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College course nightmares - 18yo DSis w/ Asperger's

(8 Posts)
Germ1250 Fri 26-Aug-16 15:54:51

Apologies, this going to be v.v. long. 18yo sis with Asperger's has just finished Level 1 Animal Care. She loves animals, especially cats & dogs and would work with them if it were possible (admittedly she'd need a lot of support going into a job).

BUT... College have treated her v. badly. She has had an LSA for all lessons, but this person is shared by her and one other girl who has dyslexia. LSA also ends up helping others in class, and is dominated by girl with dyslexia as she asks for help but my sis is inclined to think she understands when she doesn't or just doesn't feel able to ask. The few times she's asked for clarification of some technical term from tutor, he tells her "you should be writing stuff down in your glossary". She gets ill constantly, often with sickness & diarrhoea (never used to when at school or at home in hols) and has noticed that a lot of the rest of the group don't wash their hands after working with animals. She's been put off working with animals because of this, and as one of the tutors (not her usual one) told her dissection would be involved at level 2. She was told to get her attendance up in order to be considered for level 2, as her written work was ok, which she managed to do. Despite this, she was still told she couldn't, and was encouraged to horticulture, agriculture, any other level 1 course, basically. My mum suggested horticulture, which she went along with, as she always does. I asked if my mum if that was really what she was interested in - she replied "well I've got her to watch the Chelsea flower show...".

My bro & I have had numerous meetings with college (&DM) to discuss sis's progress, lack of support, etc. DM will not write down a list of points she wants to raise, and when we get out says "I wish I'd said...." The last meeting I went to they said there would be no support for sis on level 2 unless it said so on her EHC (she had LSA all the way through school). I asked what was on EHC, SN lady said she'd have to look it up. Turns out no EHC was carried on between school and college. She has been there for two years. EHC is now getting sorted. Meanwhile, after being told she can do horticulture, everything's fine by tutor, she then got told by head of course "I won't take anyone with special needs or difficulties with Maths" and had previously tried to discourage her as class is all boys and it might distract them. DM complained and she was put on course. Head of horticulture course denied that it was she that said the above and blamed assistant head of course. So now my sis is going to be on course with a tutor who is likely to resent her for getting her in trouble (or at least having to ask awkward questions) and never wanted her in the class to begin with. This surely cannot end well.

I've been phoning other (much more local colleges - current one is 20-30miles away though there is a bus specially for student from our area which she goes on) to see what's available. One of our local colleges (10min train journey away) WILL take her for level 2 animal care, have confirmed there is no dissection. Only problem is transport as she's has difficulty telling the time, dealing with public transport, etc. but I don't think that's insurmountable. Other college, walking distance/bussing distance does "Careers & Personal Development" course - Eng & Maths + social & lifeskills + work experience within college.

DM thanked me for phoning/emailing round and getting all this info but she won't consider even taking sis to interview at either of these, and seems to think that since EHC is being done at current college, it will be difficult going anywhere else. Have said I will help sort whatever needs doing in that regard. It can be done, and I know EHC plans go with the student, not the college.

Being on a course she’s not really interested in with a teacher who resents her at a college who (I believe, as do my bros) have failed her so far is surely a recipe for disaster, isn’t it?

How do I convince DM to let her go elsewhere?

Sorry this is such an essay! Hope someone can help!!

Bitofacow Fri 26-Aug-16 16:08:06

Most colleges will only accept a student on a level 2 course if they have level 1 or equivalent in English and maths.

Tutors are professionals with lots if students they don't have the time or energy to resent pupils.

You need to chase up the EHC, the local authority should have someone who will help you.

If she has issues with independent travel she NEEDS to prioritise this over everything else, she will then have some control over her own life and not be dependent on others. EHCs move with the student all colleges know about them. The tutors on a Life Skills course will be experts.

Germ1250 Fri 26-Aug-16 16:18:04

True. But I have spoken to the college (more local one, not where she currently is) about this, and they are prepared to accept her (she has Eng but not Maths).

Yes, the vast majority of tutors are extremely professional - but what this particular one has said (as well as her general attitude) was certainly not!

Totally agree re. EHC & independence. Difficulty is getting DM to consider other colleges.

Bitofacow Fri 26-Aug-16 17:21:41

Is she likely to get leverl 1 maths this year? If not be careful about enrolling on a L2 course because she could end up with no progression.

As the college with the life skills course if she can visit, perhaps have a taster session. Life skills courses change lives. Delivered well they increase confidence and allow students to move away from 1:1 support. Too much support is not a good thing. Encourage her to try this.

Germ1250 Fri 26-Aug-16 17:29:33

Yeah, I expect she will, I don't think she was too far off a pass. Am encouraging her to go for taster days at both colleges - totally agree, a lifeskills course would be great for her (or at least support in that direction alongside another course). I don't think her current situation really encourages it.

Bitofacow Fri 26-Aug-16 17:48:47

People obsess about the level of a course but it is far more important she learns how to learn and then she can get on with her life.

Germ1250 Fri 26-Aug-16 19:28:20

Absolutely true. And I think she's being held back from that where she is at the moment. I think DM lets her take the easy option and not be stretched or make any progress at the moment (she was still walking her to bus stop, despite her having done so on her own).

Bitofacow Fri 26-Aug-16 19:48:36

It's hard to let go and more so for SEN parents but they must. Many students don't want to let go but thrive when they have to. If you think she is being held back you are probably right. Push her.

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