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S.E.N and choosing a school

(7 Posts)
myBOYSareBONKERS Sun 23-Sep-12 15:16:35

My son has just been diagnosed as having mild-moderate autism.

He is in main stream education and although he "copes" he doesnt reach his potential due to his issues.

It is highly unlikely he will get a statement as he doesnt exhibit behavioural issues (At least not at school anyway hmm

Even though he is only in year 5 we have been advised by his head teacher and psychiatrist to look round the secondary schools now to get an idea of what they can offer him. But I dont know what I am looking for or what to ask!!

Has anyone got any thoughts or suggestions?

Many thanks in advance. I am also going to put this in the education section.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 23-Sep-12 16:28:03

myboys,

re your comment:-
"It is highly unlikely he will get a statement as he doesnt exhibit behavioural issues (At least not at school anyway)".

Who told you the above piece of misinformation?. I ask this because you have been told a load of crap!. Its not about behavioural issues at all. Such wording too like this is designed to put off parents from applying for a statement, parents whose children really do need such support. Also many children who have unmet additional support needs in school repress all the frustrations of the school day only to take it on their nearest and dearest at home.

His needs at school are simply not being met, just coping there is not enough and will affect his ability to learn and progress. He won't be able to meet his potential if he is allowed to struggle on like what is happening currently.

You are his best - and only - advocate.

I would apply for a statement yourself from the LEA asap and do not be fobbed off in doing this. Having a statement in place will also give your son a legal safeguard re his educational rights. It will take around six months to set up such a document and you may well have to fight to get it in place but it will be worth it.

www.ipsea.org.uk is a useful website. I would arm yourself with useful information from there re the whole statementing process along with the SEN Code of Practice (this is online).

Re secondary schools see them all in your area; ask lots of questions and meet with the SENCO and Head of Year. Also talk with the pastoral support people who are usually in secondary schools. Their reactions to your son will tell you a lot of what you need to know about the ethos of the school and how welcoming they are/ are not to those children with special educational needs.

myBOYSareBONKERS Sun 23-Sep-12 16:33:46

Many thanks. It was the head teacher and his community pead who said we wouldnt get a statement

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 23-Sep-12 16:39:55

"It was the head teacher and his community pead who said we wouldnt get a statement"

They were talking irresponsible nonsense I am sorry to say. If I had £1 for every time I have seen similar on this board I'd be quite wealthy by now.

Apply for the statement yourself and ignore any naysayers. As you have already seen from the above, you are his best and only advocate here.

creamteas Sun 23-Sep-12 16:58:34

My DC sounds similar, ASD on track with average academically and his response to stress in school is to withdraw (first going quiet then hiding). He self-harms as well. We tried for a statement, and were refused at appeal (SEND Tribunal).

In your place, I would look very closely at the pastoral care system. Who has responsibility for what, how do the school communicate which each other about SEN issues? You will know what makes your DS anxious, ask them what would happen if this occurred in school?

Break and lunchtimes are often more difficult than lessons. Ask about what usually happens at this time, and what alternative arrangements can be in place if your DS is finding these difficult. Also ask about their anti-bully policy, and how incidents get investigated/dealt with?

Also try to work out if the Senco/HT are people that you think you can communicate with? Do you feel they are taking your concerns seriously? Do they welcome the dialogue? Staff can change of course, but often it is the school ethos that shapes individual staff behaviour.

AgnesDiPesto Sun 23-Sep-12 21:30:56

The NAS did a report called Great Expectations which said 60% of children with autism have a statement - and that includes HFA / Aspergers so you have a very good chance for moderate autism.
Get a copy of the SEN Code of Practice (you can download one and apply for a free hard copy). Look at NAS and IPSEA website on statements.
You get statements for ASD for 2 main reasons - one is behaviour, but the other is lack of appropriate progress. Progress is explained in SENCOP but includes compared to peers, compared to IQ level, compared to previous progress and to all areas eg social, behaviour, understanding of world, independence etc not just academic
Try and get very measureable targets on the IEP - the things which he struggles with and which school are not addressing eg choose social skill you would like him to learn etc - then when school fails to meet it you can start to show evidence of not meeting need / inadequate progress.
When looking at schools ask what they have available - some will have their own learning support units or small SN classes. Some will help you get a statement so they can continue to fund these. If anywhere has a unit then look there. Also look at indep special schools - but expect major fight (and possible tribunal).
And apply now it took us 18 months and two appeals (one went to tribunal) to get the Statement with what we wanted on it. The process is slow so you will have the evidence you need by the time you need it.
Has the school assessed his social skills etc? There are P scales for social and it can be useful to look at those and if applies you can then demonstrate is working below level of national curriculum in that area and show lack of progress.
You could start a thread asking about school recommendations in your area.

Holly66 Sun 23-Sep-12 22:43:07

Hi i've replied to your message that was in the other section but I see I should have posted it here!

Hope I can help. I work with SEN children in a mainstream secondary school.

Firstly I will be honest and say that getting a statement will be difficult. I have students who I believe desperately need statements but I know they wont get one, it is extremely frustrating.

Secondly you are doing absolutely the right thing by starting to look now. I would advise to start going to secondary school open evenings. Most schools are having these right now in preparation for the new year 7 intake for next year but you can still go even though your son is in year 5. You should ask to speak to the SENCO (Special education needs co-ordinator) and ask them about the facilities and support they can offer. This can vary an awful lot between different schools so it is a good idea to start looking now. Some schools will offer social groups and homework clubs which are there to help deal with particular difficulties. Autism is such a wild area so it is hard for me to guess where your son needs support but most of my students on the autistic spectrum require help with their social skills and organisation. We also provide emoitional support for a lot of our autistic students. For example we keep their lockers in our room. This means we see them every day and can check that they are ok and we can help them with getting things ready for their lessons which can be very helpful when they are new year 7s.

At my school our students are put into the following groups.
School Action: This is where we know that they have a special educational need and we provide a Learning Teaching Strategy Sheet and an Individual Educationa Plan for the student which allows teaching staff to see how best to support them.
School Action Plus: Exactly the same as before but the student is also entitled to 5 hours a week Learning Support Assistant time. This can be used either in lessons where the student requires extra support or in one to one sessions.
Statement: The same as School Action but the student also has a large number of LSA hours.

One of my most severely aspergers recently got an A* 2 As and a B at A-Level and has just gone off to Nottingham uni to study Maths. We provided a lot of support in preparing him for university and living on his own.

Hope that helps. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

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