In Fight With School To Get DS's Additional Needs Recognised(17 Posts)
I am currently in a fight with my DS's secondary school to try and get his additional needs recognised. Everyone on the outskirts of the school (CAMHS, paediatric consultant, school nurse) all suggest that there are additional social, emotional and cognitive needs that would benefit from a formal assessment. Up till this point I have been supporting all these on my own (I have a teaching, counselling background with 20 odd years working with children, young people). With him being 13 now; it is time to sort this in prep. for the more demanding, independent work of his GCSEs.
My son is quiet and well behaved with adults/teachers but has many problems with young people his own age. He hates school. He often doesn't understand instructions in class and relies on people sat round him to decode what he needs to do. Many pieces of work are coming home incomplete and teachers are not checking up to see that he has responded to their feedback to complete. He doesn't approach the teachers to say that he needs support but evidence in books suggest that he is regularly misunderstanding or writing in a way that the teachers don't always understand.
I have spoken to key school staff, emailed evidence, asked for school feedback and a response from the headmaster. They are sticking to the idea that he is a 'model student' and there is nothing they are concerned about. My last response was 'I stand by what I have detailed to you and hope the school can remain open minded'. I have detailed the amount of extra time I sit with him at home so that he understands his homework better.
The Paediatric consultant says that he can't tell the school to get him assessed - but suggests that I try one last outreach before going straight to the education department. He also suggested reporting to the teaching council. He and CAMHS are liaising and writing letters to school (hopefully).
I am sure that many other families have gone through similar difficulties. How did you find a way through? Are there any pieces of legislation, wording that I can use in my next communication with school to stimulate action?
Would appreciate any tips,
I'm a bit confused. Is your DS currently in a secondary school (state/private)or is he at a prep school about to transition to senior school in year 9?
Good luck with getting any help for a well behaved child 😞
In our case we just did as much as we could at home intervention wise
OP means in preparation for GCSE.
I'm a bit confused though. Why doesn't he ask for help? What are teachers doing if work isn't completed? And if he struggles with his peers how is he able to get them to explain the tasks? At 13 it's down to him to respond to feedback or ask for help. What do you expect school to do?
To answer questions so far - DS is in Y9 at state Secondary school.
He doesn't ask for help because of a.) self confidence issues after being bullied (this and previous school) b.) because of the social/emotional challenges he has anyway. Yes at 13; young people would usually be responsible for asking for the support they need. He has one or two friends he can relay on for help in class, but generally doesn't gel with others. I don't think it is really fair on hi friends to have to pick up the slack. The teachers make feedback comments about completion of work but I doubt whether they have checked back to see if it has been done - highlighted when I have been into school.
I can't really understand what the issues are past he doesn't always complete work, won't ask for help and doesn't "gel" with others.
He needs to ask for help. At 13 teachers will expect him to take responsibility for his work.
If his consultant thinks an assessment needs to take place then why can't he arrange for that to happen?
Or do you mean an Ed Psych assessment? Sadly even if you do get the school to agree to that the way their time is allocated in most areas means you will probably have a very long wait on your hands for that one unless you are willing/able to get a private assessment
Ds1, 11, has similar issues but the community peadiatrcian referred him for asd assessment. As far as school goes , they have an online sims thing that I can log on to to check homework and other things. I have to organise him a bit but he doesn't get other support at school.
Can't the consultant arrange an assessment ?
Hi OP - I completely get where you're coming from, your DS sounds similar to my DD. It all fell apart for my DD after years of masking her difficulties and no support in school despite years of CAMHS - she never could ask for help in school precisely because of her social and communication difficulties. Being compliant, achieving academically and not being able to ask for help is a sure fire way to fall between the gaps. You are right to seek help for your DS
Take a look at the SEN Code of Practice. Also
(hope these links work, I rarely post!)
Also google Local Offer and Graduated Response for your Local Authority. (Not sure of LA role if yr DS is in an academy, someone else may be able to advise).
Is there a possibility of CAMHS and/or paed coming in to school for a multi-agency meeting - eg with the SENCO? Is your DS known to the SENCO?
What assessment does your paed mean? Could it be an Education, Health & Care Plan assessment?? If so, you'd need to show what school has already done to try to address needs (cf graduated response) & it sounds like you are some way from being able to evidence this as school not even acknowledging unmet needs currently. Or perhaps Ed Psych as Sirzy says? IME Sirzy is right and you may have to look at getting private assessments. This is a very stressful concept if you don't know what needs assessing or who should do this. But it might save you ££ and tears in long run. But you might need to really think about what it is you want assessing. Have you looked at the SEN Chat & SEN Children Threads - lots of knowledge there.
Good luck :-)
Thanks for responses.
Wolfie - He knows he needs to ask for help. The school knows that he wants to ask for help but doesn't. There is a gap which is due to his emotional/social difficulties.
Sirzy - I have only met paediatric consultant on this issue once and have voiced to CAMHs worker that I would like him to advocate for an assessment. She is contacting him again this week. The least I want is for him to put down that in his professional opinion a Cognitive Assessment is needed. I will be pressing him to see if he can do the referral himself. An Ed Psych assessment would also help - but like you say expecting a wait with that one.
Thank you Can for your reply. Very helpful. I will read that legislation hopefully tonight and get back to you.
Unfortunately even if he was officially on the SEN register there's very likely nothing school will do.
I too am confused about what assessment you want done and what help he needs.
If you think he needs to be seen by an Ed Psych you'll have to go privately.
There's no way he'll qualify for an EHCP. It really isn't worth pursuing it.
If you want teachers to spend extra time with him, it too just ain't going to happen.
SEN support in schools consist mainly of 'interventions' which is generally small group work. In secondary they're few and far between. And exam concessions like laptops and extra time.
If you want exam concessions get a private Ed Psych report.
The only thing most schools could offer him is 'a learning mentor' which is a school counsellor he talks to once a week.
He needs to ask for help
For some children with social communication difficulties this is very difficult or not possible. My dd is completely verbal and comes across as eloquent in speech but her ASD assessment highlighted the fact that she was unable to ask for help, even when prompted.
Sorry no advice OP, I am in the same situation (except dd is currently not attending school) so watching with interest.
In my LA a private referral counts for nothing. It is only for the parents to get a possible diagnosis, but cannot be used in order to obtain a statement or any additional support. Only an EP from the LA can issue that.
Thank you for your continued posts. I am feeling slightly deflated today as I keep hitting brick walls in terms of researching ways through red tape.
The assessment suggested by the consultant was for cognitive functioning. I am yet to understand what this is/entails. Would welcome comments from anyone whose child has had this.
I would love a private assessment/report; but can't afford to pay for one.So that option is somewhat of a non-starter.
Thank you Quark for comments RE: asking for help. It has been a typical response that he needs to ask for it; and I keep explaining that even for adults; asking for help is never easy. Imagine how much more difficult it would be if you had been bullied by classmate previously for asking. It sometimes is a case of he does not know what he does not know (if you get my logic). Then its putting what he need to know into speech.
A cognitive function test is usually performed by an Education Psychologist alongside other tests to get a general profile of strengths/difficulties. It provides a generalized IQ score and will tell if a child has any learning difficulties and specifically what the nature of these are.
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