School changing my High functioning ASD Childs TA without any notice(9 Posts)
Hi. I was wondering if anyone has had experience with this or knows what is the correct procedure for something like this. I am at a loss, quite upset and uncertain as to what is the right thing to do.
My son was Diagnosed with High Functioning ASD just after his 4th birthday but was being assessed whilst he was still in nursery. The nursery is attached to the school, so for reception they were prepared for him and had organised a 121/ TA for him.
He gets along with his TA, they just clicked and have a great bond. She is very good with him, is considerate and takes time to learn about his condition. The school sent her to a one day course for Autism. For background information he does not have a EHCP, which I have discussed with the school to try and get for him. They said as the school is meeting his needs he will not get one anyway. There have been occasions when it is quite evident that they do not understand his needs (to try and list some here would make this even more long) But having said that, i can and do appreciate everything that is done for him.
She had moved onto year 1 with him and he had a good transition plan put in place beforehand which we worked on together. I have attended an Early Bird Plus course which has been invaluable to me as we also are just learning about Autism and all that it encompasses.
Approx 3-4 weeks ago his TA was off sick for one day. I did not know this but as I went to drop my LO off to nursery the other class TA told me and said don't worry [DS] is doing just fine. But when I went to pick him up he had one of his trouser legs turned up. He limped towards me and stated to cry. Basically he told me that he fell off one the playground equipment and hurt his leg. But because he was 'scared' of school he cried and hid. He had hurt his leg quite badly it was bruised and had a massive lump on it. There was no report slip of an accident and the teacher had not come out to inform me. The next day it was so hard to convince him to get ready for school, he kept crying and saying he wants to stay home. I had to go in and speak to his teacher and TA (who was back) they had had no idea of him getting hurt.
The thing is he likes routine and predictability which is very typical of a Austistic child. Even when they think he is ok. He is not. He gets very afraid when things change all of a sudden and a lot of his emotions become evident when he feels secure like he comes home and can cry emotionally for hours.
So approximately a week later I got a note saying that his TA will not be able to look after him the next day, but not to worry as he will have another TA who had spent the day with him and his TA. At that point I did think what does this mean and what are they planning.
So back to my reason for this post. My sons school broke off for half term on Wednesday. I got a call from the SENCO yesterday (Thursday). She informed me that they will be changing his TA over as there is a child in more urgent need in Reception and as his TA has the qualifications she is needed there. He will be having another TA who he knows since reception so it will be someone familiar. So my question was what qualification does this new TA have to deal with my son? She replied don't worry she is an experienced TA.
She told me this will take effect immediately from the Monday when he returns. ??
The very fact that he needs a proper transition period completely escaped the school. This too when they know how important it is for him. We discussed managed his transition from reception to year 1. Why would they not consider it for this???
I asked her do you mean his TA will not be there to explain it to him, she said oh ok we can arrange that. Don't worry he will see her around school???
The thing is they knew they had this planned why not keep us in the loop and inform us and him so we could transistion him properly??? She did say that nothing was fianalised until today at their meeting so was unable to inform us before. But they knew this was on the cards, as they took her away for one day. So they already had an awareness. Why not make us aware. Why not have it planned properly???
I undestand that there are other children who very well may need more obvious attention then my son. And even though his TA is amazing and has a bond with [DS] it may actually do him good to get experience of someone else. I have two bug bears here:
1. I know my son is high functioning but that does not mean his needs are less important. Also his needs are a lot more nuanced, harder to understand as it is not so obvious. He has sensory issues also. But sometimes as his mum even I do not work out quick enough what is upsetting him. I don't want him to fall backwards. It is always a stress to get him ready for school in the morning as he never wants to go and when he is more stressed about school it is a lot worse. (once at school he will get on with it and actually even enjoy himself on 'normal' less stressful days, he struggles with transitioning and also is attached to me quite a bit)
2. The SENCO actually said to me. You son is really quite good in social situations???????? Does she not know as a SENCO the very reason he is on the spectrum is because he suffers with SOCIAL situations? His IEP is full of him having to learn to interact with his peers without too much invading space, kissing and touching. ( he put his fingers in his friends mouth to make them laugh). When he plays he can get too rough as he does not understand boundaries, etc etc.
What should or can I do in this situation? Also I think I should go to apply for his EHCP, as I now realise that maybe as his mum I should just protect him a little bit more.
Am I right to do this? I do not wish to be a pushy mum at all, but my instinct tells me I need to do this as I want him to make the most of his life, get the best from school and enjoy it. HELP.
SORRY I know this is long winded but I already have cut out so much. I appreciate any advice.
Apply for the EHCP. He needs it, and you don't need the school to back you up. It helps, but you don't need it.
I would apply for th EHCP, but also bear in mind that lots of schools are moving away from the model of one TA working 1:1 with a particular child and towards a more team approach anyway.
If you want to apply for the EHCP that is totally up to you, but you need to bear in mind that it wouldn't mean that they don't change his TA. TA's are moved around all the time to where they are most needed, there is no guarantee that your son will have the same TA very year.
I've reported your post OP as you've accidentally named your son. I'm sure mnhq will edit it soon.
I'm so sorry to hear about the stress your son is going through op. My son is very similar in terms of need and is due to start school next September and this kind of thing really worries me.
You definitely don't need school backing to apply for an ehcp - we've put in for ours for ds already, you can request the assessment through your local council. Don't let the school try to put you off, it is not up to them to say you won't get one.
It is true that they are moving away from the idea of having the same 1 to 1 all the time however you and your son should have been talked to properly about this and then like you say you could have explained more about this to him. The school doesn't sound particularly helpful.
There is something to be said for having a pool of TA's to work with a child with HFA as there will always be the odd day where through sickness or training they can't be in school. As ds1 phrases it he can cope with regular irregularity but it is when there is a change to a constant that he can't cope.
Having said that it needs to be done with a great deal more planning and transition then the school seem to be doing. I would agree it is worth applying for an EHCP to get a better assessment of needs (if he is getting so anxious it is likely school contrary to their belief are not meeting all his needs) but this will not designate a specific person as his TA rather the grade required so school could still swop around. Transition arrangements can be written into an EHCP plan so this would at least help if there is an unavoidable change of staff. My two also had IBP (Individual Behaviour Plans) that were a relatively short list of do's and don'ts that could be passed onto supply teachers etc to ease transitions. Some schools do a "passport" for children with SEN which again serves a similar purpose.
As mum if HFA son my advice is to provide change in a safe manner. Your son will need to function in a society that isn't constant or predictable and learning to cope with change is a really important life skill
If you do succeed in obtaining an EHCP (and school is right to warn you that it's not likely/guaranteed) it us better he's supported by a number of TAs
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