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Trying to find a school for a bright girl with behavioural problems

(23 Posts)
Barefootgirl Thu 17-Oct-13 15:56:07

New MNer here, so please be kind !

I have an 11 year old DD in Y6, who is bright, funny, very very academically able...and with a full Statement for behavioural and social difficulties. She has already been permanently excluded from one mainstream school for persistent disruptive behaviour, and is now on the verge of being p/excluded from a second. She is currently at a temporary provision (like a PRU, but not a PRU, if that makes sense), while the LA tries to figure out what should be done with her. She was expected to get L6 in Maths SATs and Level 5a at least in English at the end of this year.

Her CAMHS psychiatrist thinks she has autistic traits but not enough to make a full diagnosis of ASD.

She desperately wants to go to school. She loves school, she loves learning and she loves being pushed academically. However she struggles massively with peer interaction and simply cannot function in a classroom with other children. She gets on very well with adultls, is very articulate and insightful when spoken to, but simply cannot manage in school. We have had dozens and dozens of FTEs, all of which have resulted in me dragging her out of the building and into the car while she screamed to be allowed to stay, and on one terrible occasion, the HT having to prise her fingers off the frame of the school front door.

I need to find her a school. I cannot find a suitable school. It needs to be somewhere which will push her academically, as she is SO able and wants to be a corporate lawyer or an investment banker rolls eyes but at the same time needs to be able to manage her outbursts. I would prefer day rather than residential, but at this stage I don't care. the LA is making noises about residential placements, but so far they have also not come up with anywhere suitable. Please please please, can anyone suggest a possible school for me to investigate?

PolterGoose Thu 17-Oct-13 16:08:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 17-Oct-13 20:01:05

Where in the country?

MariaBoredOfLurking Thu 17-Oct-13 21:17:14

BESD schools aren't renowned for university entrance. Would an ASD-style 'unit' in mainstream secondary work better than the usual primary statement (usually minimal modifications, plus 30h/week of 1-1 in-class babysitting by a minimally retrained lunch supervisor)

Am wondering how much experience camhs has of ASD+female+high IQ. If its lots, fair enough. Otherwise, might be worth a trip to a 'tricky atypical dc' second opinion service: Maudsley/ Gt Ormond St /Elizabeth Newcomen centre Nottingham, I hear Newcastle & Edinburgh also have good reputations for figuring out whether or not atypical dc have an asd.

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 17-Oct-13 21:50:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nigel1 Thu 17-Oct-13 22:15:04

New School at West Heath. Specialise in this area. Highly recommend them.

Barefootgirl Fri 18-Oct-13 15:53:48

Thank you all. We live in Bedfordshire, and there is nothing locally. Am happy to push for assessment further afield (we were told about a place called the Lorna Wing Centre) but that still leaves us with the problem of where she'd go if/when she received a more specific diagnosis.

Thanks for the suggestion of New School, will go and look into that.

zzzzz Fri 18-Oct-13 16:36:29

I'm going to second polts suggestion of on-line school. Have you thought of putting her up a year?

bochead Sat 19-Oct-13 22:52:41

Online school means the child studies at their level not their year group like in a mainstream brick set up. I'm currently using Briteschool to finish primary, as they seemed to have the most understanding of what a spikey profile REALLY means iykwim, though I'm holding others in reserve for later on as the choice for primary is very limited. His class for literacy goes from 8 years to 12 & there are only 5 kids in it lol!

From year 7 it expands exponentially in terms of choice re online schools. There's as much variety out there as there is for ordinary schools, so do your research very carefully!

I'm really impressed by the Stanford high school's (linked to Stanford Uni btw) offering for truly gifted children in the academic arena. A child would graduate from that with a US high school cert, inc AP credits for college/uni that are accepted by uk uni's. Interhigh seems to have cornered the market in sweet talking LA's here in the UK, and like briteschool, follows the English NC.

Do research online schooling as an option; as it may be she needs to separate academic learning from "social" learning for a while. Many of our kids have to follow 2 curricula while everyone else only studies one iyswim & they just get overloaded & can't cope - cue the awful melt downs. .

This would also perhaps allow you the time/space to get in an ABA expert to help you help her with her behavior too. (Caudwell charity offers the equiv of an hour a week for a year with an aba bod). You can tackle the social stuff via guides/gym/swim clubs/music groups etc. RDA does a great teen volunteer scheme or she could follow the duke of Edinburgh award scheme, join st johns ambulance etc, etc.

Just thinking out loud that perhaps a non-school group social activity in an environment she'd really enjoy + an ABA bod might help a bright child learn socially appropriate behavior and emotional literacy better than the overwhelming "dining hall" experience of your typical mainstream school.

Lastly a shrink won't know to look for sensory processing issues - for that you need an OT trained in this area. Schools don't even seem to know this condition exists! (I've noticed the same with dyspraxia). If it's the school environment she can't handle then getting your GP to refer you seems like a smart thing to do. An appropriate sensory diet and at her age, a clear understanding of her own environmental triggers will be invaluable to her throughout life.

insanityscratching Sun 20-Oct-13 00:03:36

I'd probably suggest a request for a referral to a specialist diagnostic service so that you have a proper picture of her difficulties and and appropriate diagnosis. It may well be that ASD is appropriate as it's notoriously easy to miss in intelligent, articulate girls. Then I'd be looking at the Cambian/ Hesley/Priory groups for a school to meet her very specific needs.

Selks Sun 20-Oct-13 00:08:50

Has she had a full assessment by an education psychologist? As a CAMHS professional myself we would generally expect that, and that should identify how her needs can be met within an educational setting.

