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Is there such a thing as a dual placement: 1. MS and 2.ASD unit attached to another MS?

(8 Posts)
sayjay Mon 05-Sep-11 15:46:27

anyone? Can I ask for this? Brief history as I'm supposed to be working from home . . .

DS awarded place at ASD unit 7 miles away - attached to MS but there doesn't seem to be much integration at all. The other children in the unit are all more severe than him and I feel he needs some mainstream peers to model behaviour for him and I don't like the idea of him travelling an hour and a half every day for 5 days a week.

He's a summer baby and as I'm unsure of our favoured local MS vs ASD unit I have procrastinated deferred his entry until Jan.

Could I get them to agree to a dual placement if I don't think the MS with support will be adequate and he'll need some Specialist input??

Gah - can't even make my mind up want I want to ask for! sad

He supposedly has a statement btw - only I haven't yet received the draft (deadline April 2011) - but he's had the funding for 1:1 in Nursery.

Parasaurolophus Mon 05-Sep-11 17:36:50

I think it depends.

In my county if the ASD unit is part of the mainstream school (meaning that they are inspected by Ofsted or Estyn with the MS school), then he cannot go to two different schools.

If the ASD unit is independent, then it is possible.

Can you speak to the staff at the unit about integration? If the other children are more severe than your DS they may not be integrated because it isn't appropriate for them - but they may be very happy to integrate your DS. Units attached to MS schools have a lot of pressure to integrate, so they may be very receptive to your concerns.

Littlefish Mon 05-Sep-11 17:43:36

About 7 years ago, we had a Reception child in our school who did 2 days a week in a S&L unit attached to a different school, and 3 days in our school which was about 4 miles away. They were in the same LEA. The plan was that over time, she would fully integrate into our school. I'm afraid I can't tell you whether that happened though, because I left the school.

bigbluebus Mon 05-Sep-11 18:57:45

I know children in my area who go part time to Special School and part time to MS school. Anything should be possible if it's what your DS needs and you can persuade them to put it in the statement - and that you are confident that the MS school can meet your DS's needs appropriately.
Would approach the MS school first and see what they are like - if they seem positive and inclusive then go for it.

supermum98 Mon 05-Sep-11 22:37:53

Hi there, my ds did a dual placement from year 3 at primary school. We started him full time at a special school, which we won two tribunals to get him into and keep him in. It meant that the LEA had to taxi him across county boundaries, hence the tribunals. By year 3 the special school felt the right move would be to consider a dual placement with our local primary school, at the same time my ds was beginning to feel that he wanted to be closer to home and with his siblings, who were starting there. Our LEA were not keen on dual placements at all, some don't work, but our special schools experience was that, if the communication was good then they could be very successful. We started him 1 day ms and 4 days special and slowly incremented ms until by year 6, he was doing 4 days ms and 1 day special.
My ds adjusted to this arrangement very well and both schools were fully behind it and I would say it was hugely successful and both schools felt that as well. The communication between the schools was good and I would say both schools took a pride in the arrangement, because they put the child at the centre and he had the 'best of both'. Both schools gained as well. The special school embraced training the ms staff and did termly outreach visits into the ms school as well as welcoming the ms TA's in to work with my ds.
The special school was able to pick the brains of the ms staff as well about some of the newer interventions for literacy/numeracy etc. It also helped the special school develope their ms outreach programme as they had a better understanding of the problems of integrating into main-stream.

The key to success as well as good communication, (the staff from both schools met regularly to talk), was to increment the mainstream input slowly.
That way you can see what the problems are and make sure there is no deterioration. My ds has just finished year 7 in our local ms secondary school full time and I have no doubt that he would not have adjusted so well if he had not been exposed to ms at primary level. The special school is continuing with the outreach and come into the secondary school once a week to give specialist input. This package is unheard of, but I think the LEA bought in to it because it was cheaper than taxi-ing him to the nearest ms resource. I am not confident that a ms secondary is right for him yet because like you I think my ds is in that black-hole in the middle, the special schools that are left take kids that are more severe, or more complex, but his special needs are complex enough to make ms a real challenge for him. Dipping a toe in ms at primary level did help us to go into ms with a better idea about what the challenges would be and how to overcome them.

All this goes to show that it is possible to come up with creative solutions that fit the child, if the will is there. Some kids won't cope/like having a foot in both camps, but it offered us a smooth transition into ms. As the level of physio dropped for example we had time to notice if there was a drop in mobility and could have pulled back from the ms transition. We had time to notice whether he could access the curriculum, before increasing ms input etc. Most ms staff still have scanty knowledge of disability, so they have time to get up to speed, before they have full responsibility for your child.
Socially it was hard for him to integrate into ms, but I think this was because of his pd and mld, rather than the fact he wasn't at ms full time or didn't start in year 1, ms. He found it a comfort to keep contact with the special school where his real mutually reciprocating friendships were and where they could empathise with each others difficulties more.

Go for what you think is right for your child, there is 'no one size fits all' and if you feel a dual placement would be right, go for it, you have nothing to lose. Make sure you do it on timescales that suit your child too. Our LEA wanted our ds full-time ms within a year and we said 'no way' that was too fast for him and we would take it at his speed, amazingly they backed off as they knew we would go to tribunal if we had to.
Good luck, hope this helps.

MUM2TJ Mon 05-Sep-11 23:09:00

my son has sli and development delay and he started a dual placement in may whilst still at ms nursery, from this wk he will be 3 days in ms with full 1 to 1 support and 2 full days in a development centre to see how he will progress. I would say in my experience its the best outcome for my son as it has given him a chance to try both to see what works best for him

amistillsexy Mon 05-Sep-11 23:14:52

My Ds is at a MS with an ASD unit, but due to his needs and those of the children already in the unit, it was felt that the unit (they call it 'provision' so we don't feel bad grin) wasn't right for him.

After much to-ing and fro-ing the result of which was that the LA couldn't find anything right for him, the HT of the MS with the unit said she thought it would be best for him to attend the MS with full support.

He now does this and is thriving. The staff are all aware of 'difference' due to the integration of the ASD children (which happens alot, by the way-they are all linked to a class and spend as much time there as they can, usually doing their 'best' subjects, with their 1-1 support, which might help your DC if that school is organised in the same way).

It was the best thing we could do for him. He can't wait to go in the morning! grin

sayjay Tue 06-Sep-11 22:37:13

Thank you all so much for taking time to reply smile

Each of you has given me something different to think about - head spinning even more now grin

para - whatsit Good point re apparent lack of integration may actually be because the other children aren't ready for as much MS. This will be first topic on my discussion list next week when I speak to "unit" staff

Sorry amistillsexy they call it specialist provision here too, but when I talk to lay people they understand what I mean by "unit attached to ms" grin

littlefish the plan always has been that he will spend a year or two here and then slowly integrate to a local ms primary - if appropriate. When the time comes they will employ a TA who will work across both sites during the transition, ultimately resulting in full time in MS with this TA (who has had the benefit of seeing the strategies etc at the Specialist Provision)

bigbluebus I spoke to the HT of the local MS just after posting yesterday - going to visit next week and sound them out properly.

supermum98
thank you so much for sharing your experience - it sounds like the schools were flexible and accommodating. So far, I fear, the staff at the aSD unit here are not. Very much "this is how we do it and it works" It's hard to judge so early as he hasn't even started yet so I may be pleasantly surprised . . . <fingers crossed>

mum2tj I'm so glad for you that your son had a packaged tailored to him that suited him - and it gives me hope that the same can be done for DS if we decide to go down an 'unconventional' route.

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