School advice please for High functioning Aspergers in Essex

(28 Posts)
Spooningleadstoforking Mon 07-Nov-16 19:35:08

Hi guys this is my first post so apologies if I'm not using the right lingo!!

I've found myself in the position of having an EHCP for my son but cannot for love nor money find a suitable school.

He is 14, high functioning not Einstein levels but capable of achieving GCSE's and excels in sport - his challenging areas are extreme defiance, very very argumentative (he is obviously always right) not too great with authority, holding grudges against teachers (for months at a time!) - he needs a learning environment with small classes a lot of support and teachers who 'get it', GCSEs, sports. He likes to shout out, tap and bang, take a wander when the urge takes him and remove his shoes during lessons. He is currently in a mainstream school where the above behaviours are not tolerated, he is really struggling and unhappy. The school have agreed they cannot meet the needs on his EHCP.

It may also be useful to mention that he can be violent when in a state of high anxiety/frustration - he has broken his own bones, smashes his head and nearly broken his sisters arm, regularly smashes furniture and other household items (the availability of items is decreasing each time he has a meltdown) he is partial to risk taking behaviours (has attempted to jump out of a moving vehicle, eaten chemicals etc)

We are in Essex, Southend way. The schools in our locality are more at the severe end and cover a broad range of disabilities. Ramsden and cedar hall are not suitable. He doesn't want to be in an autism hub within a mainstream school (not that we have any local to us). We've been to see Unstead Park in Surrey which was amazing but I do not have the funding for anything and I've been told I will 99% not win if I went to tribunal (they also have no spaces for boarding).

If anyone is still reading this as I seem to have gone on for a while - can they recommend anything ?!

OP’s posts: |
tartanterror Mon 07-Nov-16 20:05:53

I don't know about your local area but I looked into this a little bit when a SALT asked me if I thought DS was in the right school. There seem to be very few schools that can cope with an academic autist but there are some. The first thing is that you are already well ahead as your DS has an EHCP. When are you due for annual review? If your current school has said that they can't meet his needs your LA has to offer an alternative. That might well mean an out of county placement.
This site seems useful for searching on SEN schools

Also try these people who offer an advocacy service to help negotiate the EHCP process (another Mumsnetter gave me their name but we're not in their catchment for help) and they might advice on other local options?

FrayedHem Mon 07-Nov-16 22:28:00

I know you say DS, doesn't want to be in a hub, but would he consider being in the mainstream school that the hub is in? Essex is just beginning to roll out hubs, and the one school we looked at is very autism friendly as a whole, which is why they were asked to become a hub school. I think if you and your son looked around you would be impressed by their attitude towards SN, and it would possibly be a good fall-back if you couldn't get your school of choice in Surrey. I am more than happy to PM you what I know (which isn't that much and only based on a walkaround).

Spooningleadstoforking Mon 07-Nov-16 22:43:59

Thanks for your replies !

Yes please frayed worth a look I guess I doubt very much we will get the Surrey school which is a bummer as it was like I'd landed on the dream planet of schools when we looked round, and my son liked it too.

Thanks for the reply tartan. The EHCP has taken a year nearly (was sent off 20th November 2015) the first draft was unacceptable and shambolic so I composed my own 14 page reply outlining what I felt they had omitted. Just had final draft back 2 days ago. It still doesn't clearly state 1:1 which one of the two Ed Psychs recommended so I'm in 2 minds on whether to fight for this to be put in. Overall I'm pretty happy with my amended version now smile.

I've not found families in focus to be of much help tbh but thank you for the recommendation.

The LA contact has even said (albeit verbally) there are no schools which fit my sons criteria in Essex the solution, they say, is to send him to mainstream. I feel like my options are mainstream, mainstream or mainstream !!

OP’s posts: |
Spooningleadstoforking Mon 07-Nov-16 22:49:04

And I should also add that as the hubs are classed as a mainstream school the LA have said they wouldn't provide transport and would expect me to sign a transport waiver.

OP’s posts: |
FrayedHem Mon 07-Nov-16 23:06:42

PM sent. Don't give up on the Surrey placement, perhaps shop around and see if you can find an even more expensive option to make it look like a bargain! He may not get in despite all your efforts, but he definitely won't get in unless you try. All LAs are going full-Gollum over their budgets, but your son has a right to an education where he can fully access the curriculum.

FrayedHem Mon 07-Nov-16 23:12:48

No, I wouldn't concede to transport. They are trying it on. I know Southend is a unitary LA, but Hubs are counted as specialist provision when panels are looking at placements. Although I'm not sure if the hubs are opening places across all year groups or just starting at Yr7 and growing upwards, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Ktagogo Sun 09-Apr-17 23:29:47

I'm in a similar situation, would prefer a mainstream school with hub really.
I currently live in Chelmsford but would be willing to move towards rayleigh or somewhere as I work in Hadleigh. If anyone can recommend a good primary school round here for my asd/adhd boy aged 7. who's needs arn't being met at his current school, and they keep threatening exclusion due to his behaviour (caused by their lack of understanding)

FrayedHem Mon 10-Apr-17 09:34:35

@ktgagogo there is an ASD hub primary in Laindon- Merrylands primary. I've no experience of the school itself. Does your DS have an EHCP? Any input from the Specialist Teacher team?

