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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

How do you guys deal with spl ed teachers.

(27 Posts)
DebbieSolloway Thu 20-Oct-11 13:44:43

So we have a 9 year old and he has issues. We have started him on the INPP retained reflexes programme.

Do your meetings with teachers include a list of what needs to be learned and how they will do that?

Ours are full of doom and gloom pronouncements. Meetings are about sons deficiencies and how poorly he compares to rest.

A test paper indicates what a child does not know and must lead to the teacher making a list of what must be taught to the child.

Sometimes I think the teacher takes sadistic delight in telling me how poorly my son is and how he will never clear his secondary school much less the A levels.

IndigoBell Thu 20-Oct-11 15:16:44

Don't ever listen to anyone who tells you what your son won't do.

The SpLD EP also gave up on my DD, and recommended we buy a reading pen and dictation software! No way. She's 8 FFS. No way will I give up on teaching her to read and write at 8!

Luckily I didn't listen, and she is now doing much, much better.

All the teacher is telling you is that she is incompetent and doesn't know how to teach your son smile

This is why it's not worth getting a statement. Because a statement won't bring anyone who can teach your child with it - it'll bring a person (probably a school mum) - but not someone who knows what they're doing.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 20-Oct-11 17:19:54

sad at Indigo. Not unwise words!

Actually, we are using our statement appeal to try and write the specialist teachers OUT of ds' life and write some people who know what they are doing in instead.

But you're right. The original document just increased the number of incompetent people into our lives.

bochead Thu 20-Oct-11 17:32:31

Turn it around - ask the teacher what she/he intends to DO in order to ensure your child does hit the intended targets. (Agree with Indigo re the teacher's competence ; ) )

How will she help?
What resources (from pedagogy to visual aids to occupational therapy) will she utilise?
How will she measure if progress is being made? (Include frequency in the iterim).
What exactly is she doing to ensure her own fears and low expectations of your child do not become a self-fulfilling prophecy? (My Grandad always used to tell us to aim for the sky, if we landed on the shed roof however we'd find we'd done alright ; ) )

A statement gives your child a certain amount of legal protection against emotional abuse as well as enshrining their right to the resources needed to access the curriculum so it's ALWAYS worth getting a statement if you can. I'm sorry but I disagree with Indigo just on that point.

I learnt through my sister's experience (also told at primary level she'd never get anything academically or even be able to live independently etc) that very few children are incapable of learning, it's much more frequent that the adults around them are unable to TEACH them as they don't know the correct teaching methods to employ. ABA is the extreme proof of this most often referred to nowadays as the fall back teaching method when all others fail, BUT there are other methods, and other therapies, medications, diets etc coming online all the time. How up to date is this doom merchant?

We owe it to our kids to do all we can to help them achieve their potential. Society will always need storytellers, street sweepers, shelf stackers, plumbers, admin assistants, tree surgeons, as well as brain surgeons. Somewhere out there is a niche for your adult child if you can only help them access it.

blueemerald Thu 20-Oct-11 17:56:11

As a graduate LSA with a younger brother on the autistic spectrum and an aunt with Down's Syndrome and over 10 years experience working with children and teenagers with SEN in a range of settings (starting as a volunteer when I was 15 and ranging from severe dyslexia to severe autism, GDD, Angelman's Syndrome plus a student with a severe visual impairment and one with a hearing impairment in nusery, primary and secondary schools, mainstream and SEN schools and home based programs) I find IndigoBell's comment about LSA/TAs a gross generalisation and very insulting.

This attitude just turns the whole relationship between school and parent in to us vs them with the student in the middle.

There are some truly inspirational TA/LSAs out there who have so much experience plus academic know-how and they are woefully underpaid and underappreciated.

Sorry, but a real bugbear of mine.

Get a statement, if you can. Get a statement, if you can. Get a statement, if you can. I cannot say this enough, with it come IEP targets and Annual Reviews, these are invaluable when it comes to ticking off targets and setting new ones.

I totally agree with bochead, keep smiling sweetly and asking what she will be doing to tackle these issues.

Make copious notes and if/when she starts repeating the areas your son is struggling in, nod, flip through notebook and say something like 'yes, I know, I believe we covered this in the meeting on date x but we did not agree on what to do next.'

