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

SEN Mediation

(76 Posts)
Jerbil Fri 28-Sep-12 13:54:10

Not posted for a while, but here we go again!

Has anyone used the Mediation service for SEN? apparently it's one step up from Parent Partnership. PP told me about it and though they are going to try and speak to SENCO and see what they can resolve they said I may end up going that route.

Basically DS1 has had a great start to the year at school, is currently playing with one peer, but I know once that peer gets bored that will be it and he'll then spend weeks if not months sat alone. What DS1 says to me is not what school say has happened but merely his interpretation of it! (oh really, is that not because he has autism?)

He is one of those children who hides most of his behaviours at school, has a terrible time at home coping. I completed a one page profile of his as recommended by NAS. I had asked for the meetin with his teacher. in came the senco and the asst senco. so 3 vs 1! they took the meeting and then began to rip apart my profile of my son saying how it wasn't true! no it isn't as far as they can see but underneath his outward persona and when he comes home then you see him for who he is!

I'm just so angry and upset (not for the first time)!

I purely went into give a background to his new teacher and they took their defensive stance

Ineedalife Fri 28-Sep-12 14:26:24

Oh god jerbil what an awful way for them to behave. No wonder you are upset.

There is nothing worse than a school which refuses to take parents knowledge into consideration. I had it with Dd3's old school and it was horrible.

My child hides her behaviour at school to and vents at home or just outside the school gate normally!!

I used to find myself wishing they could just see what I saw.

I ended up finding another school for my Dd3 as Parent Partnership suggested that even if we got a diagnosis for her the school she was at were unlikely to change their opinion.

If your Ds already has a dx and they are still not helping and support you and him maybe you might have to look elsewhere.

Sorry if that is not what you want to hearsad

Be kind to yourselfsmile

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 28-Sep-12 14:34:16

Oh how horrible for you. I know exactly how you feel. I had 3 years of that and am having a hard time coming down from it in ds' new school who do listen.

Are you able to put in writing their denials about your ds' condition and send it back to them to clarify that you understood their points correctly.

This could be useful evidence later if you need to take things further.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 28-Sep-12 14:35:00


Not surprised you are upset, unfortunately some schools are like this and are completely obstructive.

I would write off this school because even if you were to get a statement in place for your son they would still not want to know. Some schools are not at all understanding when it comes to SN. Also many school staff and SENCOs are simply not skilled or trained enough to recognise and indeed help many children with additional needs let alone those on the ASD spectrum. You need to look at other schools now.

He is likely not coping at home primarily because his current school are completely failing to meet his additional needs.

I would also apply now to the LEA for a statement of special needs if this has not already been done.

Always seek independent advice as well from the likes of IPSEA, ACE, NAS and SOSSEN. These are independent, PP can act very closely with the LEA and tow the party line. They are neither fully impartial or independent.

devientenigma Fri 28-Sep-12 22:33:44

I have been through the SEN mediation service and personally it's not worth the time wasted or the pain of hearing a bit of honesty for it all to be bound by confidentiality so can't be used in tribunal etc and your fears and theories confirmed and being able to do nothing about it!!

Jerbil Sun 30-Sep-12 08:51:40

some great advice here thanks. am looking at schools writing letters. all productive. also, mediation sounds like the worst thing to do if you cannot use it so thanks for that. would never have known otherwise xx

appropriatelyemployed Sun 30-Sep-12 10:15:01

Change schools - I have been in this situation and even a clearly worded statement won't make a non-believing school do what's right for your child.

AlanSharland Fri 05-Oct-12 10:18:36

SEN Mediation is a chance to say what you want to say without the 3 v 1 issue being a problem as the meeting will be facilitated by someone independent whose role is to ensure everyone's view is heard and then, if views differ, to explore why that's so and what can be done about that, all with the focus on improving the educational experience for your child. The aim is you all go with an intention of good faith to try to resolve it......if you wanted to be able to 'use' what was said in tribunal devientenigma, that would suggest you had a secondary intention in going so it was unlikely to be successful for you. Mediation is an entirely different approach to a complaint, where you are not each trying to 'prove each other wrong' but to use it as an opportunity to work together for the common aim of improving your child's education, which is your wish and their duty. It allows for a more co-operative working relationship both in the meeting and beyond the meeting to be established. On top of that, if it really doesn't work it's not stopped you from continuing with your complaint so nothing is lost in trying it. There are many situations where SEN mediation has resolved a situation and additionally, improved the relationship between the school or LEA and the parent so that future difficulties can be resolved more quickly. If you felt the 3v1 situation was difficult you can discuss that in the meeting too so that you can decide on a better way of doing future meetings.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Oct-12 10:27:29

Alan, why on earth would mediation be necessary if the LA were acting in the interest of the child and legally?

