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Do you have a child with mild ASD or ADD in secondary school?

(14 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Mon 21-Oct-13 09:30:41

We have a y6 DD who id probably going to be diagnosed with 'something' this year.
She finds it hard to concentrate, is very inflexible and doesn't handle frustration well. We still have full on tantrums 2-4 x daily which involve screaming , swearing and occasionally physical violence but luckily she is quite settled at school and does very well academically despite her inability to concentrate on anything for too long.
She is always sorry after a tantrum and can be the kindest and most helpful of my children sometimes, but is just so emotional and ready to fly off the handle when she has to do something she doesn't want to.
She also has below average social skills and doesn't pick up body language from other people. She makes friends easily but doesn't seem to be able to keep them sad
We have 4 children, the eldest of whom started secondary school this year and she has been mainly fine, but I can see what a change it is and how difficult it is going to be for DD2.
DD1 is at an academic school, and we are looking at the same school for DD2 but I'm wondering how much help they will be able to/ willing to give.
If anyone has any experience of a child like DD2 starting secondary school, then I would like to hear how things went as I'm getting very worried about it and wonder if there is anything we can do to help.

Trigglesx Mon 21-Oct-13 09:35:55

You might want to also try the special needs boards - specifically either special needs chat or special needs children. There are a number of people there that have children in secondary school I believe.

FiveHoursSleep Mon 21-Oct-13 09:39:22

Do you think that would be okay since she hasn't been diagnosed with anything yet?
I don't want to upset anyone.

Trigglesx Mon 21-Oct-13 09:45:36

No, you wouldn't upset anyone. DX can take years sometimes. We're all pretty laid back, trust me. There are loads of people there with lots of experience that can be very helpful.

Please feel free to come over. No diagnosis required. Honest. smile

wigglybeezer Mon 21-Oct-13 09:46:16

I know three children like your daughter, two are my Ds's and oneis the daughter of a friend ( who sounds very like your DD). They have all found secondary school much better than primary school and are actually performing better socially and academically ( well Ds1 is not doing well academically but that was always going to be an issue with him) to the relief and surprise of all concerned. Saying that, we both chose to send them to An out of catchment school with a more academic/middle class peer group ( and yes I had a lot of angst about this ). The only child I know who has found it difficult has been the grandchild of my mum's friend but he has always found school difficult, being more affected by aspergers than the others mentioned.

creamteas Mon 21-Oct-13 09:52:40

I have two ASD DC in secondary, and to be honest, now they get on better than in primary. Their school has an excellent Senco and prides itself on pastoral care. But the transition was hard, and it took nearly a year for both of them to settle in, and this was with lots of extra visits and support.

I presume your primary school SENCo is already involved? If so, I would go and have a chat with them about what works and doesn't work for your DD in school. Then contact the potential secondary schools and see what support would be in place.

moosemama Mon 21-Oct-13 09:57:08

Hi, definitely come over to MNSNs, lots of us started off over there pre-diagnosis and some can't get or don't want diagnoses - it doesn't matter, we're all there to support each other.

My ds is 11, has Asperger's (diagnosed when he was about 8 1/2) and started secondary school this September. He is academically able and like your dd, holds it together at school (this is called masking) then releases all his anxiety and stress when he gets home.

We knew a large mainstream academy wouldn't be able to meet his needs and this was confirmed when the local academy refused to take him (not because of his behaviour, more because of his vulnerability). There was nowhere else for him to go in our LA (which really only has enormous academies these days) so they pay for him to go out of area to an independent mainstream school that has a lot of experience of pupils who have ASD. In order to do this though he had to have a statement of special educational needs and we started the process of applying for that when he was in year 4.

The best placement for your dd will really depend on her specific needs and what's available in your area. Many LA's simply don't have any suitable placements for pupils who have ASD but are academically able - hence them having to be transported out of county in our area. Ds has an hour's taxi ride to and from school every day and this was a massive change for him - having lived across the road from his primary school for 8 years.

