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School trips, and fire alarms

(13 Posts)
CurrerBell Thu 12-Sep-13 12:26:38

Hi, my nearly 7yo DS has Asperger's with demand avoidance issues (possibly he has PDA). He really freaked out on a trip last year and was running about all over the place - none of the teachers could control him at all. He has been ok on previous trips (I think), but this particular one was a disaster. There is another trip coming up soon and the teacher has asked if I could bring him in our own car so we can remove him if necessary - otherwise he'll have to stay at school. It's a science-based trip which I know he'll love, so I don't want him to miss out.

I know they're not being unreasonable (although it's quite inconvenient for in us in terms of the car/my husbands's work), but it's just made me feel quite down that they can't cope with him...

I don't know if I should be pushing for one-to-one support for him generally... He seems to be mainly coping in the classroom with a lot of understanding from the teacher... but my worry is he can be unpredictable and teachers may not always be so understanding once he goes to Juniors.

For example yesterday he set off the fire alarm (after being told not to touch it) and the whole school had to evacuate and the fire brigade came! I'm so embarrassed and we've had a big talk about the gravity of the situation...

He also struggles a lot with things like concerts, sports day, assemblies etc and needs to sit out or be given a special job with one-to-one for these times. He hasn't got any official support at the moment and because he's doing well academically the teachers don't seem to think he would get any...

Just feeling quite low today and just kind of want to know I'm not alone, if that makes sense!

PolterGoose Thu 12-Sep-13 16:28:07

Hi Currer my ds is 10 and has Aspergers and he is very able academically but still needs/has 15 hours LSA a week under school action plus. His LSA provides 1-1 at break and lunchtimes as well as support and intervention at other times. She always accompanies on trips and I have never been asked to do this even when ds was being violent at school. I think you need to be telling school that they need to provide appropriate support to meet his needs, they should not be expecting you to be an unpaid TA. There are times when I will withdraw muss from activities that he will not be able to manage (sports day, Xmas party type things) but I do expect him to have full access to all aspects of the curriculum including trips, and hey have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to enable him to participate.

I found that applying for statutory assessment was a very effective means to get school evidencing what they were actually doing to support ds and to actually do it!

PolterGoose Thu 12-Sep-13 16:28:56

...withdraw him from activities...

flossy2013 Thu 12-Sep-13 16:30:32

You're not alone!

I haven't got any advice to offer sorry, I just wanted to say I have a daughter with Aspergers so I understand a little of where you're coming from.

Take care x

flossy2013 Thu 12-Sep-13 16:32:00

You're not alone!

I haven't got any advice to offer sorry, I just wanted to say I have a daughter with Aspergers so I understand a little of where you're coming from.

Take care x

flossy2013 Thu 12-Sep-13 16:32:31

Sorry, double post. :/

CurrerBell Thu 12-Sep-13 20:45:29

Thank you for the replies. smile

I did feel uneasy about being asked to accompany him on every trip (separately in the car) - but the head is saying it's a health and safety issue as they haven't got enough staff to cope if he does 'lose it'. He actually missed out on a trip at the end of last term because I couldn't go (no childcare for my DD). He was upset and I felt awful.

I am happy to accompany them on the coach as a parent helper (when I can), but don't want to feel like I have to go every time or have him excluded. Sounds like I need to talk to the school again and try and get more support...

The head didn't seem to think he would get a statement, yet he seems to be becoming increasingly more challenging in certain situations, as more is expected of him. It is hard for other people to understand his problems because he's so bright and able, and he is aware of the rules - he just doesn't always accept that they apply to him!

Does he actually need a statement in order to get support? I'm not sure of the process. Following his diagnosis he was seen by an ed pscyh in school, who was great and supported our suspicions that he has PDA (the initial diagnosis was Aspergers). However the ed psych didn't see him at his worst so I don't know if her report would be strong enough for him to get any additional support...

After all my worrying today, I picked up DS and apparently he'd had a really good day! I feel strangely exhausted after speaking with the teachers, but happy that there were no more dramas today!

mummytime Thu 12-Sep-13 21:12:15

I would contact your local Parent Partnership and maybe the NAS. The school should not exclude him from trips, and using health and safety to do so is wrong. They should be giving him more support. Support is not just for academic issues but also for the social issues that can restrict a pupil's access to the curriculum.

PolterGoose Thu 12-Sep-13 21:54:07

Currer no, he does not need a statement to be supported, my ds does not have one and whilst I've had my own school issues and battles my ds has never been excluded in that way. I think you really need to do some reading around your/his rights. Your ds has legal rights under the Equality Act as well as the provisions of the SEN code of practice. I'm not an expert on the legal stuff but there's lots on the Internet.

My ds is 10 now and, whilst he was at his worst at school in KS1, the developmental gap really widened once he went into KS2.

Trigglesx Thu 12-Sep-13 22:26:27

Polter is absolutely spot-on (as usual grin) that he doesn't need a statement to be supported.

However, this: He hasn't got any official support at the moment and because he's doing well academically the teachers don't seem to think he would get any...

Wrong wrong wrong! They are wrong! DS1 is academically way ahead of his peers in some subjects and had full time support in MS and is now at a SS. Support is based on need, not academics. If he is struggling with coping socially, they need to support him.

Trigglesx Thu 12-Sep-13 22:29:09

The thing to remember is that while he isn't struggling academically now, he may very well soon as that gap widens. Getting a statement or often just well planned out support can take time - the sooner you get it sorted, the better for him.

Perhaps put in writing to the SENCO that you'd like to sit down and meet with them regarding what support can be put in place to help him. Kind of put them on alert that you expect more than what they are providing at the moment (which sounds like it is basically nothing). And always document - so follow up any meetings or discussions with a summary letter as well.

PolterGoose Thu 12-Sep-13 22:46:28

I've just put this on another thread but its relevant here too:

I would advise though that you don't rely on 'catching' the teacher/HT/DHT and do all your communicating by email/letter to create a paper trail, or if you do have a discussion follow it up with an email saying "just to confirm our discussion today, I understand that we agreed <list what was agreed> I look forward to reviewing these arrangements in X weeks as discussed. I am available <list availability>"

CurrerBell Fri 13-Sep-13 10:48:07

Thanks all - that's really helpful advice. I hadn't thought about putting things in writing.

I am going to request a meeting with the SENCO to discuss support. Last year he had a very caring teacher who managed to build a good rapport with DS. She said in her opinion he didn't need one-on-one support - only in some situations. It's these situations I'm worried about! This teacher gave him a lot of one-on-one during assembly (when she would sit out with him) and tried to help with his 'emotional literacy'. He needs someone who can do this while he is young and receptive.

He is ahead of his peers in reading, maths and science but is unable to do things like line up with the other children, or put his stuff away in the right place. However I know he can learn (albeit slowly and with a lot of encouragement), as he's already a lot better at getting dressed than he was last year.

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