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Specialist schools for academically bright DS with ASD - South London ish

(30 Posts)
IsItMeOr Tue 09-Feb-16 19:26:01

DS is in year 2 at the local mainstream primary. We are in the process of appealing his EHCP, and getting independent assessments (Ed Psych, OT and SALT). We thought he was being well-supported at school, but autumn term was disastrous (worse at home than school, but I know you will probably share my suspicion that it is probably related to school).

We would like to visit some specialist schools which might be possible alternatives for DS.

He is achieving at slightly above average levels in most academic areas, except writing is on the weak side. Initial feedback from EP is that he has expressive language difficulties, and is very academically able (he mentioned gifted). DS's social skills are lacking. From what the EP has indicated so far, he is inclined to think that the current school could meet DS's needs with more specialist input. If they can't, he was talking about DS needing a school specialised in speech and language issues, rather than ASD.

Our dream school would be one with small classes, where DS is with equally academically able peers, and has on site SALT provision and access to specialist ASD and OT expertise/support.

What schools would be worth a look, do you think?

shazzarooney99 Tue 09-Feb-16 21:11:30

I wouldnt put him into a specailist school if he is above average, he may end up losing out on a lot to be honest and then theres the socail skills he will be missing out on too.

Shineyshoes10 Tue 09-Feb-16 21:41:19

Sorry OP nothing useful to add. Wishing you luck in finding something suitable. flowers

shazza can I ask why you think that. We're looking for a school for a year 1 DS and we don't know what to do with him. Sorry to hijack your thread OP.

2boysnamedR Tue 09-Feb-16 22:27:52

There are some good ones a bit further out. A nearby one was telling me they had a boy leave with ten A's. He was told he would never pass any. 50:50 LA and parent funded indi school.

Some kids in my county do very very well in indi specialist schools. State ones don't get to sit GCSE but there are options. LA do fund Getting into them - no idea as all kids ( bar one) parents I have personally talked to have not been placed via appeal. TheLA placed before appeal proceedings. The parents who did win was three years ago. Bet it's harder in this climate

If you can prove they can pass GCSE but can't cope in ms there's is little other choice but try is there unfortunately

IsItMeOr Tue 09-Feb-16 22:51:00

shazza I hear you. A worry is that he's not getting the right support to develop his social skills at the moment, he has lost the friends he made earlier in school, has had no party invites this year and only one invite to play. He's playing rough games at school and coming home with injuries (most notably a bruise on his stomach that took a couple of weeks to heal). This is despite full time 1:1 supervision.

2boys are there some specific schools you would think are worth a look? I like the sound of the one with the boy who got ten As, although not the co-funding.

IsItMeOr Tue 09-Feb-16 22:51:38

Thank you for the comments, too!

2boysnamedR Tue 09-Feb-16 23:13:05

Will pm as they are in my county.

pannetone Tue 09-Feb-16 23:14:27

IsItMe - I don't have the answer and I've looked in a similar sort of area to you but into Kent as well.

DD (ASD, anxiety, selective mutism, very able academically but SEN often impact) is now in a small (very small -25 pupils) independent specialist school which has small classes, on-site OT and SALT (from visiting therapists) and staff experienced in ASD, dyslexia etc. It is great for DD - whose anxiety meant she had been out of class in her MS primary for 6 months. I wouldn't say that all or maybe most of her peers are academically able, but work is differentiated for DD. And she is Y6 (the last year at the school) so it isn't that she can be taught with older children - the school group children for lessons by ability in the different subjects.

DS (also ASD, anxiety, very academic) in Y9 is at a MS independent. Small classes and the school is very good at accomodating DS's needs but the compromise has been that DS doesn't have many peers at the same academic level. He misses that - he was at a large comprehensive in top sets with other able children, but he couldn't cope with the sensory and social demands of such a huge school.

Both DD and DD have statements naming their indie schools - both the schools are out of the LA area but these schools are the nearest that can meet their needs. There isn't any in-area provision that can meet their SEN and academic abilities.

2boysnamedR Tue 09-Feb-16 23:23:05

That's the key in my county. High Sen needs and high academically ability only equals indi. Unless you can cope in a unit of which there are very very few.

