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DD scores too low for ASD Base - what next?

(9 Posts)
FutureMum Wed 10-Dec-14 21:45:47

We got the proposed statement for my daughter who has Autism and she will start reception in Sept 2015. We asked for our three choices to be the two ASD Resource Bases in our county and a mainstream with a good reputation for supporting kids with ASD.

My daughter's officer rang today to say the first panel had turned down our application for the base on the basis that 'she does not currently meet the indicators.' I asked her if it means she is performing at too low a level and she said yes. She turned 4 in Oct and scores less than half her age in all areas except one. She also has sensory processing issues. I visited our preferred unit and spoke to the head of the unit informally and was told she kind of meets the profile of the children there.

What I really struggle to believe is that they recommend that we leave her in the primary school attached to the nursery she attends, for a year, in mainstream, with a TA 25 hrs/week and then see if she has moved on from there in a year's time with a view to apply for a place on the base then. Huge gamble and I don't feel that my daughter would progress in mainstream (she's been going full time to nursery for a year and a half or more with very small progress.)

Where does that leave me? Appeal or special school? Does the LEA have a duty to show me the paperwork related to the meeting where they took that decision, and all the specific criteria that my daughter should have met but haven't?

Do they have to offer me mainstream and not special school? I am very stressed about this and want to make the right decision. Part of me wants to appeal but really, really confused, about the difference between one and another. If I go down the special school route, is the LEA likely to fight it as much as they have fought the unit idea? Can I choose one outside of our city? And what exactly is the difference between a good special school and a resource unit? Thanks!

2boysnamedR Wed 10-Dec-14 23:20:38

Sorry I can't answer all your points but

Yes you can ask to see everything held on your child. Handwritten notes, everything.

Do you have early years support officer? Can you put all these questions to them?

Maybe a emergency TAC meeting?

Is there a ehcp / statement in place?

I might have this with my toddler, he's currently too bad for a unit there fore I have been told he might be in mainstream! Sounds beyond bonkers to me

autumnsmum Thu 11-Dec-14 05:09:53

My daughter is verbal and she is in special school reception and is making incredible progress , her speech has come on , each child has a bespoke programme of work addressing their strengths and challenges, I turned down a place Ina resource base to send her

fairgame Thu 11-Dec-14 16:44:33

Sounds bonkers to suggest ms if she is too bad for a unit! confused

The units usually have the aim of reintegrating the children back into ms at some point whereas a ss is usually a long term place.
Once a child is in ms it's a difficult fight to get them into ss even when everyone agrees that they need it (that was my experience anyway).
Have a look round the ss and see if you think they will suit your DD before you decide which you want to go for.
The units vary in each county so it's hard to say what they offer as it's a varies locally. The units in my LEA are shit. The units in the next LEA are better but oversubscribed.
The units in my LEA are for children who are academically able but struggle in ms due to their ASD and sensory difficulties. The special schools are for children with moderate or severe learning difficulties.
If you choose a school outside of your LEA then you will probably end up going down tribunal route. They are more likely to concede if you choose one of their own schools (again my experience but depends on LEA). My LEA offered me a local ss even though DS doesn't have learning difficulties just because it was cheaper than the school i wanted hmm
Choose and fight for whichever you think is best for your DD. I had to appeal and it was worth it. DS loves his school and has made more progress in one term than he did in one year in ms!

uggerthebugger Thu 11-Dec-14 19:11:05

Do they have to offer me mainstream and not special school?

No, they don't. If you're still on the statement route, then what they have to do is give your DD a shot at an "adequate education."

If you were absolutely clear in your mind that you wanted a mainstream education for DD, and not a special school, then the LA has to accept this, unless it would be incompatible with the efficient education of other kids in the mainstream school.

But if it turns out that the only way that DD's needs can be met is through a special school placement, then that's what your DD has a right to, and that's what she should get, if that's what you want.

The option they're laying out for you doesn't sound like it's capable of meeting your DD's needs now or in the long-term. I suspect the LA knows this, but is looking for cheap-and-cheerful options that don't involve laying out scarce resources on a special school placement.

If I were in your shoes (and it's been a few years since I was!), I'd do this, after taking a deep breath or two:

- You don't have to agree to anything immediately. Ask for a meeting with the LA to discuss the statement's contents, and the panel decision. If you can, bring someone with you to take notes, and get a written record of what's said and agreed. What's said in phone calls count for very little from now on.

- If you want to get more insight into what the LA is planning for your DD, then make a "Subject Access Request" for data the LA holds on your DD. Bear in mind this won't necessarily unearth the holy grail - many SEN panel meetings end without leaving a paper trail explaining their decisions.

- Visit as many special schools as you can in and out of your LA area. Many special schools are fantastic, some are shit, most should let you know pretty clearly and quickly whether they can meet your kids needs.

You can expect a stiff response from the LA if you are exploring the special school route. But if the local units genuinely can't meet DD's needs, then your case will be strong - you just need the strength and stamina to keep going.

Best of luck thanks

MostHighlyFlavouredLady Thu 11-Dec-14 20:16:22

Units in my LA are shit and reserved mostly for children who are fighting at tribunal for an expensive out of county placement as the LA's answer to tribunal and why the child doesn't need independent place.

As a consequence they are usually full of children who otherwise would be in the most expensive out of county placements and therefore often more severely affected than those in many special schools.

If you find a unit that has appropriate peers and suitable and you feel that is right then don't take no for an answer. You might need to threaten alternative Independent though.

vjg13 Fri 12-Dec-14 08:41:35

I would echo the advice about visiting lots of special schools, within your LEA and outside. They will have a mixture of pupils with different abilities and should give you an idea where your child would fit best.

My daughter attends a MLD special school, has more severe learning difficulties than most other pupils there but it has worked well for her. It is non maintained and out of our LEA but there are other pupils from this LEA there. Worth asking when you go to out of area schools.

IMHO your LEA are trying it on with you, seeing if you will crumble. Don't! You have adequate time to get this sorted and an appropriate provision for your child. A meeting with the proposed school that the LEA want would be a good idea too, highlighting your child's difficulties and seing if they could meet her needs.

How specific is the provision for SALT, OT, Physio etc in the statement and which school could provide it? If the statement is inadequate you may also need independent reports to ensure she gets the support she needs.

Good luck! You are the only person in this with your child's best interests in mind, the rest are sadly about budgets, spaces and saving money.

ohnoalfie Fri 12-Dec-14 10:49:36

I would email your la and ask for the admissions criteria document relating to units and ss, request they send it within five working days and then ask again if you dont receive it. See how the criteria relates to your dd or there is some flexibility which they haven't necessarily applied. This could form the basis of your appeal.

Agree, look at several ss and units, even ones out of county. At the moment the la want you to go away and not spend any more than they have to on provision for your dd. Dig your heels in and tell them you you will be looking to sendist to resolve your issues. Good luck.

FutureMum Wed 21-Jan-15 20:20:38

Provision for ot and salt on statement v poor ie two visits a term and programme to be implemented by a ta. I am going to mediation soon and have lodged an appeal and commissioned indie reports too. Just wished they didn't make it so hard!

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