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Visited the MS school adjacent to DS' nursery, a good feeling! (sorry long!) + IEP "eye contact" question...

(20 Posts)
mysonben Tue 29-Sep-09 15:36:15

DS will be starting reception next september.
Of course we are already asked to 'pick' our choice of 3 schools in the area.

So, visited the nearest school to us,, ds's nursery is on the same grounds.
So far so good, their OFSTED report is very good.
Went for a tour of the early years unit,it is very big, 2 or 3 class with a max of 75 children.
I spoke to head of unit and SENco.
They were very nice and answered questions thoroughly.
Ds will be put on their Early years action+, he will have an IEP reviewed every semester or sooner if needed.
They will carry on with his nursery IEP to begin with.
They have not told me of how much school SALT provision he will have:
a lot will depend on report from ED.psych. who will assess DS sometime during this year.
They said they will look at his individual needs as much as possible. smile

So i left quite pleased, as long as all this talking and intentions do happen when he starts.

I have a question about DS's current IEP , we are to review this in a meeting next month, and one of the targets is "maintening eye contact" basically they are working on improving DS' eye contact which is very fleeting at nursery.
But DS has become obsessed with this, he constantly say "look at me mummy!" and he puts his fingers above his forehead in the manner the teacher do with him.
And his eye contact hasn't really improved at nursery it still is fleeting and short lived.
I would like to ask them to drop the eye contact target for now, as it is helping and creating more anxiety for DS atm.
Do you think i should?


TotalChaos Tue 29-Sep-09 16:05:14

as someone who struggles with eye contact, I'ld agree that they should relax a bit with the eye contact - maybe focus more on him looking in roughly the right direction while speaking/listening.

the answer about school SALT provision sounds pretty usual - that it will be SALT department in conjunction with ed psych rather than school who decides. in general, you may want to have a think about whether early years action plus will be enough, a lot of schools would have to have statement funding to give 1-1 hours with a TA, or whether you want to start pondering application for a statement.

mysonben Tue 29-Sep-09 16:23:45

Thanks Totalchaos for replying.
Yes the statement issue is always on my mind, but as usual we have been told to wait until the ED.psy does her assessments to make a decision about statement.
So far it has been 3 months since referal for ed.psy. We haven't heard anything yet. hmm

I think i will definately speak about the eye contact thing because it is clearly upsetting DS and he is obsessing over it now , when he didn't before.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 29-Sep-09 16:25:25


re your comment:-

"They have not told me of how much school SALT provision he will have. A lot will depend on report from ED.psych. who will assess DS sometime during this year".

This is likely because your DS won't get much SALT provision. SALT provision does not readily happen on SA plus if he remains on this plan. A lot will certainly depend too on the EP report; I hope she is coming in soon. These people have clout but are employed by the LEA, they are also under pressure not to readily statement children (due to funding but that is their problem and not yours).

Eye contact stuff anyway is contentious; I would ask for this to be removed from the IEP as it is creating more problems than it is worth for him.

I would seriously consider writing to the LEA asap and asking for a Statutory Assessment for your son. Its never too early to apply for one of these documents particularly if you want ongoing SALT provision for DS. This is because SALT can and should be written into Parts 2 and 3 of the Statement (statement is legally binding whilst SA plus is not thus provision can be limited in scope).

Phoenix4725 Tue 29-Sep-09 16:55:47

if you sart the statement process they have to get the Ep involved

grumpyoldeeyore Tue 29-Sep-09 18:01:31

eye contact isn't always that important. DS3 looks right past us when we hold up something for him and ask what it is and without his eyes turning AT ALL he tells us the right word. He uses his peripheral vision its actually quite spooky, but doesn't mean he hasn't noticed what is happening in front of him. For him teaching eye contact would be for politeness - for the benefit of the person in front of him he would not gain from it at all - and like the above post I guess there is a reason why he does not make eye contact at times. He will make eye contact on his terms but not for others benefit. I'm sure there are more useful skills they could be concentrating on. Some children can't take in info visually and auditory at same time and in some cases the pupil faces a blank wall and the teacher talks to them from behind so they only have to process one at a time.

MoonlightMcKenzie Tue 29-Sep-09 18:17:26

If you start the statement process, the Ed Psych will be on your doorstep tomorrow to do her assessments!

I would recommend anyone in your position to apply for statutory assessment because statement or not, the assessment itself is of huge benefit to parents and the professionals working with the child.

troutpout Tue 29-Sep-09 18:37:07

Ds had it on one of his early ieps. I think the current thinking is that eye contact isn't one of those things that should be insisted on. They soon dropped it from ds's iep when they realised that as soon as they made him do it, he lost all capability to listen. The eyes would be pointing in the right direction but he would have gone into shutdown mode in order to cope with the stress of having to look someone in the face.
Now he is older i have found that he has begun to understand the significance of eye contact. He knows that most nt people give prolonged eye contact and that he finds it hard. He works on it knowing this. We have had much more eye contact once he worked this out (still looks odd when he does it though,bless him)
If it is causing stess and is doing more harm than good i would say remove it. I have negotiated ds's ieps a lot and removed/added stuff ofton.
Good news about the school btw...sounds very promising! smile

mysonben Tue 29-Sep-09 19:32:15

Thank you ladies for your advice.

