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

A question I just keep coming back to

(25 Posts)
Hassled Thu 24-Jan-13 19:35:44

Dyspraxic DS2 sat his first GCSE today. 35% of the total mark. Somehow, and I don't yet know exactly who needs stringing up, he wasn't allowed any of the access arrangements - no laptop, no extra time. Someone didn't talk to someone else. This being despite the confirmation I have in writing from the shower of incompetent shits that he is entitled to use of a laptop in public exams where appropriate, and if not (so Maths/Science) then 25% extra time. Today he got neither, and he panicked - so 35% of his GCSE has been fucked up by idiots. To say I am cross is an understatement - they will feel my wrath.

So my question: what if I had severe SEN myself? What if English wasn't my first language? What if I wasn't a confident, reasonably articulate woman prepared to argue the toss? What if I just couldn't be arsed? Where would my children be then? And this applies to all of us, and the injustice of it has me raging.

coff33pot Thu 24-Jan-13 19:47:09

I dread to think hassled. Just a lot of missunderstood children that could have had better prospects and better outlook on life leaving school confused sad

coff33pot Thu 24-Jan-13 19:48:34

But regarding your DS I would should and I would demand a retake even if I had to write to the examining board myself. He was not given his rights to support so that test should be null and void IMO xx

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 24-Jan-13 19:51:54

Presumably you won't be letting this lie and are begining the hours of fighting necessary even as an articulate, confident, educated parent fluent in English and without social communication difficulties?

I don't know the answers to your question. It's such an uphill struggle even when you HAVE the resources you appear to have. It's not as though having them guarantees you that your child will be properly catered for.

God knows what happens to those unable to fight. I think 'some' without advocates get back-door help from professionals who remember why they chose their professions. Trouble is, I don't have much energy left in me to fight for them too whilst my own ds is being failed so badly. It's why I MN I think. I try to contribute to discussions to help people find their way through, I like to think that the internet has opened up chanels for the parents of the children you mention.

used2bthin Thu 24-Jan-13 19:52:00

This upsets me at times too, it's the most vulnerable families who would then get least support.

Hope you get a re take,poor Ds.

Dev9aug Thu 24-Jan-13 20:03:26

I met a family recently, mum was not very articulate, confident and English wasn't her first language. Their son 6y old was in MS setting supported fully 1:1 with a statement and the family had regular reviews with LEA, get 8 hrs direct payment and respite and all without asking for it.

I don't think the most vulnerable get the least support, sometimes they are supported very well. it's just that we recognise that the support offered is often sub standard and designed to keep people in their jobs, however well meaning they are.

Hassled Thu 24-Jan-13 20:07:31

I should say that in fairness my DCs' issues are comparatively minor (Dyspraxia in one, Verbal Dyspraxia in another) and they've had a lot of amazing support by some great people. One teacher sorted out touch-typing lessons and a laptop, by example, because she identified the need and had initiative. But every now and then someone somewhere will cock up or fail to do something and if I wasn't the English-speaking, confident mother-you-don't-want-to-cross then those cock-ups alone would have my DCs stuffed. And again, this is minor shit. So minor compared to some, but still enough to potentially badly affect the future of two lovely boys. It makes me livid.

Hassled Thu 24-Jan-13 20:10:13

Dev9 - that is cheering.

moondog Thu 24-Jan-13 20:17:28

I hear waht you say Hassled and add my own thought?
What if you are all of what you are and in addition work in the bosom of the SEN industry and then discover that people are not only not able or willing to help you but actively sabotage all your efforts to get adequate and not even gold standard provision?

I could never fully communicate my loathing and contempt for most of what happens in this industry.

Hassled Thu 24-Jan-13 20:19:36

That must be absolutely soul-destroying, Moondog.

moondog Thu 24-Jan-13 20:21:15

Years and years of believing in what you do and what the people around you do to then see it shatter and discover that, to use a highly technical expression, the vast majority of people don't know their arses from their elbows.

I rage and always will about it.

PolterGoose Thu 24-Jan-13 20:43:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hassled Thu 24-Jan-13 20:46:30

Was this something specific - a lightbulb moment - or a gradual erosion of faith? I don't actually know which would be worse.

