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Provision for ASD in Edinburgh schools

(29 Posts)
Alwaysinahurrynow Tue 09-Jan-18 17:27:27

Just wondering if anyone has any advice on ASD provision in Edinburgh schools either state or private? I know the state schools have to provide for the children, but I’m worried that due to the mild nature in how he presents that he won’t qualify for any support and will fall between the cracks. In his assessment, he isn’t being referred for any support, so i’m feeling a bit lost.

Balfe Tue 09-Jan-18 21:21:05

Edinburgh is so full. Is this for August 2019?

Support in the state sector all depends on
a) the other needs in the intake
b) how your DS presents when he gets into school.

WaxOnFeckOff Wed 10-Jan-18 08:42:00

It will also depend on the school itself. I'm not in Edinburgh but from what I can establish in my area, it seems to vary from school to school. Budgets are very tight I think so pupils on the mild end can and do fall through the cracks, in some cases it seems to be better in schools where they have greater challenge as there is more resource allocated.

In fee paying schools it can also be a bit of a chance as although pupil numbers will be lower, historically they haven't catered well for special needs though that may be different now. If your child is on the mild end maybe just the smaller class size and therefore theoretically more attention may be all he needs? There is also a direct link between their funding and your child so you may have more leverage.

Alwaysinahurrynow Wed 10-Jan-18 08:56:59

Thanks for the comments. He’s already in P1 we just suspect his current school would like to us to remove him, so trying to work out what to do.

Waxon does you last comment mean that the private school can receive council help for the child? We had understood that this didn’t happen.

WaxOnFeckOff Wed 10-Jan-18 09:09:26

No, I meant that their funding comes from you so there is a direct link between the money they receive and your child. In the state sector whilst they do get funding and we as tax payers are the source of the funding, it's not so transparent and it's not a business in the same way that a private school is.

That's not great re them wanting you to move him. Is he generally disruptive? At the end of the day, if he is in the catchment school for your house they have to get on with it and should be providing for him. What tends to happen is that promises of support are made, you wait for those to be implemented, they aren't then you raise it again, they apologise, make promises and then you wait and so on and so on. That's maybe me just being bitter but we've been raising issues since my son was in P2 and they've only just started (and now stopped!) to address them and he is in S6!! Everyone agrees how important it is. It was only the threat of going to the press about a monumental cock up (about something else) and a full complaint to the education authority that triggered the latest attempt to actually support him but as I haven't gone to the press it's all dwindled. This is at one of the top state schools in the country. I do know however that other DC in other schools have had really good support.

Groovee Wed 10-Jan-18 13:30:22

From experience from working in Nursery, Edinburgh are not funding much provision unless it's a physical additional need or they child is of very high needs.

Last year we had 4 children with additional needs. Only 2 had support and the 2 with ASD were left to their own devices because the council said no despite both children desperately needing the support. We tried to give time to both children individually but when you are running a full Nursery it's hard sometimes to do this.

One to one jobs are thin on the ground and seem to be going to those who have more input coming from outside agencies. The outside agencies seem to be able to get more support in place than the school staff seem to manage despite raising concerns.

sophieandthetiger Wed 10-Jan-18 16:45:02

Alwaysinahurrynow I could have written your OP!
DS is in the process of being diagnosed (in England) but DH is keen to move back to Scotland from England.

DS has something up, our best guess is the mild end of ASD. He's bright but struggling as they aren't helping him enough IMO. At least he's statemented and on the path to diagnosis here though. He'd be in P5 in Scotland.

WaxOnFeckOff and Groovee that doesn't sound great at all. Are you saying ASD kids are generally left to their own devices with not much support available, or was this just one particular school / nursery?

Groovee Wed 10-Jan-18 16:52:10

It's city wide as far as I'm aware. Council cutbacks.

We were expected to just get on with it despite the parents fighting as hard as they could for their child and staff writing necessary reports too.

sophieandthetiger Wed 10-Jan-18 17:09:33

Groovee oh no, that's not what I wanted to hear. sad

If we move DS now do you think we'll struggle to get him properly diagnosed and supported then?

Are other cities any better? (DH was also keen to look at Glasgow. I love Edinburgh, but this sounds like a huge spanner in the works).

fucking Tories making things hard for everyone

Balfe Wed 10-Jan-18 17:25:57

It is a nationwide issue. Special schools and units were closed and mainstream schools are expected to pick up the pieces without any extra support.

Even getting to the diagnosis doesn't particularly help because it doesn't entitle the child to anything. He wouldn't be automatically assigned a 1-1 for example.

What adjustments do you think he needs?

