Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on special needs.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Can I insist my child stays in mainstream?(19 Posts)
I don't think a positive or negative experience is dependent on whether it a mainstream or special setting.
I'm not convinced by an integrated curriculum either.
DS special epically failed him. They (supposedly) had SLT and OT integrated into the curriculum but a very rigid this is what children in our school need. When they were faced with proof their approach was failing they weren't able to shift tack (or even to recognise or accept they were failing). When challenged by independent therapists many of the support staff hadn't a clue why they were doing the integrated exercises they were doing and therefore didn't really know how to check a child was doing them properly. DS wasn't, many were inappropriate (which should have been recognised), and so wasn't progressing. The problem with an integrated curriculum is that it can rely on set programmes that are they are not delivered by therapists. This can lead to a watering down of expertise.
DS mainstream school have managed to accommodate his therapy needs (SLT, OT and physio). It's is not integrated (although it is carried though into the classroom), the programme is personalised and delivered either by therapists themselves or DS' fantastic TA who has direct contact with the therapists. Progress is monitored by the therapists And the TA has there mobile number in case any problems crop up.
And yet I know children who have absolutely thrived at DS' old special and children who have bombed (quite spectacularly) in the same mainstream.
To me it all come down to the right school for the right child.
I totally agree with the independence thing.
Personally I'd want the setting that allowed my child the best opportunity to develop their skills and gain an ability to do what they can away from an adult. I'm also a big fan of them having a peer group.
It's entirely possible that your DD will develop that way within MS but you are open to SS if needed so that's a great attitude IMO.
My Ds wasn't managing when he started secondary and I applied for EHCP with attending a unit attached to MS in mind. However he's switched to another secondary and is thriving and now I'm thinking resource unit would be a step backwards for him right now. What zzzzz said is 100% correct IMO that right now is important.
If you consider our DCs acquire skills in a disordered as well as delayed manner they will benefit from different settings along the way.
I think you have to look at the pros and cons of both. DD1 has been at SS since she was 4 and turns 11 on Saturday. She'll go on to SS secondary. She is very verbal, MLD, among the most able in her school by a long way.
Before she went to SS she had 1:1 in a preschool. I used to think that 30 hours 1:1 was my goal for her, with her SALT, OT, physio, etc. It's what she'd need in MS. But in SS it isn't like that. She gets SALT weaved throughout her curriculum, (she had specific programmes directly delivered by a SALT for problem areas such as articulation).
OT, again, is weaved into PE, etc. E.g. for DD1, her calf muscles are underdeveloped, so they made sure that PE included lots of specific types of jumping. Her fine motor skills are delayed, with weak fingers, so at choosing time there are lots of activities that promote those skills available to choose.
DD1 is taught in small groups as well as individually. Now, I wouldn't want her to have 1:1 support. She's so used to her independence in SS. Everything is set up to allow independence. But in MS she'd need it.
So, by all means, MS is your child's right except for certain limited circumstances, but do consider what you may be turning down.
My boy is completely non verbal and likely will never talk. SS for him is a safe and happy place and getting a graet academic education isn't his top priority ( maybe one day?) But all of our kids are different too. Just like each school is different. Some are great, some like my other boys mainstream - not so great with SEN. It's about what works well at the time for you as a family. The pead is hardly going to know that, there two far removed.
Thanks zzzz interesting. I am thinking of maybe moving out of SS at juniors but terrified he wouldn't be able to get back in if it went wrong. Thanks.
I guess that goes to show OP nothing has to be set in stone anyway. If mainstream isn't a fantastic fit years down the line then you could rethink then and not now
Zzzz - did your move to SS in the end? If so was it hard to get a place at that age?
Where I live SS tend to be 4-18 so it's easier to get in at 4.
I mentioned moving my boy in SS and the LA said they could fill his place eight times over in 24 hours if I did
I think MS can really help pull kids along as there's much peer modelling to follow. I sometimes wonder if I should have tried MS but Its whatever feels best at the time. Besides there's other options rather than SS like units.
Also there's zero harm at looking at some other schools. SS, units, private. That might even confirm to yourself that you'd child is absolute in the right place.
Thank you for your replies, I feel more reassured now.
She has come on in leaps and bounds since starting school in terms of her speech and confidence and the school is a really good school. They know her so well and really look after her. She's only had 1:1 support since June, so she spent the first 9 months of her school life without that support and has been ok.
As I've already mentioned I'm not against her going to a SS if I felt she wasn't coping with MS, but for the time being she's so happy and secure where she is that I just don't want to move her.
My LA ( who lie at lot so take that as you want) have always told me that every child has a right to a mainstream place.
My youngest boy goes to SS but I still looked at and applied for MS. I took SS as he's non verbal so mainstream wasn't for us. I'm still being told he can move if I want him too.
The key in your situation seems to be trying extra support first before making such a major disision.
You do what you think is best at the time then you can't go far wrong in going with your gut feeling.
If you were to apply for an EHCP that came with 1:1 hours, your daughter would have someone to help with those aspects that she finds difficult and place too much demand on typical teacher time (eg dressing, differentiated work to catr for her academic needs, etc.). this does seem the appropriate course of action, considering the points you've mentioned in your post (no threat to others, distance of special school, etc.).
The school she's in at the moment is a small village school and we are really fortunate that she's really popular. Her siblings who are now at secondary have all been to the same school, so we knew the school well before she started.
Her behaviour is good at school, she occasional shouts out if she's anxious or upset, but this isn't every day. She's not a risk at all to other children or adults in the slightest.
She is academically behind and needs support getting dressed/undressed and needs prompts to remind her of things.
At the moment I just feel familiarity and the fact she's happy is more important than anything else. If this was to change then of course I'd re think.
It's so hard knowing what to do for the best!
Yes you can, the default is mainstream unless the parents insist otherwise (or school can prove that it isn't in the best interests)
However, I understand your reservations but don't discount it at as option without fully investigating it, it may turn out to be the best option for her in the long run.
Assuming it is not a case of risk to other children\adults ... Then it becomes much more complex
Yes absolutely. Won a tribunal to get DS out of special on this very point.
But its well worth keeping an open mind it this stage. When DS initially went special I thought it was for good band would never have anticipated fighting a tribunal to get him out. I've also seen parents insist on mainstream primary only to find the child has been so much happier by the switch to special.
I'd want a mainstream school who wanted my child though. I'd worry about the inclusiveness of one that didn't
My dd (diagnoses of ASD) is in year 1 and has 1:1 support full time.
She loves school and although she is way behind her peers, she's making progress.
Her paediatrician has suggested that we might want to look into sending her to a more specialist school in the future. I'm not against this when she's older but our nearest school and assuming we like it, is miles away and although transport may be offered, I'm against her travelling so far.
She doesn't have an EHCP yet, but it's being looked into. If the school felt she'd be better off somewhere else, can I insist she stays in mainstream? Where do we stand? TIA