARP).

In the end, DS1 clearly chose to be with his ARP peers. DS2 was a bit more adventurous, and early on had a mix of friends - but towards the end, it was mostly ARP peers. This was partly because social groups started to firm up towards the end of KS2, but it was also because of some fairly jaw-dropping bigotry going on from some parents of kids without SN - some of those kids were definitely getting told things by these parents that deterred them from playing with DS2.

Overall, the ARP thing worked as well as it could for my DSs - but they ultimately needed more help than the ARP could provide.

Having said all that, each placement varies a lot! I'd take a good mainstream school that values pastoral care and genuine inclusion any day - if the alternative was a segregated, poor-quality ARP situated in a wider school that doesn't give a fuck about it.

HTH!

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