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I think my kids are so lucky

(50 Posts)
Chummybud1 Fri 19-Aug-11 18:21:51

i am writing this and trying to word it carefully so I hope I don't offend anyone.

Where we live there are no sn schools, so all the children regardless of needs go to the same school where there needs are met.

My own son has Dcd and has just started high school. His needs don't require sn school.

I just think my kids are so lucky to have the opportunity to mix with children with such a range of sn.

For instance my non sn dd2 who is 8 has a deaf boy in her class. He has a signing teacher And my dd2 has been taught to sign.

In my sons school there is a wee girls with down syndrome, another boy who is autistic, a boy with aspergers, and a few others with various needs but am not sure of diagnosis. There is also a 16 yr old girl who is mentally much younger.

The result of this is that all the children here are very accepting of children with sn. they play together, they work together, they go on trips together etc etc

Don't get me wrong the school has all the usual problems, bickering, falling out, even occasional bullying (not to the sn kids) but I just feel the kids here are so accepting of sn.

I am just grateful that my kids will grow up understanding that although people have differences we are all just people and that they won't be afraid of people who are sn or disabled.

shaz298 Sat 20-Aug-11 08:55:05

Sounds like a lovely place to live smile

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 09:42:04

Well it's ok, very, very, very rural. Nearest supermarket 2 hr drive. So in some ways it's good in other ways it's sucks lol

coff33pot Sat 20-Aug-11 13:31:00

Sounds like an ideal school setting smile Good as they grow up together and learn the importance of respecting each other. Very rare and yes they are very lucky smile

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sat 20-Aug-11 14:17:49

Hi Chummybud. I've just been complaining on another thread about my DS's primary school of 200 children, where my DS has just left. There are now no children there with a Statement.

I think his class have actually benefitted tremendously from having my DS with them. They have become, for the most part, very caring and tolerant people. Lots of the parents have spoken to me about how loyal their children feel towards my DS.

The only bullying he has had has been from new children joining the class, who were soon squashed by the rest, and sadly from the younger children, about 3 years younger who don't know him as well as those nearer in age to him.

I'm worried, as you know, about his transition to secondary as only 3 from this loyal class are going to his new school, due to the fact that the local 'outstanding' comp isn't at all inclusive. I'm hoping that these 3 will try to lead the rest of the tutor group in understanding my DS and how funny and sparky he can be.

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 16:06:36

Yeah my son is so lucky. The older kids at his high school him know him well from knowing his older sister, and all look out for him. I never really thought about it that much

We moved here a few years ago so my oldest went to completely different school. Her primary school had no sn kids or if there was it was mild. The only real interaction was when they brought the sn kids from the local sn school to visit. But there was no real interaction and to be honest it was as if the sn kids were needy rather any real integration.

The people where I live take it very much for granted that all the kids will mix, and the non sn kids look out for the sn kids just as the older kids look out for the younger kids. Like I said it's not perfect, the sn kids maybe not get the equipment or treatment as often as those in bigger places. For instance my son needed ot but the therapist lived miles away so could only visit occasionally but she taught staff member in school exercises and they were integrated into the school day.

Only problem with here though is when the kids leave school as young adults there is no facilities for them. So very often they have to move into residential care which is sad.

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 16:14:12

Ellon the good thing about high school is the wide range of kids who will be there. Your son I s going to be fine. You might find he copes better, short classes, moving around more, older kids that ate a bit matured regarding sn.

I wrote this in our other thread and should have mentioned it before.

One thing I got so sick of at school was the lack of passing on information or the saying I did not realise your son could not .......... Etc etc

So I made up a pack, it contains bullet points of my sons needs, what he can do, what he can't do, what he needs help etc. I also included document from a website that had bullet points regarding teaching kids with Dcd. I give this pack to every teacher, assisstants, instructor that my son encounters. Then there is no come back for claims of what they did not realise.

My reason for doing this was, my son went on a rare school trip, running around in a woods doing activities organised by rangers. My son nearly wandered off and it was a parent helper who knew my son that fetched him back. The teacher said she thought he would go along with the crowd and the ranger had not been informed he had sn. Nothing bad happened but it could have.

