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LEA likely to refuse request to assess ASD 2.5 year old advice please

(7 Posts)
juliaw Thu 18-Jun-09 23:16:34

We want to get DS3 (2.5) into SN nursery for Jan 2010, we had to apply for statement before got formal diagnosis (due July) as otherwise with summer hols everything gone on hold until Sept and then no chance completing procedure by Jan. Spoke LEA SEN officer who told me
1. Autism is not in itself a learning disability - they would expect his speech and social skills to be pants (this is not relevant), it is only if he is cognitively impaired (low IQ)) they would consider place at special school nursery. The SN nursery is for moderate learning difficulties and has taken more able children with ASD in recent past who then usually move on at reception - have asked for the admission criteria.
2. They have no "obligation" to educate him until he is eligible for free nursery place at age 3, he would then (in 6 months time not when we get diagnosis in July) go onto action plus and have maximum of 12.5 hours 1:1 and only if still not ok would they consider assessing for statement (ie so we would lose a year).
3. Cannot assess him until he has exhausted action plus.
The request has not yet gone to LEA panel so we have time to submit our information. Any tips welcome. I know they can't have a blanket policy (ie won't assess if only autism and not low IQ on top) and that is provision in code of practice to assess without going through action plus - if severe and complex needs - anyone had any success getting cognitively very able child with ASD included under severe and complex needs? Academically (literacy, numeracy, IT) my son has already exhausted the early years curriculum but little functional speech, no social skills / peer play, repetitive behaviours etc. Could I argue that his splintered skills (3 year gap between academic skills and personal skills for eg) is a complex need that a normal pre school nursery could not meet from own resources? I was hoping the SN nursery would teach him to read as he was nearly doing so at 2 before he regressed and think he might access language through reading before he speaks, but most of the girls at his nursery can't even spell well themselves! (Thats not to say they aren't lovely with him just not got the skills themselves to teach him the next step academically). Also has anyone got action plus / 1:1 before age 3?

asdx2 Fri 19-Jun-09 16:52:06

Well my advice would be to contact IPSEA in the first instance but I can tell you that I'm probably in a different LEA but still had my two with full statements and 1 to 1 in place before they started nursery. Neither of them entered nursery until the statements were in place, both have autism and an above average IQ because I would argue that IQ in autism isn't an indicator of a child's need for support.
Jack started the statementing process at 2.9 and Lucy at just two, statements were finalised just over six months later.
I would be hesitant of teaching ds to read tbh Jack could read before he could talk, I didn't teach him he just knew from around two how to read (he didn't talk with normal speech until he was six going on seven)
With Lucy I deliberately avoided teaching her to read even though it was obviously something that she would easily pick up because I found it a bit of a hindrance to Jack (he focused more on the phrasing and the spelling than he did the meaning of what was being said.)
I concentrated on play and communication and I think she entered nursery at a definite advantage to Jack. Once settled in nursery she learnt to read in no time quicker and easier than any of her peers.
I wouldn't dismiss a mainstream nursery tbh a good one with a tight statement is equally as good as a special nursery placement.
I would fight to get a good statement and then look at your options on the named placement. One step at a time

mummyrex Fri 19-Jun-09 19:40:12

I would ditto the reccommendation to contact IPSEA and unfortunately you'd better get used to the idea that if your DS does indeed have special needs then you are probably going to have to fight for his education rights for many years to come sad

asdx2 Fri 19-Jun-09 20:59:18

Some questions and info I forgot Does ds have input from the early years SEN teaching service/portage? as I found their input invaluable when pushing for a statement.
Does the LEA have a pre school SEN support service that could offer input and advice to the nursery ds currently attends?
Is there an autism outreach service available?
I think if you had input from these services you may feel more confident that ds's needs could be met at a place other than this specific nursery and they would provide reports that would support your statement request.
I have looked at Jack's initial statement reports and there is nothing there that mentions severe and complex needs tbh. He was very much like your ds though, he could read anything (hyperlexia) he could spell pretty difficult words (rectangle/hexagon) he could combine 2 and three digit numbers count in odds and evens in 2's, 5's and 10's up to 1000 plus, he could tell the time and mastered 24 hour clock BUT he had limited speech, he had no real play skills unless they focussed on his interests so he would build letters and numbers with bricks and draw letters in sand etc and he had extreme challenging behaviour and that I think was the crux. Jack quite simply was a danger to anybody who got within throwing distance. Does your son pose a danger to his peers or himself? Can he be redirected? Jack would resist for a whole day at screaming ranting whirlwind level rather than do anything he didn't want to do. I think you will have to provide evidence that without 1 to 1 support ds would seriously disrupt his own and others access to an education. Hope this helps

juliaw Mon 22-Jun-09 01:10:09

thanks for the replies. Interesting what you say about reading - its not something I'm pushing but if he does himself go down that road I want to know he will be supported properly and not taught things incorrectly which might be hard to change later. I don't think he is hyperlexic although he is ahead with all the academic stuff he isn't whizzing through it, when he learnt it was in a methodical way with understanding - he was interested enough to devote alot of time to teaching himself letters etc but it didn't happen overnight. At the moment we don't get portage or outreach as we need a diagnosis for either and don't get that until July. However I did have a good conversation with the outreach person last week and do feel that if the support was there by 3 in mainstream this would be worth a try, however I suspect we'd have to move him to a voluntary or school attached nursery as his current nursery is very much profit orientated. He is quite placid at the moment but is starting to have some behaviour issues at nursery - mainly due to a lack of insight by staff, eg being baffled as to why he has started snatching toys off others. The SN nursery is just so comforting just PECS and stuff everywhere you know what you are getting also the support will be under action plus and I'd prefer it written down in a statement! I agree I don't think the IQ is relevant - thats the LEA argument as to why his needs are lesser.

asdx2 Mon 22-Jun-09 05:20:20

I think maybe it is your current nursery that is colouring your attitude to a mainstream provision tbh.
My two both went mainstream although now Jack is senior school level he attends an autism base attached to a mainstream secondary.
With the support from specialist services a mainstream nursery can provide PECS, Makaton, TEACCH etc to aid your son's progress. Of course getting a statement ensures that these aids are used consistently and correctly.
As for the IQ I totally agree that it isn't relevant to a statement but I think it is relevant to the school your child attends. At nursery I don't think it would matter so much but when I looked round special schools for both Jack and Lucy it was obvious that the pace was too slow for them although the support and the surroundings were lovely.
I would definitely push for a statement, take advice from IPSEA and let it be known you are prepared to go to tribunal if necesary (in my experience LEAs hate parents who know the system and are prepared for a fight) for now don't think about getting it sorted for the deadline of getting ds into that particular nursery because you need a detailed, quantified and specified statement and that may take time but rest assured once you've got it you will get an education with support to meet your son's needs wherever that placement might be.

juliaw Mon 22-Jun-09 20:57:20

thanks asdx2, I have heard some positive stories about ms, just not the ones on my doorstep, so we are looking further afield. The SN nursery has a history of taking higher functioning children for nursery and then moving them on at reception, and I guess that seemed like a nice cosy idea. We have this week seen a m/s nursery attached to a school where they seem to have alot of sn experience, so we feel that would be a good back up. There is also an autism resource attached to a local school from age 4, but interestingly that again is having its places taken by children at the more severe end of the spectrum - previously we locally had a school for severe needs, a school for moderate and resource units in mainstream for higher functioning - now all the places for all of the above are being used for children with more severe needs. I do feel more positive though that a m/s option could work. BUT we are going to see if we can get it in a statement. Thanks again for the replies.

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