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Getting DD ready for school

(29 Posts)
JakB Wed 27-Apr-05 10:58:06

It's looking as if DD (severe autism and SLD) is definitely going to be starting school in September (not January as initially planned). The LEA have gone very quiet and I think that if DD does get a place in the fab autistic unit at our local SLD/PMLD school, I will be 'forced' to take it in September.
Feeling very nervous- it's only 4 months away and I've had her at home virtually the whole time. Even if she's been with therapists, I've been around alot
Anyway, I've got to be grown up about this and it's a fantastic school so I will be really, really grateful if we do get a place confirmed. My questions are: What do I need to do to get her ready?! This is a little girl who had been at home, is pretty good at coping with other kids (goes out among other children virtually everyday) but is NOT used to sharing an adult's attention etc. And she's very spinny and gleefully causes chaos when outside her home (and inside, for that matter!)...

Fio2 Wed 27-Apr-05 11:01:05

look jakB, I know it is bloody hard but if she gets the place at the SLD/PMLD school they WILL be fantastic with her.

So hard though to let your baby go

Have you thought about doing an 'all about me" book for her to take in with her?

Fio2 Wed 27-Apr-05 11:02:05

sorry didnt mean for that message to sound so rude i sound like I am telling you off, i was not doing that at all!

KarenThirl Wed 27-Apr-05 11:14:34

Hi JakB. I think it's great news that she's being accepted earlier - five months will make a lot of difference I should think. And she'll be starting at the beginning of the school year, which might also be significant. If the unit is as good as you say it is I'm sure they'll be great with her and she'll thrive. Must be really hard to let go now though, I do sympathise with you on that one. Wishing you both luck.

JakB Wed 27-Apr-05 11:15:45

Didn't at all sound like that Fio! I know, I know... I'm sure it will be fantastic, it's just the letting go thing. An 'all about me' book is such a lovely idea. Thankyou

JakB Wed 27-Apr-05 11:17:12

KarenThirl, yes, I need to be POSITIVE! DD has been doing ABA at home for the past two years, you see, so it's kind of the end of an era and the beginning of a new one...
Anyway, that's if she gets a place. But I can't see they can put her anywhere else, her autism is so overwhelming...

Fio2 Wed 27-Apr-05 11:18:15

if its any comsolation i let my daughter start full time in special school when she was 3 i felt so guilty but I knew she would get the best start in life and she did. they actually start them from2 yrs old now though in Satffordshire

RnB Wed 27-Apr-05 11:21:46

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JakB Wed 27-Apr-05 11:34:38

RnB, it's such a rollercoaster, isn't it?
The reason DD is OK around other kids, I think, is partly because she's not got the awareness YET. I think that will kick in and when it does...
Anyway, yep, I think the LEA are going to say take it or leave it which is kind of fair enough as those places are like gold dust and it's kind of unfair of Liv to have a place there AND ABA.

pixel Wed 27-Apr-05 12:22:32

Please stop worrying!! I had all the same fears as you and I can assure you it was all (well mostly!) for nothing. For starters dd will have practically 1 to 1 attention and the staff are excellent at judging how much 'group' stuff the children can cope with. Secondly, they will take into account how young she is, and if full-time is too much for her at first they will be flexible. As you know, my ds was having problems coping at first and it was agreed he would be mornings only. We have gradually built up his hours and he has recently started doing full-time with no problems whatsoever. We are all pleased at how successful this has been and there has been no pressure from the school to speed things up. In fact when he was ill they suggested keeping him off a bit longer as they didn't want to undo all the good work by having him at school when he wasn't 100% up to it.

As regards getting her ready for school they will help you with this. You should get a home visit before the summer holidays start and also be able to visit the school with dd. They will send you a little laminated (!) book with various photographs to show dd. We had our home, his 'old' classroom (Jeanne Saunders centre), his 'new' classroom, the entrance to the school etc all in the form of a little story. Also photos of his teacher, assistants and the other children in the class.
Jak I do so understand why this is so hard. Honestly, you should have seen the state of me! I used to be hovering around outside in the cold ages before his taxi was due back because I missed him so much, and it broke my heart sending him off in the mornings seeing his sad little face disappearing down the road. BUT believe me, IT'S WORTH IT!!!! To see him now running out to the minibus and climbing in on his own is fantastic. The change in his whole attitude to life has been amazing and he's even spoken 4 times so far this year, which is 4 times more than in the whole of the last two years, so real progress.

