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Choosing a primary school - possible ASC(1 Post)
My DD (3.5) seems likely to be diagnosed with ASC next year (we are told she will have ADOS and an assessment in her pre-school with a wait time of around 6 months).
She's currently in a private pre-school, which we could keep her in up to 7 if we wanted to. She is also on the waiting list for another private school that starts at 3.5 and runs to 11 (although she would be joining an established class she does already know a couple of the children there and I know the parents, so I hope that would make the transition fairly easy). Alternatively we are looking at state schools in our area. Luckily we are in Hackney and there are some quite good state options (though we aren't in the catchment of any of any of the really outstanding ones).
I'm just doing visits now and starting to ask questions about SEN provision, but I'm pretty unclear what I'm actually looking for. My DD doesn't seem to have any big sensory problems (sleeps well, eats anything, wears nearly anything, etc.) and is pretty verbal (although she doesn't "get" conversational norms like saying hello and goodbye, and tends to play by herself or alongside other children, and only a little bit "with"). So I really have no idea what she'll need. On top of general social skills I guess we have to be prepared for bullying to be a problem as she gets older, and I think it's possible she'll have some executive function issues with e.g. getting changed for PE, etc (she can easily get distracted at the moment and wander around with her trousers round her knees, or wet hands as she's got distracted half way through hand washing, etc.) But as she's only 3 and my first child I really don't know what's normal and what's a manifestation of the ASC...
I have two questions:
- How much do you think it would benefit her to be in the state system so that she gets more "joined up" support from services like SLT, OT, etc? Alternatively, do you think the smaller class sizes and arguably better resources of a private school may be better for a girl with ASC? I think if we are going to move her into the state system it would be better to do it at 5 than 7 probably, as the social stuff will be that much more complex if she joins at 7 when the other kids all know each other.
- Second, what questions should I be asking SENCOs? A friend has recommended asking about how they would help her deal with e.g. the lunch hall, or whether there is a quiet place she could go to if she gets stressed, and how will they help the class to support her and accept her differences. Those all seem like really good questions to me ... are there other things I should be asking? I am also asking whether they have experience in applying for EHCPs in case she needs one (though I think realistically all schools around here do have experience).
Many thanks in advance. Feeling really clueless!
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