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SS or MS school? which one might be the better option?

(19 Posts)
chocjunkie Wed 12-Oct-11 16:59:40

EP saw DD (3.8 with severe s&l delay and probably ASD though no dx yet) saw at nursery today. he agrees she needs a statement (nursery will apply). he said DD is very difficult to pinpoint. he could not do any cognitive assessment as she was not cooperative. He also said that she is advanced in certain areas such as fine and gross motor skills. he also saw load of autistic traits (we are on the waiting list for the ADOS). he said her receptive language is about the 2.5 year stage. he suspects also problems with auditory processing.
bottom line for him is that DD would probably not cope in MS (even with massive support) as MS school is too much based on language and that way anything would just go over DD's head (I agree) and he therefore recommends a special school (there are no s&l units round here). he said DD should be monitored closely re re-entering mainstream.
I then talked today to a mum with a son in SS and she said it is virtually impossible to change from SS into MS.
I don't object to SS for DD but the idea that this setting would then be set in stone put me off a bit (esp considering that we have no idea really about DD's cognitive abilities).

any advice?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Oct-11 17:07:11

When are nursery going to apply for a statement; I only ask as some places sit on such apps for ages without doing anything so I would pin them down on a definate date. If they cannot do this apply yourself. Infact I would seriously consider applying to the LEA myself anyway as you can appeal their crass decision in the event they say no. Also you know its been done then and statements can take at least 6 months to set up (even if it is straightforward in that LEA agree straight away to assess and you agree content of propsed statemetn doc when issued).

I would talk to one of the outside agencies and seek their advice re transferring from SS to MS in your LEA. Organisations like ACE, IPSEA or SOSSEN could be useful to you to contact as would be speaking to the National Autistic Society.

cwtch4967 Wed 12-Oct-11 17:07:54

My son is in SS - I was concerned about it being a decision for his whole school life but the school he is in has a lot of movement in and out. There have been children who started there, went to MS with good support then returned at secondary level. Special school places are expensive and in short supply - they don't keep places for children who don't need them.

DS did a term as MS nursery while waiting for his SS place - he started there in September and it is the best thing we have done. The environment is so much more suited to his needs and his communication is improving already.

My advice would be to focus on what your dd needs now and not to jump too far ahead.

squidworth Wed 12-Oct-11 17:08:30

It is more the other way round it can be harder to get special school, no most children do stay at SS but that is because it remains the best setting for them. You need to view them, with my youngest I thought SS would upset me but it was ms that broke my heart the realisation of how far behind my DS was.

MangoMonster Wed 12-Oct-11 18:04:38

chocjunkie I have also heard that it's difficult to transfer from ss to ms (ABA consultant mentioned it) as ms are reluctant in some areas. Be interesting to hear others opinions.

willowthecat Wed 12-Oct-11 18:40:04

I think experiences vary so much that it is hard to generalise but from my own local experience, i would agree that movement from ss to ms is unheard of (and possibly vice versa though don't know so much about that) . If like my ds, coping in ms is not an option then quite possibly ss is best for now - though if you want to move her on later if this becomes more viable, this will probably need to be on your radar rather than hoping someone else will notice she needs more stimulation.

chocjunkie Wed 12-Oct-11 20:38:11

Thank you all. The EP said he thinks DD should, if going ti SS, be monitired closely with the option to switch over to mainstream. So I though it would be possible. Only when the other mum talked to me I was a bit shock.

Do you know at what stage during the statutiry assessment we have to make up our mind about which school to chose? Also, will DD be seen by an EP again during the SA process or do they rely in the paperwork that we sent in when making the application for a SA?

attilla, nursery is applying and they are really on the ball. I think they will send it off this week/early next week.

eatyourveg Wed 12-Oct-11 21:11:18

Have you thought about a specialist unit? ds2 went to a specialist asd unit attached to a mainstream school. All the children stay in the unit for their lessons in ks1, when they get to ks2 those who are able to, access the mainstream lessons with support. Some access more than others, some end up in full time main school, others just go for lunch or playtime or PE whatever is considered appropriate.

