which school to choose? ( potential SEN child)(4 Posts)
Hi, I am struggling to decide which school for my son.
My son is 3 2/1 and will be starting reception in Sep. 2012.
He has sensory processing difficulty and social communication difficulty (mainly with other children his age) and educational psychologist has a concern that he could develop a selective mutism when he moves up to school setting. We are house-hunting at the moment and obviously school is one of main concern where we settle down.
I feel I dont really know what kind of things to look out for when visiting a school or reading reports/test results in order to decide the right school for him. The result whether he has SEN statement or not will come out early next year. His paediatrician says that he would benefit if he goes to a school with speech and language unit. I wonder is this always the case? I do have a positive feel about the school in my area which has the language unit but wondering what would be the real differences are compared with other schools in the area.
I am wondering if you could share your experiences/tips in choosing school for a child with SEN concerns. Things I am not sure about are, for example, a SEN children can be academically bright but socially not communicative? In this case, academic challenge can be a good thing to boost his/her confidence? Would SEN children treated differently in school? (I know they should be all inclusive but what is the reality?) I know he has sensory and social issues but I strongly think my son is very bright and would love him to develop whatever he is good at.
I would very much appreciate any comments. Thanks in advance!
So far, we've found that a large, well-resourced school has been our best bet with a good track record with children with a variety of SENs. DS started at an average-size school (the most convenient) but we moved him as soon as it became clear that they really didn't know where to start with DS (mind you we're not much wiser now, but his school are trying very hard indeed). If nothing else it has meant that DS's school have been able to reshuffle teaching assistants and give DS a lot of additional help from within their own resources at the moment it's been needed, rather than having to wait for the LEA to cough up.
Its also important to ensure that the Headteacher and Senco do have a positive attitude to inclusion. I found that in reality some schools do not really want children with SEN (although they wont admit it openly). You need a Head teacher with a positive attitude and who is willing to work with you in partnership - without that the teaching staff will have no incentive to provide the support your child needs. Visit the schools and ask for examples of how they have helped other children. Watch out for comments on "problems" and "issues". Talk to other parents too if you can.
I think you should definitely speak to the head, reception teacher and SENCO and get a feel for how inclusive they really are. I agree that in practise many do not really want children with SN. I experienced this when looking for a school for dd2. No one actually said 'please don't send her here' but it was pretty obvious. However, the school I chose couldn't have done more for her. They were immediately interested and willing to be flexible with dd2. She has made good progress there and I am very happy with it. It is actually quite a small village school. They key so far has been excellent senco and reception teacher and brilliant 1:1.
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