This style of approach worked for my mum when she had the great misfortune to live in one borough, send my brother to school in another borough and attend a clinic in a third borough- this led to a lot of repeated meetings!

IndigoBell Thu 20-Oct-11 18:56:49

Sorry, blue. You're right, my comment was both a generalisation and insulting to highly trained people like you.

I think it would be very hard to find a LSA who could teach a child with such severe dyslexia that the EP doesn't know what to do - but I guess not impossible.

I also know in the schools I'm involved with prior experience or qualifications are not required to work with a statemented child. But maybe this isn't true everywhere.

Anyway, sorry. I'm happy to hear about exceptions to the rules.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 20-Oct-11 19:16:23

blueemerals The truth of the matter is that specialist advisory teachers are so frequently coming up as incompetent here that it is very hard to have faith in a TA, who, whilst well educated has not specialised in a particular disability and much less qualified in it, and even if they HAD we are finding time and time again on this board that the specialist teachers who do are still showing incompetence time and time again.

It isn't always the individual that is at fault. It is our model of disability in this country. It is our model of inclusion which rests soley on the physical inclusion but not the social or educational. It is the hiararchy of training that insists we and professionals working with our children continue to have low expectations. In short, our model is a babysitting care model, not an educational one.

DebbieSolloway Sat 22-Oct-11 09:49:04

Thanks all for the responses.

Indigo Thanksfor allowing me to think that the teacher could be incompetent. Disagree with the teacher and I am a mom in denial, that's what she said to me.

blueemerald You are absolutely right of the us vs them situation. Thats exactly what is holding me back. Good advice about telling her we had covered this before. She says the SAME thing in every meeting.

StarLight - Thats just what I want to do - write the 'specialists' out of son life. She does seem to be doing any good anyway.

Thanks all for your advice. Its great to find there are others that think like me.

moondog Sat 22-Oct-11 10:08:06

Here is a fantastic quote from the Daily Mail chatboard following the staggering revelation that one in six children now are deemed to have 'special needs'.

’Amazing how the liberal/left who dominate our education system condemned the 11-plus because it “stigmatised” those who failed it yet they have no compunction in labelling 1 in 6 primary school children as having “special needs”. Like a bad workman who blames his tools, having virtually destroyed the role of active teaching, replacing it with an amorphous idea of child centred learning, these same people, rather than accept what they have done, have to find an excuse for the failed system they have created.
If children are not learning it's because they have “special needs” - simple! As with so much of the liberal/left agenda there is a total inability by those who pursue it to even contemplate, let alone admit, they could possibly be wrong. Their theories are always correct. Only people and human nature prevents the dawn of their brave new world and if necessary they will hammer as many square pegs into as many round holes as it takes to prove them right.’

Indigo, that is shocking.

DebbieSolloway Sat 22-Oct-11 11:30:30

Moondog - Exactly. If the student has not learnt its becasue he has 'special needs'.

lechillycornsilk Sat 22-Oct-11 12:34:11

I think sometimes when specialist or advisory teachers are incompetent it's because they are not willing to say that actually they don't have the necessary knowledge or that they are not qualified/trained to offer advice about a child's particular issues.
Advisory teachers may have no additional SEN qualifications beyond their teaching qualification.
Specialist teachers may (or may not)be well qualified within their particular area but they may have very little knowledge of additional co-morbidities.
As for writing off your child's chances of A Level success at age 9...I am speechless.

moondog Sat 22-Oct-11 12:44:17

It's an industry, one that is growing bigger and bigger and one in which everyone needs to justify their existence.
Very few people have the courage and insight to say

'I'm sorry, I can't help with that and weighing up the not inconsiderable disruption to your lives that I will bring to it in terms of 'meetings' 'reviews', 'assessing' and 'monitoring', it's better that i don't get involved at all.'

As a general rule of thumb, the fewer peopel you involve, the more chance you have of maintaining consistency and a clear plan of action that is SMART.

Spinkle Sat 22-Oct-11 15:24:59

As a SENCo myself I would be gutted if any of the parents thought I took delight in telling them their kid's difficulties.

I have an ASD kid myself (with a statement) and I know how it feels in meetings so please do not sling me in with your generalisations.

