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So happy with school

(13 Posts)
Widemouthfrog Sat 11-Oct-08 10:01:56

I have been reading so many posts about the disasters of educating AS children in MS that I just wanted to share a positive experience, just to demonstrate what can be achieved with good practice.

My DS started in reception last year and it was a complete disaster. he could spend 2 hours sitting by the entrance doors screaming and was terrified to enter the classroom. He was stressed, anxious and withdrawn. We got an AS diagnosis and a statement pretty quickly and now he has 1:1 with two different TAs.

The results are astounding. He now loves school, and he is thriving. They have lots of strategies in place to stop him going into meltdown and are really sensitive to his needs. He has space reward charts (one of his obsessions), lots of visual support, priority access to the library for withdrawal, a weighted blanket ... the list goes on . Yesterday he came out of school and because he had got all his stars on his reward chart they had taken him to the school hall for 20 mins to play on his own with some ribbons and sensory balls. Understandably he absolutely loved this. I am so proud and relieved

They have been so sensitive and proactive.

I am not writing this as a gloat - I want it to be a positive post for all of you out there struggling to get appropriate educational provision - sometines schools actually manage to 'get it'. We have a headteacher who listens and his TA has a child of her on with an ASD.

sphil Sat 11-Oct-08 10:12:57

Widemouth smile. Ds2's school is the same. He has fairly severe ASD but the school have been great at personalising the curriculum for him and are very sensitive to his individual needs as well as trying as hard as they can to include him where ever possible. It has done wonders for his social skills - he will now approach other children and constantly references their faces. They also listen to us and we work together for DS (he is only at school p/t atm). We've had some disagreements but have always managed to work them out in the end.

I have to say that our positive experience with mainstream just makes me madder than ever when I read people's negative experiences on here. If some schools can do it, they ALL should be able to.

It's great that your DS has a TA with experience of ASD though. Ours is lovely, but learning 'on the job' !

Widemouthfrog Sat 11-Oct-08 10:17:42

I absolutely agree that this makes me madder when you read the bad experiences. Our experience should be the norm - its just common sense but it seems to be so elusive.

My DS was part time all last year - his difficulties have not been trivial which makes this progress so astounding. I wanted to cry yesterday when he came home and told me he loved his teachers. Apparently his peers are also really supportive and motivating to him

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sat 11-Oct-08 10:28:05

Glad it's working out for you (and you too sphil).

I want to add that I'm very happy with ds1's SLD/PMLD school. Often I see comments in threads (especially in the wider board) that treat going to special school as some sort of failure, or something dreadful that no-one could possibly want for their child. The environment is perfect for ds1 and he needs locked doors and enclosed rooms to be able to learn (one reason why mainstream will never work for him at the moment). He made extremely good progress and the staff are open, caring and friendly.

Our experience of mainstream was not good, not helped by the defensiveness of the school, but I think the open plan nature of the school would have made it almost impossible for it ever to work with ds1 anyway tbh.

Saker Sat 11-Oct-08 15:43:31

They are encouraging posts and it's nice to hear that some schools can get it right.

To add to the general positive ambience in this thread, smile I am very happy with Ds2's special school. They are caring and supportive and although there's things that could be improved, they are willing to listen and to adapt. It's such a relief to send him off happily to a place he likes and feels secure in. I would echo what Jimjams says that special school shouldn't be seen as a failure and in fact it can be an enormous relief when contemplating the thought of how a child like DS2 could possibly cope in mainstream.

sphil Sat 11-Oct-08 15:54:28

It just shows that it's good schools that are the important thing - schools that consider the individual, listen to parents and make parents feel secure and relaxed - whether or not they are special or mainstream.

Ds2 will probably go back to special school at 11 - or before if we feel it's right - and I certainly won't see it as a failure.

Widemouthfrog Sat 11-Oct-08 16:11:47

I can't know what will happen at secondary yet, we are only in Yr 1. But I would certainly welcome a transfer out of mainstream, or as is likely in our area, into an ASD unit attached to a mainstream school if that was appropriate. Integration into MS at age 5 is great - its a whole different ballgame at 11.

I am reminded of the gap with his peers as we have just returned from a birthday party. I am the only parent who had to stay, and however brilliantly he is coping, DS is clearly different from his peers, and I see this gap widening. This always shocks me for a little while afterwards and adds a sobering thought.

sphil Sat 11-Oct-08 19:27:52

How funny Widemouth - same here! It's the first peer birthday party DS2 has ever been to and, like your son, he coped brilliantly, even though it was 20 screaming children on a bouncy castle. But, like you, I was the only parent who stayed and the difference between DS2 and his peers was very obvious. He was better behaved than a lot of them though grin

kt14 Sat 11-Oct-08 20:08:22

What a lovely positive thread! Just thinking of schools for ds1 and this gives me hope. I've been thrilled with his preschool so hopefully his primary experience will be equally positive.

Kazann Sat 11-Oct-08 21:28:39

So lovely to hear a positive story about mainstream school really nice to know that some schools do realise that some children are different and need different things you must be so relieved that your DS is happy and likes going to school.

Kazann Sat 11-Oct-08 21:29:33

So lovely to hear a positive story about mainstream school really nice to know that some schools do realise that some children are different and need different things you must be so relieved that your DS is happy and likes going to school.

Seuss Sat 11-Oct-08 22:02:30

The school sounds lovely Widemouth - a definite reminder to me not to write off all mainstream school for SN children! I love ds special school though and am quite proud to tell people he goes there because it is so lovely. TBH I never thought I'd feel like that at the beginning because I did feel like we had somehow failed him when he had to go there - but I soon snapped out of that!grin

Widemouthfrog Sat 11-Oct-08 22:55:45

I'm glad you got the point of my original post. MS can work. I didn't believe it ever could this time last year. For parents embarking on the SN journey with school i think sometimes they need to hear the positives as well as the negatives.

BTW Seuss, I would never feel special school was a failure if that is where the right support is. I still feel that may be our direction for the future. For now we are in the right place.

Sphil, we seem to be on the same wavelength today. Glad your DS had a good day.

I'm off to bed now.

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