The school he goes to has very small class sizes, a high proportion of TAs/LSAs and a much better understanding of ASD than many mainstream secondaries - but it is quite rare in that respect. It hasn't been plain sailing, by any stretch of the imagination, but he is happy there and I despite the problems, I'm sure it's massively better than it would have been if he'd been sent to a large comp or academy.

SallyBear Mon 21-Oct-13 10:07:10

Secondary School can either be the best thing ever or a difficult challenge. The change from Primary where there is usually one teacher and classroom to moving to Secondary where you have to trudge about an entire school for lessons carrying bags, having different teachers teaching different subjects can be very difficult for an ASD child to cope with.

FiveHoursSleep Mon 21-Oct-13 10:09:04

Thanks for the help guys. I have asked nicely if MN can move this thread to Special needs so I don't lose the replies from the people who have already answered.
Unfortunately we don't really have time to look at too many other schools as the forms have to be in at the end of this week.
I have always known that something was 'up' with DD2 but my DH hasn't been keen to have her assessed as he thinks it's something she will grow out of.
She did seem to be improving last year but then her elder sister started secondary school and DD2 has fallen to pieces when it comes to compliance. she has started refusing to go to school and has stormed out of the house on occasion and taken off , which isn't safe for a 10 year old sad There fore we have only just begun the process of trying to sort her out some help next year.
So I took her to the GP's last week and filled in some forms to get her referred to CAMHS.'Luckily' she had a meltdown in the GPs so she could see what the problem is.

SallyBear Mon 21-Oct-13 10:13:50

Speak to the Primary SENCO and get her onto School Action Plus. Have you spoken to any of the SENCOs at the local Secondary Schools? Have you looked around the other schools when they had their open evenings?
My twins secondary school has a really good SEN policy, which has meant that there are now many kids who have chosen to come to it from all over. They've had to increase the amount of TAs.

FiveHoursSleep Mon 21-Oct-13 10:22:50

She's not under the primary school senco as once she gets to school she is doing well. It's just getting her there and dealing with her at home which is difficult.
They picked up her concentration and friendship issues, and they do help her with these when they occur but they have much more challenging kids in the school so tend to concentrate on those.
Stupidly I have just been assuming everything would be okay next year, but after another difficult morning I can see that getting her to secondary school is likely to be much worse and I'm wondering if the same, partially selective, school will suit DD2.
She already thinks she is going to her sister's school and likes the idea very much, but I'm not sure what their SN provision is like.
Their pastoral care in general appears to be very good, but I'm not sure that translates?

SallyBear Mon 21-Oct-13 10:29:27

Then you need to have conversations with the SENCOs at your local Secondary schools, not just your DD1's school. It might not be suitable.

Trigglesx Mon 21-Oct-13 12:00:51

they do help her with these when they occur but they have much more challenging kids in the school so tend to concentrate on those

This unfortunately is where you're going to have to be the squeaky wheel. If she is only melting down primarily at home, but obviously due to issues at school, they aren't going to see it and therefore aren't going to do anything. You will need to arrange a meeting (preferably in writing) and discuss with them what's going on and your concerns for next year. Make sure her teachers are aware of any "tells" that she might have that she is struggling (DS1 has specific behavioural and physical tells that he is having difficulties - once the teacher is aware of them, there's no way she can miss them) and try to pin down when they are occurring. She might be able to tell you when she is feeling more stressed in school as well - she might not but it never hurts to ask.

Raise your concerns, make sure they're listening, find out what they are going to do to support her. Does she have an IEP? If not, she probably needs one. They should be able to put one together within 24-48 hrs, and give you a copy. Implementation should be immediate within the classroom. And they should be reviewing it regularly (DS1's was reviewed every other month in MS) and including you in the review meetings.

Yes, they'll have more challenging kids in their school. But you need to make it clear that your DD is just as important and needs support as well. You will see a phrase very frequently on SN boards - you are your child's only advocate - if you don't stand up for them, who will? It's true.

Document everything. Follow up meetings with a summary in writing so there's a copy in her school file. Get copies of any paperwork they make for her - paper trails are very helpful (and lets the school know you're on the ball).

If you are concerned that she may need a statement, check out the IPSEA website - there's loads of info there.

mumslife Mon 21-Oct-13 13:27:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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