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New area, newly diagnosed ASD 4yr old son, new school nearly a disaster

(14 Posts)
Julia2132009 Fri 07-Feb-14 22:32:01

Hello everyone,

I have a newly diagnosed four year old son (Asperger’s Syndrome), and I’m also new(ish) to Fleet, in North Hants, where things are going horribly at his new school. He is a brilliant, intelligent and very funny little boy, who I adore. We find ourselves a bit isolated. There are no support groups in our town and I don’t drive, so getting further afield during the week is difficult. If anyone has any tips for meeting up with other families with autistic children then I’d really appreciate it.

He finds his classroom overwhelming and hasn’t made any friends since he started in September, although he desperately wants to. He has enormous difficulty with sitting still, sensory issues, transitions, participating. He throws things and shouts and is very anxious at school, where he’s learnt nothing, regressed socially, emotionally and academically. Yesterday, he got so frustrated he hit the teaching assistant (he has never hit me) and was made to sit in the corridor on his own for twenty minutes. This makes me so angry because he is not being given any help with his issues, just punishment when he can’t conform and he loses control.

At home he is much calmer and we have a lovely time playing and learning together – although he can be extremely challenging sometimes. His teachers say that he has low self-esteem, which is heart-breaking because everyone in his family thought of him as outgoing and confident before he started school. We are trying to persuade the school to provide one to one help and we are about to apply for a statement. He only attends until midday and next month he is five and legally obliged to be in school full-time – a thought that keeps me awake at night. I expect there are many people out there who have gone through similar tough times.

Anyway, that pretty much sums up our situation. Thanks for reading. x

Littlefish Fri 07-Feb-14 22:40:41

Are the school receiving support from the learning and behaviour support teams or the inclusion service? It sounds like they need some help to use appropriate strategies and stop ignoring your son's needs.

WhatsHisChops Fri 07-Feb-14 23:26:04

Oh dear, that sounds desperately hard for you all, esp. him :-(

Littlefish is right, school should be doing as she suggests, also see if there are any local ASD special schools with outreach services that provide advice and support to mainstream, this may come under inclusion service, depends where you live? More widely, have you tried your local branch of the National Autistic Society for local support groups, advice etc. They are usually very good, have coffee mornings for parents/carers, advice on the local education and support scene. Hang on there am sure it will get better, hth xx

Levantine Fri 07-Feb-14 23:55:49

I am going to go against the grain here and say I wonder if you would consider moving him. I moved my ds from an ofsted outstanding school that was very punitive, and I am so glad that we did. It may not be possible, and there may be lots of positives about the school that you haven't mentioned but it might be worth really exploring how far they are willing to work with you and what the alternatives might be. This bit - them starting school and you trying to get proper support - is very very hard by the way. It will get better.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 08-Feb-14 08:43:51

I also think that moving him might be your only option! You need a school that has a level of understanding of what inclusion is and how they can best accomodate your son.

However having said that the school he is in have a responsibility to meet his needs. While they are waiting for the Statutory assessment and statementing process togo through they should be using funding out of their own pot of money to support him. Dont let them tell you he cant have one to one without a statement, he can and it can be sorted out very quicky!

Is he on School Action Plus on the Code of Practice (special needs register) ? If not he needs to be and they need to work out the best way to meet his needs with your help.

Make an appointment with the Head Teacher and SENCO and ask them what strategies they are going to put into place to support your son.

Good luck and dont be afraid to keep him at home if school is stressing him, poor little boy sad

Julia2132009 Sat 08-Feb-14 18:47:22

Thanks for your replies – it was so good to hear from you all. LittleFish: The behavioral support team apparently observed him a couple of weeks ago, but they've yet tell us anything about it. That things have got so much worse since their visit is worrying. We have a meeting at school with head, SENCO and teacher next Friday. I’ll be preparing until then.

WhatsHisChops: good idea about outreach schools. I've been looking longingly at the Heathermount school in Ascot half an hour from us – it looks amazing. I wish he could go there! I’m planning to get to a support group next Tuesday, although it’ll be difficult to get to.

Levantine and Ineedmorepatience: I agree moving him sounds attractive. There’s no other school walkable but my provisional driver’s licence arrives next week. I think I might tell the school that he is too stressed and anxious to come in on Monday and keep him at home until they can give some assurances about extra help and a change of strategy. I could hardly sleep last night and I kept having arguments with the headmistress in my dreams!

Julia2132009 Sat 08-Feb-14 18:49:27

PS. Ineedmorepatience: I'm not sure about the School Action Plus on the Code of Practice (special needs register) - I'll check, thank you.

Littlefish Sat 08-Feb-14 19:06:23

If the Beharioural support team are involved then he will be at early years/school action plus. The plus bit refers to the fact that outside agencies are involved in supporting your son/the school.

Go and see the SENCO and push them to contact the behaviour support team for feedback.

Littlefish Sat 08-Feb-14 19:07:10

Should say - behavioural -

Sorry, fat fingers!

Julia2132009 Sat 08-Feb-14 19:10:31

Thanks Littlefish - will do next week.

TigerLightBurning Mon 10-Feb-14 21:35:13

I'm around that sort of area with a son with ASD same age.Having trouble with school. Not sure how you do personal messages on here but if you want to please message me.

Julia2132009 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:07:53

Update: Head Teacher has arranged for a teaching assistant - a recently qualified TA mum who had already been volunteering in the school - to be employed every morning for DS. Brilliant result! No specialist help and he's still only in during mornings, but this is real progress. Already he's much calmer and happier.

I had kept him at home last Monday and called the Head and said he was too stressed and anxious to come into school, following the bad week last week. I picked up a tip on mumsnet SEN forum not to ever say he was refusing school and I couldn't bring him in, but rather to phrase it as illness/stress and anxiety resulting from inadequate support in the school.

DH had also been on the phone to the head politely but firmly saying school had responsibility to educate each child and ensure their safety in the classroom even without a Statement, and that without his his own one-to-one this was not happening. I'll look into outreach services, behavioural support and try NAT advice services so I can try and be involved in what methods they use with him at school. Next mission: the Statement. Thanks for all your advice everyone. x

RightRoyalPainInTheArse Sun 16-Feb-14 14:03:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Julia2132009 Sun 16-Feb-14 14:51:17

Good advice RightRoyal, thanks. I'm definitely going to research specialist schools, so we are as prepared as we can be if things don't work out. So far I've found the Heathermount in Ascot half an hour's drive from us - it looks really great. Will find out more and look for closer options.

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