Sorry, getting a bit carried away here! I just want to convince you that you are doing the best thing!

Socci Wed 27-Apr-05 12:29:18

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JakB Wed 27-Apr-05 12:42:15

Socci... What's happening with the statementing process for your dd? Where, in your heart, do you think DD would be happiest, school-wise?

mizmiz Wed 27-Apr-05 12:50:05

JakB, it will do her the world of good, open doors to her,stretch her horizons and introduce her to so many new and exciting experiences.
As importantly, it will do you the world of good, especially if you have been home with her the whole time.
I love seeing the little ones arrive at school and watching their confidence grow and them finding their niche.
Hope your school does something similar to Pixel's which sounds marvelous.
Do you do a picture calendar with her? This is really useful for planning (possibly stressful) changes.

Time for you to let other people help you out,remember, you don't have to do it ALL yourself!!


JakB Wed 27-Apr-05 12:55:04

Ah, thanks Mizmiz! I sound as if I've been at home on my own with DD but I've had a fantastic team of ABA therapists here too! It is indeed Pixel's school I am trying to get DD into! (we both live in Brighton). So fingers crossed...
And, yes, we do use pictures but we need to up the ante

Socci Wed 27-Apr-05 13:00:17

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mizmiz Wed 27-Apr-05 13:00:22

You sound like you've given her a fantastic grounding.
Now...get cracking on the picture calendar front. It is invaluable, I promise you, and will make your dd's life so much more comrehensible.
Best of luck!

PS There is a fantastic book called 'Visual Strategies for people with communication difficulties' (or similar) written by an American salt. Fantastic, jam packed full of really useful and simple ideas.
See if you can track it down.

Socci Wed 27-Apr-05 13:04:18

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RnB Wed 27-Apr-05 16:15:53

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baka Wed 27-Apr-05 16:34:33

does she have to start full time? Most reception children start part time in my son's SLD/PMLD school. And they do seem able to cope with anything he throws at them (literally )

JakB Wed 27-Apr-05 16:42:13

Ah, thanks everybody. Will definitely get that book, Mizmiz. I don't think we're working hard enough with pictures. Baka, yes, you're right, I'm sure they will let her go part time IF she gets a place. Just being a drama queen! And good to know that SLD/PMLD schools can pretty much cope with anything . RnB, how are you honey? ARe things still stressful? Yes, we will continue a part -time ABA programme of sorts depending on how knackered DD is! Socci, have you started the statementing process yet?

Socci Wed 27-Apr-05 17:22:58

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JakB Wed 27-Apr-05 18:40:52

I thought the best thing to do in the first instance is to request a statement and then if they turn you down, get legal on them!

monica2 Wed 27-Apr-05 21:04:49

JakB do you think the school would allow you to spend some time in the class with the adorable DD in the very near future to put your mind at rest a bit? I think just spending even half a day there would enable you to visualise how dd responds to the new environment etc. (I have a visual supports book you can have)xx

monica2 Wed 27-Apr-05 21:08:26

Don't think you are being a drama queen JakB, I am thinking of starting training to absail down the side of the school SAS style to spy on DD!

maddiemo Wed 27-Apr-05 21:14:20

Jakb My ds started at a unit at the age of 3. we also had photos of everything, school bus,staff, kids in class, entrance etc. If the school has a uniform i would buy it when you get confirmation of a place and show it with pictures. Also to make sure dd will wear it. It took my ds a term to wear his uniform. The school were great, he would take it in a bag and they would look at it together.

I'm sure dd will love it and it will help broaden her experiences. Hope you get the placement confirmed soon.

Socci I would wait before getting a solicitor involved. Let them turn you down first and go to IPSEA, Rathbone etc for advice. Have you spoken to your local parent partnership yet. They normally know the sore points in your area.

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