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Communication breakdown with school.(12 Posts)
Hello, I was wondering if anyone had any advice. DS is dx'd with ASD & ADHD and has been at his current MS school the last few years. All was well at first and they were really supportive and instrumental in him finally getting his diagnosis (he went many years as do others struggling whilst being undiagnosed).
Communication has broken down over the last year and I am unsure how to handle it. I won't flood the page with tonnes of info but will include a handful of things first as I also don't want to dripfeed or be too identifying.
He has many traits including no perception of hazard awareness, no sense of danger, becoming increasingly frustrated / anxious / tearful when he can't complete a task. A good example of this is he recently spoke about how during a maths test he 'knew the answers but couldn't work it out' (it was a test that required showing the working out and his brain simply couldn't 'process' it) and was told it was because he couldnt be bothered (this was by a TA who was there temp and I'm not sure they knew of his condition). He also doesn't like loud or sudden noises and he has never been able to do eye contact. When we last had parents evening - he played on his DS whilst the teacher talked to us and he replied to every question the teacher asked him, he just couldn't look at them. DS told me he recently got scolded by the HT for being 'extremely rude' when they were speaking to him and he couldn't look at them.
Thing is I'm not very good at being assertive and need some tips on how to approach this. Anyone any advice please?
This isn’t the school for him
I’m so angry that they can’t get themselves together to learn about his needs.
Hello Palava1 thankyou for your response. I know what you mean about angry I was initially but now I'm more disheartened than anything. It was a brilliant school to begin with but if I had the option or there were any other decent schools around us I'd move him tomorrow. Has anyone any experiences on EHCPs? a friend advised me to apply for one meanwhile as it gives the school more legal responsibility in between times.
You can apply for an EHC Needs assessment, which is the first stage in the EHCP process, if you can show that he has or may have SEN, and that he may need help through an EHCP. For those purposes you need to show that he isn't making progress (and that includes progress in relation to, e.g. social communication, sensory problems, confidence etc as well as academic progress) and that his needs can't be met within normal mainstream resources. The fact that they aren't managing to communicate his difficulties to the staff properly might be a factor in that, but you will need quite a lot more.
For immediate purposes, I'd suggest you try to fix up a meeting involving at least the SENCO, the class teacher and the head of year to talk about what they are going to do about internal communications and meeting his needs. It would be a good idea to put forward your own agenda, and be ready to introduce into the discussion the fact that he has an identified disability for which they have to make reasonable adjustments. Those adjustments obviously have to include not punishing him or telling him off for issues that are the direct result of his disability. If they won't do it and/or come up with the stock mantra about not treating pupils differently, point out that the duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act means that they absolutely have to treat some pupils differently. If necessary, hint that it would be ever such a shame if you had to take disability discrimination proceedings.
Thankyou for all your advice recently. I had a brief meeting with the SENCO who is attributing a lot of his meltdowns to possible puberty at the moment (DS is 10). I never used to scare easily but suffer from anxiety so find it hard to approach people in a 'position'. DSs class teacher although I'm sure they are good at their job and good with the children gives the impression to the parents that they are not very approachable. I know it is hard to keep up with 30+ parents on a daily basis but I always feel like I'm inconveniencing them even if it's something important re DS.
I approached the HT about the eye contact issue and was told that they are well aware of the difficulties children with ASC face with communication and that they wouldn't have told DS they were rude. DS insists it still happened.
I have in the meantime applied for an EHCP and am awaiting the paperwork.
Not the same kind of need but we've reached the point this year with a complete breakdown of communication between us and the class teacher - who doesn't like me which is fine - her prerogative, but seems to have a bit of a shitty attitude toward any SN pupils altogether. I suspect she's floated along being smiley to parents for years but ignoring anything on kids' planned provision - but she met me this year and I wasn't going to let it slide, and also found out it was happening for several other kids - tried nicely to resolve things... tried slightly more assertively to resolve things... now it's with a rather pissed off head teacher who's monitoring every single thing!
Means I've got a couple of months of smiling good morning through mutually gritted teeth - but fuck it - had a moral duty to challenge what was going on in this case.
And yes, I get what you mean about authority figures - I'm a bloody primary trained teacher myself... the school head is lovely - but still manages to reduce me to being 7 years old sat outside the head's office in trouble yet again mentally! (I've told them this)
I've started bunging everything in writing via an email and cc-ing in the SENCO so there's a paper trail and then logging it on my own document so I can keep a sense of perspective about everything that's going on. I also always make my own notes before I go into a meeting and during a meeting - it gives me a bit of a mental confidence crutch if I've got my own list of points to address, and again - it all feeds into a chronology of what was discussed when.
Just another thought - could transition between year groups be behind a lot of recent meltdowns? DD1 isn't diagnosed with anything - but I mentally have a strong suspicion in my view that she's somewhere on the autistic spectrum and she's definitely a naturally anxious person - and her behaviour absolutely falls apart the second school mention changing year group... to the point this year I mentioned it to her teacher (I happened to be in the class when it was mentioned for the first time and told them to predict tears and fireworks the next few days - happened like clockwork) and they really do have her as a focus for transition support and additional visits to the new classroom and the like. Even just a change of classroom can throw her - the idea of moving into year 6 with SATs and everything like the ideas of the time at school ending and secondary looming (just going from your child's age) would send her off into the atmosphere on a bad day.
Bless you Pantsy McPantsface. I think we might be sharing the same teacher!
Interesting developments. I've had a meeting with the SENCO who's said there's 'no point' doing an EHCP as DS doesn't fit the criteria. I'm at a loss of what to do now.
what criteria is that then? may well be talking out of their behind, senco's do often!
When I asked, the reply was basically that DS has to have a high level of complex needs. I was told DS doesn't have that, despite the fact that the previous senco (oh how I miss her!) used to explicitly state he had complex needs.
Nope. He has to have something which interferes with learning. School have to prove they have done everything they can to help - SEN plans, and so on. Legally not necessary but can strengthen your argument if they spent 6k school budget on him and asked for top up funds from LA.
Can also help case - again not legally needed - if he is falling behind peer expected despite lots of extra support.
So as ACIS says - agenda is - how are school meeting needs and telling all staff about this. Evidence of interventions based on things mentioned by ed psych or paediatric team - get an ed psych report via school - can be long wait - or privately.
Its a get out to play the puberty card. keep evidence and dates of melt downs and cause as evidence of unmet needs. keep records of meetings - take a supporter - partner friend or ask local IASS and explain you have anxiety and need someone to minute see what they suggest.
You could still trigger an EHC needs request - even if it gets turned down you get a step down meeting which will look at your concerns.
Remember the only 2 criteria in law - he may have SEN (he has)
He may need an EHCP to support him with that
Look at IPSEA and SOSSEN. Google 7 steps to EHCP for a mum who did it and gives tips xx
Sometimes schol is in denial of a childs needs and though its good to have school on side for EHC request not necessary you can trigger and you can specify that needs not currently met.
I might start with a letter to head/senco and governers first. There will be a complaints procedure. Good luck. I hate conflict but sometimes needs must.
As other posters have said - you can apply for an EHCP without school being on board (but it does make it easier if they are). Regarding being on his DS while the teacher was talking at parents evening - that is rude, you shouldn't have let him do that.