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Please would you talk to me about your experiences of going from mainstream to special school?

(19 Posts)
used2bthin Wed 31-Oct-12 08:25:35

Statementing officer called to say the moderation panel felt special school was more appropriate for dd1's needs. I had been thinking along those lines too but still a shock not to have to argue for it and to have them suggest it!

DD1's school is lovely, they have small class sizes and thought very hard about who is in class with dd1 as she tends to be aggressive and also her unclear speech means she could be a target for bullying if with the wrong children. Children and parents understand and have been kind but I know she is feeling the differences now and that she would benefit from more personal curriculum but am still really sad to leave our lovely school that we walk to and know everyone at, then I feel selfish as its not about me. Anyone offer some words of wisdom?

SallyBear Wed 31-Oct-12 08:58:14

Well that's great that they're offering your DD a place at SS. My DS4 is now at SS. We struggled through one and half terms at MS. He got progressively worse and would spend every day in the sensory room.

When we got the call to say that the panel had all agreed to put him in SS I was delighted. We did four transition days. The first two with his TA, who said that by the second she felt like a spare part as she realised that the SS had quickly worked him out and knew exactly how to work with. The other thing they did was send us home with a laminated photograph album of all the important places in the school including the staff in his class and his classmates. We used it after the Easter holidays when he started the new school to explain where he was going the next day and as a reminder in the morning.

All I can say is that it's been fantastic for him. Two terms in and it really is the best place for him. The staff are all lovely. Everyone knows his name and greets him on the way in.

We decided not to do school transport as I like taking him in and collecting him. I usually walk him into class, though nearly all children are on school transport and collected from the buses by the staff. The school have been really warm and welcoming and it is really the happiest place. grin

used2bthin Wed 31-Oct-12 09:07:20

Thanks sallybear, that is helpful to know. I know that mainstream is not working out for my dd either, she is only ok when very very closely supported by her one to one TA.

I feel a bit like that about our current school in that everyone knows her name and greets us as we arrive but then I suspect everyone knows dd as she stands out iyswim so even though she seems popular enough, long term her needs are so different.

I will have to drive her as we are less than three miles away which is ok but a shame as we are literally over the road from current school, it was important to me to walk her in at the time we bought this place sad

Did your DS find the change upsetting? DD1 is happy mostly to go to school but acts up when there. She does say "no like school" a lot though.

Oh and sadly no space at ss yet so they are going to do a similar thing and have the TA take her across a few times a week. It may be a long transition though, possibly she won't go fully till next sept.

TheNinjaGooseIsOnAMission Wed 31-Oct-12 09:10:25

tbh, since dd3 went to ss last year we haven't looked back, it's been completely different from ms for us. More welcoming and dd3 has come on leaps and bounds as everything is done on an individual basis for her and she actually has friends now which is a huge thing! She has all her therapy at school and it's built into her day so I don't have to take her out of school for it. It was harder for me at the start as we lost all the therapists/support she'd had since she was a baby as the school is out of borough but the new ones are all lovely, no regrets at all.

used2bthin Wed 31-Oct-12 09:17:00

Ah it is so good to hear these positive stories. I get so scared of change myself since I made a mistake moving her playgroup a few years back. She has a couple of friends at mainstream but I can't see it lasting unless she has a major progression.

I am struggling to view her as needing ss still and I know this is ridiculous but I am so shocked the panel felt she needs it as everyone has always said no she needs mainstream! I keep thinking maybe they are wrong and she looks to have more severe needs on paper due to the medical stuff but I guess everyone feels like this?

My gut feeling is that she will be better at ss and that life will be easier though, her behaviour is so dreadful atm and I am hoping less frustration will make for better behaviour.

Firsttimer7259 Wed 31-Oct-12 09:27:09

We are just starting to make decisions about schooling and have no actual experience yet but I was thinking it may help to remember you might come back at some point and you may be able to keep a few contacts with the MS school so near and nice. Someone whose parent you get on with you could meet occasionally.
I am also realising we may not have to fight for SN provision - thats nice but sobering in terms of realising the extent of our DDs needs - to a large degree we are so used to her we dont really realise that our healthy happy little girl is seen by the professionals as a girl with 'significant and complex needs'.
But it is a relief as I have come to believe that what she most needs from me is a loving mother who gives her acceptance, support and approval and not another person analysing what she cant do and why that may be and its hard to be that when I have to advocate and fight for her additional support needs. I am hoping SN nursery will free me up from managing her various therapies and advocating for additonal support so I can mainly focus on parenting her and giving her the strongest sense possible that she is loved and adored regardless.

used2bthin Wed 31-Oct-12 09:34:01

hi firstimer, I just saw the bumpy road thread and thought I may check in there too, its been ages.