There are great people out there - Dev's example shows that, and I know how committed and able you are. And as I said, we've had some great support along the way - DS3 was unintelligible a few years ago; now you wouldn't necessarily spot a problem. But then there are the incompetents, the disinterested - and while you can strike off an incompetent doctor, you just have to hope you don't come up against an incompetent SendCo or a disinterested EdPsych. And there's just too much at stake for that.

MareeyaDolores Thu 24-Jan-13 21:43:25

Poltergoose, have you seen this article about a YOI and this one about adults?

I think a lot of people who don't make up the gaps in adult life end up misdiagnosed with personality disorders, there's the substance misuse as "coping" strategy group, people who hoard and the fact that learning disabilities make it more likely someone will end up with mental health problems or even dementia

On the plus side, being very unhappy at school and learning very little there, doesn't necessarily predict a similar pattern in the real world. How many adults are there who fondly remember the day they escaped the one-size fits all mentality and eventually thrived and learned via their job / night classes / family. Real life probably suits the square pegs better.

PolterGoose Thu 24-Jan-13 22:26:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

auntevil Fri 25-Jan-13 10:01:39

Ime, there are some DCs that are so poorly supported by family that professionals almost 'take over' the whole process.
It's the DCs that fall just outside this category that I feel for. It is assumed that if you have a reasonable command of english that you can cope within the SN /SEN system that we find ourselves in. Rubbish.
It is also assumed that appearances tell you the whole story about a parent. Rubbish. Appearance doesn't tell you how emotionally capable someone is. It doesn't tell you that they are going to put into practise anything that is suggested.
A friend with a SN child was constantly harangued by SS as she did not fit the image of a 'good' parent. She begged and begged for support, telling them exactly what she needed. After they had taken him off her, they provided exactly what she had been asking for. sad angry
It's the squeezed middle - to coin a phrase - that often suffers. Not enough £ to go private, buy in all the support and services required, thwarted in most attempts to access support without fighting.
No wonder we're all drained.
Hassled I hope you take whoever stuffed up to task. Your DS was given this time for a reason. His rights have been denied. Who will speak up for him if you don't?

moosemama Fri 25-Jan-13 12:02:57

Not sure where I am with this at the moment. B and Sil, who incidentally (or not, can't decide) live in quite a tough inner city area, refused to accept their ds's issues were ASD and as a result school etc took over. Dn had full time 1:1, scribe and just about every other intervention possible, without a statement and has had an excellent outcome. This came about because the school has lots of experience of dealing with children with various additional and/or special needs and therefore has the experience and facilities to just get on and help those that need it.

My two nieces, also living in tough areas and with difficult homelives, both have young ds's with different SNs. Both have speech/language problems, one in all likelihood has ASD and ADHD and the other probably ASD, but could be more complicated. Both have been identified young, had portage and playworkers, SALT and are on the path to more intervention, dx and probably statements. Neither dniece has had to push or fight for this.

Ds on the other hand lives in a lovely, leafy well-to-do area and attends a 'supposedly' excellent school, that refused to either recognise or support his issues so we had to bypass them and bring in assessment and support ourselves. Years down the line school is on it's 4th (and seemingly best qualified) SENCO but is only interested in paying lipservice to inclusion and making things look right on paper (tick-boxing).

Ds is a mess, anxiety through the roof and no-one will help. GP said go via Paed, because he needs CAMHS and they will listen to Paed, Paed said CAMHS won't see him because the anxiety is school related and it's therefore down to EP, EP said ds is lucky to have/have had the support he's had thus far (so that will be a few sessions in 2010 then, which encompassed part of his ASD assessment) and all they will do is teach dh and I some relaxation and mindfulness techniques, as 'he has to learn to handle the anxiety himself, because, having ASD, it's not going to go away'. angry

We have been as good as told that because we are intelligent, interested and capable parents who will fight for and help our ds in every way we can, it's down to us to help him. We are essentially on our own.

