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1 day exclusion Fri, reintegration meeting tmrw, where to go from here?(28 Posts)
Urghh. Where to start? Ok will try to be concise.
DS is 7, in y3 local MS primary. Has dxes of SPD, anxiety, and ASD with a PDA profile. No statement/EHCP (school are supposedly "gathering evidence"); CAF/TAF being implemented but not off the ground yet; been on reduced TT (our request) most of this academic year; more or less FT 1:1 support (seems to vary a bit) when he's there. Terrible separation and school anxiety. Manifests itself in big meltdowns amongst other things (throwing things, hiding, running away, smashing his head, having to be restrained and ending up hurting staff members (not badly) while struggling against the restraint).
Since Sept, his anxiety levels been sky high. Getting him to school at all, and leaving him there, has been increasingly difficult. He clings on to me/DH, and it would take several strong adults to peel him away and restrain him. Between us, DH and I have ended up staying with him in school (sometimes for hours) because we physically cannot leave him without having to have him forcibly removed from us and restrained, which we know would trigger a giant meltdown.
Given a one day exclusion on Friday for kicking and hitting his 1:1 when she tried to restrain him from running after me as I went to leave. We are to go in on Monday first thing for reintegration interview. He has been close to exclusion before but this was the first actual exclusion. School have previously said they would only use it as a last resort as they agreed it would not achieve anything positive as far as DS was concerned, but now seem to be saying "a line has been crossed and now enough is enough".
Should also add we've been looking into other schools but the ones we have approached (indi, MS but supposedly ultra-inclusive) have said they cannot offer him the support he needs; have also been to see various local MS state schools but not getting the impression they will offer anything more/different to current school. Also not sure to what extent any school, however much support it offered, would be anxiety-inducing for him by its very nature. He is very bright although achieving only averagely.
Sorry that has turned out to be a massive essay after all! Any thoughts/advice/hand-holding welcome. Feeling terrified, exhausted, overwhelmed, and don't know where to go from here.
Apply for an EHC plan and start listening to your son. School are obviously not meeting your son's needs and are escalating matters. Take your son to your GP or you just go and chat and tell them whats been happening see what they say and look at other schools meanwhile. Personally I would not send my son back there.
This has clearly been extremely stressful for you all.
I hope the following helps.
You have been keeping him at home on a part time time table. What is the schools explanation for allowing that? That must show that the school recognise the extreme needs of the child to allow him to be out of school.
School for him is a desperately unfriendly place and he can not cope. What is being done to address that?
Clearly the school has not managed the handover from home to school well and accordingly have allowed the situation to develop. Does he have a time out room/ admissions process that is friendly to him?
Turning to the exclusion - no one would wish to see anyone hurt in school particularly when the TA is trying to restrain the child,. However this indicates that the school does not have the necessary strategies in place to support the child and the TA. If you grab hold of an ASD child when he is under stress then he is going to lash out.
It may be a question of training and experience but this was predictable and avoidable. What formal training has the TA had.
Start talking about whether this was a proportionate response.
Start talking about the Equality Act - Disability Discrimination and see what the school says.
Once the child understands that he can get out of school - an unfriendly place - by kicking someone then this will re-enforce the behaviour.
Say that this now clearly demonstrates a need for full time 1:1 and that staff should have at least 2 days training in ASD management. Staff will need formal restraint training. Did staff have it? If so why were the staff hurt.
Excluding him is simply showing that the staff are not correctly trained.
Clearly the school can not meet needs and he needs an SSEN now.
Press for an emergency assessment as he is at risk of permanent exclusion.
What is being done to address the identified diagnosis/ suspected diagnosis?
Tell the clinician that diagnosed him and seek his advice.
Say that you will appeal the decision and use your education specialist solicitor/advocate/ IPSEA to support you.
Face them down. 9/10 they will give way when you turn the incident round on them.
Thanks all for your comments. Taking them all on board. A couple of extra points of clarification:
- the main anxiety seems to be the separation as opposed to school per se. Once he is in and settled he is happy (genuinely, I believe, not just masking) the majority of the time, with only a scattering of major "incidents" and a slightly bigger scattering of minor ones.
- I am not sure what school (this or any) could actually do over and above what they are doing, to help with the separation. He already has a named person meet him every morning.
Very, very tricky.
It may be that school is a fairly unfriendly place full of lots of people, a sensory system that is over whelmed and language that he does not fully understand. That could add to his stressors before he starts school. However once he is there and away then he is conforming because that is what he does. That does not mean that the issues are not live and build. Whats he like at the end of the school day?
Well the separation planning clearly not working and needs to be rethought. They need to get some serious advice in now or else they are contributing to the matter.
Thanks Nigel (and everyone else). Yes agree there are lots of stressors at school by its nature. He is very mixed at home after school (and indeed in general - complete Jekyll and Hyde, hugely inconsistent and unpredictable, fine in one situation but falls apart in an apparently identical situation at another time).
Sorry, head all over the place and very tired, aware I'm not responding to all comments and questions but do appreciate all comments.
Jacksterbear I'm so sorry to read this. My DS has a very similar profile - we are also going through awful separation and school anxiety with similar behaviours to what you describe.
DS had two fixed term exclusions last year, and is always "dangerously close" to being excluded - it is devastating when it happens. However it did get the LA to finally listen and agree to give him a statement.
