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Secondary Schools and Aspergers

(20 Posts)
mumslife Sat 14-Sep-13 21:57:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 12-Sep-13 23:13:27

DS2 has Asperger's/ASD & ADHD & is highly academically able.

He started at a mainstream, partially academically selective secondary school 8 days ago! smile

These are things that helped make his transition easier:

When we looked around the schools, I visited each of the learning support departments and met with the head of learning support at each. DS2 came with me.

Once he had a place (at our first choice school, yay!) the Inclusion Manager at his primary school liaised with the head of learning support at the secondary school, starting in April.

After the May half term, DS2 went on weekly transition visits with a small group of other pupils with additional needs. The activities included finding out about the school, organisational skills etc.

In the summer holidays, DH and I worked on extra skills with him: tying shoelaces, tying his tie, and walking to and from school (many times). We went through a lot of 'what if' scenarios.

For the first week, I have given him a list of how to get ready for school in the mornings, a second list of what to take each day, and a third list of what he needs to do when he gets home. He is already showing more confidence with these routines.

Good communication with the learning support department is important too, I think.

PfftTheMagicDraco Thu 12-Sep-13 14:44:33

Thanks, radio smile

Ilisten2theradio Mon 09-Sep-13 14:14:36

a statement refers to educational needs so if you want to apply you have to look at all your DS's difficulties and relate them to how they affect his ability to learn. The Dx will help if you get it as it will list them for you. If you can then get to see the Ed Psych then that will help too, also if you can get Autism outreach to come to the school and observe him and right a report and a list of suggestions to help this would be good too.
Although when the LEA look at whether to assess for a statement they have to take your views into account those of professionals are rated more highly than yours so you would need to make sure that you have some professional reports

PfftTheMagicDraco Sun 08-Sep-13 20:40:04

I havent looked hugely into applying for a statement. Partly because a) we arent diagnosed yet, and b) I have no idea what needs are required to get one.

PfftTheMagicDraco Sun 08-Sep-13 20:35:16

Wild, thanks for that, I had totally got my dates muddled and though I had to apply at the start of next year! confused A relief!

thornrose Sun 08-Sep-13 20:13:14

Can I just second that transition management is massively important. Please don't underestimate that, like I did! My dd had a terrible, badly managed transition last year. I still haven't forgiven myself.

PfftTheMagicDraco Sun 08-Sep-13 20:05:49

I am in Birmingham, so we have access to the King Edward grammars. I have looked at one of their independents, with fees of 10k per year, which is relatively reasonable for such schools. I'm unsure though, as I'm not sure what the SEN provision is, and I dont know that he would even pass an exam. He's capable, but anxious about a lot of stuff.

(We also have access to Worcestershire schools)

So I can look to a grammar, but I can't depend on it, IYSWIM.

I feel that what he needs is a small mainstream secondary, with good provision for SEN, but I suspect those are like hens teeth!

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 08-Sep-13 12:32:10

I found my son struggled more as he entered Y5 and he ended up out of school altogether.

He would not cope in a mainstream secondary or a ASD base where the drive is to get them in to mainstream classes.

I cannot find a special school which is a good fit for him.

So we are using tutors at present. I have learnt that flexibility is the key. What works now, may not work next year.

My son is not really interested in other children and I don't really see the point in forcing him. He engages perfectly well with adults outside school and is acquiring the skills he needs for life.

Having had years of constructing a scaffold of support around him in primary to no avail, I am forming the view that letting him be happy and learn in his own way is key, rather than forcing him into someone else's idea of normal.

I wonder how much time and money is spent making kids cope with school rather than helping them learn what they need for life.

PolterGoose Sun 08-Sep-13 12:11:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WildAndWoolly Sun 08-Sep-13 11:58:19

I don't know where you are, but if in England and applying for state secondaries, the national closing date for applications is 31st Oct of year 6, for entry the following Sept so you do have a bit of time. Most of the selective exams (state) are the September of year 6, although I have found one which is in July of year 5.

If applying for selective indies the 11+ is in the January before entry into year 7, so a little later than the state schools, but I think they like you to put your child's name down (and pay a fee) earlier.

Both of mine do very well academically in their state primary, with a fair amount of support. Socially they are of the 'active but odd' variety, but still have friends and a social life. They'll never be jocks though (thank goodness!) grin

WildAndWoolly Sun 08-Sep-13 11:48:29

Hi! I've got two on the spectrum, one of which has just started year 5 so we're in the process of starting to look at mainstream secondaries. One thing we've found is that in our area all the schools (selective included) are massive.

The independent schools are smaller but are 5-6K/term (I wish it was per year!) so we can't afford them, and the ASD base attached to a (selective) mainstream school in the area only accepts students with a statement.

We're looking at lunchtime clubs, going to talk to SENCOs etc. but ultimately our choice is very limited as schools are all ridiculously oversubscribed around here and catchment areas tiny, so if DS1 doesn't pass the exams for the selective schools we're planning to either move or home educate.

DS2 has a statement, which he'll hopefully keep for a bit, so for him the choice is likely to be easier as we can name a school with an ASD base.

ilikemysleep Sun 08-Sep-13 09:53:18

We wanted the smallest possible school for ds who also has selective mutism as well as aspergers. We have never pursued the statement route as a. He would absolutely hate any kind of individual support, generic ta sat in lessons with him is not what he needs and b. The specific tailor made interventions he does need have always been deliverable at school action plus with our (very good) local CAMHS autism team support. He just passed the 11+ and is going to the least prestigious local grammar which is the smallest and so far (a week in) its going ok. Our local comp is almost 2000 kids and I thought he would sink without trace there, so I sympathise. Many areas have small independents which are nurturing rather than pushy, fees around the 6000 a year mark, might that be an option?

