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School for child with severe speech & language delay

(40 Posts)
AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 18:17:29

Hello, I’m hoping for parents of children with similar needs to share their experiences with me.
My son is 4 and only has 2 words. He doesn’t point, shrug, pull hands etc and doesn’t communicate using makaton or pecs.
Can I ask for experiences of both special & mainstream provisions please.

OP’s posts: |
Nix32 Sat 13-Feb-21 18:49:21

Have you inv

Nix32 Sat 13-Feb-21 18:50:40

Have you spoken to your health visitor or GP? Does he attend a nursery? Does he have a diagnosis of anything?

CrumbsThatsQuick Sat 13-Feb-21 18:52:37

Does he have underlying social communication difficulties, has he seen a paediatrician? Specialist provision linked to the underlying need would be recommended at the level of skill.l you have reported.

Crazycatlady83 Sat 13-Feb-21 18:56:45

Does he go to nursery? Have you asked them to apply for an EHCP?

Thatwentbadly Sat 13-Feb-21 19:00:35

MN has an SEN board. You might not know about it because it doesn’t appear in active as it has had issues with trolls. It might be worth posting on the SEN board.

Littlefish Sat 13-Feb-21 19:03:00

I agree with Thatwentbadly that you will find more parents with experience in this area in the Special Needs part of Mumsnet.

Is your son due to start school in September?

lionpaws Sat 13-Feb-21 19:03:05

My son has global development delay due to a traumatic time in hospital when he was a few days/weeks old. He's 3 now. We are in the process of applying for an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) through our local authority. It should be finalised by the end of March.

Once this is in place we are hoping for a pre-school place at a Special School with a view to transitioning to mainstream before Primary.

You can start the EHCP application yourself through your local authority website.

Our son has regular appointments and quite a few health care professionals involved and they have all been asked to contribute to the EHCP process.

Not sure if that helps you at all.

GooseMooseBurger Sat 13-Feb-21 19:09:22

My DS had S&L delay, although he was more verbal than your DS at 4, he was very echolalic and his understanding was v poor. He had an ASD diagnosis at age 3 and went to a SN nursery. He started at a special school for children with ASD in reception. His speech and language has come on leaps and bounds, although still delayed and I think he will always struggle. He loves school and is very, very happy there.

AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 19:15:40

Thank you @Thatwentbadly

He goes to nursery yes and we’re in the middle of EHCP assessments. He’s got a diagnosis of autism & sensory processing disorder.
I need to start thinking about what setting to name on the EHCP and I really don’t know. He starts school next year so I have time, but I’m a real worrier.

Didnt know about the SEN board @thatwentbadly thank you! I’ll try there.

0-5 Sen inclusion team haven’t really recommended what would be best, neither has his SLT or HV. It’s such a big decision and I really don’t want to mess it up.

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AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 19:16:37

Sorry, my son is 3. It says 4 in my OP. (Fat fingers)
Hes not 4 until September.

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BendingSpoons Sat 13-Feb-21 19:19:06

I am a Speech and Language Therapist. Do you have a diagnosis and an EHCP (or applying for one)? I think Special Schools are often better if children are going to struggle to access the curriculum. I think there is a risk in mainstream of a child being on the fringe and not actively taking part in much. But this depends a bit on his diagnosis and expected development.

Nix32 Sat 13-Feb-21 19:19:34

If you have the chance of a place in an SEN setting, then take it - it's much easier to move from SEN to mainstream than it is to move from mainstream to SEN.

AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 19:21:50

@BendingSpoons in the process of EHCP and he has a diagnosis. His speech and language therapist has said that mainstream would be better for him in terms of his speech; because in a special school he wouldn’t have the modelling, would hear less speech etc
But then in the next sentence said - but he would no doubt struggle with a class of 30 and mainstream would present other problems for him.
It made me even more confused.

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AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 19:22:18

@Nix32 yes I’ve heard this before. Thank you. I really don’t want the placement to fail, he struggles with change.

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ConeHat Sat 13-Feb-21 19:22:48

I have two sons in SEN schools with SLT on staff. One was non verbal until 6 and has ASD and goes to a speech and communication school, but it had to be proved his primary need was a language disorder.

I'm looking for a secondary and their are very few like his juniors.

AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 19:24:33

@ConeHat thank you for replying. How does your son find it? Do you think the school really helped his speech? What’s his speech like now? Sorry for all the questions.

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Nix32 Sat 13-Feb-21 19:28:28

SEN schools are much better placed to provide support and expertise. Mainstream staff will try their best but classes will be larger and the expertise may not be there.

