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Has moving schools worked for your ASD DC?

(22 Posts)
TheSconeOfStone Mon 22-Feb-16 11:17:37

DD1 now in year 3 with recent ASD (would have been Aspergers) diagnosis. I am reluctant to move her as change is difficult and she is willing to go to school. She likes the staff and has friends there. Also have DD2 in year 1 doing fine (people pleaser and charming, would be happy anywhere). I am a great believer in children going to their local primary and it's ideal on the days I'm not working to all head to the park and the DC can play with their friends.

However, DD is still being punished a lot despite the diagnosis. There have been management problems and an acting head from another school (who I thoroughly distrust and dislike), school now going for academy status with two other schools (not schools I would ever in a million years choose for my DC), head thinks DD is choosing to misbehave as sometimes her behaviour is good, school is crowded Victorian building and DD has sensory issues. It's too noisy and crowded for her. School was forced to increase from 2 to 3 form entry in her foundation year and I think overcrowding is an issue.

I'm now looking at alternative schools. Complicated by the fact I have to work so it needs to be somewhere me or DH can drop off.

Any experience good or bad of making a change like this? So worried about doing the wrong thing but I've completely lost confidence in the school and we can't go on as we are.

Notgivingin789 Mon 22-Feb-16 12:53:03

I could of written the same post OP.

DS has a severe language disorder, verbal dyspraxia and is very most likely on the Autistic spectrum (he currently has a diagnosis of social communication disorder but he would be assessed again).

DS was at a local mainstream school which he loved! I've never seen DS so attached to his peers than the ones in his mainstream class. They always helped DS and made him feel included. DS teachers and assistance a adored him.

The problem was, due to DS severe language needs etc, it was very apparent that he would struggle in mainstream in the nearby future. Even though DS teacher and assistances was great with DS, learning Makaton, differentiating work, timetables etc. The school DS was at wasn't supportive of children with SEN at all, it was like DS teacher was doing all that she could to help DS, whereas the school didn't really do shit. Even though he had a statement! I had tiresome meetings with the schools countless times as I didn't feel like they were providing for his needs.

On top of that, I was fully aware that if a child has severe language/communication issues, this will be harder to implement when older and is best to learn as early as possible. DS did learn learn from the other children, he sat down in circle time, gained some words whilst being with the other kids. Though to be honest, I think DS learnt very little whilst he was there.

I soon realised that the gap between DS and his peers would widen and mainstream wouldn't be suitable. So I thought, should I let him stay at mainstream and see how he gets on, or should I look for a specialist provision which would give him lots of therapeutic provision and be around staff that know his needs.

As hard as it was, I couldn't take that risk. I decided to look for a specialist provision. I thought it was best to intervene now! Rather than later.

I looked at TONS of special schools and I only found two that I thought would be perfect for DS. I chose the independent one as I really liked the way the curriculum was delivered, the children get intense therapy.... DS gets twice daily speech and language therapy and amongst other things.

I do miss DS mainstream school, and he misses the social aspect of his mainstream school as the school his at has a very small number of kids in their class.

I think you would miss the social aspect if you leave your local primary school.

But DS has improved a lot at his specialist school, his actually learning a lot more. His able to attend, he is speaking so much more now.

But you just have to do what's beats for your DS.

Good luck.

WellTidy Mon 22-Feb-16 13:28:27

Notgivinin could I ask whether the independent school you opted for is funded by your LEA? Sorry to post on the OP's thread, but we are in a similar position to both of you (except that DS' ASD isn't at the higher functioning end), and I am about to do a tour of local state and independent schools to try and find a suitable one. I see that most specialist independent schools ask that they be the named school in the child's EHC Plan, and nearly all places are funded by the LEA. We could afford fees in the region of £15,00 or so if we had to in order for DS to be in a suitable school, but would struggle year on year to pay much more than this.