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 16:17:20

Ellon I also think that it shocking in this day and age that kids are still so segregated. I know that it is not always possible to have mixed school but there really should be more effort to get kids mixing. Councils and schools should be organising actives etc so children can mix, it's so important for kids to learn that sn can come in many forms but at the end of the day kids are just kids all out to have fun.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sat 20-Aug-11 16:47:47

Thanks, Chummy. Your DS's success is really giving me confidence. My DS's secondary school have a 'passport' for him with relevant information on, which is a working document that can be changed as necessary. It's on their computer system and automatically come up on the teacher's laptop at registration at the start of each lesson. I'm hoping this will a) be really useful and do what your pack does and b) be looked at!

appropriatelytrained Sat 20-Aug-11 16:49:27

I think LAs and schools can perpetuate this division too because real inclusion can often take training, time and money.

For example, one of the arguments against increasing my son's provision was that he would look different to everyone else. However, his disability makes him different and help might have reduced that or at least made everyone understand why he needed breaks from work or to be on his own sometimes.

Instead, difference is looked at so negatively and proper support is not put in place to include children properly so that the end result is that those children with difficulties end up looking 'different' in a negative way and their self-esteem suffers. Their parents then, rightly, fight for them to be somewhere appropriate and less detrimental to their confidence and sense of self.

In one of my son's reports, a teacher complained about him being allowed to have breaks for his physical difficulties and this was put forward on the basis of 'the other children are noticing and commenting that it isn't fair'. My answer to this is - bloody tough! Get on and be a proper teacher and explain to your class why some children need breaks from the class as I would as a parent to my children.

Schools/LAs are too often allowed to get away with such negative perceptions of disability - difference is bad - because the alternative costs time and effort.

saintlyjimjams Sat 20-Aug-11 17:22:19

Haven't read whole thread will do later but I am relieved my son has access to an SLD school that caters to children like him and allows him freedoms and the opportunity to learn that he didn't have in mainstream (he spent 4 terms in mainstream - it was a disaster and most of the reasons it was a disaster couldn't be fixed without a special building & environment).

The trouble with removing special schools is that it really does remove the opportunity for an appropriate education locally for kids like my son. If we lived in an area with no special schools he'd have to go to resi. With SLD plus a specialist respite centre he's been able to stay at home.

appropriatelytrained Sat 20-Aug-11 17:32:08

It just goes to show saintly that there is no one size fits all but the system so often just doesn't allow for this by making even basic adjustments and accommodations.

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 17:32:32

Hi saintly yeah I do agree, I don't think special needs schools should be removed as they are for many kids a life saving necessity. I just feel that school and council should by law have to give all kids the opportunity to mix and learn about each other. Obviously this requires money and in this climate not very likely, I just feel it's shocking that many kids today still go through school with no real experience of others with sn which may means as adults they discrimination will continue.

Appropriately I agree with you, many schools just don't do enough and if a child needs extra help, breaks whatever then it should be permitted and explained to the rat of the kids. I sometimes feel that adults are more to blame than the kids, yeah kids can be nasty but they can also be very accepting when given the opportunity to be.

I think as a society us adults need to give kids more credit

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 17:34:10

I agree I know some kids needs are very complicated but when basic needs aren't met what chance to we have all.

saintlyjimjams Sat 20-Aug-11 17:47:52

My son's school has a primary site on a mainstream school site for the children who are more able socially - they also have reverse inclusion so children from the mainstream site come into the special school. The head has plans for a cafe to be run by the older students for the public (only when appropriate obviously).

But he's a runner and an explorer. Mainstream schools are designed to keep people out - he needs an environment designed to keep children in. So at mainstream he was totally isolated, often in a room alone with his ta who was glued to him at all times. Within a few weeks of being at special he was being taught to fetch the register alone. Also at mainstream he had the curriculum modified in a very academic way. In special school he has a curriculum that makes a lot more sense for him (lots of life skills which he needs). At mainstream mismanagement of behaviours led to an increase in challenging behaviours, now we have much better behaviour - probably the best we could have given his condition. Then there's the specialist equipment such as hydro pools. One of the special schools locally is relocating to a mainstream site. They're losing the hydro pool and gaining a football pitch which a vast number of the children will not be able to use.

Yea mainstream settings could definitely be more flexible but I worry about the loss of specialist provision. It is very difficult for example for my son to access out of school activities because inclusion policies have removed the specialist schemes he requires.

