Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
I'm really upset and don't know what to do next.(19 Posts)
DS1 has Aspergers and is actually really quite high functioning. Yes he has communication difficulties and isn't very aware of the ways of the world and the dangers that can lurk out there (cars, strangers etc) but not a lot gets past him tbh.
Yesterday was DS1's first day at mainstream school. His preschool were excellent at treating him like all the other children (albeit using visual timetables etc) and subtly giving him help when he needed it, so not setting him up to fail but not making him feel too different from his peers. Thing is with DS1 he likes to be like his friends it's almost like he doesn't know how iygwim.
I just hate the way his new mainstream school are treating him so differently to the other children.
They're saying he can only attend three mornings a week, and even then only go in after assembly has finished (so only a two and a half hour session). I strongly disagreed and voiced my opinion via my portage home visitor, although unfortunately I was unable to attend the meeting to put my views across as I was still in hospital after having DD (a crash emergency section).
Their reasoning is that they don't think he can cope with five mornings (I disagree) and that he will be disruptive in assembly (I disagree and tbh all four year olds have to learn the form with assembly surely?).
I knew that being treated differently to his peers would make DS1 anxious, and that he WOULD notice. They wouldn't listen, they knew best and this is what they do with special needs children apparently. Never mind that special needs children are all vastly different and need completely different strategies. What they are imposing on DS1 now would be very appropriate for DS2 for example so I wouldn't object, but it's not right for DS1.
So, we're getting there after everyone else has got back from assembly. DS1 thinks he's late and it's making him anxious as hell which means he's jittery and unsettled to start the day. Of course this is now fulfilling their prediction that he would find it tough to cope but it's THEIR F**** ACTIONS that are making him this way. We're leaving at lunch whilst all his friends are still there (they're all full time this week) and DS1 asking if everyone is going home now - when I say no he wants to stay but of course that's not possible as the school won't let him.
They're taking these measures to 'help him settle better'. Well I know my son and I knew what would happen but no those dipshits overruled me because they know best. Well they don't and they are discriminating against my son and I feel bloody complicit in the discrimination because I can't sort it out.
It's tearing me up to see him upset like this. He's asking me why he has to go there late and why he has to leave early and I just don't know how to explain it to him without affecting his self esteem.
I went to collect him at lunch today and I was running ten minutes early. DS1 was already in the school reception area waiting for me so he hasn't even had the two and a half hour session he should have.
Sorry about calling them dip whatsits, I'm a bit fraught.
Glitter, I know nothing about SN as such but you've got to get up to that school and meet with the Head and your DS's teacher again. You've got to get your message across, just as you have in your OP.
MY children do not have SN but they would be anxious and wonder what the hell was going on if they were treated so obviously differently.
I really hope you can sort this out.
Yup, I'd be upset about this too. He's there to learn, and giving him such a limited opportunity to do so is not useful either. It would be pretty easy to set the day up so that he can cope with it/can find ways to have a short 'time out' break if he needs it, but it looks like they're not sure what his needs really are or not prepared to spend money sorting them out yet.
I would definitely speak again with the teacher and the SENCO for the school and get them to explain exactly why they think this is in his best interests. If he needs more help in school to be able to be there longer, what are they going to do about that??
Is there a Statement of Special needs in place for your son?. If there is not I would strongly suggest you apply for such a document asap from your LEA. You don't need school's permission to apply for such a document. This is a legally binding document that will hopefully go some way also to making his school life easier as it gives extra support (statements can also be used for additional social needs).
Where's the SENCO; have you had any involvement at all with this person to date?.
I'd certainly call a meeting with the Head and SENCO in attendance.
Unfortunately this school do not sound at all helpful with regards to your son and it may be that in the longer term you will need to find DS another school.
Them as well saying that he can only attend three mornings a week and as well after assembly is treading on shaky ground re discrimination. I reckon as well they did not take advice from the LEA on that. I would talk to IPSEA about this whole matter, at the very least seek advice from IPSEA and the National Autistic Society. You need concrete and accurate information to counter the school.
The head IS the SENCO. Shame this forum doesn't have rolly eyes!!!
He doesn't have a statement, he went in front of the preschool panel who decided that he didn't need a statement, just school support only. We tried appealing but didn't get anywhere with that.
He has to share the Teaching Assistant with the rest of the reception class, although there are only actually 12 of them.
I'm ringing the parent partnership this afternoon, thanks for the links I just feel I'm letting him down and I need to DO something proactive.
Well, if he doesnt need a Statement and can cope with school support only, then I think they're setting themselves up for a discrimination case in saying that he has to miss out on all this stuff. Definitely definitely get outside advice and keep pushing for this. No chance of a different school that will treat him fairly, I guess?
Re your comments:-
"The head IS the SENCO. Shame this forum doesn't have rolly eyes!!!"
My son's infants school also had a head who was the SENCO; that person was pretty much uesless. Indeed, there ought to be a rolling eyes emoticon as well.
"He doesn't have a statement, he went in front of the preschool panel who decided that he didn't need a statement, just school support only. We tried appealing but didn't get anywhere with that".
You need a Statement and I would make the request to the LEA asap. Preschool panel said no!. Wait a minute, what's a preschool panel anyway?. Did this go before panel on the LEA, anything short of that is meaningless frankly. You can also reapply for a Statement.
"He has to share the Teaching Assistant with the rest of the reception class, although there are only actually 12 of them".
This will happen if there is no additional support in place for him. He is currently being failed by the system and it will only get worse for him at school if his additional educational/social needs are not met.