BUT then again, although we hear the same stories over and over, I don't think it's a simple and clear cut as the scenarios I've just recounted would seem to suggest. Not all the vulnerable children in tough areas get noticed and supported, not all get overlooked and let down - same goes for children in naice middle-class schools. To some extent it's the luck of the draw, which LEA you are in and also very much down to the individual professionals whose path you happen to cross.

MareeyaDolores Fri 25-Jan-13 13:36:03

I think getting lucky with the individual professional is the key. Especially if they can see that if they don't no-one will.

But even the best professional can still only work through 5 lunchbreaks a week, so they have to ration going 'above and beyond' for the absolute neediest cases they come across. Even then, children of difficult-to-work-with parents will still be mislabelled as 'family problems'. With a particular bias towards mislabelling urban, black working-class boys, especially if their mum is single and/or in poor mental health...

Hassled Fri 25-Jan-13 14:47:43

This has all given me lots to think about - thank you. At least diagnosis is better - for example, Dyspraxia doesn't seem to have existed until the early 70s hmm, so there are still many, many adults out there who must have had a hell of a time growing up, and who must still find adult life very difficult. I was doing some googling - this report estimates that 2% of the UK population has a learning difficulty, and then [[ this says that 25% of the prison population have SEN. That's just so depressing.

Moosemama - the best of luck in your fight.

GCSE cock-up news is that I've had a profuse apology and they're working out the best next course of action - whether a retake or a letter to the exams board, I presume. I fairly churlishly told them the apology should be directed at DS2. He went off to school looking like death - this has really shaken him up.

Hassled Fri 25-Jan-13 14:48:39

Major link fail - this is the prison % link.

moosemama Fri 25-Jan-13 15:01:21

Thank you Hassled, likewise for your ds's GCSE. Imho they should give him his predicted grade and not make him go through the stress of the exam all over again due to their incompetence and as you rightly say, they should be apologising to him, as well as reassuring him that they will deal with it.

Unfortunately, apologies are all very well - and easy to throw about, but actions speak louder than words and in the case of our dcs, are usually too little too late, because the damage has already been done. sad

I hope your ds can find a way to get past this and the rest of his GCSEs go more smoothly.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 25-Jan-13 15:51:42

In an ideal world he'd get his predicted grade plus one, but I guess it doesn't work like that.

Perhaps it would if you insisted that the school give him a number of hours of private tuition in the subject to boost his confidence before he retakes!?

MareeyaDolores Fri 25-Jan-13 21:48:30

Might work for the best despite the complete unacceptability, hassle and stress now. If school have major hassles in fixing a mess-up affecting one early exam in one subject, it'll teach them to be much more careful for the 'big' exam sessions.

Specialistassessor Sun 31-Mar-13 22:47:37

Please immediately ask the school's Examination Officer to file an online request for 'special consideration, in view of the fact that DDS was disallowed his granted access arrangements for (specify papers) his recent examinations. Copy your letter to the school's 'Head of Centre' (who is always the headteacher) and SENCO. See:

Ask for written confirmation that this has been done and if no joy, forward your letter to JCQ and OFQUAL, quoting the examination centre and candidate numbers.

Good luck!

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Mon 01-Apr-13 10:15:09

This is exactly the scenario that is scaring the crap out of me WRT DD. half her teachers at Parents evening weren't even aware that DD was awarded 25% extra time and a reader for all her exams AND CA's.

Some of them knew about it for exams, but hadn't realised that this applied to her CA's as well.

It's going to make her first CA in Catering rather an ordeal - it's a 2 hr CA, which will be 2.5hrs long.

That reminds me, I MUST bring her mat cover Catering teacher up to speed on this, because there have already been issues in practical lessons with the teacher shouting at DD because she is 'too slow' (she's got effing dyspraxia, of course she's slower...), and nothing has been said to DD by this teacher about the extra time.

God, I hope it's not on the first day back! Her old Catering teacher was brilliant, the best for her SEN out of all the teachers she has, but this mat cover is frankly fucking useless, and either doesn't have a clue about DD's SN's, or doesn't care.

As I don't have a name (takes DD a year to learn a teacher's name), I can't even email her.

Wonderful first day back for me!

Can't wait for DD's normal teacher to come back off mat leave in October. Bit too late for DD then though, as she will be in Y11 by then.

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