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 17:50:52

Yeah I agree sn schools are a necessity and should not be closed or merged unless it benefits all. I just think more should be done tp teach children and to allow them to mix. It sounds like your sons school are half way there. It sounds fantastic.

vjg13 Sat 20-Aug-11 18:21:10

I totally disagree with the OP and am delighted that my daughter attends a special school. I see her school years as being for her, so that she can learn and gain as many life skills as possible not so that she can help other kids become more accepting of others with additional needs. That is the parent's role.

The unpleasant reality for many children with special needs in MS is that their inclusion is locational only and they don't have any friends. sad

saintlyjimjams Sat 20-Aug-11 19:20:50

I do agree with vjg13

I don't think it's half way there chummy - it's all the way there! The school's only focus is the learning disabled kids which means that money raised etc goes to benefit them. One issue I know with units is that it's very hard to persuade the school to spend for example PTA money on something that will benefit the kids with SN, rather than the mainstream kids. Recently out PTA spent 2 grand on a kind of bed learning station which his super height adjustable and allows the children with the most significant PMLD's to be more included in lessons because they can be positioned in some particular sort of way. There's no way that much PTA money would have been spent on that sort of equipment in a mainstream environment. Meanwhile with reverse inclusion mainstream children get used to seeing children with significant disabilities in a safe secure environment.

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 19:48:45

I think posters are reading my post wrong, not once did I say that special school should not exist all I said was that schools and councils should put policies into practises so that all children have the opportunity to integrate. Vjg could you explain exactly what you disagree with as I never said that the integration should involve the closing of sn schools only that I felt all kids benefitted from mixing with each. I am rather posters are insinuating that I am in some way saying sn schools should not exit.

My original post was just saying how lucky my kids were to be brought up in an environment where all kids mixed and therefor gained a good understanding of all levels of sn.

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 19:50:24

My post is being taking completely out of context.

utah Sat 20-Aug-11 19:59:34

There will be children that do travel from where you live to special schools you just may not know about them, most children with SN are in mainstream. If I lived by you my son with all the help in the world could not at present be able to cope in MS, he would not be safe. You are right though as mixing with children with SN can be beneficial for all, my children have learnt to be so understanding and tolerant.

saintlyjimjams Sat 20-Aug-11 20:02:01

I know what vjg means though. When Ds1 was at mainstream the staff told me quite a few times that it was great for the other children that he was there (other times not so great, but they did say that sometimes) and they said the other kids learned a lot from him being around. Unfortunately it was at huge expense to ds1.

I think also all children can't integrate. DS1 can't really and inclusion policies have done him a lot of damage because anything that it set up with mainstream kids in mind really cannot be accessed by him iyswim. The needs are just too different.

He does access one totally mainstream activity and is completely accepted by the people who run it, which is lovely, but we don't try and integrate him with the other children. He does the activity by himself with an instructor (sometimes his brothers will have another instructor, or I or one of my direct payment workers will do the activity with them alongside ds1).

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 20:07:39

I agree Utah, due to where I live all children go to the same school. Kids who can't cope with mainstream education do attend the school. They have 1 on 1. I do agree like I said earlier that it is not the best solution, these kids are not provided with the help and equipment, facilities and opportunities available in sn school. The only other option for the kids here is residential. All I wanted to say was I that felt my kids like yours due to having the opportunity are growing up being very accepting of people's differences.

Other posters seem intent on turning it into a debate regarding mainstream and sn schools. That was never my intention, all I wanted to say how lucky my kids were and how I felt more effort should be made within society to allow all kids to mix.

Chummybud1 Sat 20-Aug-11 20:10:30

Saintly I don't necessarily mean that integration had to be in school. I just feel that there must be parents and kids who are not around kids with sn and that it would benefit all if there were more opportunies.

saintlyjimjams Sat 20-Aug-11 20:13:51

But chummy I'm saying it isn't always cost free. Yes ds1's presence in mainstream probably educated a few (although I'm not sure how much as I bumped into a boy from his class 18 months after he'd left and he couldn't remember ds1 at all grin ) but it was incredibly incredibly damaging to ds1.

DS1 had 1:1 100% of the time; he still couldn't remotely cope with mainstream and the one to one (through necessity) was like a prison guard because the environment was so unsafe for him. He had no freedom at all.

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