"I'm ringing the parent partnership this afternoon, thanks for the links I just feel I'm letting him down and I need to DO something proactive".
Some Parent Partnerships are actually funded by the LEA (mine works out of the same building as the LEA) so are not fully independent. You need to talk urgently with an organisation like IPSEA as they are independent of any LEA. Also get in touch with the NAS - you may well have a case against the school on discriminatory grounds.
You are not letting him down but you need to act for him - you are his best AND ONLY advocate.
Look up the Code of Practice to the Education section of the Disability Discrimination Act (you can google it online). Basically, if the school is not taking reasonable measures to ensure that he gets the same educational opportunities as his NT peers, they are breaking the law.
He is clearly not getting the same educational opportunities if he has a shorter school day, so the onus is on them to prove that this is the most reasonable way to fill his needs. If they claim he cannot access a full school day without a statement, then that in itself should be excellent grounds for statementing and you MUST mention this in your appeal. This is the clinching bit of evidence, which the LEA can't get away from.
I found once I started waving this document in people's faces, both the LEA and dd's school became immensely more cooperative.
I would either get legal advice or do a DIY job: read through the code of practice and past relevant passages into a polite letter to the headteacher, pointing out that the current situation is not compatible with legislation, then ASK WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO ABOUT IT! This last bit is vital. He has got to say what is now going to happen- will he help you push for a statement or admit your son fulltime without a statement? Make sure you hold him to an answer.
He may answer that the school cannot appeal for a statement, and this may be true- but you as parents can. So if he says your son cannot be admitted fulltime, I would write to the LEA, explaining the situation and including a letter from the headteacher stating the same.
If this school agreed that they could meet your ds's needs - and they obviously did - then saying he can only attend for 2.5hr sessions is clearly demonstrating (already) that they believe otherwise! Until he can attend on a full-time basis, then how will they ever know they can meet his needs? Have they talked about when they will allow your ds to attend full-time? It sounds like bad timing if you've just had a baby but I think you and the school need to agree a timescale for when your ds will allowed to attend on a regular, full-time basis. When does he turn 5yrs old?
I had the opposite problem with my son's school, I felt he would benefit from a couple of afternoons at home a week to give him a break (he has mild AS by the way) but they said that he had to get used to coping and guess what they were actually right! So two schools take two completely different approaches and both claim to be doing the right thing, why does that not surprise me. If the class has only 12 kids and a teaching assistant they should be able to cope, with a few common sense adaptations for your son. Don't take no for an answer.
Have today spoken to Portage and DS1's paediatrician. Portage will be strongly reminding them about inclusion and pointing out that stopping DS1 doing what his peers are doing is EXcluding him.
If this fails then the paediatrician will intervene.
If this fails I'm going the DDA route and getting legal on their backsides.
I will also be sorting out a statement via the LEA and asking for the head to support my request.
Portage will need to send school a strongly worded letter (with a copy of this to you). Paed as well should send a letter to school (again with a copy to you). Whether the school will take notice is another matter entirely; their track record to date is not good.
I'd put in your letter to the LEA now asking for statutory assessment, would not bother asking Head to support it as they have not been v understanding to date. Also you do not need permission from school to apply for a Statement.
Hi Glitter, my DS2 has just started mainstream school and whilst he has SN he is having a completely different experience to your poor DS.
I would definately agree with Attila, apply for the statutory assessment now without asking for the Head to support it.
DS2 has a full statement with his own full time support worker. Without this he would already be struggling.
Fwiw I applied for DS2's statement my self and whilst it is an uphill struggle from now on, you will soon become an expert!
Good luck and I hope you kick ass!
I can't add any advice to what has already been given but wanted to add my support. It really pisses me off when schools try to use the 'one size fits all' policy Also when they ignore the wealth of information and experience that we have about our children and their needs and insist on using a strategy that won't work and will probably make matters worse <<grrr>>
Good luck with it all
Portage raised my concerns and when I went to pick up DS1 today the class teacher was waiting for me.
She told me that DS1 was not being singled out. When I asked why he wasn't able to attend assembly she asked me how his continence was going and when he has a bowel movement - and this is relevant how? Yes I know he's only just toilet trained and he has the odd accident (very rare) but WHY IS THAT RELEVANT TO HIS SCHOOL ATTENDANCE TIMES?
Unfortunately it has proven my suspicions correct. They want him there for the bare minimum time as they don't want to deal with poo accidents.
This is downright discrimination. DS1's paediatrician wants to bring in the inclusion team and the ed psych to deal with the school's attitude.
Oh, and apparently the headteacher has already started the statementing process. So nice that she discussed this with me (though don't get me wrong I would support it but I'm so angry she just went ahead without consulting me).
I'd be pissed off too glitter. They should definitely have discussed it with you first. It can't go ahead without your permission anyway. I'd still be inclined to contact the LEA yourself though and ask for a statutory assessment.
I would permit the paed to bring in the EP and inclusion team. This school are treading on shaky ground here.
Re your comment:-
"Oh, and apparently the headteacher has already started the statementing process. So nice that she discussed this with me (though don't get me wrong I would support it but I'm so angry she just went ahead without consulting me)".
The other problem with the school doing this is if their request is turned down, they have no right of appeal. It is preferable for parents to present their application to the LEA (as they can appeal in the event the LEA say no to assessment).
In the longer term I think you may well need to find another school for your son as this shower appear uncompromising and unhelpful to say the least. They may well continue to be this unhelpful and unaccommodating.
Am sorry you are going through all this palavar with them.
I would certainly speak with IPSEA and or SOS;SEN as a matter of course. Their advice would be invaluable to you.
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