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Getting Extra Support In Main Stream Secondary School - Advice Please!

(11 Posts)
joencaitlinsmum Thu 02-May-13 14:02:29

Hi

My DS has ASD and is 13 and in year 8 main stream secondary school, he had a late diagnosis at 10 but has never been statemented as he is "coping". School have been really good up until now and he has had support in the areas he has needed it up until now. This has meant
he has coped with school far better than we had ever hoped, however since December I have had concerns about his grades only slightly improving and in one area they have declined dramatically.

The decline has been recognised as its an area where the school is struggling across the board to keep hold of teachers and the SEN co-ordinator has apologised that he has become a victim of this and his IEP hasnt been followed and they want me to give them until the next assessment (6wks time) to make sure he is given extra support and the chance to catch up with his peers.

I have agreed to this but it really concerns me that his one huge area of problem is assessments, they really stress him out and then he effectively shuts down remembering nothing. The SENCO says that all children even those in the school's ASD unit has to sit these and he has to learn to "deal" with them especially as they do so many to assess their levels. Is this right? What can I do other than what I am already doing to help him get through these? School allow him to sit in a quiet room to take them but he has no adult support.

I just feel that although he is not a "A*" pupil and more middle of the road he is being left to cruise mainly because he is so well behaved and not disruptive (SENCO's Words!) and with more support his grades could get better but school feel he doesnt need more support.

His head of year has just agreed to meet me to discuss his grades etc, even though the SENCO said she didnt want a meeting yet. I want to ask if they can offer him more support within the 20 hours they have to offer before starting to the statementing process but am at a loss really to make suggestions of my own that I havent already made to SENCO which have been rejected!

Sorry this is so long but I hope it makes sense lol.

TIA

JCM

BeeMom Thu 02-May-13 14:17:42

Sadly, I find that when the pressures of assessments are put on the schools, they are "forced" to let the pupils whose needs are not screaming in their faces flounder.

You see - I know that my DS (14, Y9) is capable of FAR more than he is producing, but because he is producing passing grades, he gets no assistance. He could have As across the board, but he doesn't 1) because he is very bright and REFUSES to apply himself; and 2) there is no reason in his eyes to do any more than he must to pass. Some dimwitted SENCO told him that his Y9 grades mean nothing in the big scheme of things, as they do not count towards university acceptance, and he took that as license to do as little as he possibly can. hmm

Unless your DS is either failing or very disruptive, you may well struggle getting additional support for him. This does not mean working for it isn't worth the hassle, it just means that it will be an uphill battle. They don't want our DCs to rise to their potential, they just want them to quietly go about their business - pass their classes and not cause trouble.

Alas, the same thing they want all students to do...

AnotherAlias Thu 02-May-13 14:26:43

"he has to learn to "deal" with them" - er how?
She needs to realise that if he could "learn to deal with it" on his own, he wouldn't be having such problems.
At the very least he should be getting a lot of support to begin with and phasing it out as and when he does cope better.
"wait until next assessment" - while they do nothing??

I suspect that if you write for a statutory assessment, the LEA would just turn around and say the school hadn't done enough - but perhaps that is one way of getting the school to buck their ideas up?
(When you say 20 hours - I assume he isn't actually getting any of that support?)

Why is IEP not being implemented? was it written by the school - if so, they must believe he needs that support surely?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-May-13 14:42:56

I would apply for a statement from the LEA now and ignore any naysayers. This will also give the school a kick up the backside.

Being on the autistic spectrum without having a statement in a secondary school is akin to being thrown to the sharks. Its very much sink or swim and he is sinking fast here. You are his best - and only - advocate. They have not got his best interests at heart here; you do.

The school clearly are not going to apply for a statement any time soon so you're going to have to do this now. Also that is not a bad thing because you can appeal in the event the LEA say no (school cannot appeal). Honestly delaying it for whatever reason is not helping him any.

