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Advice please for 3 yr old DS with speech delay(13 Posts)
I am really confused and need some advice from mothers/ fathers who may have similar experiences to me.
Back in January my DS's nursery told me they were concerned about his speech delay so I booked to see the NHS audiologist and speech therapist and the appointments were in June. Audiology was fine but speech therapist has seen him twice since then. Also, HV was concerned about autism but the paediatrician and clinical psychologist showed less concern as he engages eye contact and tries to communicate despite not really being able to speak. He says a few two word or three word sentences but as he is 38 months this is behind what he should be doing.
When I saw the SALT yesterday she said that I should consider sending him to a school with a special language unit rather than a school where he may have additional help as his language delay is quite severe. We have to make the decision by December.
The nursery who see him 5 mornings a week feel that he will be fine at the local school and strongly suggest that I do not send him to the special language school which would be a half an hour taxi ride away. Whilst I want the best for my DS I also want him to have a proper childhood and do things like play in the park after school with his friends rather than be whisked off in a taxi for his long journey home. He has an August birthday so is young for his year.
What should I do?
Speak to and visit the local school and talk to the head, senco and reception teacher and get a feel for how used and willing they are when dealing with kids with language problems. Then visit the language unit too. For the reasons TC has stated, think carefully about knocking back the language unit place - class size will be smaller, and all staff will be well trained in dealing with kids with language problems. There are a couple of ladies on here who have had kids in language units, and they think pretty highly of the support their kids have had.
btw in my city they aim for kids to be at a lang unit for 2 years max, 2 years max, then go into mainstream, may be the same in your area
We also had a very similar situation. DS2 has a severe language delay (moderately deaf, type of cleft palate which was undiagnosed untill recently.)and we were very tempted by the idea of a speech and language unit, although our nearest one is an hours drive away and doesn't take them untill key stage 2.
Anyway he has just started at our local village primary with a full statement of special needs. He has a full time TA (who is fab!) and she delivers his speech therapy on a twice daily basis under close fortnightly supervison of the SALT.
For him it works brilliantly he is able to have his friends back to play and see them in the local park etc. It is, however always in the back of my mind that he may need the language unit at a later stage.
Have you began the process of statementing?
From my experience, I'd go for the MS school and try and get some additional support for your DS by applying for a statement now. My DS is in MS with 20 hours support a week (which is loads). Being around NT children has been the best 'teaching aid' for him. He is popular and just as 'cool' as the other boys his age. To an outsider you wouldn't know that 2 years ago he was diagnosed with a severe language (understanding) disorder.
How do I go about statementing? Do I need to do it through the SALT or through the primary school? As DS is my first child this is all very new to me.
I looked at the Ofsted report of two of the schools with language units near me and they were not great (mainly 3s and 5s) and mentioned very little about the language unit. For a huge percentage of the children in the MS section of the school, English is their second language. Is it a question of applying for either one of my local primary school or the school with the language unit and if my DS's son's speech developed a lot between now and the Spring would I be able to change my application to the MS local primary?
Have a look here Tigerlion Govt SEN guidelines You can apply for a statement yourself. You can do it through the school (as we did) but as it takes about a year, it could mean your DS starts school without support.
tigerlion you can apply for the statement yourself by writing to the LEA (your local education authority) and asking for an assesment for statementing. If you do a search on mumsnet you will find some really useful advice.
DS2 started school at the end of August and we began applying for his statement in January.
Does he see the area SENCo via nursery. If not I would ask them to refer him to her. I know not everybody has the same experience but ours was great and really helped us with the statementing process. He should really be getting extra help at nursery with regard to extra funding. Does that happen?
I hope you get some answers soon, afaik you can apply to more than one school but he will need a full statement to be able to go to any kind of language unit.
You neither go through SALT or the primary school, the application for a Statement should ideally come from you (as you have more power than school ever has in this regard).
You will need to write to the Chief Education Officer of your Local Education Authority and give them six weeks to reply.
IPSEA are very good at the whole minefield that can be the statementing process and there are model letters on there you can use:-
A Statement is indeed required (in this area at least) for admission into a language unit.
tigerlion, our situation is virtually identical to yours - even the age of your ds is spookily exactly the same as ours and we are going for a mainstream school for ds, with no hesitation.
We had him in a child development centre rather than regular preschool for 6 months but it didn't work for him, he barely spoke or interacted at all there as the other children didn't either, and being with NT children at a mainstream preschool has really brought him on imo.
We're in the statementing process thanks to a great SENCO whom we were referred to by our SALT. Hopefully ds will qualify for some extra help at school.
do you know, re-reading it, I could actually have written your OP, we also had the 30 min taxi ride issue, which was another major reason we switched to a local preschool. I can honestly say I haven't regretted making the switch for an instant, when it came to it, the thought of sending ds off in a taxi made me feel physically sick for some reason, I just couldn't do it.
Sickening that our ds' aren't a month younger though, would love to have an extra year to think about all of this.
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