PfftTheMagicDraco Sat 07-Sep-13 21:58:11

thanks guys, off to bed but will look at all this in the morning.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 07-Sep-13 18:19:21

Hi pfft I am in a similar situation with my Dd3, she has a dx of Asd and is academically able when well supported. Her primary is lovely, we moved her in yr 3. She is now in yr 6 and no where near ready for secondary.

We have no choice about secondary schools as she would not cope with the pressure of grammar so its the massive comp down the road. They have a great SN department and the senco is excellent, they have even won an award recently but the rest of the school concerns me due to it being ridiculously strict and some of the teachers appearing to not like children (my Dd2 has just finished there)

In my LA children have to be failing at school before you stand any chance of a SA and her primary work so hard to ensure that the children dont fail it is almost putting Dd3 at a disadvantage.

We are going to give the comp a whirl and see what happens, I am about to start retraining so that I can work at night if we have to take her out. She was depressed before we moved her at 8 and I will not be letting her go back to that.

Fingers crossed sad

HisMum4now Sat 07-Sep-13 18:08:08

My DS with ASD, ADHD, and sensory processing difficulties attends a mainstream grammar school with a statement. He has 15 hours 1:1 support. I know a couple of other boys on the spectrum that attend mainstream schools without a statement and are doing well. We got a statement in year 6, right before the transfer and started the statutory assessment at the beginning of year 5 (via 2 tribunals grin). In year 4 DS was supported on SA+ very well, similarly to your DS, and the teacher even thought he wouldn't need a statement.

Just be aware that the increasing demands of the curriculum tend to make some borderline problems more acute. So the way your DS's needs would present in year 6 might be slightly different to how they look now. If this happens, you might have to fight for a statement. The statement and the 1:1 support were key for my DS.

In my experience, the main thing is that the statement (or SA+) provisions are right for your DS. Once this is established, the school SENCo will make the biggest difference -the quality and attitude of people involved with your DS. It does not necessarily depend on how many other pupils with ASD they have. My DS was the first and remains the only DC with ASD and with a statement at that particular school.

I would add that the way the transition is managed is also important. In our case there was a transition team and meetings between the primary and the secondary school. They prepared special maps, cards and timetables, it was well rehearsed like a Ferrari pit stop IYSWIM.

The culture at the school matters as well - the structure and discipline of the grammar school is good for my DS, there is no bullying, teachers don't change every other months etc.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 07-Sep-13 18:02:27

With regards to a statement, I would be applying for it now. IPSEA's website is very good in this respect and this has model letters you can use.

Many secondary schools can be both big and impersonal; I think you would be indeed wise to view as many as you can before committing to any one. I would be asking the SENCO many pertinent questions along the lines already stated.

SuperiorCat Sat 07-Sep-13 16:13:48

Sorry re the ASD base, how it worked at the school we looked at was that students could join in all lessons; some lessons or no lessons depending on how they felt. If they were not in lessons, then they had the same lesson with a specialist TA in the SN base which was a quiet, calm, peaceful area.

All teachers in the school had ASD knowledge / training, and the students upon joining in Y7 were all given a special assembly to explain ASD to them and how they could support their peers.

If you are in N0RTHANTS feel free to PM me and I will give you more info

SuperiorCat Sat 07-Sep-13 16:09:51

I would go and look round as many as possible ahead of time. We looked at a school with an ASD base that was fab and we thought this was the one, until we took DS to our local mainstream school and he talked to the SENCO and we realised that this school would bend over backwards to accomodate him.

I would ask how the differentiate lessons; whether students can have lessons in the SENCO / ASD base; how many students they have with ASD; what their pastoral care is like - this for DS was more important than anything; do they offer lunch / after school clubs geared for students with SN (chess, robots, war-hammer etc rather than just sport / drama).

PfftTheMagicDraco Sat 07-Sep-13 15:58:10


I haven't really ventured onto this board before, but I was hoping a few of you might have some advice or experience that would help me.

DS (8, Year 4) is being seen by CAMHS, and we are looking at a likely diagnosis for ASD (Aspergers) in the next couple of months.

The primary school that he is attending meets his needs very well, and they have bent over backwards to help him, even with no sniff of a diagnosis for years. They have special clubs for children with social difficulties, they make special arrangements to help him get into school with minimal anxiety, he has one-on-one time with the teaching assistants. He copes well at school at the moment (with the common mask in place and meltdowns afterwards, but still).

I am very worried about secondary school. There is a large state school next door to the primary, and the Clinical Psychologist that he sees says that he would struggle terribly there. He's very academically capable.

I don't have any knowledge of secondary schools for children on the spectrum that don't have any sort of learning needs, IYSWIM. I have read about autism bases - how do these work?

Have you sent your child to a mainstream state school with Aspergers? How have you found they have got on? I have to apply this time next year, and unless we get a statement before then, I may have to move house. What sort of thing should I be looking for in a school? And if anyone has any ideas as to questions I should be asking when looking round some schools, that would help immensely.

Thank you!

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