PolterGoose Mon 22-Feb-16 13:56:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Notgivingin789 Mon 22-Feb-16 13:58:04

welltidy DS independent special school is funded my LEA. But! So far I'm the only parent at DS current school to secure funding from the LEA! I think I was just very lucky. I think the cheapest independent special schools I found was £9 grand a term.

WellTidy Mon 22-Feb-16 14:09:59

notgivingin Thank you. Good for you! Did you secure the funding before you moved him, or did you make the case after he started and you hard practical experience of how good it was? I don't think there are any appropriate schools (independent or state) for DS in the borough, but I know that my LEA will want him to try at the only state run specialist school for children with ASD.

Coffeemachine Mon 22-Feb-16 14:55:22

welltidy you won't be able to send your DC to an independent special school without funding agreed by the LA first. Paying yourself is usually not an option for independent special school and afaik, places are usually funded through the LA.

Notgivingin789 Mon 22-Feb-16 15:08:03

Ah yes it depends on the special school, some independent specials school will accept funding from parents, the ones that you have to require funding from the LA is the non- maintained special schools.

WellTidy we secured the funding before we moved him, it went to tribunal, no way could I afford the fees grin. There was no appropriate special schools for DS in my borough too, so I did have to look out for schools outside my borough.

WellTidy Mon 22-Feb-16 15:34:22

Thanks for your input. It is a huge cost. How do you go about securing funding from another LEA when you don't actually live in that borough? Or do you get the funding from your current LEA and transfer it acrosss into a new LEA? Sorry to sound so clueless. Sorry to hijack your thread OP. I will start my own if this is getting too de-railed.

Coffeemachine Mon 22-Feb-16 15:45:28

well, the LA you live in is responsible for the costs. If the placement is out of borough, then usually transport comes into the equation which is usually very expensive and another a hurdle to get get through.

If you have some funds and LA is obstructive, it may come in handy for getting independent reports done for tribunal.

Coffeemachine Mon 22-Feb-16 15:52:20

well, where are you the whole process? do you have a EHCP or at least on in the making? or not even applied yet?

Has your DS been seen by EP, Salt, OT? what do these reports say?

WellTidy Mon 22-Feb-16 15:55:28

coffee DS1 is 3yo and has been seen by a EP and Salt. The reports are woolly. He attends mainstream pre school for 6.5 hours a week and the LEA fund a one to one worker for that. We fund ABA privately for 20 hours a week at home. I have applied for an EHCP for him, and there is a needs assessment meeting next month. Our LEA is Bromley. The school that I like for DS1 is in Surrey. Him going there would necessitate a house move, and a school move for our 8yo NT DS1.

Coffeemachine Mon 22-Feb-16 16:24:46

is it an ABA school?

Coffeemachine Mon 22-Feb-16 16:43:21

if so start your own thread. there area few on here who did that and will be able to advise. you will need an ABA friendly EP, supposedly you can prove that ABA is working with the sessions you are doing now. maybe chosing different targets for nursery and for his home programme (to show he is able to learn with ABA but not with the standard approach)....

Coffeemachine Mon 22-Feb-16 16:43:48

there are a few

Notgivingin789 Mon 22-Feb-16 16:47:00

Well I could be wrong but if your after an independent school in another borough it actually doesn't matter if the indecent special school is in another borough all you have to prove is that your independent special school is the only school that can meet your DS needs.

I don't live in the borough where DS school is, the borough I live in funds his school.

Well where in the ECHP process are you at? Do you want your DS to go to an ABA school?

Youarentkiddingme Mon 22-Feb-16 20:58:50

Having had DS just transition from a wonderfully inclusive junior school to a crap secondary academy - whom I distrust I'd say mover her. Academy's are a law unto themselves and not under the control of la.

Do not be persuaded that inclusion is having all students attend lessons together. Inclusion is making reasonable adjustments that allow students to be educated alongside their peers. Students coming out Of lessons for support is not not being inclusive - <yes I'm looking at you DS secondary!>

I totally agree that asking schools how they'd deal with certain situations is a good way to find out what their ethos is.