Some, not all, SN kids have parents who think their kid is 'just a bit behind'. Would it be right to let them think that when actually, the child's SNs are more profound. I'd want to know the truth.

My son's TA is a mum. I have no idea about her qualifications. But I do know she's there for him, understands how he works, works hard on his SALT and is always on his side. And that is why I can sleep at night.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sat 22-Oct-11 17:14:20

I'm another graduate TA with a DS myself with ASD and a statement, supporting another statemented DC. Indigo isn't normally so blunt, but the difficulties she has had with her DC have perhaps coloured her opinion. My DS's TA in primary school wasn't particularly knowledgeable about ASD when she started supporting my DS. But she soon understood him perhaps as well as I do. She went on ASD courses and had good support from out local advisory teachers who are generally excellent in our LA. My DS's statement actually says that TA support should be educational rather than supervisory and I believe that is what we got.

moondog Sat 22-Oct-11 18:30:17

'My DS's statement actually says that TA support should be educational rather than supervisory and I believe that is what we got.'

Very encouraging to hear.
What is truly terrifying is that poorly trained (throguh no fault of their own) TAs are charged with the task of supporting and educating very needy and complex children.
It's a very responsible hjob.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sat 22-Oct-11 18:44:35

Yes, moondog, I agree that it can be the case that a child with SEN can be left to be educated by the the least qualified person in the school rather than the person qualified to teach, but in a truly inclusive MS school the TA should be used to sometimes supervise the rest of the class giving the teacher time to work with the statemented child. Sadly happens too infrequently. I do happen to believe that MS is not the right place for a lot of DC with SN, but it's certainly the cheapest option. Parents can be frightened by special schools, though and often good NT role models are useful for truly high functioning ASD. (By that I mean those who will cope in RL.) Always a dilemma for parents of 'borderline' DC. Sadly, often there is no option available but MS for them. It can work, though. My DS has certainly succeeded in MS so far and secondary looks even better than primary, so far.

moondog Sat 22-Oct-11 18:52:09

The problem is the firghtening variability you get in a schol, from TA to TA, teacher to teacher, class to class, school to school.
Even a uniformly ok setting would be preferable to what is the norm where standards and aims soar and dip with little control.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sat 22-Oct-11 18:58:19

It's like that in all schools, though, isn't it? For all children not just those with SEN. We can all remember a good teacher who inspired us and a shite one who put us off a subject completely. I'm afraid while it's not acceptable, it is life. sad

Peachy Sat 22-Oct-11 19:03:17

It is Moondog, but not surprising- I went to look at TA training (local schools insits on quals before applying as college only runs daytime courses now so you cannot acquire in work IYSWIM) and the funding couldn't be worked out for me as a graduate with no sponsor; I'd have paid but there simply was no process for them to calculate what that would be and give me a quote. I could manage a TA job around the boys quite easily when ds4 starts FT school next year.

Communications at our schools are wonderful (the SN ones). I am free to call or drop in whenever and they are incredibly positive. And that is working- ds1 is in an ASD Base and has been since September (comp transfer) and the changes are miraculous: with the right basics taken care of (no homework - he dropped a subject (won't Tell MD which LOL but she might guess now blush) and does his homework the, they all get to do that as part of the set up- a TA alongside him all the time which means he feels safe, support in clessons- he ahs gone from bottom of every class and naughtiest boy in MS to joint top 3 behaviourally of the reg group (a MS group, they all ahve one as well as Base access) and is top level in science and art, and average on everything else!

First ever parent's evening I have emerged from grinning (and ds1 very chuffed as he has the POkemon games he ahs coveted for ages now wink)

Yet to see that translate to home behaviour but for a child who wants to self employ in a specialised and competitive field (jewellery design) a hugely important achievement.

Bit of a different story in that ds3 is now on a settled if unique learning trajectory but since transfer in eyar 1 (he is 8 now) he has acquired continence, intelligible speech (still gets weekly SLT but it's there) and can read. And his otehr issues (attention mainly) are dealt with in a kindly way that leaves him happy rather than the shite he got in MS that left him physically and mentally scarred.

Peachy Sat 22-Oct-11 19:08:26

Ellen i think willingness to educate yourself is key.

The Head offered to fund courses for our dinner ladies ( a key kick off point for ds1)- they refused, not part of their job. SENCO in Infants not interested, long story that might identify me as she now has a baby herself and mighht be here but think VA School with little power to enforce LEA complaints).

