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Being sent to Autistic Unit without a diagnosis or formal appraisal?

(27 Posts)
prettybird Mon 21-Feb-11 15:03:59

Not sure where the best place for this is - I've posted in Special Needs - Education and will maybe post in Chat as well because it is urgent. Sorry it is a bit long.

A friend of mind has just (today) been informed by letter from the council's education dept that her ds (8) has a place at the local Autistic Unit starting in August - not something she had been pushing for.

He is in P4 (=Y3) and she has been asking unsuccessfully for an assessment since he was in P1. She's finally managed to speak to the head mistress of his current school who said that her ds met all the criteria of a child with Asperger's and that he would be better off at the unit and that he didn't need to have a diagnosis to attend.

She has an emergency meeting at the school tomorrow morning with the head and the education psychologist to discuss. She has had dealings with the education psychologist but there has been no formal appraisal or referral to other services/support - in fact I was talking to her yesterday about her frustration about the lack of an appraisal and offered to help her write a letter demanding asking for the appraisal.

She is not sure how she feels: devastated, upset, maybe in denial (direct quote from the email from her) She is trying to write down questions and can't think of any just now - so I thought I'd ask the wisdom of Mumsnet (with her permission).

Her son is challenging - but is also very bright. He is youngest in his year - which had been her dilemma when sending him to school as he was ready educationally but not socially (in Scotland we do have the option of genuinely keeping them back a year, so that a child ends up one of the oldest in the year rather than the youngest).

He is capable of major meltdowns - but also understands discipline. He relates fine with adults. I know her (and her son) through Minis Rugby, where the coaches can cope with him - ensuring that he had clear boundaries and when he transgressed them he had a "time out" (no different to the other kids, although he possibly had more timeouts than most).

He was kept in the P1-P3 group for a couple of extra months (as his coaches had a good relationship with him), but he is now training with the rest of the P4s. His P1-P3 coach says some days he could be fine - really good, helpful, charming, but other days he could be awful - although he only once over the 2 years had to send for his mum. He can understand, however, how a school might find it unacceptable to have a child that needs that much attention (fine on a rugby pitch when you can send them to the side).

He has been excluded from the school 3 times over 4 years - always with the support of his mum. However, she has not been happy to find out that recently he has been the subject of bullying (coming home in "spare" school trousers because he had pushed into the mud) and not been told about it (she only found out when she washed the trousers and noticed that they were girl's trousers).

Should she allow this to go ahead without a formal statement? What sort of questions should she be asking? Having looked at the HMI (Ofsted) report for the Unit and the School Handobook, a lot of the emphasis of the Unit is on "learning core social skills" (and not so much on "mainstream" schooling one of the HMI's criticisms). It also has shorter school hours and different playtimes to those of the mainstream school it is attached to (again, a criticism by HMI - so that may have changed).

How will that impact on her ds' long term education? What should her next steps be?

lougle Wed 02-Oct-13 21:38:56

How wonderful smile

Turniphead1 Wed 02-Oct-13 22:55:33

Taramoonstone - I hadn't seen this thread before but as a mum with a recently dx DS with Aspergers I am so glad you have come back to update us.

I am glad your boy is doing well and wish you lots if success with his transition to High School.

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