WaxOnFeckOff Wed 10-Jan-18 17:58:11

I'm in Stirling. As far as I can establish, schools where they have a lot of free school meal pupils generally have more in the way of available support but as my child doesn't currently go to one, I don't know if that's hearsay. he did attend a primary with high levels of deprivation - strange school in that half the pupils I would say were in the least deprived and half in the more deprived. We had to fight for support but he did at least get referrals and they went through the motions albeit very slowly. We didn't go for a full diagnosis in the end as they said it would probably come out as borderline and a diagnosis (apparently) would have no effect on the level of support he could get and at that particular point - bullying seemed to be being tackled - he seemed a bit better and was due to go to High School. He was supposed to get an enhanced transition but he ended up not going to the catchment school as bullying resurfaced. He now mainly struggles with social anxiety, sometimes to the point of selective mutism but at other times he can engage with people and have a relatively successful conversation. He is supposed to get support at school but it really doesn't happen. The only concrete thing he gets is to use ICT for his exams as his writing is terrible.

sophieandthetiger Wed 10-Jan-18 18:00:31

Alwaysinahurrynow I hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread! Hopefully some of it is useful you you too!

I don't think my DS needs a 1-1. I don't know what he needs tbh - but he does need someone to be looking at what help he needs in the classroom to access learning.

Our school also said they'd give him a computer to work on - except they don't have funding for any right now sad.

His reading is excellent for his age as is his maths. He's also interested in history and science.

But - his writing is very poor indeed. And it's not just that he finds it hard, it's that he is really resistant to writing on paper. I'm not sure which is cause and which is effect there.

He finds it hard to remember what he should be doing, to stay focused and on task (the paediatrician we saw seemed to think ASD but I suspect maybe also ADHD).

So although he's bright, he's not getting much work actually done at school. And, because not much is in his book, he's not progressing and is being held back on levels that are too easy for him, so he's getting bored and switching off. For example. he used to be taken out for class for extra maths as he was one of the most able for maths. But now our school's funding's been slashed, there's no extra maths.

His current teacher is asking him to repeat what he did in the maths club in class, but because he's not doing it, the teacher can't see evidence of his ability so won't give him work that challenges him. She says he has to do the work to catch up - but that's not appropropriate as the getting it on paper is the issue. Giving him more work to just get to the level he should be at is counterproductive. He's simply being turned off a subject he used to love.

This last year in particular his attitude to school has really changed, he's not enjoying learning any more, which is such a shame as he's so bright and interested in the world. Thankfully he still loves reading.

He also doesn't find it the easiest to make friends and I suspect that may get more pronounced the older he gets.

The provision is not ideal where we are, but we are at least moving towards diagnosis with the local NHS services. He's on the SEN register. Whatever happens we'll be moving soon though, possibly summer.

Is the situation worse in Scotland than here?

WaxOnFeckOff Wed 10-Jan-18 18:11:20

Sounds very like my DS1 sophie He was referred to Speech and Language therapy by his teacher in P3 as she was concerned he was staring out the window a lot and was hard to engage. He had read the first 3 Harry Potters and everything else in sight by that age (7) and the we said he was bored. She said she couldn't give him higher level work as he wasn't showing that he could do the stuff he had, he was assessed, she said he was bored. Apart from the anxiety, which mainly came from the bullying, he is doing well and has an unconditional offer for Uni. He goes to a high school with very little in the way of Low Level Disruption and this has helped. He has a group of geeky friends that he manages to maintain friendship with. He definitely has issues, but he does engage with school as it's more challenging now.

DS2 is 16 and we now think he has dyspraxia. he was fine all the way through primary (except his handwriting) but his teenage brain rewire seems to have gone wrong and he struggles with organisation and planning and remembering and is not working to what should be his potential.

sophieandthetiger Wed 10-Jan-18 18:14:23

She said she couldn't give him higher level work as he wasn't showing that he could do the stuff he had

This is just so frustrating, isn't it! Good to hear he's doing well now.

Balfe Wed 10-Jan-18 18:17:32

As far as I can establish, schools where they have a lot of free school meal pupils generally have more in the way of available support

Mmmm, I don't always agree. These schools might have more on paper (I don't think they do, btw, in terms of budget, apart from the new PEF funding) but they generally have a lot more children who desperately need support. This could be attachment issues, huge EAL numbers and SEN.

There is also a class issue here. Pushy middle class parents get more done. Schools in areas which have been historically deprived are often left to cope with a lot more than would be acceptable on the other side of the town. I truly believe that.

Groovee Wed 10-Jan-18 18:50:16

Our pushy middle class parents are getting nowhere. They've had counsellors involved etc and it's been a resounding no. We're completely failing these children because of the fact the council says no.

Issues arising in high school has pupils like my Dd becoming a mentor. Which is valuable experience for her as she wants to do teaching and she has free periods but things being missed or dropped at Nursery or primary is causing headaches for high school staff and leaving the pupils concerned in a vulnerable position.

