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ASD transition to school(6 Posts)
I have lots buzzing around my head here - please help me to clarify my thoughts ( or throw in some I haven't had yet )
My DS (1st child, new to this process!) was diagnosed Autistic Spectrum last year aged 2 and 1/2. His birthday is mid June so relatively young for school year group. He has not ever been left before in a creche/nursery/preschool/CM etc mostly due to his anxieties and communication difficulties.
He is due to start primary in Sept 2011 aged 4.3, and we are in the process of applying.
He is only just in the last month or so showing signs of readiness for preschool / school (IMO) at age 3.4.
We have found a primary we feel will suit him, and we have commenced the statement process. The school does not have a Nursery/Preschool attached.
I would like a gentle, gradual introduction to school, hopefully with support if statement process allows (and if it doesn't we will certainly appeal!). I have met HT, ruminated a bit, now going back to meet HT and hopefully SENCO with DH.
I am considering either:
A) a deferred entry - ie Jan or following year even. Have been advised by HT not to defer entry as will fall behind year group, won't travel a year behind so would start in Y1.
B) a preschool / playgroup placement starting soon, in preparation for FT school Sept.
C) part time entry in Sept until we feel he is ready for FT school
My preferred option is C (I think) and need to decide whether a preschool is still necessary if he will be PT in Reception. I envisage just mornings until we feel he's ready for full days.
Home schooling is definitely an option, but would like to explore the option of school to see if it helps bring along his social skills and interactions. If it traumatises him he will be out in a heart beat and home schooled.
Gah, so much to think about, difficult to know what to do for the best - and hard to be sure as not completed statement process yet - don't know what support LA will offer . . .
Please, anyone been through similar? can you advise or share your experiences? is there option D that I haven't considered??
(Sorry to ramble)
You know your child best so let your gut feeling be your guide.
Bear in mind that your child comes to school with funding and if his entry is deferred the school will miss out on that money. That may influence the advice you get from the headteacher. The reception year is still part of the EYFS and the children should be learning through play at very much their own pace. Therefore he should not fall behind because he'll still be learning if he's in a pre-school. IMHO being emotionally and socially ready to cope in the school environment is a far more important consideration.
My DD2 went part time for six months although at that point she didn't have a diagnosis of ASD. She's being assessed now. I went with my gut feeling, against the wishes of the school staff and have never regretted it in the slightest.
I'd suggest spending a decent amount of time in the reception classroom, watching how things work and then you'll be able to picture your child and imagine how he would cope. Take promises made with a pinch of salt. Assume they'll be busier than they realise and can't quite do everything they commit to. In my experience promises are easily broken once you are out of the picture.
How big will the reception class be?
Next year, my dd's class will have at least 27 children and there will only be 1 teacher and 1 TA. Apparently it would be good for them to learn to be independent... I am teaching my dd to say very loudly when she needs help. The adults won't be able to control any little fights or bullying, imo. However, my dd is nt and very vocal and has lots of friends because lots of children from the playgroup she is in will be moving to the class with her.
When my ASD ds started, he had 30hrs 1:1 but still he went part-time for 3 months, then 3 full days and 2 half-days etc. He still found it hard to cope. If I were more clued up now and knew what to signs to look for, I would kept half-days for longer.
You know your child best and don't be swayed by school telling you how well he'll cope etc.
Thanks both for your replies - I realise my message wasn't very coherent, like my train of thought at the moment. It helps to get it down to rationalise it too.
It's good to hear from people who's kids have been part time, it seems unheard of around here.
Al1son, the HT's point about deferred entry was made whilst visiting the reception class - the children were sitting on the carpet reciting the alphabet together in phonetics. His point was that (and this was in Oct) they will have moved on from these basics by Jan and DS would have some element of catching up - which I accept - although hopefully he will have extra support so this shouldn't be a problem. I'm not concerned for him academically as he seems quite bright.
keepyourmouth, it's a large class (can't remember now either 30 or 32). On paper I had ruled this school out due to large class sizes but when we visited the atmosphere was calm, ordered, efficient and the staff kind - perfect for DS. Letting adults know he needs help is unlikely
Anyone know if he does get 1:1 support on his statement and I then tell them he's going part time do they reduce his support pro rata?
Thanks both for confirming I need to trust my gut instinct, it's difficult when experienced professionals disagree with me, but maybe their focus of a good outcome long term is different to mine - I want him to enjoy the journey too.
Very briefly... my May-born son has AS, though it hadn't been diagnosed so early. My gut feeling was that FT school was not right for him at 4.4, so I deferred until after Easter. He only did one term in Reception, but it was not a problem (being an ultra-ultra high-functioning type, he was already several gazillion light years ahead of his peers academically, which meant we could focus solely on the social side of Reception, which he found/finds difficult). Fortunately we had an enlightened head, who said parents were the best judges of their children's needs and that schools should fit around the child, rather than the child fitting in with the school. What's more, she practised what she preached: I sent DD part time in Reception just because she was a summer baby and I liked having her at home. I sent her full time when it was clear that she wanted to be having fun with her friends (which was after Christmas in Reception).
One disclaimer: it's a private school, which I think is a big help re. flexibility of starting dates/patterns.
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