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Can't see this clearly as I am too involved

(30 Posts)
yawningmonster Sun 23-Feb-14 08:53:16

Background: DS is 9.5, he has ASD, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia.

School have organised school camp. He is 6weeks into a new term with a completely new team. No TA going, no SENCO going just a team of 6 teachers and some parents.

To be "fair" the parent help names are being put in a ballot and drawn.
We met with the teacher and said that this while apparently "fair" meant that if one of us were not drawn then ds would be unable to go.

We were asked to put in writing what our concerns were (he has been at this school since he was 5 but there is very poor communication between staff one year to the next)

This is an small sample of the email that I wrote (hopefully it will give you an idea of needs)

...will find the physical activities extremely challenging, he has difficulty with co ordination and this combined with the pressure of being observed by other people can be very overwhelming for him. ....also has trouble with coping with new and out of routine situations and can go into meltdown.
Triggers for meltdown include being tired, being out of routine, being asked to do something he will find difficult, being watched by others, over stimulation, allergic reactions to allergens, hurting himself even if it seems minor to others, having other people too close and not being able to retreat all of which are concerns on the camp. We are not overly concerned about the actual camping over night part, ..... has camped since he was very young and is well used to sleeping in new environments and seems to cope well with this aspect of change in routine.
Meltdowns in ....... case are not aggressive but he will lose emotional control and become very loud and very distressed. ..... is still learning the best way to cope with a meltdown and re ground himself he at this current point of time will try to remove himself from the situation In full meltdown this may mean he will run off and hide at the best he will have a management plan of a place he can take himself to an arranged retreat before he reaches full meltdown. We are also concerned about the social backlash should a meltdown occur, it can be frightening for children and also it is far removed from behaviour most children of this age display. The strategy of having a safe place is not always employable as the further into the meltdown he is the less able he is to make rational and sensible decisions.
I guess for us the big concerns are that if he were to have a meltdown there is no one attending the camp who has witnessed a meltdown and knows how to cope with it while keeping ...... safe.
My assumption is that parent helpers will be supporting some of the activities and I feel particularly concerned that they should not be put in the position of coping with a meltdown as it can be scary and overwhelming even when you have seen and dealt with hundreds of them.

Our names were not drawn out as a helper and we feel that he can't go as it is a safety risk, he will be over an hour away for 3 days in an area he does not know at all with adults he also doesn't know. The school have said fine and that is our choice to exclude him, I am upset as I feel it is them doing the excluding by organising an activity that he actually can't participate in without support and not providing that support if that makes sense.

Sorry this is an essay thanks if you stuck with it.

claw2 Sun 23-Feb-14 09:06:47

Does your ds usually have 1:1 in school?

yawningmonster Sun 23-Feb-14 09:09:27

Not all the time, he gets ta hours each day and we are called in when he has a meltdown they can't handle (ta has managed a couple of minor ones but we haven't had to be called in so far this year we are up to week 4 next week)

yawningmonster Sun 23-Feb-14 09:14:10

sorry misleading information that should say camp is 6 weeks in we are 4wks into new term

thornrose Sun 23-Feb-14 09:16:31

I totally understand where you are coming from and they should be able to accommodate his needs so he can be included. I think the question for me is do you think your son would actually enjoy it?

My dd has AS and dyspraxia she went on a similar trip when she was in year 6 so older than your ds. She really struggled and found the whole experience very difficult.

yawningmonster Sun 23-Feb-14 09:26:19

Thornrose good question to be honest yes some of it he would enjoy and some of it he would hate. At the moment he wants to go desperately because he isn't yet able to predict what he will struggle with and even if we were to tell him our concerns he wouldn't be able to connect the idea of the activities and stressors with actual reality of dealing with them.
I guess this is why I am finding it see this clearly as there is definately a part of me who feels why do I have to be the bad guy banning him from going to camp. Mostly the past he has had someone with him (sometimes one of us, sometimes a t/a) on fieldtrips of any sort and the person in this position is experienced at knowing early signs of overwhelm and assisting ds to disengage with the activity. Last year they had a camp at school which we were asked to stay overnight for but they took him to the day trip without support (we tried this as it was a 10 minute drive and the staff who were going had known him for most of the year and had some experience of handling the meltdowns though less than us or the t/a) we were called to go and get him.

Morgause Sun 23-Feb-14 09:27:30

My elder DC missed a few trips like this because he had chronic asthma. It's impossible for the school to watch over every child who needs extra support sometimes, sadly.

We weren't prepared to take the risk and I can understand why you aren't either.

yawningmonster Sun 23-Feb-14 09:28:48

thank you Morgause I need both sides of this to clarify things so that is very helpful

thornrose Sun 23-Feb-14 09:33:10

The last 2 schools I've worked at send TA's on residential trips they know the children who need extra support and are brilliant.

PolterGoose Sun 23-Feb-14 09:45:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

yawningmonster Sun 23-Feb-14 09:47:26

I get they may not always be able to send a t/a in this situation but we are willing to go (I am even willing to pay another camp fee if necessary)but we can't as it will not be fair to other parents who may want to go or need to go for other reasons which I also get to some degree.

yawningmonster Sun 23-Feb-14 09:50:53

I agree PolterGoose which is why we have said that he can't go on the camp and as I say we don't expect or to be honest trust them to support him but I do have the feeling they should make it possible for him to go if that makes sense or perhaps we do need to just accept that not all school activities will be suitable for him and get on with it. I may just need my harden up pill.