Surely communication during the whole SA is substantial enough? I think parents can be very confident that all avenues to reconcile have been explored before they get to tribunal stage without the added hurdle of having to repeat themselves.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 05-Oct-12 10:35:05

Alan - do you have a professional interest in mediation services by any chance?

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Oct-12 10:38:33

I think it is wise to enter into a mediation process expecting to still go to tribunal, given what is known about LAs and their unwritten blanket policy.

There is no way in a million years I'd give any information to a LA during a mediation if we were requesting ABA as I know that most LA's only give that on the order of a tribunal and that LA use underhand tactics including child protection threats to deny children this provision in particular.

Until I start to hear of ABA being awarded without tribunal then I have absolutely no faith in the intentions of LAs during mediations.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Oct-12 10:48:44

By the way Alan, do you have any information as to what mediation will look like?

Do the parents have to attend or can it be done either via email (for those many parents with communication disorders themselves) or in their absence as can tribunals due to it being about the child, not the parents?

Can their legal representatives attend with them or on their behalf?

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Oct-12 10:51:43

Oh, and what role do mediators have in safeguarding children if they can see clearly that patents have been persuaded to accept woefully inadequate provision for their child?

bochead Fri 05-Oct-12 11:03:43

How does a quick chat with a class teacher meant to give him/her a bit of background & build a mutually supportive relationship so that a child can be better supported turn into a formalised process such as mediation.

The core issue - how to support your son on a day to day level to make more than one friend so that he doesn't wind up isolated and lonely shouldn't need meetings about meetings etc and a load of outside professionals to get involved. This happens to very shy NT children too btw, so should be one the average teacher with no SN expertise is alert to, even if the solutions in your case need to be a bit more specialised than the norm.

I can see that the senco or her deputy might have wished to have been present in order to stay up to date with what's happening with your child - after all it's their job. 3 seems a bit overkill though, as does their attitude. I think sometimes schools forget we parents can get a bit intimitdated by a mob approach when all we wanted was a friendly chat lol!

Does your child have a SALT? Usually there are a variety of strategies that can be used to help children in the same situation as your child from social skills groups to social stories to circle of friends. A SALT should be able to gauge the ability level and potential of your child and make some useful suggestions for the CT (and probably dinner ladies!) to implement. In some areas Autism Outreach may also be able to help.

In your shoes I'd go no further than a PP meeting to help explain your POV + ask the SALT/ASD outreach to come into school and advise. Otherwise escalating to a formal mediation process risks blowing the original issue out of proportion and the whole thing just getting all icky and political if the school are already on the defensive.

Mediation I think is perhaps only helpful in helping remove the scales from the eyes of LA descision makers who don't have the opportunity to see the child day to day & so may simply be unaware of the impact of certain SN's.

Personally I see Tribunal as a useful method to obtain the resources to better help an already compassionate, but under resourced school support a child. (eg I requested ASD staff training at my own Tribunal & may head there again to get OT).

At the end of the day no amount of mediation or litigation can resolve pig ignorant unwilling mindsets. Teachers either give a damn about your child or they don't iykwim. All the wishing in the world can't change that basic fact. A lesson I had to learn the hard way. You can't fix stoopid!

cornsconkers Fri 05-Oct-12 11:39:29

jerbil which other LEA professionals are involved with your ds?
the SENCO/teachers are not qualified to comment on the level of your ds's difficulties.

You could send in the profile again by post or email. Perhaps write up the meeting as well.
cc in PP.

As pointless as the mediation might be, it's evidence that you are trying to help ds to get the support that he needs, even if school are being obstructive.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Oct-12 20:53:02

What corn said.

