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Special school or mainstream for my language delayed child

(22 Posts)
humblebumble Sat 19-Oct-13 01:54:35

I have 2 DS's, one NT (who is 6) and one with various medical problems and language delayed (but not on the spectrum). I currently live in the US, but am British. It would seem that my DH wants to divorce and I am thinking through my options of where I would like to move.

DS2 (almost 4) is currently in a nursery setting and he does pretty well socially, his language is his real issue and will become more of an issue as he gets older. His teacher says that whilst he is clearly delayed verbally, he is really determined to get himself understood. He is thought to be about 6-12 months delayed but steadily progressing.

I have lots of questions about schools, but firstly how well are children with speech delayed supported in state schools? I think that DS2 would do well in a mainstream school (socially, etc.) he may have learning difficulties later on (dyslexia, etc.) but I am really not sure.

I am originally from the south west but I don't have any fixed area where I would like to live. Does anyone have any suggestions about schools/areas that might fit both my children? Is it normal that children are supported in schools or would I have to seek support outside of school.

Thanks in advance

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 19-Oct-13 09:27:57

I would definitely try mainstream first. I would also move to London or Surrey, the best area you can afford. You should probably get a statutory assessment of DS2 and try for a statement, which may give him a 1-to-1 in school. But it can be a fight to get a statement as they are saving money on all but the most severe. If you search a few threads on here under the terms "statements" or "mainstream or special schools " you will get a lot of mum-wisdom.

Pagwatch Sat 19-Oct-13 09:31:07

My son is in a special school. It is utterly brilliant for him.

It is very difficult to get places. I think you may be surprised that you may not get that option without a huge fight.

autumnsmum Sat 19-Oct-13 12:29:32

I agree with pagwatch my dd2 is at ss and is great

autumnsmum Sat 19-Oct-13 12:45:00

Sorry dd2 took iPad you might have a struggle getting a ss place as the authorities are generally very keen on inclusion best of luck though

TheBuskersDog Sat 19-Oct-13 12:58:41

A delay of 6 months to a year is not that great and it would not be a reason for a child not to go to a mainstream school, especially if there are no other difficulties e.g.behavioural or social.
Why do you think he may have learning difficulties later, again if he did turn out to be dyslexic, for example, that would not mean he needed to be in SS.
Did you actually mean that you have been told that he may actually have a learning disability that would become more apparent as he gets older, in which case it could be that a SS may then be appropriate.

2boysnamedR Sat 19-Oct-13 13:35:38

My son has a speech delay and I live in Surrey. Surrey policy is that children past reception age get no salt at all without a statement. To be able to get a statement in Surrey I have been told your child must be two years + delayed in two aspects of life. I am sure what I have been told is not legal but it's what I am told by said lea. My son has dyspraxia, sensory processing disorders, learning delays susspected dyslexia etc and can't even get assessed for a statement. So not sure what my point is really but I would think that a 6-12 delayed would be largely ignored. My son is on school action plus but I am stil told he is age aporpriate even though he never uses the word "she", "hers" as he does not get the concept of sex difference etc at six years old

humblebumble Sat 19-Oct-13 14:31:36

Thanks for your responses.

He is still so young that it difficult to know what he will need in the future. I swing between being very optimistic for a "normal" life for him to being too realistic about schooling etc. Currently, he has speech and OT twice a week and he responds well at both.

thebuskerdog The reason I think that there is a possibility of him have learning difficulties later is that with his condition it is very possible (although not definite). He had early onset epilepsy (which according to the neurologists and literature is often an indicator for future problems, although not always) and recently had surgery to remove a tumor from his brain.

2boys one of my concerns is that his delay is not severe enough to get any attention, but will most likely cause him problems at school. I don't think his needs are enough for him to go to a special school, however I don't know what the future holds for us as he is so young.

I suspect that the support I will have to get for him will be outside school and will fall mostly on me and if I can afford it an outside SALT.

sickof I will look through the other messages for "statements, etc.", although it sounds as if DS2 may not be severe enough to be warranted any help.

pagwatch and autumnsmum I am glad that your children are happy in their school and I hope the fight was too huge for both of you.

lougle Sat 19-Oct-13 14:52:37

I'm a huge advocate of special schools. However, the special schools in the UK were reduced over the last few years, and most special schools are seeing a trend away from Moderate Learning Difficulties, towards Severe and Profound Learning Difficulties. This is because they simply don't have enough places for all the children who need them.

DD1 goes to a school for children with complex needs. The proportion of children with Moderate Learning Disabilities is less than 25%.

A 6-12 month delay at the age of 4 is 12.5-25% of age. This would, on its own, fall within the scope of normal differentiation in Mainstream Schooling. DD1 is classed as having 'Moderate Learning Difficulties' and has language skills of 3-4 years old at almost 8 years old. She is considered to be one of the 'able' children at her school.

Why is he seeing an OT - is it sensory, fine motor, gross motor? Could you give an idea of how much adaptation he may need to his school environment? We could see if that would typically be met in MS with/without a statement.

humblebumble Sat 19-Oct-13 16:50:24

Lougle I don't think he would at this point need any adaptation in a school setting as he attends a nursery here with a 2 teachers to 18 children ratio and he does okay. I think his issues are mostly considered mild, except for potentially his speech.