In teh end I went and did an MA in Autism- got to finish some of the dissertaiton tomorrow actually, so close to complete. Partly for the boys at home, partly because I come from a related charity sector background, but also becuase school were not going to get anywhere. there are a lot of teachers and TAs on our course and they are fabulous but by teht ime ds1 got a dx let alone a TA who could manage anything beyond a vaguely disappointed look as he ebat up the child who annoyed him (random child normally) it was a bit late.

dolfrog Sat 22-Oct-11 19:24:40


"It's an industry, one that is growing bigger and bigger and one in which everyone needs to justify their existence.
Very few people have the courage and insight to say

'I'm sorry, I can't help with that"

I agree and some can go on and invent their own conditions to match their ignorance. This can happen with teachers, SENCos, and Ed Psycs, especially because they feel that they should have the answers, and do not like to admit that they have little or no idea about the real problems, or that the issues are outside of their professional domain.

There needs to be more Multi - Discipline consultation between the various professions regarding the vast range of issues which can be part of the SEN banner. And those in the education system who may be some of the first group to recognise some of the issues or problems should learn how to refer the respective issues on to the professionals best placed to provide the best assessments and diagnosis. And even more important that they need to learn how to work with these various types of professionals so that they can provide the best support required. Sometimes the support required is not that expensive but more about changing how the teaching professional and support approach their methods or provision to meet the various individual needs rather than try to enforce a one size fits all system.

Due to our own communication disabilities, we have found the relevant research papers that explain the nature of our DCs issues, and indications of the best way to support their needs. More recently backed by a Multi - Discipline Assessment and diagnosis (audiologist, speech and language pathologist, psychologist) from Great Ormond Street Hospital, for the school and local support services to work from.

blueemerald Sat 22-Oct-11 19:46:10

I've been thinking about this thread a lot recently.

I'm glad you responded well to my us vs them comment. I totally understand where it comes from, my mum had to fight for every teeny tiny little concession for my brother and she freely admits that this fighting mentality does become your default after a while. I am now experiencing it myself from the parents of the children in my class, some of them are incredibly accustory and suspicious! it can take longer sometimes to build a trust relationship with the parents than the child!

I want to point out that I earn around £11,00 a year (do not get paid in the school holidays, do not get sick pay as a long term temp) to work in a job that demands a lot both mentally and physcially. Maybe it's a case of getting what you (the LEA) pay for? Most of my graduate friends would be relucant to work in shop or office with those circumstances.

It seems to me that the LEAs do everything they can to encourage those TAs with the qualifications and experience to move on to other jobs (mostly teaching) leaving only the ones who cannot go elsewhere behind.

IndigoBell Sat 22-Oct-11 19:59:46

Spinkle, Ellen and anyone else I accidently offended - I was specifically talking about the problem of untrained TAs supporting dyslexic kids - not kids with ASD or other SN.

Because kids who just have dyslexia, and don't have behavioral problems, or attention problems, or communication problems, or problems staying on task, but has such severe learning difficulties that can't be taught by a teacher.

If a teacher can't teach them, and an EP can't help them, I don't see how someone untrained will help.

Anyway, that's just my opinion.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sat 22-Oct-11 20:17:45

Hey, Indigo, you'll have to be much more offensive to upset me! grin I love a good discussion. smile

moondog Sat 22-Oct-11 20:35:25

Good to hear things going well for you Peachy and you have some open honest discussion going.
As a parent and a professional in this field, it doesn't matter to me if someone doesn't know something (who has all the naswers anyway?) but it does infuriate me when someone pretends to know what they are talking about and acts defensive, when as is you right, nay duty, you ask on what knowledge base they act.

I beleive in getting on with people and not making people feel scared or frightened or inadequate (I'm not talking kids here, I'm talking adults) and faciliatating a working environment where people can feel free to ask and learn.

I have tonnes and tonnes of useful information and knowledge to pass on (not as a reflection of how marvellous I am but as a reflection of having been fortunate enoguh to be taught and merntored by world leaders in the field of evidence based education) and as I say to most people I meet

'It's of no use if it just stays in my head. I'm not with this child a lot. It needs to be in your head.'

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