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Move to Brussels with a special needs child

(13 Posts)
becs1973 Wed 04-Nov-15 08:24:56

Hi everyone

If anyone has any advice I would be very grateful! We are currently contemplating a potential move to Brussels. I have 3 kids, the 2 youngest would be fine to attend a local school. My eldest (would be 9 ish by the time we moved) has autism. We don't live in the UK although he was born there and we are British, so he has never been statemented although he has obviously been diagnosed. He currently attends a special school where we are living in Africa.

Does anyone know the situation with local schools in Brussels and special needs children? He is verbal but would need a shadow teacher to access a mainstream curriculum. Alternatively what are the local special schools like, does anyone have any experience of them?

The alternative is to move back to the UK but as I have no experience of living there with kids I don't really know if that would be any harder than moving to yet another foreign country! Sorry for the long post, just wanted to give you some detail on the situation.

Thanks in advance

lifeisunjust Wed 04-Nov-15 14:40:09

You don't say what languages you speak?
Also the level of autism, as the spectrum is quite large.
Also do you have money to pay for a private school?

becs1973 Wed 04-Nov-15 14:55:36

Yeah sorry, useful info! I speak english and french but the kids only speak english. As for the level of his autism...well hard to say really. He tests in the middle if the spectrum fwiw. He is verbal but expressive is far ahead of receptive language which means that verbal iq is half of non verbal (which is above average). Having written all that down I think he would possibly need to be in a specialist school for autism. We could possibly stretch to international school for him, I know the bsb (I think or maybe isb) has a good special needs programme.

Rather strangely he actually functions rather well in a non english speaking environment because once the pressure on him to communicate is removed he can focus on the task at hand, which was why I was mooting a local special school for him....

Decisions decisions!

becs1973 Wed 04-Nov-15 15:31:59

Just been doing some further research and I notice there is a school called les acacias in anderlecht which has an autism unit attached which uses the teacch methodology...if anyone knows anything of this school i would appreciate your opinions. smile

lifeisunjust Wed 04-Nov-15 15:35:15

Just wrote massive reply for it to be lost.

BSB takes special needs on an individual basis. You would be expected if they recommend it to pay for an extra teacher, so expect 20 euro an hour on top of 25-30k fees.

ISB has a bigger special needs provision and also costs more.

1) private Ecole Anne Misonne in Auderghem, up to age 14 only, another school specialising in autism ecole des 4 vents takes from 12-20, that one is bidding for public school so fees free status.

2) Ecole Schaller in Auderghem - public special school with classes specifically for autistic children.

3) Ecole la Clairiere in Watermael-Boitsfort, as above, but probably for more severe difficulties.

More useful links.

lifeisunjust Wed 04-Nov-15 15:37:27

Transport to special schools is free in Belgium, though I am not sure you'd want to be that near to most of Anderlecht.

Where will you work?

The most desirable areas of Brussels are north, south or east but NOT west .

becs1973 Wed 04-Nov-15 15:39:28

Wow thanks lifeisunjust smile will take a look at those links now, am thankful I speak french at least if not Flemish as do much of the info is (understandably) in those languages! Thanks again for the links

becs1973 Wed 04-Nov-15 15:46:26

It would be my husband working, right in the middle of town near the palais de justice. I would like to work eventually though I'm a secondary french teacher by training and I doubt there would be much call for my work in belgium! Am currently volunteering in special needs education that's potentially an option. We are still looking to move only a year or so from now but because of the complications with educating my son I like to do my research way in advance!

becs1973 Wed 04-Nov-15 15:50:54

I hear anderlecht isn't an area you would want to live in! What's traffic like in brussels? How far realistically would you want to be from a school? Bearing in mind I currently have a daily round trip of 100km for my sons school run anything will probably be better! ??

lifeisunjust Wed 04-Nov-15 15:51:32

Stick to those schools I linked to.

Maybe even ecole Joli-Bois in WSP might accept, there is a special section and a mainstream section and some children go between the 2 which in fact share dining hall and playground, though the special section specialises more in dyslexia and similar.

I would put money on you choosing south eastern communes if you choose Brussels, metro line 5 goes past la Clairiere and Schaller, lots of very nice mainstream schools in that area, in to work in less than 30 minutes by metro. Communes of Watermael-Boitsfort 1170, Auderghem 1160 and some of Woluwe-St-Pierre 1150.

lifeisunjust Wed 04-Nov-15 15:52:47

You don't need a car in Brussels, can function perfectly well on bike, foot and public transport.

You could live maybe 500m from school?

becs1973 Wed 04-Nov-15 15:59:49

This is great, thanks so much for your help! Not having a car would be blissful, I've spent the last 7 years living in countries with little/no public transport to speak of so there's been no option, would love to be able to cycle places again smile.

MsMargaretHale Sat 07-Nov-15 13:39:05

St John's in Waterloo welcomes children with special needs. It's private, but you can negotiate fees if you are paying yourself. Many international employers will also pay if your DS has a statement or equivaleny.

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