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mainstream schools visits - do i mentioned DS's autism??

(17 Posts)
rocket74 Mon 19-Nov-12 19:47:23

I am starting to look at mainstream schools tomorrow for DS 3.5 who has ASD. I will want to ask questions about their facilities and support frameworks for children with ASD etc - but I'm worried they will try and put me off choosing their school.
Is this a real fear? I know they don't get to choose who they get - but how do I find out what I want to know when I don't really know yet what I should be looking for?? Its all so confusing.
DS was only formally diagnosed last Monday but is already in a SEN pre school two days a week as well as a mainstream one day a week. He needs one to one support for most of the time and is mainly non verbal (lots of sounds and noises but only about 3 coherent words).
He should get his Statement before the forms are needed in in January - but apparently his Statement will say what school he is going to anyway? How is this possible before the main selection. confused

p.s I have been a bit of a lurker on this board for a while - I guess I was waiting until dx before I felt like a proper member!

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Nov-12 19:48:59

If they try and put you off, then allow yourself to be. I didn't once, to great cost.

AmberLeaf Mon 19-Nov-12 19:50:30

Agree, the ones that want to put you off, you need to find them out sooner rather than later!

AmberLeaf Mon 19-Nov-12 19:52:18

Oh and welcome to the board smile

Children with statements get priority on places.

Lougle Mon 19-Nov-12 19:52:51

Welcome rocket, lurk no more smile

Starting with your last question, Statemented children jump to the top of the queue for school places. It won't matter how many children want a place, if the school is right for your DS, he'll get a place prioritised.

Secondly, if a school tries to put you off, it will tell you a lot about their attitude!

My first choice MS school, when I went to visit, treated DD1 with utter ignorance and stressed how much provision I needed to get in a statement 'or they wouldn't be able to help her'.

The MS school I thought I wouldn't like, treated DD1 like a queen. They told me to do my best with a statement, but don't worry, they'd give her what she needed anyway, and in fact they were funding full 1:1 for a child while they sorted a statement out for them because they'd come to school without one. They also invited me to come in and see the SENCO to discuss DD1 (it was November) so that the school could start thinking of what she'd need for September and how they could sort it all out.

As it happens, the LA offered her a Special School place in the end.

rocket74 Mon 19-Nov-12 19:56:55

Good points - we would hate to feel that he wasn't welcome or just getting the minimal amount of help.
Part of me is hoping he gets an offer at the special school but we have to go through this process anyway just in case he doesn't.
I will ask away tomorrow and see how much fluff or substance I get in return!

badgerparade Mon 19-Nov-12 21:36:27

As others have said - if they seem to not want your ds take that as a big hint.
I have been looking at schools for ds (a lot older than yours) and the welcome has varied. One Senco didn't even acknowledge or talk to ds but was happily chattering on about what successes she had had and how children improve greatly with her support hmm. She then said that she had managed a boy with similar issues to ds but any time it looked like there would be 'trouble' the parents were called and he was sent home thus ensuring no problems at school angry. Needless to say he won't be going there.

Ineedalife Mon 19-Nov-12 22:14:05

Hi rocket and welcome to the board, nothing to add, just wanted to say hismile

bee169 Tue 20-Nov-12 06:00:40

Hi Rocket,

I was in the same situation as you last year. I chose to be very direct about it just to see the attitude of the headteacher. I am so glad I did as so many didn't want ds at their school. I was a bit gutted at the time but now I am so glad as the school I have chosen have experience of ASD and have been very good to ds smile

The last thing i needed was yet another battle on my hands so in my opinion, if they don't want your ds you are well rid of them!!

SallyBear Tue 20-Nov-12 07:07:53

Hi rocket my ds4 has nonverbal ASD. We had a statement with full hours. Pushed to get him in the same school as DS3. The school tried their best but halfway through the first term of reception it was very obvious he was struggling and so were they. By April we had moved him to a Special School. My regret was that we had never been encouraged to look at Special Schools. His Special School is indeed special. grin

ApplePippa Tue 20-Nov-12 08:25:30

Hi Rocket - I'm in the same situation as you (DS with ASD, 3.7yrs, up until a couple of months ago non-verbal, but speech suddenly coming thick and fast smile ).

I've been looking round mainstream schools, and have been very open about DS's autism. The responses have been very revealing!

One school, rated highly among parents, didn't really want to engage with me. I tried to make an appointment to see the HT, and got told to come to an open day. They told me the SENCO would be available to talk to - she wasn't. The only chance I was given to ask anything specific was in a Q&A session, where I was jostling against a pushy dad with what he considered to be a child genius. The HT just shrugged off my questions with "we'll discuss all that if he comes here". DS won't be going there.

In contrast, the school I have totally fallen in love with couldn't have been more helpful. Looooong chat with the HT, who was full of ideas for transitioning from pre-school and talked at length about strategies they have used with other children on the spectrum.She made me feel DS would be very welcome, and even arranged for a parent of a child I. the school with aspergers to come in and chat to me.

I'm finding the open and honest approach to be very, very revealing...

saintlyjimjams Tue 20-Nov-12 08:49:59

Yes be direct. If the mainstream schools you see are unwilling make sure someone at the school decision panel knows this (or put in your parent presentation bit).

Good luck!

alison222 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:03:58

Hi Rocket.
Just another person saying the same again. You can get a good idea of how much effort the school will put into making the effort to help your DC by the way they treat you and answer your questions. You do get a very good feel of what they are prepared to do or not do by asking questions.
I would suggest actually making and appointment with the SENCO as well as for a tour of the school at each one and discussing all the help your Ds will need and see what the response is.

rocket74 Tue 20-Nov-12 17:03:16


So had first visit today. General impression was a sweet friendly school with children that looked like they enjoyed themselves and were happy. Only an infant school so not too big and overwhelming. plus they have a swimming pool!
On the look around I did speak to the head. Whilst she didn't exactly seem bowled over by the prospect she was quite open about the children they have at present - a boy with downs and a child they themselves have identified as needing additional help/a statement. They have previously had a boy with ASD who did progress onto the junior school.
I did see the boy with downs signing and playing with his one to one within the general group learning area so he wasn't in a little area cordoned off which was promising!
She did say that whilst the LA rarely give full time one to one for children with statements they try to match what is offered to give as full coverage of time as needed. That sounds like a positive to me?!
The only down I could see was the classrooms were quite small but they utilise the shared space between the classes all the time so maybe not a problem. Just thinking he can get upset if his 'space' gets overcrowded and can get angry (biting).
I think I need to see a couple more to gauge the reaction further!!

I still can't envisage DS in a school environment yet at all - he still struggles with the others in his small class of 6 at preschool. Maybe a year is a long time and this time next year he will be coping better.

cansu Tue 20-Nov-12 18:04:47

I initially wanted to see schools without letting on about dd asd, but actually by being straight forward I was able to identify those who would have been obstructive or unhelpful. The school I chose was welcoming, interested and friendly. They have been fantastic with dd. i would be open and you can definitely get a feel for how they will be to deal with. I would also see lots of schools.

mymatemax Tue 20-Nov-12 19:15:43

If they try to put you off then dont send your child there. If they are not going to be welcoming from the outset then they are not going to ahve the right attitude when it comes to making adjustments to suit.

SallyBear Tue 20-Nov-12 19:23:29

rocket. Look around some Special Schools too. They may surprise you.

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