The main piece of advice I would give is apply for an EHCP now - don't wait for the school. Call IPSEA for advice.
Is there an ASD Outreach Service where you are? The school should be calling them in urgently for advice.
Really tired but will try to think of more later. It's horrible it's come to this, but the exclusion shows the school is failing to meet his needs - ask them why they've let things get so bad without calling in outside help. Personally I wouldn't move your DS at the moment until he has an EHCP and has had his needs properly assessed. Keep a diary of key events and gather evidence or opinions in writing whenever possible. Ask to see his school records if you haven't already.
Please get your letter in for an EHCP today (there is a model letter on the IPSEA website that you can copy). You have more than enough evidence if he is having to do a reduced timetable and not even coping on that. He needs specialist help and/or provision and the only way you will get that is by him having an EHCP. The difference in ds1 between mainstream and when he was placed in a primary EBD school was amazing. ds2 is no longer running away or kicking me now every morning now he goes to a specialist indie school. Setting makes an enormous difference to behaviour both at school and at home. Exclusions are awful for both parent and child and in our experience all they did was increase stress levels and hence challenging behaviour. The one plus is that it provides written documentation of the difficulties (make sure you have your letter!) which even the LEA find difficult to ignore.
I can only concur with the other respondents re the EHCP; do not wait for the school to supposedly gather evidence (you'll be waiting a long time for them to do that even if they bother which they are not) so you would be far better off using IPSEA's website for the template letter.
CAF and all that stuff I note still has not been implemented. It would not really make any difference, it is a lot of hot air really so of little merit.
You are really his best - and only - advocate here. You are truly in the best position to fight for him, this is because no-one else will do so.
And Junior school in particular can be very unforgiving indeed for those whose additional needs there are simply not being met. Their unwritten social mores and conventions are hard. Also you need to think longer term i.e. secondary school.
Thank you again for all the comments.
Chances of me getting him anywhere near school this morning are looking pretty slim.
Sadly, this was the usual consequence of exclusions for my two. It just made going to school even more difficult. Sometimes my two would agree to go in 30 minutes late or so in these circumstances so worth a try. Otherwise - step back - reduce the pressure - and let him have the day at home and try again tomorrow.
Does your letter state if there are any consequences to not attending the reintegration interview? Ours did. Could you take him to the GP and get it documented that he is too anxious to attend school today? Ask for a referral to CAMHS?
It is awful that the school have let you keep him on a reduced timetable all this time so they don't have to properly support him!
I remember just wanting to cuddle my boy in the interview. I played along with it all but wish I'd kicked up a bigger stink at the time. By excluding a child with ASD they are punishing the child for not coping and for not having the right support!
Ok school have agreed he does not need to attend interview. And to contact autism outreach ASAP, and to make EHCP app ASAP (will hold them to this).
In the meantime, unsurprisingly, school refusal and anxiety way worse.
Honks from me too.
Do not rely on either school (who have not covered themselves at all in glory here) or Autism Outreach (particularly that bunch because they really do not have a lot of clout) to make an EHCP application. They will likely sit on it for another year or so even if they do bother.
If you make the EHCP application on behalf of your son you know its been done then.
You are really his best and only advocate here.
Right. I've been given quite a lengthy "request for EHC needs assessment" form to complete, by school. It's thrown me a bit, as from the ipsea model form (and from the posts on here and elsewhere), I thought the initial request would just be a short letter and more details would be requested later.
At this stage is it more important to get the process started ASAP and just fill it in quickly as best I can? Or do I need to get this bit right and do it slowly and carefully / get advice on how to complete it? Will I get further opportunities to give more details and explanations or is this it?
Form has stuff like "What is working and what is not?" "What are your child's aspirations, likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses?" etc, and also asks for copies of all reports to be attached.
Maybe different areas have different procedures for this stuff? Been working on this thing all morning, no idea how much detail to include! I could go on for pages about his "journey" .
If I were you I wouldn't wait for the school to go through all their procedures, which may well take some time - I'd just get the request in today using the IPSEA precedent. You can then fill in the form and give it to the school and ask them to support your request rather than putting in their own.
Thanks polter, appreciated. He is more or less his usual unpredictable self. Seems to have been fine in school today. Currently reading a story to his teddy bear . All very exhausting!
Hi jacksterbear, sound like things are tough at the moment. I hope the sleep is reasonable.
We had a huge form for our ehcp too, about 15 pages, if I remember correctly. We only had to fill in a couple of sections though, the school did the rest. They had to show the "graduated approach" that they had taken. I.e. explain what they had tried, what impact it had, and what they had tried next,etc. They had to include descriptions about all the outside help he had.
When that got sent off we had to fill out another form called 'our story' about ds life, our hopes for him, how we thought a ehcp might help him etc.
They very quickly agreed to assess, so took reports and I am waiting for the draft statement next week.
I hope that explains what might happen in your case. I would suggest putting in as much as possible, they need to know how hard it is for him, if you can make it sound even worse than it is, without lying, then try to do that.
Thanks for the info ilove. Hope the statement has what you're hoping for in it!
Sleep is actually much better since he's been on the melatonin (still not settling without cuddles to sleep but that's a whole other battle for another time ).
How's sleep going with you, any better?
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