FrayedHem Mon 10-Apr-17 09:42:33

Thurrock is a unitary LA so the Treetops school isn't on that list. But it's very highly rated

FrayedHem Mon 10-Apr-17 10:00:47

Argh messed up the tag @Ktagogo

Ktagogo Mon 10-Apr-17 10:18:39

It's ok I got it! Yes I have heard about treetops before. Does it matter if you didn't live near it tho? Is there a max distance?
Thanks for your help. X

Ktagogo Mon 10-Apr-17 10:20:21

Yes my son has a full hours ehcp, and full time 1-1, most of the problems arise from his violent behaviour and the fact he is about 2 years behind with work now. I'm sure the violence is a product of him not being catered to properly at school tho.

Ktagogo Mon 10-Apr-17 10:29:51

He's already been excluded once and I'm scared the next time will be permanent, I know if that happens he will have to go to the temp unit in Newlands spring, but because there are no schools in the area that are suitable they have nowhere to put these kids long term. I know a kid that's been in the 'temporary ' unit 2.5 years here.
I can't home school I have to work as I'm a single mum. I need to get him in a school that knows what they are doing. He's a clever boy but still can't read and write because the school don't know how to teach him, and all I get from them is 'we have tried everything, we don't know what else to do.' I get called in constantly and told if his behaviour carries on they will exclude him, and that I need to do something about it, but I don't know what I can do. I too have tried everything!

Megatherium Mon 10-Apr-17 10:42:51

If LA officers are admitting verbally that local schools won't meet your child's needs, write to them confirming what they said and say that you are therefore looking at more distant schools. If you're prepared to consider residential schools it opens up your options, but I guess you stand a better chance with schools that are a bit nearer to you.

FrayedHem Mon 10-Apr-17 11:03:17

I live out towards Burnham on Crouch and I do know 1 child got a place at treetops from here with transport provided. But the child had been having ABA as a preschooler and I have no idea what lengths the parents had to go to (I know one of his former ABA tutors).

I've also heard of transport being really difficult with cut and dried placements but they apparently eventually concede.

Have you made the LA SEN team aware of what is going on? I've had to go over DS1's school's head to get things sorted out and I have found the LA to be quite responsive (apart from the Ed Psych). Even SEND IASS (was parent partnership) were supportive but you do have to be slightly cautious as they're not as independent of the LA as they'd have you believe.

Spooningleadstoforking Tue 11-Apr-17 10:15:55

I believe SEND IASS work out of county hall (the same as the council) so I would be very cautious also.

Ive also heard good things about treetops school.

What about Cedar Hall in Thundersley ? Child has to have a learning difficulty to attend (that was why it was unsuitable for my son). Head is really nice man

OP’s posts: |
Ktagogo Tue 11-Apr-17 12:03:39

Yes I looked at cedar hall I might see if I can arrange a visit as it's right near my work which is really convenient.

Ktagogo Tue 11-Apr-17 12:04:52

I have spoken to parent partnership and they didn't seem able to recommend any schools and only knew anything about mid essex.

FrayedHem Tue 11-Apr-17 16:17:03

SEND IASS are in county hall but I'd recommend them over a certain local charity. More for chasing up the SEN team than for anything else.

Does your DS get input from the Specialist Teaching Team? It was DS1's Specialist Teacher who made us aware of the hubs existence and as the Ed Psych team wouldn't get involved with DS1 (despite it being a Yr6/secondary transition and EHCP transfer year(!)) they have been the only useful professional input DS1 has benefited from. They've also been very helpful in his current school who I've had a lot of problems with this year.

FrayedHem Tue 11-Apr-17 16:21:03

And the Ed Psych do a phoneline service, it's only available Monday afternoons term-time only, but they are worth a call if the school are threatening permanent exclusion. I think you just have to try and beat the school to the punch and get as many LA people as possible aware there are huge issues and just keep sending emails until someone promises to do something.

tartanterror Fri 14-Apr-17 18:45:06

Is it too far to get to Redbridge/Chigwell? The NAS are opening a new secondary with a focus on academics there in September 2017. There will be a specialist PDA unit on site

notgivingin789 Sat 15-Apr-17 23:03:25

If you want your child to grow academically, I wouldn't put them into an ABA school, I'm sorry (to the poster who wanted this). One being that it's hard to regulate what tutors are doing in their 1:1s as there so many tutors to supervise ! Depending on the ABA school be from what I've heard, all the children have 1.1s all day (great) but there's hardly any learning happening in groups and if there is it's usually short. This may not work for some kids who struggle mainly in working in groups but are really good working 1.1.

ABA seems ( I don't know ! But from what I've heard) to work well in a mainstream setting or in other types of settings that do lots of group work activities whilst still implement ABA techniques.

I know I'm going to be flame for this (sigh).

Ktagogo Sat 15-Apr-17 23:17:30

I don't really understand aba Ive heard people say that it seems hard on the child.
The only school that does that any where near here is the one on grays, and tbh I don't know I want him traveling 45 mins to and from school every day, so I think it's out anyway. I have emailed cedar hall school hopefully I'll get a reply after the easter hols.
I don't know if it will be right for him, I might find like I did thriftwood that as a special school it caters children with more severe learning difficulties. But i guess it's worth a look. Thanks for everyone's comments so far it's been really helpful.

notgivingin789 Sat 15-Apr-17 23:21:41

I don't have an issue with the ABA principles. It is intensive and I don't think too much 1:1 is good, wherever it's ABA, speech therapy or OT. I believe a more supportive and integrated environment works best at school and at home (most importantly).

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