Jerbil Fri 05-Oct-12 21:42:48

sorry been a bit absent due to emotions!

Trying to gather my thoughts...

LEA professionals? None

NHS professionals: Psychiatrist just discharged him following dx however has passed him on to NHS psychologist, SALT & Ed Psych

Class teach just says she doesn't see any needs for him, emotionally, socially or physically!!!

does this take into account his severe constipation to the point when he's leaking, and screaming on the toilet (she's not seen this (TBF). his eye condition which she is aware of!!! or his NHS dx of Aspergers with significant sensory processing difficulties?

But because she sees nothing - that's OK!!! Sad thing is she was dealing with things quite nicely. was talking to him rather than asking him to do things straight away - sort of preparing him. i quite liked that.

still waiting for PP to ring me back. I would have to say I I know why the views differ Alan. Quite a confusing thing about Aspergers is how the child can act throughout the day/ He is only truly himself when he's with me at home all alone!

My husband is back now from working away and for the first time in my life since DS1 was born I am wanting to get him involved. in the past I've thought he can bring a negative tone to the proceedings (being honest) but the school look down on me for taking this single Mum approach! How bad is that? but someone told me the other day they struggles as a single mum to get believed and I totally believe it!

cansu Sat 06-Oct-12 14:26:51

Can I ask what you would like his school to do differently jerbil? are they not supporting him in class or does he need more support or supervision in the playground? I think children on the spectrum often do behave very differently at home and at school. I have certainly noticed this with my children. Do you simply want the school to accept that your ds displays his anxiety at home rather than at school?

Handywoman Sat 06-Oct-12 15:27:23

jerbil, you have my sympathy. Different reactions at home school are purely emotional elements and (IMO) not confined to ASD or even SEN kids, although they are surely more likely to be seen in kids whose needs are not being met.

My eldest is Dyslexic rather than ASD. At school her needs are neither recognized or supported but she is stressed at school every day. However in desperation to 'fit in' and not draw attention to herself she puts on a front at school. At home, however, despite being very mild mannered, she might punch her sister at the slightest provocation (completely out of character) perhaps even in the car on the way home, then barge through the door, grab her comfort blanket, stick the telly on and 'zone out' and speak to nobody. Occasionally she will let it out that she feels she is 'behind' in maths and is 'stupid' and 'bad at everything', and have a sob in bed. When faced with timed maths exercises on the computer (set by school) she will often dissolve into tears and/or storm off.

When I enlightened school about my DD's anxiety I was told (presumably because they see no anxiety at school) that
1) it probably does not exist, it is more about my own skewed perception
2) if it does exist then I am the causing her anxiety by having my own anxiety about it.

It is rather difficult to know what to do about this. If anyone has any good ideas, then please let me know!

It is so strange that schools can take such a defensive stance. The onus is surely on school to encourage and foster collaboration with parents, but often it seems to be the parents who are trying to push just to be listened to!

In my case I have raised this with the SENCo (who said it) and had it all repeated to me all over again! So now I have written to the school governor's to make them aware at how parental input is being disregarded. I am now in deep! We will see if anything comes of it (probably not).


StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Oct-12 08:57:26

Where did Alan go?

discodad Sun 07-Oct-12 10:51:57

Perhaps this is him?

(Apologies for irregular posting)

devientenigma Sun 07-Oct-12 11:26:37

the mediation we went through, ended up a 6 hour discussion. There were no flaws where the school were concerned as they told the truth (very rare). Due to not hearing or better still having it in writing what the school were saying they then decided to bound it all by confidentiallity which they broke the next day!! Anyway there are 4 outcomes in mediation, resolved, partial resolve, conditional resolve or no resolution. Doesn't matter which one it is it's not followed by the LA. I think Alan does have some part in mediation as like our mediator, seems a bit biased and for the profs.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Oct-12 11:28:25

yes, and not very good at communicating afaics. Descends in on a discussion, says his piece as though it is fact and then refuses to engage when called on it hmm

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 07-Oct-12 11:31:10

A bit like the behaviour of some of the bad LAs

devientenigma Sun 07-Oct-12 11:34:03

exactly, however most of the sen mediatiors are ex teachers etc

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