My Son with possible ASD is being excluded at school -- HELP!(41 Posts)
My son has been referred for a full assessment. He is four and has just started Reception. He has had a lovely time at Nursery so far and got speech and behaviour therapy to help deal with frustration and social situations. He is not violent, just very quiet and in his own world. We moved house to be near a (seemingly) great independent inclusive school. We shared all his reports and the school said they could support him and his target for the first term was to settle in.
His class teacher will now not have him in unless there is full-time 1:1 support. The school has not been able to arrange full time 1:1 and he is now only allowed in school 9 hours a week. He is just four, has gone through huge change with a house move, new city, new school etc. He loves going to school and he is not a violent child who hurts himself or others. His teacher says he can't come in because he is disruptive and "talks in a high squealing voice at times" and she can't care for and teach the other children while he is there. None of these were issues at his Nursery which he attended full time without any extra support.
To make matters worse my elder child is at the same school. She cries when she sees her brother is not allowed in school/lunch times/PE etc while her friend's siblings are. And my son cries when he drops off his sister and can't understand why he can't be allowed to go to his class.
Please please help us here. My family is going through our worst, most stressful period ever. This is a fee paying independent school that is putting us through this hell. A statement, if he gets one, is atleast 4 months away at best, we;ve been told. Till then we can't look at moving him to an ASD special school.
Any advice on what we can do in the meantime?
You need to talk to the head, they've taken your fees with the knowledge that your ds needed support and they would accommodate him and now they're back tracking?
Can you look for a better school for him? Independant or mainstream as this school Unfortunatly don't seem willing to help.
Is homeschooling a possibility for a while?
Was the only reason for the house move to enable your DS to go to this school? They must have sold you a very good story- do you have records of the meetings you had prior to signing up?
TBH I had red flags going up as soon as I read that his target was just to 'settle in'. What did they mean exactly by that- start behaving exactly like everybody else?
They are clearly NOT inclusive at all. I could understand it if your DS was being violent and they didn't know how to keep him safe- but to say he can't come to school because of verbal stimming?? Are you planning to try to stick with them? If so I think you need a meeting with class teacher, SENCo and Head to talk in detail about what they meant when they said they could support him and to create an action plan which you can hold them to. You ARE only paying them for the 9hrs a week aren't you??
TBH I think in this instance you would probably be better off with a state school. Despite working in the state sector (I am a specialist ASD Teacher) I am pro-Independent. I have my own DS in a prep and it is wonderful. However, I don't think they would do a great job of applying for an EHCP and/or knowing what to do with a child who needed a great deal of differentiation in terms of their environment and learning style. They just don't see enough 'different' sorts of children.
RandomMess I have emailed the head yesterday and am seriously looking at removing him. It's been terribly stressful for us. We're paying full fee for him to attend only 9 hours a week and being asked to pay extra for the 1:1 since he doesn't have a statement/EHCP yet so no LA help.
Sirzy I want to keep homeschooling as last resort as he is very capable academically and I don't feel I can help him reach his potential. Also he loves the formal school setting having been in Nursery since 18 months old and all his support staff have stressed need for being around peers to help develop speech and communication, his main area of delay. Worse they are no ASD or homeschooling support groups anywhere near us.
You won't get a statement (now called an EHCP) for a non-violent 4 year old who speaks in a high squeaky voice and who has not been supported by school. You didn't choose a great school, you chose a school which can pick and choose who to cater to and frankly it seems they can't be bothered to try to support your son. How will 1 to 1 support help? Will it stop his high pitched voice?!
I would be running fast away from this school and to a nice inclusive state primary (look for caring and nurturing first, not academic results) who can start the journey of supporting your child and who, to be honest, deserve to have him. These guys don't deserve him, and will not serve him to the best of their ability.
No, I am paying them a full fee plus extra (600 pounds a month) for the 9 hours 1:1 he is getting. The only 9 hours he's allowed in school.
Yes, we moved a long way to come to this school. Something they are aware of. Sadly no written record of meeting but we were very clear that he won't be a perfect, conformed child and he will need extra support.
