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Schools for ASD, dyspraxia, sensory processing and anxiety?

(8 Posts)
EeyorePigletAndPoohToo Mon 30-Mar-15 13:10:25

Hi all

I am fairly new to MN so please bear with me!

DS1 - aged 9 - is in Year 3 (chronologically he should be in Year 4) at a superb, very nurturing, independent school in the south east. He was born extremely prematurely and, as a result, has high-functioning autism, dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder etc. He is delayed by about 18 months academically, socially and emotionally (hence going down a school year). We would ideally like him to remain at the school where he is, which is mainstream but supports 'quirky' children very well. However he has the dubious honour of being the quirkiest child there! We are therefore looking around to see if his needs could be better met elsewhere, but our county is being beyond useless in advising us (they have suggested the local mainstream state school with ASD unit, even though that school and another with specialist unit have both put in writing to the council that his needs are too widespread for them to meet). Our paed also believes that his needs can't be met in the mainstream state sector.

Does anyone know of any ASD/dyspraxia/sensory/social communication disorder schools - which aren't generally for children with behaviour issues - in the Kent/E Sussex/Surrey/possibly W Sussex/Hampshire sort of direction? (Not keen on a school for behavioural issues as DS is terrified of loud noises, crowds, disruption etc.) We'd consider residential if we had to, if it would meet DS's needs better than a day school.

Thank you x off now to continue tearing my hair out

pannetone Mon 30-Mar-15 16:11:05

Have PMed you.

senvet Mon 30-Mar-15 22:24:07

New School West Heath might be worth a look

dietcokeandwine Mon 30-Mar-15 23:52:11

Have a look at More House School in Surrey, OP.

I don't have personal experience of it myself but from what I read/hear it is supposed to be good.

EeyorePigletAndPoohToo Tue 31-Mar-15 07:41:45

Thanks everyone. Pannetone - thanks very much for the PM - will reply later.

Senvet - interesting - I hadn't heard of West Heath so I'll give that a google.

DietCoke - I actually phoned More House yesterday after posting this thread, and spoke to a really nice person who agreed that DS sounds very like a lot of the boys who go there. Good to hear that it has a good reputation.

We are seeing a private ed psych today who will hopefully give us further ideas. Thanks very much everyone - it's a relief to see that there are schools out there, and not a trillion miles away, that could be a good fit. x

Chopstick090404 Sat 19-Dec-15 21:26:30

Am new today on Mumsnet too but have already found comfort in the fact that we are not alone! smile. DS is 11 and although he's had problems all of his life we have only just found a real reason/'label' for them in terms of Sensory Processing Issues. Over the past year or so we have had several diagnoses and the paediatricians involved have included a likely explanation of High Functioning ASD/Aspergers although we strongly disagree as DS does not present with any of the classic symptoms, it just seems that they need to suggest this in order to form a reasonable 'diagnosis' that likely explains DS's issues and that will facilitate help from schools and/or the LEA. There is however lots of information online to suggest that sensory issues can stand alone from autism. All of the problems DS has do relate more to the similar 'sensory' issues I've read on Mumsnet regarding hypersensitivies to clothing etc., (i.e. school uniform is a nightmare!) sad. DS also has various other sensitivities including food & texures, water on his skin and it's impossible to even think about nail-cutting. Haircuts aren't normally a thing to much look forward to either! He has high anxiety, panic attacks and school phobia as a result of his experiences at school so we now have 7 schools under our belts and are about to try our 8th although not sure where that's going to be just yet but we are on the case to find the right place (please God!) hence the visit to Mumsnet. The 7 schools we've bought into are all independent schools and we have been completely ripped off (emotionally and financially, think of the uniforms & games kits alone!). Between age 9 & 11 DS has been homeschooled with private tutors (£££££'s!) and the last (but one) school phoned social services from a child protection angle!!!! angry.....I can't begin to explain the distressing impact this has had on us all. DS was only at this school for 1 day and they have charged us two terms school fees regardless of the many meetings we'd had before securing a place when we discussed a detailed background history and an appropriate care-plan. Meanwhile, the current school are also expecting the same amount (i.e. 2 terms) even though he has only attended for a matter of weeks because he's been recurrently unwell with tonsillitis. Unfortunately extreme panic attacks have returned so he is back at home with chronic anxiety concerning school again while we continue paying for home tutors as well as a school he's still on roll with but actually not attending. Basically £20,000 between two schools in the space of 2 months. Solicitors fees are mounting up in a bid to try and recover the fees as well as £1300 for private healthcare assessments for ASD and SPD so we can prove(!) there is something wrong. Social Services filed a report to say DS is a manipulative school refuser (with no signs of anxiety whatsoever) and that we are easily controlled parents socially excluding him and leaving him at significant risk for Internet grooming (playing on his computer!) despite us providing the social worker with extensive medical evidence & a diagnosis from a developmental paed. All of which was ignored.....Fortunately, it looks like there may be a change in support for us within the local authorities Children's Services so we are hoping now to benefit from 'Family Support', (Early Help programme). We hope this will mean a complete move away from the department originally involved as we were warned that if we removed DS from his current school for any reason whatsoever(!) then the case would be reopened immediately and further action taken. I feel a mega rant coming on so will get back to the point about finding a school!!!!!...... Eeyorepiglet......am interested to know the nurturing(?!) school in the South East your son is currently at? I have also recently been in touch with Moorhouse School in Oxted (mentioned in the discussion). It is essentially a school for children with speech & language difficulties but they have OT's available and I think it is well worth looking into. They do however have a uniform although it is basic compared to schools in the mainstream private sector, that said it is one of DS's major hurdles sad. Our neighbour's daughter (16) goes there and they can't fault it smile. There are also a few schools I have googled in the South East that don't require uniform including a Steiner school in Forest Row, East Sussex, although they have confirmed that they are not prepared to take DS on as they apparently won't have the resources to accommodate any new pupils with special needs and are not prepared to give him the opportunity for a two week trial period as was potentially considered in an initial meeting with them. This feels a bit upsetting sad given the amount of effort we've put into attending various events at the school including 'A day in the Classroom' (adults only) experience which they charge £20 per head for; they also maintain an exemplary provision for a fostering, nurturing environment. There is also a very small 'farm school' in East Grinstead, W. Sussex, which at one point we thought looked interesting (although, if you like, radically alternative). However, the Principal's attitude towards us was extremely rude (intimidating!), vastly unhelpful and less than sympathetic so it was an easy decision to walk away from that idea pretty damn quickly; a lucky escape! We have faced many hurdles and upsets emotionally and financially. Aside from uniform and a few (manageable) sensory issues/anxiety, DS is academically very bright, super sociable and has no behavioural issues. In fact a recent assessment showed that he has communication and language abilities of a 16+ year old (he is only 11). It feels there is nowhere (other than home) that is suitable. Home school learning at senior school level is however a completely complicated scenario and the social isolation factor is impossible to bear.
Any advice is welcome X

PolterGoose Sat 19-Dec-15 21:54:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chopstick090404 Tue 22-Dec-15 17:34:51

Thanks poltergoose, am still finding my way around. Will start a new thread!

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