IPSEA's website is very good at the whole statementing process and I suggest you read that as well as arm yourself with a copy of the SEN Code of Practice (available online). That will also be of benefit to you as knowledge is power.

Re your comment:-
"I just feel that although he is not a "A*" pupil and more middle of the road he is being left to cruise mainly because he is so well behaved and not disruptive (SENCO's Words!) and with more support his grades could get better but school feel he doesnt need more support"

That is a clear indication that his needs at school are not being met; my cynical side thinks that because your son is not disruptive in throwing chairs he is being sidelined in a class of 30 because its easier for them to do that to him. I would argue that he is being failed here by this school currently because they are also not letting him meet his full potential.

IEP is also known as "Individual Empty Promise". Poorly written IEPs that are not SMART are not worth the paper they are written on.

joencaitlinsmum Thu 02-May-13 14:50:34

Hi Alias

Thanks for your message to be honest it has made me see things clearer!

I need to get them to tell me exactly what he is getting in the way of support that adds up to his 20 hours, at the moment I have no idea!

IEP was written by school and it is emailed out to all his teachers but whether they look at it and then remember he has needs and needs extra help is two different matters especially if his teachers keep changing as I'm assuming its sent out only occasionally? His science teacher actually asked me what he should do in giving him support in class as he had no idea about children with ASD.

They have told me his teachers will be made aware again of his IEP and needs and will be putting in extra effort to support him.

JCM

joencaitlinsmum Thu 02-May-13 14:54:25

Hi Attila

I have to agree about the IEP, his has things like, ask for help if I dont understand, be able to go to head of year when I have a problem, do my homework the night it is set rather than forget what it means the following week etc etc.

Can I get hold of such a thing as a sample of a well written IEP that I can put forward to school?

Thought I would have a fight on my hands so here I go...

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-May-13 15:07:25

Ideally the IEP should be drawn up termly and with your input into it as well.

Usually in secondary schools however, such things are presented as already done and without parental input to boot.

I felt for his science teacher; there's someone whose actually trying to help. You need to be aware as well that many teachers are not trained enough in the whole gamut of special needs.

In your case I would certainly apply for the statement for your son and by doing so giving this school a kick where it is needed. How d'you feel about applying for it yourself?.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-May-13 15:10:57

IEPs need to be SMART

•Specific
•Measurable
•Achievable
•Relevant
•Time Limited

This also gives more information:-
specialed.about.com/od/iep/tp/IEPoverview.htm

joencaitlinsmum Thu 02-May-13 16:06:43

Hi Attila

I work in school so aware not many teachers are trained to deal with special needs, I find the older the less they understand the need for extra help or to recognise problems.

I have had no input with his IEP although I have spoken to the SENCO about it but she persuaded me it had the right goals for my DS but they were not what I call academic goals more for confidence etc.

I am very wary about applying for a statement myself as I feel I don't know enough about it all. Can I still apply even if DS hasn't had any support or help from professionals since his diagnosis?

TIA

JcM

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-May-13 18:59:15

Yes, you can apply and I suggest you do so asap; you certainly do not need anyone's permission to apply for a statement. If the LEA did agree to assess (and you must appeal their crass decision in the event they say no) they would write to the various healthcare professionals who have seen your DS to date.

Re this part of your comment:-
"I find the older the less they understand the need for extra help or to recognise problems".

So true, I have seen that scenario played out with some of my DS's peers as well.

IPSEA's website detailed below is very helpful as is asking on here if you have any questions.

www.ipsea.org.uk is IPSEA's website and there are model letters you can use.

Keep posting on here too, let us know how you get on.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 02-May-13 19:37:57

'I have to agree about the IEP, his has things like, ask for help if I dont understand, be able to go to head of year when I have a problem, do my homework the night it is set rather than forget what it means the following week etc etc.'

The key question for this is 'how?, and WHO will be responsible for ensuring it happens (the answer cannot be HIM).

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