He has OT for sensory, fine and gross motor. Although of all of these I would say that it is mostly sensory that is the bigger issue, his fine motor skills are emerging. There is a feeling that he may "grow into his body" so his "clumsiness" may subside. I was also told that he is extremely sensitive.

He doesn't seem to have behavioural issues so I am not sure that he will going forward (unknown). He can be very stubborn and he likes to do things in his own time, but he usually gets there in the end.

pagwatch autumnsmum sorry I meant I hope the fight wasn't too huge

Geneticsbunny Sat 19-Oct-13 18:26:14

No one has mentioned integrated resources. Do they not exist in the rest of the country? We have lots locally in Yorkshire and they are meant to provide a specialist resource within a mainstream school. Although my DS is only 4 so we haven't started school yet so i dont know what they are like once you are in the system (He is starting mainstream with a statement after Christmas). The only special schools locally are for severe and profound difficulties and would be suitable for speech and language delay.

My DS has epilepsy and speech and language delay and weird 'fractured' developmental delay but we have a diagnosis of a specific genetic disorder ( tuberous sclerosis) which has helped us massively with getting a statement.

Pagwatch Sat 19-Oct-13 18:33:05

No problem - I knew what you meant smile

I m really lucky - ds2s school is just for children with asd so everything is structured around those specific needs.

Locally we also have a school for moderate LDs and speech/communication delay

humblebumble Sat 19-Oct-13 18:41:37

geneticsbunny DS2 has tuberous sclerosis as well. Interesting. He has brain, heart, kidney, skin and pancreas involvement, recently he had surgery to have a SEGA removed from his brain. Are you very involved with the TS group in the UK? What is a "fractured" development delay?

pagwatch thank you for the link. I think that is the sort of thing I was envisaging. Guildford could potentially be a good area for us as well.

Geneticsbunny Sun 20-Oct-13 14:07:44

I don't think I know any other parents with children with TS so it is lovely to finally find someone, especially our DS's are a similar age. My DS so far seems to be in the middle of the range of TS. He has brain, kidney and skin symptoms but the kidney involvement is only recent. we are currently waiting to see if we need to go on Everolimus. The fractured delay is that he is almost within normal ranges within some areas of development but significantly behind in others. His speech and communication are quite far behind but I suspect that some of this is due to his current medication. But his gross motor skills are about right for his age.

The UK TS association are really good. They have regional helplines which are really useful if you need advice or a shoulder to cry on and they are really involved with funding and promoting research which is looking really promising for TS at the moment.

If you have a diagnosis then I suspect that you would be able to get a statement and DLA in the uk which would help whatever school choice you make. There are specialist TS clinics in the UK where doctors from different specialities can see your DS at the same time. As you will probably need to go regularly it is worth being based near one ( they might be listed on the TSA website). We aren't near one but our local childrens hospital is fantastic so we just go there.

Any other questions just ask.

autumnsmum Sun 20-Oct-13 15:06:21

Lougle it's funny I always agree with you about special schools .my dd2 is in one and it's wonderful ,she has been there since September and has blossomed

humblebumble Sun 20-Oct-13 15:16:50

hi geneticsbunny I have PM'd you

lougle Sun 20-Oct-13 15:44:20

There is quite a split between medical conditions and Special Educational Needs. The Tuberous Sclerosis will most likely qualify your DS for DLA, as it's very likely that he has more care needs than typical children because of it.

However, a Statement is only issued if the child is significantly behind their peers despite measures put in place by mainstream schools from their own resources.

As you have said that so far, your DS is only 6-12 months behind in S&L and is unlikely to need changes to other areas of the curriculum at this stage, then a MS school should manage his needs quite adequately from within their own resources.

If that changes, then obviously, a Statement could be applied for.

Geneticsbunny Sun 20-Oct-13 17:20:01

We had no problems getting a statement but my DS is at least 18 months behind with speech and language and fine motor skills so that may be why.

humblebumble Sun 20-Oct-13 17:55:19

This is all good information, thanks.

lougle Sun 20-Oct-13 18:32:00

It's the overall picture that counts. The question the LA have to answer is whether a child is likely to need SEN Suppport for most or all of their educational life, whether the SEN is severe or complex (note that for those with spikey profiles, it doesn't have to be uniformly severe or complex), and whether the school can or should be expected to meet the needs from within their own resources.

crazymum53 Mon 21-Oct-13 16:47:30

There are NHS TSC clinics that see children in Bath, Cambridge, Leeds, Liverpool and London (St Georges) so living close to these areas would be beneficial.
So if you want to return to the South West that would be possible. Have experience of the Bath clinic for last 10 years and have also found Bristol children's hospital very good with epilepsy.
I don't really want to put medical details on here, but if you want to pm me that's fine.

humblebumble Mon 21-Oct-13 17:40:10

Thank you crazymum53 happy but sorry to find another person familiar with TSC.

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