I feel like the biggest muppet now. I did this thinking that following all the professional advice I am giving my son the best chance by keeping him in a small indy with inclusion. This is turning into the biggest mistake of my life.
(This is because the code of practice for SEN states that school has used its 'best endeavours' to try to support your child - and spent at least 6000 pounds - before the LA is expected to support. Reducing a timetable to 9 hours a week within the first half term and demanding full time support doesn't count as 'best endeavours').
Totally agree with Squashy. No way will you get a statement. Move your child to a much better school.
Sorry OP but as the parent of a child with ASD I think this school have let your son down. They are certainly not practising inclusion.
Are they talking to anyone about him or just taking your extra cash until they can say nicely "sorry we can't meet his needs" at the end of term.
I am not saying all Independent schools are like this and I am sure there are lovely inclusive ones around. However quite frankly at this moment in time you and your DS would be getting much better support and education in the state sector who would at least be talking to the LEA and trying to get the right support in place.
I'd be absolutely fuming in your position. They have really let your child down and are continuing to do so with this 9 hrs a week timetable.
Might also be worth you posting in SEN Chat as there are some very knowledgeable folk over there.
Will you get LA help if you are in the independent sector ? When my DS was in an independent school we had to pay to get the deaf teacher in to see him which would have been free in a state school . I think your son would be better served in the state system where he can fully access everything available to him .
Oh and please don't consider a move to ASD special school just yet. He doesn't sound like he needs that, he really doesn't, unless you are very much underplaying his difficulties.
It is incredible that they have been so quick to exclude him. I really feel for you.
Don't lose hope, it will be OK, you will find somewhere in your new area that suits your DS- whether it is making this school work or finding another one.
Could you ask to go in and observe so you can see what it is that the class teacher is finding so disruptive? Is there any chance there has been more of a problem than they are telling you? I think if you want to stay with this school you need to wade in up to your waist and insist on full meetings, being allowed to go in, insisting they get Ed Psych recommendations to support THEM to support DS.
If you don't start looking at your alternatives on Monday. If you were prepared to put your area people might have recommendations of schools that are genuinely inclusive.
I wouldn't pay them a penny for the hours they excluded my kid from class.
Move him somewhere else. Don't feel guilty, you were trying your best.
So, if I can ask without causing any offence or asking for any identifying info here, how extreme does a child's behaviour have to be to get an EHCP? And a referral to a specialist school?
My son is not violent. But he had a tussle with another child in the playground over a toy. Since he doesn't always use his words he swats. I say swats, not hits out or lashes.
I am just trying to consider options here and see what is best for both my children.
I can only subject a spectrum-y child to so much change so my first thought is to try and make this work with the Indy we're at. I hope taking a very firm line with the head may help.
I agree with the others that the school is failing your child.
However I do wonder is the squealing is more of a stimming type behaviour? Maybe I'm completely off the mark but if he's finding it very stressful and feels unable to cope a lot of children with asd do make noises / movements to make themselves feel better (I'm sure you know this). If he's doing it a lot I can see that it may be disruptive to a class and why he would need more support. However the school should be looking to provide this.
I have a son with asd who is 3.5 and on the advice of the paediatrician we have started the ehcp process with a view to getting him into a specialist school. My son has a lot of issues however and would never cope in a normal nursery setting as yours obviously has. If you would like to explore the idea of an ehcp for your son contact your local councils Sen department. You can apply for an ehcp yourself, once they have reports from everyone involved in his care they will decide whether to go ahead and issue one or not. In your situation I would visit some other schools first and see if any of those seem more supportive and if not then I would apply for the ehcp now and see what happens from there.
His communication difficulties are quite significant. There is a lot he does that is very much autistic behaviour like echolalia. But there is no physical stims, he has pretty decent eye contact and can follow all instructions at home. No sensory issues, no difficulties with transitions etc.