DD1 was also described as having complex needs by our paed and the statementing officer said I should be looking at schools for childen with profound and multiple needs-it doesn't fit with my view of dd and I keep thinking maybe they are seeing it as worse with all the medical stuff! I thinK YOU ARE RIGHT IT IS IMPORTANT JUST TO BE HER MUM AND IT WOULD BE A HUGE RELEIF TO NOT CONSTantly be worrying about whether they understand her , whether they underestimate her, overestimate her, like her, baby her too much, expect too much argh its exhausting isn't it!

used2bthin Wed 31-Oct-12 09:37:44

sorry for random caps! Meant to add, when I spoke to the head at ss it felt great that I could tell nothing I said about dd sounded new to her, I have always felt that dd has really different needs to other children but it was all stuff she had seen before and seemed less confusing in that context.

I also wanted to say, I now feel that dd must have needed ss all along and we may not have had the behavioural and confidence issues if she had had what she needed-I think school has been really stressful despite them being so supportive. I just hope we can repair some of the damage soon.

SallyBear Wed 31-Oct-12 10:03:17

Used2b stop beating yourself up! It will be a fresh start for her and a new chapter for all of you. smile

Firsttimer7259 Wed 31-Oct-12 10:14:38

Would def second sallybear. You dont know whats causing her behaviour at the moment and you dont know whether SS would mean another set of problems. SS sounds like it might suit you just now, sounds like the SS head has given you a good feeling about what lies ahead there for you all

used2bthin Wed 31-Oct-12 10:37:22

Thank you, I am a bit prone to the old guilt! At least because there is no space right now it will be a long transition and I will hopefully see that dd is better in one setting over the other.

Feargalthecat Wed 31-Oct-12 13:43:21

Another one who made the change this year.

We were happy enough with MS school and they did really try with ds but after a couple of terms they directed us to SS which while I knew they were probably right left me feeling heartbroken.

We viewed a couple of SS, found one we liked and after 2 weeks of transistion with his TA he joined. Like Sallybear i found they "got" DS very quickly, his teacher said dont be offended if we hear staff syaing he's just like so and so because they have dealt with so many children and their "quirks" that any issues my ds had they had probably come across before.

When asked how he's getting on at school now I'm enthusiastic about it and always think he's no longer a square peg trying to fit in the round hole of MS and is no longer the odd one out. My regret now is not starting him there earlier.

Lougle Wed 31-Oct-12 14:13:33

I don't know your DD, obviously, but don't be alarmed by the PMLD thingy. Certainly in DD1's school, you don't tend to get verbal (however behind), very mobile children in a PMLD class.

I also wouldn't be at all surprised if you found that she makes bounding progress once she's settled.

DD1 is unrecognisable, tbh.

Lougle Wed 31-Oct-12 14:18:04

"I will have to drive her as we are less than three miles away"

Double check that one. Statutory limit for under 8s is 2 miles, used2bthin.

Strongecoffeeismydrug Wed 31-Oct-12 16:08:37

We moved DS to SS this year too and I admit before he started I couldn't picture him there at all,however it's the best thing we've ever done.
Hes got friends for the first time ever,he loves going in the taxi with 3 other boys,and he's finally happy.
In the short time he's been there his speach has improved so much that we've actually had our first argument today! smile
But a big thing for me was his first assembly where the parents were invited,I no longer had the anxious omg I hope he doesn't kick off feeling that I had when he was in mainstream because everyone just takes it in their stride and are In the same position.
The staff are fab too and are never fazed by his antics but there not afraid to ask for my advice too if things are not working,they go along with mum knows best (something his ms school didn't believe in).
My only regret is we didn't move him earlier.

used2bthin Wed 31-Oct-12 16:45:34

Thanks so much for replies, lougle I think our dds are very similar and yes I saw the PMLD class at the schools we visited so I was shocked they said that about dd1 as the family worker we met who does outreach from the school said dd1 would need to be in the high functioning group.

yy definately hoping to feel dd isn't being made to fit with something she isn't so its great to hear ss has changed that for you feargal.

I will defo check out the transport thing because as some of you know-dd1 hurts dd2 in the car and now I have switched things so she can't, she reaches and pulls my hair when she is in a bad mood so car journeys are stressful and dangerous at times.

strongcoffee that is lovely I really am enjoying hearing the good stories, and am thinking I am not sure if I have seen anyone on here move back to mainstream after not liking ss?

used2bthin Wed 31-Oct-12 16:48:31

and oh yes I will not miss mainstream assemblies/performances I dread them!Always a reminder of how different dd is and always a worry with her finding it overwhelming.

saintlyjimjams Thu 01-Nov-12 22:10:33

ds1 moved to SS after 4 terms in mainstream 8 years ago. His school is perfect for him. Up there on the list of 'good decisions'

mymatemax Thu 01-Nov-12 22:46:29

ds2 is moving to ss for secondary school. He has been fine at his small ms primary, he is very passive & quiet but i'm hoping he can be more independant at SS as i know he wont achieve any thing like independance at MS secondary and his support needs would increase.

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