GruntledOne Wed 10-Feb-16 00:01:23

Are you anywhere near Kingston? Blossom House might be a possibility.

Toughasoldboots Wed 10-Feb-16 00:36:08

If anyone knows of any in Kent, I would be very grateful for a PM. Thank you

Themodernuriahheep Wed 10-Feb-16 00:50:16

I don't know the indie sector but I think it is the green St green school South Bromley which has what is supposed to be excellent salt provision. A friend if mine did NQT there, other friends sent their Sen children. Kart one prob left this year. t Worth checking.

Themodernuriahheep Wed 10-Feb-16 00:51:01

Last Not kArt

OneInEight Wed 10-Feb-16 07:13:14

London is way out of area so I can't comment on specific schools but just to counter what an earlier poster said that you shouldn't put an academically able child into a specialist school. This is the complete opposite to what we have found for ds1 as the specialist school because of the small class sizes achieves much better differentiation than he ever got in mainstream. ds1 passed the grammar school entrance exam but because of his history of behaviour they were B** terrified not keen to have him. Likewise, his social communication has come on much better in this environment because he is taught this rather than expected to absorb it by osmosis. The thing is nobody learns well if they are permanently stressed in an alien environment & ds1's certainly did not make much progress in his last year in mainstream because of this. He has come on leaps and bounds since then though. (Not saying that mainstream wouldn't work IF appropriate support is given as Polter's son is a shining example of just don't dismiss the specialist school's on academic grounds).

PolterGoose Wed 10-Feb-16 08:09:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Wed 10-Feb-16 08:12:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IsItMeOr Wed 10-Feb-16 09:08:40

Thanks Polter, that's what my instinct tells me.

And as OneinEight and you both say, if DS was going to learn these skills without teaching, he would have done it already. It is frustrating that he has not yet had the SALT support that is in his EHCP.

pannetone Wed 10-Feb-16 10:05:24

The school in Green St Green themodernuriah talks about in her post is a state MS primary with a SALT unit attached. From what I understand to get a place in the unit the chid's primary need has to be SALT - not ASD.

shazzarooney99 Wed 10-Feb-16 16:41:15

Sorry its taken so long to respond ive been at work, I work with children with sen and work in specail schools and what i would say is if your child is at a school where there are children with lots of disabilties I dont think those children actually socailise very well and I would also say a lot of these children work at very low levels, for instance in some schools a lot of children maybe working at year 1 or 2 level, if that makes sense, so i do think your child may miss out on a lot xxx especially being pushed to reach theyre fullest potential x

IsItMeOr Wed 10-Feb-16 16:57:36

Thanks Shazza.

I am approaching this as being about getting a realistic idea of what is out there.

It was pretty clear from visiting mainstream primaries (state and private) when we were looking for reception entry what was going on in the different schools, so I hope that it will be the same for the specialist schools.

I appreciate everyone's comments. It can feel like a very lonely journey in real life, so good to hear from others who know what it is like.

shazzarooney99 Wed 10-Feb-16 18:36:37

To be honest i think your child would learn more socail skills at mainstream because they have too.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Wed 10-Feb-16 18:49:18

Well, moving my DS to a specialist school is turning out to be the best thing we could have done for him, he is academically able as are all the other pupils and they also all have similar levels of disability so he fits in perfectly. He will most definitely be pushed to reach his full potential both academically and socially. The key thing is finding the right special school where your DC is a good match for the other pupils, not just any special school, as the pupil profiles and available provision vary enormously.

PolterGoose Wed 10-Feb-16 18:51:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Wed 10-Feb-16 18:52:24

As an example, my friend is the HT of a state school for DCs with severe disabilities, both physical and learning. My DS would be way worse off there than in mainstream, however the school he is now at is perfect for him.

Shineyshoes10 Wed 10-Feb-16 19:01:32

shazza that's not my experience. DS doesn't have autism but in mainstream his social skills have regressed from average/slightly below average to the level of a toddler. He's not learning any social skills if he's too anxious to be in the classroom or around any other children.

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