No idea why they've started saying no in the last 18 months specifically. But out of the many children I have worked with, only 2 have been successful gaining places in a unit or a special school. Places are limited and just not enough to go round for the children who desperately need them.

sophieandthetiger Wed 10-Jan-18 19:12:30

Groovee this is depressing reading, but I'm really grateful to you. Much better forewarned!

Although I'm not best pleased with DS's teacher this year, I do know that there are other teachers in the school who are more proactive and our expectation is that we will get more help once we've got his diagnosis.

Are you saying that we should reconsider the idea of moving to the Scottish education system with a child with ASD? Would you do it, knowing what you know now?

Alwaysinahurrynow Wed 10-Jan-18 19:16:16

sophie no worries about the thread, I just have no idea where to start so I’m going to call the council tomorrow to see what I can get in motion or at least some timelines. We ended up paying for a private diagnosis as the school said it might take months to get a NHS appointment. Actually it was two months from the school referral, but the NHS said that they would take the private diagnosis as their base so it has moved things forward and it does mean that we have got a clearer position on exactly what DS’s issues are within 2 months.

wigglybeezer Wed 10-Jan-18 19:54:39

I have a DS the same age as Wax's DS who has an ASD dx which we asked for in his last year at primary as prep for going to high school. I don't remember it taking to long but he had had various reports from the speech therapists etc, over the years.
I could go into all sorts of details about the ups and downs but I have to say that the main advantage with the Scottish primary system in my opinion is that we don't do SAT tests (i know they are bringing in some testing now but not to the same extent), the pressure of tests and repetition of dry academic revision would have given him a nervous breakdown! Being a little older going up to high school is also good IMO.
I think you have to accept that it is inevitable that you will have to make up for deficiencies with extra help at home.
The enhanced transition to high school was good (we got it even though he wasn't in catchment) and it was useful playing the vulnerable pupil card to get problems with other pupils sorted. He also had access to a quiet, safe place to hang out at break and lunch. He has made good use of access to IT and extra time for exams and has done VERY well. Socially he is still behind his peers but the school helped him start up a club based on his hobby and he has made friends through that.

Groovee Wed 10-Jan-18 20:38:56

It's just taken about 19 months for a friend's Dd to get her initial appointment For assessment. The list is so long. My friend was asking for ages and it was a school move which finally got things moving for them.

Alwaysinahurrynow Thu 11-Jan-18 06:02:06

Sounds like we’ve been quite lucky getting our assessment done, although it doesn’t really give us any ideas of what to do next.

I’m going to see if I can arrange to meet Enquire next week to find out what i’m able to ask for. Can you go and visit schools with language units attached to see what they are like? Can you request that your child is not in a team teaching environment as it would not suit him due to the noise/additional distraction? Or does that all depend on what your assessment says? Thanks again for all the help

Groovee Thu 11-Jan-18 09:43:03

I know that they do allow visits to language units and special schools.

The others will depend on the individual school and what their intake sizes etc are.

My nephews have both had private assessments which the school tried to ignore but mum fought for them but it wasn't the greatest of support. So she paid for tutors as it was the best way.

Alwaysinahurrynow Thu 11-Jan-18 10:18:43

Someone else has suggested that we supplement with tutors but I worry that after being at school all day all the stimulation will be exhausting and so getting him to sit with tutors on top would be too much. I’ll have to see what the council say later on. I’m also going to speak to Enquire and see what they say.

sophieandthetiger Thu 11-Jan-18 13:04:54

Alwaysinahurrynow have you heard of flexischooling? It's where you home educate your child for just part of the week - so you might take them out for one or two days every week, for example, and do something totally different to school.

IIRC, many flexischoolers do it because they feel the school curriculum isn't meeting their child's needs for whatever reason - including SEN.

It's hit and miss as to whether schools allow it - some do, some don't. Many heads will have never heard of it!

At the moment we're still trying to get DS's school to provide what DS needs, but if we exhaust that route - or if I'm getting too concerned about him losing his love of learning - then it's good to know it could be an option (not an option that's easy to make happen, but not totally impossible at least!).

wigglybeezer Thu 11-Jan-18 16:17:17

I didn't use tutors i just did it myself and we actually did our own version of flexischooling for a while; I used to go into (primary) school and help DS2 catch up on his work, mainly finishing things he got left behind with with. We used a wee room the school piano was kept in while his classmates were at music or PE. I used to take Smarties in as rewards. Not saying this would work in every school (or if you are out at work all day or have a toddler at home etc.). I used to start muttering about flexi-schooling and home schooling and it always seemed to galvanise the staff to get their act together...for a while...
He's only got a few months of school left, he's quite happy about that!

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