BendingSpoons Sat 13-Feb-21 19:31:26

Part of your difficulty is you have 18m until he starts school, so he may progress lots. I would ask about changing a named provision later, but I would have thought you can still apply for a mainstream place next Jan as normal.

If children can access an adapted curriculum, then having mainstream peers can be advantageous but if the gap is too big, I think it can be more isolating.

What is he like in terms of attention? Does he respond to his name? How does he tell you what he wants?

SinkGirl Sat 13-Feb-21 19:32:00

Hi OP. I have twins who are 4 now. They were diagnosed with ASD at 2, I applied for EHCPs just before they turned 3, we went through a long process (plans were issued but they were absolutely crap and the LA wanted to name a school for severe learning disabilities which my twins don’t have - they are non verbal and delayed but both very able to learn and we don’t believe they have intellectual impairments). I had to appeal the plans and placement - their tribunals were in September just after their 4th birthday, we won and they started at an ASD specialist school in early October and were then full time from that half term. Obviously this term has been a write off so far but it has been amazing for them, truly. One is now spelling and starting to read, although still non verbal.

They were not due to start reception until September this year. The provisions vary by area but here there are no specialist nurseries - some of the specialist schools have early years provision from age 2 but you need an EHCP so it’s rare to start before 3 or 4.

For me it was a no brainer - if going to mainstream they would have stayed at nursery for this year where they weren’t really progressing, then gone to a mainstream school where they wouldn’t have understood anything or been able to interact with peers. Instead they’re in a tiny class of 7, every child in that class has full time 1:1, they’re all trained in ASD, they have sensory rooms, soft play rooms, forest school, weekly trips out, swimming pool, even half a term of equine therapy every year. They have OT and SALT on site, their paediatrician runs clinics at the school, it’s just an entirely different experience than mainstream. Autism specific strategies are embedded throughout the day, the building is designed around the needs of autistic children so lots of individual rooms in their building, low arousal environment... it’s just an entirely different proposition.

The private EP who did reports for our boys said that there is no reason they cannot make significant progress in a setting like this. The school does dual placements with a mainstream school for those who can manage. Once they’re in the main school there are academic streams and sensory / life skills streams depending on how things progress, and all being well they can stay at this site until 16.

I would have been really concerned about them going to the school for profound and multiple learning disabilities- there was lots in their OFSTED reports that concerned me in terms of whether they’d have an appropriate peer group. From that information I know that one of my twins can already spell better than some of the children 3x his age for example, and the report raised concerns about low expectations for more able pupils. However, I would probably still have taken that over mainstream because I just cannot understand how they would have managed.

So it really depends on the school and your child’s needs - have you had a look at what’s available locally?

The other thing to consider is independent mainstream schools - there are lots of children who couldn’t cope in a maintained mainstream school due to large class sizes etc but cope well in an independent with fewer children. Also much cheaper than specialist so easier to fight for.

SinkGirl Sat 13-Feb-21 19:33:33


*@BendingSpoons* in the process of EHCP and he has a diagnosis. His speech and language therapist has said that mainstream would be better for him in terms of his speech; because in a special school he wouldn’t have the modelling, would hear less speech etc
But then in the next sentence said - but he would no doubt struggle with a class of 30 and mainstream would present other problems for him.
It made me even more confused.

In that case look at independent schools nearby as well as specialist.

AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 20:18:51

@BendingSpoons he can’t communicate his wants. He is under dietician as he regularly refuses food. He says Bobby for milk, which is all he will drink. Rarely eats.
He doesn’t respond to his name usually, if he does it takes many attempts and you have to do it when he isn’t doing something else.
All his reports say rigid attention.

@SinkGirl yes this is what my husband is now thinking. As he would get smaller class sizes and hopefully they’re able to offer more support.

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AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 20:23:09

@SinkGirl sorry I’ve just seen your other post. That sounds fantastic and I’m so pleased your sons are doing so well!
Where we live, there are either mainstream or special schools with children much more severe than my son. I’m like you- while he does have some difficulties, he also has lots of strengths and I do think that with the right support, he could really progress.
My concern with special is that he would get by, as opposed to reach his full potential, if that makes sense?
I also have the same concerns as you about mainstream- simple things that you’d take for granted - answering yes Miss to the register, choosing partners for sports, choosing lunch etc are all things that he is currently incapable of.

I agree with PP who said it’s so hard to know how he will be in 18 months. It’s such a long time.

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AmIBeingTwatty Sat 13-Feb-21 20:24:47

@SinkGirl that school sounds absolutely amazing. I just read that post to my husband. Do you mind sharing where in the country the school is?

OP’s posts: |
dancemonkeys Sat 13-Feb-21 20:29:18

What has the Ed Psych said?

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