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Even the specialist AS school are struggling...what now? Advice please.(14 Posts)
Ds is 8. Has a dx of ASD & ADHD. He has been in an independent special school funded by LEA for 15 months.
Ds is bright with no learning difficulties but extremely anxious. He's socially & emotionally about 3.5 years. Very complex, sensory impaired etc. Ds is meditated.
The biggest issue with Ds is his behavior. He is very physically aggressive. He's being restrained almost daily. He has an updated behaviour plan& a restraint policy that was tailored to manage him safely. He isn't physical at home but he's been verbally aggressive at home lately.
Im really worried. There are members of staff now refusing to work with Ds. Im worried the school will ask me to move him. There's no where else for him to go. Home education is not an option. I know he's been not happy. The school have had limited success with him.
Its his Annual Review in a few weeks. What hope do i have if i request 1-1 within a special school? He's currently in 2-1 in a class of 5. Should i speak to the school? Previously i found they were reluctant to admit they couldn't manage Ds.
What's the best way forward?
All & any advice appreciated.
This probably isn't the right school.
Just because it's asd-specialist, doesn't mean it's DS-specialist. Some dc with ASD have almost nothing in common with the next ASD dc.
I would imagine the costs are similar to lots of 1-1 in a good maintained local special school, so definitely worth considering, if you can find one
Can they bring in any outside agencies to help? If he is not like this with you at home can you spend any time in school to observe what might be going wrong?
Very bright, very emotionally young, very aggressive (but not at home). I wonder what's so extra-difficult at school, or what you're doing differently at home to help him.
Presume he's having a sensory programme? If they can get him effectively communicating, the anxiety and fighting should reduce (a bit)
It is certainly possible to get1:1 in an independent special school. Ds has severe learning difficulties and severe asd and has this as do most of his peer group in his school. I suppose though this is more common in those schools that deal with children at the very severe end of spectrum. Your ds probably needs the expertise of a school like this in terms of sensory and behaviour but at the same time needs access to a curriculum of a higher level. Can you put feelers out for a more suitable school? Find out what the options are before you have a conversation with current school about your ds. Tbh they should be looking at supporting him 1:1 without prompting. He shouldn't be being restrained almost daily that is a huge red flag that things aren't right for him. Ds has been restrained only three times in three years and he is very anxious and can also be aggressive. There should be plenty of other options before restraint is used.
You poor thing. If he is bright and articulate, is it worth getting his take on the situation. Flyingboy gets more challenging when he's being supported by someone who is, in his view, hopeless. Over the years I've come to trust his opinion. He knows. So now we listen to him far more whereas in the past we always assumed that the school was right and he was wrong. As a professional, what I find is that students need a good listening to. Sometimes some pretty straight talking works. He needs some motivation to stop him being violent.
Go back a stage. When is he happy? What is he doing? How does he behave then? How can that be replicated within sensible means within school. Perhaps they are pushing him too much or not enough and he's getting frustrated. Are there particular things that set him off?
Is the medication calibrated correctly?
Feel for you and for the staff as well.
How likely is it to get 1-1 in a special school?
It was the only school suitable for Ds that i could find. Exhausted 5 LEA 's, &3 other independent schools before finding the one he's in.
OT has made a massive difference, he can sit at a desk for about 12 mins now. It was 1/2 mins when he started.
Ds won't engage with other people if Im in school. He really struggles if i go into the school.
Its people/interacting/not 'getting it'/ noise etc that he can't cope with. His ideal world is us two indoors & Ds on the laptop playing Minecraft!
I'd be very concerned about a school that used restraint so much too - it should always be a last resort.
Do you think there is a general trend towards making progress (academically or behaviourally)? It can take time for improvements to kick in at a specialist school, and things can get worse before they get better. But I think that after 15 months you can see whether things will improve in the long term.
I would definitely be looking at other schools - this might mean looking at residential provision, or moving if you want to access a particular school as a day student.
I've heard of 1:1 and 2:1 support being provided in specialist schools, but the restraint issue suggests to me that the school may not be the right place even with additional support in place. Can your DS express why he's unhappy there or whether there are specific things he wants to have changed?
Sorry Im on phone as Ds is in the bath!
The reason this school appeared to be more suitable is the links they have with a mainstream school. The work is set individually. He attends the gcse maths group but works by himself for almost everything else. Academically he's doing well.
No incentive works for long, he's insatiable!
Have you looked at residential schools? Maybe he would benefit from a 24 hour curriculum and it would give you a broader scope of schools to look at.
Is the medication right? ADHD drug treatment isn't just about various methylphenidate dosages (though you'd never know it from talking to most Camhs people)
I've kept his meds the same for 2 years. He was on concerta but the side effects were awful. He lost alot of weight. He's been on equasym XL 20mg for 2 for almost 2years. Im very reluctant to increase the dose. If you seen him at school you wouldn't realise he's meditated but at home he's very zoned out. We have an appointment at Camhs next week so i will speak to his doctor.
Ds is so young...residential school would be an absolute last resort. Actually i would probably give up work & home school him rather then send him to residential school at his age!
Thanks, you've given me good advice!
Got my brain going...
could it be the fear of the restraint that is making his behaviour worse at school.
if he is a heightened senosry state anyway as anxious about the restraint (which is a very sensory experience)it probably wont take much to set him off, the fear maybe putting him halfway there already.
Maybe they need to give him a number of days of no restraints, this may mean he is not in the class for a while but in a calmer, quieter environment & once he trusts them again re introduce class time gradually.
No matter how good the curriculum he isnt going to progress if his behaviour & their reaction is preventing him from learning
Mymatemax- I think you have hit the nail on the head, its actually quite obvious. I find it so hard to stay objective with Ds. This term so far has been really tough.
I will call the school this morning&set up a meeting with Ds class teacher& the T.A's who are mainly with Ds. I feel nervous but i feel its time to lay my cards on the table & tell them i feel they are not meeting Ds needs, his behaviours which are caused by his anxieties are indicative of this.
I felt last year they were overly positive at Ds Annual Review. I ignored it as Ds was improving. Its all game playing. The school only has two children from our borough. The school has places so potentially children from our borough will be requesting places as its in a neighbouring borough. The school has a very good reputation. Only about 4 children,including Ds are there without going to tribunal.
I appreciate the school has its limitations but Im selling Ds short if i don't tackle this. At the same time Im scared he could end up out of school...yet again!
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