Also look at the equality act. Make sure they aren't punishing her because of behaviour directly relating to her disability. Not easy yo prove but worth highlighting that you know the law!

pannetone Mon 22-Feb-16 21:35:23

WellTidy I have messaged you.

TheSconeOfStone Mon 22-Feb-16 21:53:16

What an emotional day (again). Spent much of my day off phoning LEA and some schools to arrange visits. Then had meeting with class teacher, SENCO and deputy head where I cried (again) blush. School has offered to help me find an alternative setting for DD, and when pressed even came up with suggestions (no one wants to volunteer any helpful information to me).

Lots to think about. Couple of places SENCO suggested due to size and new builds are not in parts of the city I would have considered but I think I need to be open minded and at least visit.

A place very convenient for work if Ofsted Good (I know that isn't everything), and has places for both DDs is apparently very open plan so that might be a big no for DD1.

SENCO suggested going down the route of EHCP to give us more leverage. They will have to paint a bleak picture of DD and play up her weaknesses. Is there any disadvantage in this?

I need support, or failing that some meds for my anxiety. Not coping well.

PolterGoose Tue 23-Feb-16 18:41:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sleeponeday Tue 01-Mar-16 01:25:44

My child was at a school where the OFSTED was so glowing, it looked as though the head must have written it. People rent in the catchment and never move in just to get their children there.

In Reception DS started talking about suicide, he was so unhappy. They insisted all was well as he was reading at a high level. He was being brutally bullied. I said I suspected autism, they said no way and that he was Level 3 in EYFS for forming relationships and self awareness.

I took him to look around another school and within 15 minutes, the teacher took me aside and asked if I had ever heard of Aspergers. I moved him there and then, and he was formally diagnosed 7 weeks later. It's a small village school with a genuinely gentle and inclusive atmosphere, and he is accepted and supported. The kids play across the age ranges and have mixed age classes, so the maturity/social skill development levels are wide. I think that helps.

The first school accused another mother of Munchausens the same year. Her child had been diagnosed by a paediatrican at a point when the mother had had no idea there was a problem - she worked for a paed, who spotted it. Pretty weird form of the disorder, never to seek any diagnosis at any stage. But her child was seemingly "normal" (she has PDA) so they just got stuck in without ever bothering to contact the treating paediatrician. That family also moved to a small village school, and are very happy. In fact I know another who did the same and are - but a family on the Early Bird in yet another were very unhappy with it, so not a panacea.

It was an Academy, so not much we could do. They managed to publish a letter they'd written to the other child's paed on their open website a year after she left, too, because it was floating around the school's shared drive for anyone to see and some idiot posted it as a test for uploads. It discussed her diagnosis and the relationship with the family in some detail.

The only part of OFSTED worth looking at is the overall Parent View: most significantly, how the school reacts to outside comment, and would the parents recommend it to others. The rest... well, the old school spent a lot of money on paid external consultants, so they could stage to OFSTED. Everything they did was for OFSTED. If OFSTED didn't observe or mark, it wasn't something they cared about.

Ironically, my son is gifted, which is why he was doing well despite his misery. Now he's not pressured, pushed, and desperately unhappy, he is doing staggeringly well. He was underperforming, but because they had no idea how high his potential truly was, they thought he was doing well.

He doesn't exactly have friends at the current school, but he's well liked and included. Which is a massive, massive improvement.

My only regret is that we didn't move him a great deal earlier.

snowgirl29 Sat 12-Mar-16 07:36:19

Hi OP. My Ds is not dx'd but we've had atrocious experience with his previous school. Ds was always pinned as 'naughty'.
I was anxious as to whether I had made the right decision and it is clear that we have. The change did upset him and make him worse at first but we stuck with it and hes finally settled down.
Ds has gone from a mainstream school to a much smaller one. So the crowds/noise/sensory issues are easier for him to process. He still exhibits these behaviours but are less severe and the staff at the new school know how to deal with him and have been nothing but supportive with us.

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