Basically a very bright boy who is severely delayed with expressive and receptive language. Having him understand rules is hard: like now is story time and you must sit quietly. However it was all handled very well at Nursery. If he didn't sit for story or circle time, he was given his 'box' with things that he likes and could happily play with. His echolalia can get quite loud at times and I think this is what is making the teacher exclude him, that he disrupts the class. But I think that can be managed. He's very productive when his 1:1 is there and quite on task. He's just four and she has started to work with him on addition and on making 4-5 letter words and learning to correctly hold a pencil and write his name. If he can be such a good productive boy with 1:1, why can't the teacher do more?
I feel like no effort is being made by the teacher and staff and effectively they've given up on him. Keeping him here is not good for his self esteem because he knows he's being excluded and put in a box.
From the school's point of view their priority will be keeping the parents of the other 10 dc happy, presumably hot housing so they get "results"
Most indie schools are selective precisely because they want children who are easy to teach AND will achieve.
The SEN code of practice is law in state schools. It isn't in indy schools but they are expected to give due regard to it. It states very clearly that where SEN are identified the school should undertake assess- plan-do-review cycles to try to meet the child's needs. They should coordinate appropriate involvement of other agencies and full parental involvement. This assess-plan-do-review cycling should continue to see if the child makes progress. It can incorporate planning from specialists such as ed psych or specialist teachers. If despite doing all this over time - a school's 'best endeavours' - a child isn't progressing then an EHCP can be applied for.
Really if he is snatching toys, being a bit noisy sometimes and in his own little world then that is something the school would be expected to manage.
So it isn't so much about 'exactly how bad the behaviour is' but more evidence of a process of support over time and despite this, no progress or very limited progress.
I am telling you again, this school gives me very bad vibes and my strong advice would be to remove your child immediately. Everything is more straightforward in terms of SEN support in the state sector.Your children are individuals. What is best for one isn't necessarily best for the other. But obviously you will make your own decision!
For an EHCP the DC needs to have really quite significant difficulties in one of the areas or complex (so maybe milder but across several areas) difficulties which make accessing a mainstream teaching environment basically impossible.
It varies from LEA to LEA but in my experience for school starters (I'm sure others will have had different experiences);
Learning and Cognition- at least 3-4 years 'behind' e.g. a 4yo at 12mo goals.
Communication and Interaction- 4yo zero verbal communication, probably struggling to pick up PECS
Social, Emotional, Mental Health- Multiple daily acts of aggression towards others and/or self harm
Sensory- profoundly deaf or blind, never seen a statement just for sensory integration issues.
and, yes, you generally (although not always) have to have already put in concerted intervention and had no/ little progress. Some children do have EHCPs put in place before they start school, but in these cases the difficulties will be incredibly clear cut.
Independent schools are often ill equipped to deal with Sen and as you are discovering can charge extra for support (possibly even if you did get an ehcp) and choose not to admit a child with Sen as they are unable to provide suitable support or "invite" them to go elsewhere. Take this as a warning of the attitude further up the school. It seems unlikely to improve.Your best bet might be to look for a more supportive, probably state, school and negotiate not paying a term's notice by mutual agreement that it is an unsuitable environment for him. Did he do a taster day and what made you pick this particular school. Whether you decide to leave your dd there would probably depend on how well this handled and how much confidence you have left in them.
If they are claiming the eyfs funding for him , surely they are obliged to provide 15 hours minimum. Also it will have been Ofsted inspected which might give you the official Sen/SN stats. Might be worth a call to LA Early Years department and Ipsea.
I wouldn't say it has to be so severe for an EHCP or a special school, tbh. DD1 was statemented at 4.0 years and a special school named to take her at 4.9 years. She had a spiky profile with moderate to severe delay in most areas, with no sense of danger and was 'flighty'. She had a known brain malformation by that point but her general label was 'global development delay'. She's now year 5 and operates at old level 1-2 in all areas, so about 3-4 years behind academically, but is likely to still operate at those levels in year 6 because progress is slow. She generally operates functionally at around half her age, so is at 4-5 yo level at almost 10 yo.
To get an EHCP you need to demonstrate that more than 6k of support would be necessary in a MS school (12-15 hrs TA time) or that his needs can only be met in a SS - you can't attend SS without an EHCP.
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