My son actually went to the unit 5 mornings a week and 3 afternoons. He also went to the local catholic primary school for two afternoons a week. His statement had both schools on it. You will need to get the agreement of the ms though. I didn't think such arrangements existed. It was only when the ms headteacher asked me why I hadn't applied for ds2 to come where his older brother was that she suggested it. His ss secondary shares a site with a ms and those that can go for inclusion, do so.

It doesn't have to be ss or ms it can be both!

chocjunkie Wed 12-Oct-11 21:14:00

Thanks, eatyourveg, this never crossed my mind. Not sure if we have these settings in our borough but I will investigate!

chocjunkie Wed 12-Oct-11 21:51:06

Also, when I talked to DD's Salt at the child development centre, she said she thinks DD would be best supported in a MS setting. Have to say I am actually suprised & shocked bout the SS recommendation. DD has difficulties, yes, but I never thought they were that severe. She is at MS nursery with part time 1:1 and coping fine. But of course, I can see the difference between her and her peers were clearly.

messmonster Wed 12-Oct-11 21:51:57

My DD is exactly the same age smile and in our LEA we have to choose her school for next September before this Christmas. She already has a statement tho' so different situation to you.

When we applied for SA for her, they used the same reports that we submitted for the SA for her Statement - including the EP report.

We've visited our local SS and they mentioned the possibility of a split placement with our village MS primary (we didn't ask, it was volunteered as an option) so def worth pursuing if you think it might suit your DD. Also worth investigating schools with ARPs but you might need an ASD diagnosis to be successful. Our DD doesnt qualify for any of the ARPs so our choices are straight MS or SS.

Good luck

chocjunkie Wed 12-Oct-11 21:52:10

Very clearly, I mean.

chocjunkie Wed 12-Oct-11 21:53:42

Thanks messmonster. What are ARPs?

intothewest Wed 12-Oct-11 22:03:53

My DS is in a SS. Three children in his class have split placements-They go to SS for 2-3 days and attend MS school also.

I agree it is a difficult decision to make. When I made the decision to send DS to SS it was hard and I did worry.Luckily it is the right setting for him. Good luck.

messmonster Wed 12-Oct-11 23:03:56

Sorry ARP is our LEA language for an Additionally Resourced Unit i.e. a specialist unit attached to a mainstream school. IN our LEA the only ARPs we have are ASD units and 1 or 2 S&L units but to get into one of the S&L units the DC needs to have disordered not delayed speech so my DD who has GDD but a particular delay in S&L (and not ASD) doesn't qualify for any of them.

FWIW, my leaning is towards trying MS first with an open mind about a move to SS in the future since I think that could be easier than the other way around. smile

eatyourveg Fri 14-Oct-11 08:50:12

messmonster you say your leaning is towards trying MS first with an open mind about a move to SS in the future since you think that could be easier than the other way around - I'd say the exact opposite.

Going in to ms and then having to move to ss would be horrible for self esteem issues as a child is at risk, however untrue it may be, of feeling that they have failed. By starting off in ss with the option of inclusion on a part time basis, you can gradually build this up until they are full time ms. The change over happens at a rate that the child can cope with. I see it as a more softly softly approach. Children progress at such vastly different rates in these first few years, its a very personal decision though. No rights or wrongs as each child is different and the provision is so varied. Guess I'm the cautious type

My advice to any parent in this situation is to find a school where they want your child and will do their utmost to help them, not a place where they feel they have to take them and are just grateful for the extra funding the child brings with them. I don't know your child at all so can only speak for myself. Saying that though, my youngest was also due to have a split placement and 2 weeks before he was due to start we switched to full time ms and haven't looked back! They are all so different, chocjunkie I don't envy your decision. Good luck!

Flamingredhead Fri 14-Oct-11 13:51:15

messmonster it is often harder to transfer to ss from ms especilaly at certain times as quite ofen dc that mange infants in ms do not mange juniors so transfer out

starfishmummy Fri 14-Oct-11 15:24:26

Ds is in special school. Split placements are common. They are not "static" so they may start with more time in ss but with the time in ms increasing and many end up in full time ms.

messmonster Fri 14-Oct-11 16:54:25

Just to be clear I was talking about my own DD not Chocjunkie's DD at the end of my last post although that is not at all clear!

I don't want to hijack and talk any more about my DD but thanks so much for the perspectives on split placements and the alternative view on starting SS first.

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