PolterGoose Sun 23-Feb-14 09:55:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bilberry Sun 23-Feb-14 13:53:47

I find it a bit odd that so many parents of nt children are going/want to go. Surely it should be about independence for the children? I take it all the parents are disclosure checked?

Have you asked to see the risk assessment for your ds for this trip? What adjustments have they suggested to enable him to go? How are they suggesting they would deal with a meltdown? (Ask them this in writing or write down what they say and email it to them)

Would it be possible to go for a couple of days - daytime only?

noblegiraffe Sun 23-Feb-14 18:04:01

They are saying that it is your choice to exclude him, but it isn't really is it? It is their decision to not allow a suitable escort (in this case you) to support him in the activities that is excluding him from the trip. It is not reasonable to expect you to send him on the trip unaccompanied, given that this did not work on a previous trip, and given that you are called in to school to support you with your son, therefore their suggestion that it should be fine to send him unaccompanied and it is your decision to exclude him is disingenuous.

They might argue that other parents also want to accompany their child and it isn't fair to give you priority, but presumably the school has demonstrated its ability to deal with these children without parental support previously and therefore these parents should be treated as a separate case to you.

yawningmonster Sun 23-Feb-14 18:43:59

Thank you noble giraffe that is well put. That sums up how I am feeling about this nicely. It has made me wonder though I need to clarify with the school if it is perhaps an accommodation issue as essentially I will be over and above ratio as I will be one to one and not countable for the other children and perhaps the facility will not cope with this.

Bilberry -We did suggest that he come for day trips (at an hours drive each way) but were told that everyone would then want to opt in and out of activities that they didn't like.

To be honest any management plan they suggested would need to have provision for someone to accompany him which is the point we are at now.

Bilberry Sun 23-Feb-14 19:23:21

Oh for goodness sake!! You are bending over backwards to support them and that is their response angry!

To go back to the beginning; I take it the school are aware of his diagnosis? Is he receiving extra support in school and has some level of 'official' recognition of this (eg. statement)? You have told us the school is not able to meet us needs (call you in). If he doesn't have a statement, I would apply for one and tell them so tomorrow. His ADHD brings him under disability discrimination so they have to make reasonable adjustment. Point this out to then (in writing). What other parents think is not relevant.

lougle Sun 23-Feb-14 20:07:12

Say a child required a wheelchair all of the time when on trips, but only occasionally in school, and the parents had an arrangement whereby they were contacted to bring in the wheelchair when it became necessary at school.

Would it be considered the parents' choice to exclude that child if the school said there wasn't room for a wheelchair?

Thought not. hmm

bialystockandbloom Sun 23-Feb-14 20:13:09

Agree with noblegiraffe and bilberry, it is the school who are excluding him from the trip, as they are not prepared to support him to enable him to go. As for their reasoning that you can't go because it's 'unfair' to other parents - WTF?!

If your ds needed support of another kind (eg physical, mobility, medical) would they do the same? Tell you you couldn't go out of 'fairness' to other parents, but refuse to put in place the support he needed?

Would other parents really resent the parent of a child with autism and dyspraxia going along to ensure their child and the others were ok? hmm

I would write to HT about this, and if the response the same, then board of governers.

bialystockandbloom Sun 23-Feb-14 20:14:56

x-posts with lougle there. Exactly!

youarewinning Sun 23-Feb-14 20:48:50

I agree the school are excluding him. My DS is going on a residential in year 6 and the SENCO is pleased he's going hmm -- probably as she isn't!--. Even thought the school are aware of his needs they are pleased we are including him, we are having pre visits nearer the time with a back up plan of days only if it is too much for him. I understand there is no discount for this and it will cost more in petrol but at least the school are trying to meet me in the middle.

I agree look at the DDA and reasonable adjustments.

youarewinning Sun 23-Feb-14 20:49:53

The HT argument it's unfair is totally ridiculous. The other parents don't need to go - they are choosing too. There is a BIG difference.

Littlefish Sun 23-Feb-14 21:17:06

Do you have a Parent Partnership near you who could support you?

The school are being completely unreasonable. You have offered them several possible solutions which would enable your son to access the same activities as the rest of his class.

Are the whole class going? If so, then he is being excluded on the basis of his difficulties/disability which I'm sure is illegal.

Also, phone the inclusion team at the Local Authority and see what they have to say about it.

zzzzz Sun 23-Feb-14 21:25:58

Have you see the risk assessment?

bochead Sun 23-Feb-14 21:36:27

School are being unfair here!

There's a world of difference between a 6 hour school day and 24/7 care. The reasonable adjustment is to ensure that one of his parents can go, OR if that isn't possible that he can attend on a daily basis, and go home at night.

I wouldn't even humour their pathetic attempts to turn it around on you with their BS parental ballot nonsense etc. They are gas lighting you. They don't want your son to go - don't let them beat about the bush.

I'd write in listing the reasonable adjustments you have so far suggested to enable your son to be included on this trip. I'd then list his diagnoses Finally I'd state that you find it a real shame that the school is choosing to deliberately exclude from the trip any child, by reason of failure to agree to make any kind of reasonable adjustments for his disability. Then I'd copy that letter to the chair of governors and the LA.

If he can't go then how about you take him to one of these as an alternative?
www.hesfes.co.uk/
walesenvironmentalhomeeducationcamp.com/

- various SN forum members are attending one or t'other so you'd see some friendly faces as well as being able to go as a family. I know it's not the same, but it's something.

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