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Asd & moving between mainstream primary schools

(8 Posts)
firawla Mon 21-Oct-13 00:30:08

I have 3 ds, the older two are age 5 and 3 (nearly 4). 3 yr old is dx with asd already, not very very severe but he has more needs in that he's very speech delayed, has mild physical problems, not toilet trained etc but he's not cognitively delayed so have been told that with enough support he will be okay in mainstream. (statement not in place yet as they give him 1 to 1 and lot of extra support in nursery anyway, so the statement is still a work in progress)

My 5 yr old is a lot more high functioning but he is also waiting for an asd assessment, i am pretty sure he is on the spectrum altho he has quite different needs and abilities to 3 yr old. This assessment would have been sorted ages ago if not for his school's total inefficiency,and bad communication - telling me the referral had been done before the summer holidays(i had signed paperwork for it etc at their request) when it never got sent off at all - wasting months...

That brings me to my question. It's getting towards the time to apply to schools for 3 yr old who will be in reception next Sept. I had kind of presumed that we would just go for this school as ds1 is already there but from my dealings with the senco re: ds1 I have so little confidence in the school. There is not a high proportion of SN children going to that school and they are not particularly known among the other mums I know with SN children or the professionals that work in the area, so it leaves me with the impression that maybe they just dont know what they are doing with special needs?? I will admit, I don't like the senco at all - her attitude rubs me up the wrong way totally, when I went in to speak re: ds1 she was only interested in covering her own back, and seems to lack knowledge about the speech therapy system and about what autism actually is etc. I don't find her in any way approachable, helpful or reliable..

So: I'm thinking about applying else where for 3yr old then moving my 5 yr old too. (Also have a 2 yr old who will be coming up the yr after, and theres also possibility of asd with him we don't know at the moment.)

My gut is that I should move them but then I'm worrying what if the situation will be the same or similar in all of the mainstream schools, and then I have disrupted 5 yr old for nothing? He would not find it easy to move - it will uproot him a lot. Apart from the Senco, that school is very good, and is also very near to our house.

We do have 2 mainstream schools with some specialist provision/unit nearby but I don't know whether 3 yr old would get either of them (I am going in to speak to each of them, so will see) because his needs are mixed across the board and these seem to specialise in specific issues. However, im wondering about whether being mainstream in those schools who atleast have a lot more experience, and do have access to resources like OT, Physio, Slt within the schools - would be much better for him? Or to just move them to the other nearby primary school which although it does not have any units attached, has a better reputation that their senco is better?

Would just like to hear anyone's experiences if anyone has moved their child or children from one mainstream school to another to get better SN provision or a better and more understanding school environment and whether you did feel it was worth the move, and how much difference you have found between mainstream schools?

Sorry so long! Just really stuck what to do so any experiences will help

LilTreacle Mon 21-Oct-13 14:02:39

yes, we have. DS is 6, with ADHD , social communication issues and spd.
We are still in the transition period, but the support is so much better, the understanding and effort given to work together to get things right is worlds apart from previous school.

Prior to moving we worried it might be a lot of stress and upheaval for DS which might not make any difference for him. We just knew the school he was at was not doing enough and would not be able to do more.
So far, so good. We have a statement now, which helps clarify what is needed.

You don't know until you try really.

OneInEight Mon 21-Oct-13 14:12:23

There can be a lot of difference in mainstream schools with attitude towards SEN. In our town there is one primary which is dreadful, one which tries but does not have huge amounts of experience and one which is very inclusive. Unfortunately, most people don't discover this until they have problems! Do you have any local ASD support groups as they can give you feedback on local schools. Alternatively, try and visit and speak to the SENCO's at any you are considering.

I think your child has to have a statement to get a place at any of the units. We did place ds1 at a school with a unit before he got his statement and they certainly had a greater understanding of the issues although for him it wasn't sufficient without individual support on top. I think it might have worked if he had gone at a younger age and before problems at his previous school had escalated to such an extent.

For ds2 following his statement we got a place within a unit and he is getting lots of support so we are hoping it will suit him better. The thing we liked about ds2's new school is their flexibility - so each child within the unit accesses a different set of lessons within the mainstream class according to their needs. The units do seem to be run very differently between schools so again you would need to go and have a look.

firawla Mon 21-Oct-13 17:29:03

thanks both of you! I will definitely go and have a look and speak to the sencos but good to hear from other other parents too even if just generally. I have asked local parents their thoughts on the schools too - just wanted more as I am quite indecisive!!

oneineight if Ds wouldn't have a statement by the time the applications are due in, but should do by sept - how would that work with a unit?? we applied last yr and turned down for insufficient evidence (i was given bad advice and did not submit all his reports, eg nothing from nursery!!) now ive been advised, wait til nearer to sept to try again, as he is being well supported in nursery now so it will be more applicable to what he needs in reception? still theres always the possibility of being turned down again, even tho he clearly needs some form of statement - so i wanted to try it sooner in case we need to appeal or resubmit again! find the whole thing a bit overwhelming, shame they can not make the whole process a bit easier! arghhh

liltreacle that is lovely to hear its worked well for your ds with moving!

OneInEight Tue 22-Oct-13 07:35:49

I don't honestly know firawla -perhaps either ring the school or the SEN team at the LEA to ask for policy. ds2 was much older when he needed a place so was not relevant.

firawla Tue 22-Oct-13 17:35:09

oh well, I've been told now anyway that he wouldnt be elligible for the unit anyway as there is a blanket rule about no children with asd in speech units, apparently this is not flexible at all and is the fault of the statementing panel?? but could still send him mainstream at the school and access a lot of the support, so might do. the school and senco did seem lovely, which is always a good start!

Ahhhcantthinkofagoodname Tue 22-Oct-13 23:15:51

Hi I'm following this thread with interest as my DS sounds kind of similar to your 3 year old and he is also due to start reception in sept 2014. My DS has verbal dyspraxia and ASD diagnoses. Interestingly his nhs speech therapist has just told us about the mainstream primary with attached speech and language unit in our area (other side of town from us unfortunately though) and says she can picture DS there. To be fair she did also say his ASD might mean its not suitable but he is going to be assessed by the woman in charge of the S&L unit, I guess to see if he is eligible. When I phoned the school in question amd spoke to the SENCO, again they didn't say the ASD would rule him out but that the unit with enhanced S&l provision was aimed at kids for whom S&L was the primary issue. The downside of this school tho is that when DS speech is ok, he'll effectively be kicked out and allocated to his local school. So we are worried about that future move for all sorts of reasons and wonder whether it would be better to get him into a good supportive local school from the outset.

We've just submitted statement application tho now I'm worrying cos I only enclosed the paed report and a report from his speech therapist. I read advice on here suggesting the sooner the better as it takes 6 months and you might need time to appeal. Also if he is to get a place at the school with the attached S&L unit he'll def need a statement... No idea how to apply for this school though as our deadline is jan and his statement won't be ready by then (if indeed he gets one at all). All very complicated but hopefully we'll find out more when we visit the school with the S&L unit and when he has his assessment.

Good luck with your school stuff...

firawla Wed 23-Oct-13 21:51:39

Good luck with yours too!

Surprised they would kick him out of the school once his speech improves, if it is a mainstream school you would have thought they would just move them over to the mainstream side if they no longer need to access the support of the unit. The system doesn't like to make things easy for our kids does it!!

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