Selks Sun 20-Oct-13 00:11:06

Or perhaps once all assessments by specialist agencies have been done then the ed psych can (re)assess her needs from an educational perspective.

Barefootgirl Mon 21-Oct-13 16:47:03

Thanks all -stupid question but WRT this;

"^I'd probably suggest a request for a referral to a specialist diagnostic service so that you have a proper picture of her difficulties and and appropriate diagnosis.^"

who should I make the request to? My GP or CAMHS? Or someone else? My poor daughter is really starting to feel isolated and lonely, and desperately wants to go back to school.

sickofsocalledexperts Mon 21-Oct-13 17:08:42

It is not an exact parallel, but my very clever very hf autistic DSD benefited greatly from the small class sizes and "whole child" ethos of a private church secondary school. Perhaps the LA will pay, given thy are running out of options? But she did not have the behaviours so much - have you looked at ABA for teaching her how to "edit" her own behaviours?

I worked in a senior management role in investment banking for many years, recruiting a lot of people, and managing her own behaviour will be crucial.

insanityscratching Mon 21-Oct-13 17:39:35

You could ask for a referral from either I imagine. I'd ask my GP who is very supportive and our CAMHS is hopeless so I'd avoid them anyway. I'd want referring to either Great Ormond Street, Alder Hey or Elizabeth Newson Centre (ENC) or you mention Lorna Wing. I think you will find that with an assessment from one of these you would then have a clearer picture of your dd's needs and the sort of placement required.
Ds goes to the school associated with the ENC and I couldn't recommend them more highly but I know of others who have used GOSH and Alder Hey and would recommend them too.
Ds never spoke to one person in his ASD unit and yet in his school now he has friends and really enjoys their company and they have a lot of laughs.

MariaBoredOfLurking Mon 21-Oct-13 20:49:14

Has she had a full assessment by an education psychologist? As a CAMHS professional myself we would generally expect that

Supposing the problem isn't affecting school (much) or the teachers won't use up their limited ed psych budgeted hours on that child.

Adult mental health teams don't insist the patient's employer gets a full occupational psychologist assessment to help the NHS decide whether mental health will see them.

MariaBoredOfLurking Mon 21-Oct-13 20:52:18

Clinical child psychologist's role

Nothing like that of an educational psychologist

MariaBoredOfLurking Mon 21-Oct-13 20:56:04

Btw, I'm not suggesting OP's daughter can manage without an ed psych. Clearly there are school issues. Just seems a bit odd for an NHS service to insist an external body do something specific before they'll see the patient

Can't see an adult letting their doctor away with it, "I'll refer you to a specialist for your knee, well, as soon as the council rehouse you" hmm

Barefootgirl Tue 22-Oct-13 13:34:41

She has been assessed by the Ed Psych twice. The first time, the EP did a full WISC panel on her (took hours!!). The second time was two weeks ago, when a lovely EP came out and observed her for a morning. I've jsut received the report and frankly, its flannel. It reiterates all the things that her previous schools were doing (and failing at) and says they just need to be done a bit more for them to work.... excuse me while I bang my head on the desk. It talks about sh*t like Circle of Friends. I'm sure its good for younger primary children, but it really doesnt work with a very bright, very cynical 11 year old who's interested in politics and law, rather than more age-appropriate stuff. I'm very worried that on the strength of such a report, the LA will turn round and offer another MS place that will just end up in her being excluded yet again.

DD and I went to visit a possible school for her today. It was nice, welcoming, friendly...but I didn't get a 'this is the place' feeling. I've started looking at the schools that insanityscratching suggested, as well as the New School. The New School looks incredible, but OMG the fees! How on earth would i persuade the LA to pay that sort of money?

NotNewHereAlias Tue 22-Oct-13 15:12:44

If a miracle happened, and she was accepted at, say, a ludicrously highly-academic prep school, a small one, with very small classes, do you think she would like the actual lesson content enough to put up with the school, maybe part-time? Could meeting her IQ needs actually assist with meeting her social-emotional-flexibility needs?

A full-time 1-1 behaviour support LSA could be bolted on. One trained to an exceptionally high standard, and with weekly or twice weekly supervision/support for the 'traits' from an ASD-specialist ed psych.

Exceptionally bright dc can cause very big problems for dim teachers and dim classmates, even when there aren't unmet SEN too. And SEN interventions very often attract the dimmest of the dim, who have zero chance of coping with a distressed, clever dc with lots of traits.

NotNewHereAlias Tue 22-Oct-13 15:17:23

Or write off the next 2 terms and concentrate on a gentle transition to a mainstream secondary, ideally one which would let her be officially 'based' on a unit, rather than as number 29 in a class of 30.

Drawing on a flexi-school type menu of what's available in the main school, maybe going into the GCSE or 6th form A'level classes along with her 1-1 (and if she was smart with the A'level choices there are often options that only 6-8 pupils have opted for)

Year 6 is rubbish anyway. Drilling the other dc for SATS she could do in her sleep

insanityscratching Tue 22-Oct-13 16:58:04

To get the LA to pay will most likely be a fight but being excluded from one or possibly two mainstream schools should help somewhat. You do need a thorough assessment of her difficulties either through the specialist diagnostic service and probably an independent ed psych report at least. You will find that an ed psych without a vested interest of being employed by the LA will probably have a very different idea of what your dd needs. You may end up at Tribunal depending how hard your LA want to fight but you may not if you get reports supporting your choice of school with the exclusions already documented.

SenResearch1 Sat 14-Jun-14 21:58:21

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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