Right, i now am 100% convinced that they 'eye contact' isn't such a big issue atm.
And DS does give some eye contact when he wants to, he is usually good at home and with familiar people who don't expect too much of him verbally and socially.
But when he gets anxious or stressed then that's it , he will not look at anyone.
I have noticed when he is at nursery he will always sit next to the pillar at carpet time so he can hide his face behind when the teacher talks and question him.

What is "applying for statutory assessment" ?
Is it asking for an initial assesment to try to obtain a statement for DS?
Who do i need to write to for this?

Thank you.

mysonben Tue 29-Sep-09 19:33:48

I will definately ask for the eye contact target to be removed.

MoonlightMcKenzie Tue 29-Sep-09 20:19:11

mysonben Look on the ipsea website. You need to request an assessment first. If they agree to do one they'll then assess his suitability for a statement. If they agree to do one you'll get a proposed statement and begin some wierd negotiating thing. If you are unhappy with their 'final answer' you can take thm to tribunal but you'll need to 'prove' that their propsed statement won't meet your ds' needs. It's important that you know this because there are timelines for it all so if you have something in mind that they'll never agree to without a tribunal you probably need to begin collecting the evidence now iyswim.

However, you will have a chance annually to do this I believe.

Contact ipsea if you have questions though and download their assessment request letter to begin with.


mysonben Tue 29-Sep-09 22:07:06

Thanks Moonlight.

I will need to check with DS's nursery tomorrow if i can get a few answers from SENco, she is the one with the backing of SALT and of paed., who has refered DS to the ED.Psy. for an assessment.
I was under the impression that the assessment in question was relevant to extra support in school, ie: a statement.
But then i'm not completely sure, as they tend to give very little explanations of what is going on. hmm

Will get onto it presto.

MoonlightMcKenzie Tue 29-Sep-09 22:16:58

LOL Ambiguity is a smokescreen for poor funds.

You don't need to have the school on board to request an assessment, but obviously it is better if you do. The idea behind a statement is that you will get one if it is felt that your ds needs more support than the school is able to provide themselves. It is in the interest of the LA to convince you that the school CAN do this, because it is them that have to put up the money otherwise. In many cases, if the school think your DS will 'survive' without a statement they will not push for one. The trouble is, 'surviving' is not the same as getting an adequate education.

If your ds is going to disrupt the class and make life difficult for the teacher, the school will most likely want a statement. If your ds will sit in the corner quietly and spin things without causing any problems, you'll probably have to do it yourself. In any case I would do it yourself though, because as a parent you can appeal, I don't believe the school can.

mysonben Tue 29-Sep-09 22:26:41

Cheers , that clarify things up a bit.
This statement stuff is a new thing for me! wink

I have however done well this afternoon at the school grin, i went there prepared with a list of relevant and important questions (got a list of these from a link on another thread!), ususally i'm so disorganised, don't ask the right questions and forgets half of what i needed to say! blush

MoonlightMcKenzie Wed 30-Sep-09 07:32:14

Well done grin

Try not to panic with these things. You can't stand stil either though. Just keep going one step at a time, at a steady pace.

Good luck!

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 30-Sep-09 09:08:00


"Applying for statutory assessment" is the same as applying for a Statement. The first of many hurdles here is getting the LEA to agree to such an assessment. DO NOT ALLOW the school to apply for such a document; such a request needs to come from you personally. This is for two reasons; firstly you know its been done then and secondly you can appeal if the LEA say no, school cannot.

I would certainly agree with all the comments made by Moonlightmckenzie - ambiguity is indeed a smokescreen for lack of funds and "surviving" (often not without problems in its own right) in a classroom is no substitute for his rights to an education.

IPSEAs website is

Homsa Wed 30-Sep-09 09:42:51

Just wanted to comment on the eye contact issue - I think teaching children to maintain eye contact without them realising "what's in it for them" totally defeats the purpose. If staff do that, they're teaching him a "behaviour" that makes them feel good (because it gives them the illusion that he's listening to them). A pretty autistic way to go about it imo!

Having said that, the ability to reference people's faces to gain information / resolve uncertainty / borrow another person's perspective is a crucial basic skill which many other skills depend upon - e.g. you won't get very far with emotion recognition if the child doesn't reference faces.

The strategy I've been using with my DS, whose eye contact used to be really poor, is based on the RDI approach - basically you replace your verbal communication with nonverbal communication (facial expressions, body language, gesture) whenever possible, but especially if the child wants some information/direction from you - e.g. if he asks "can I watch tv?" you'd indicate "yes" or "no" by nodding/shaking your head. You can also create uncertainty on purpose - e.g. exclaim "oh no, I can't believe it!" in a really exaggerated way and wait for him to reference your face to see what you're looking at that's so shocking. Might take a while, and you will initially have to exaggerate your gestures etc. quite a lot, but it does work!

mysonben Wed 30-Sep-09 09:55:45

Thanks Attila,
Will talk to teacher and senco at DS' next review meeting in 3 weeks.
I really need to know whether they think DS will struggle at school without a statement or whether he might manage on Early years action+.

I know their answer will more of an educated guess than anything else. They have no crystal ball. wink
At one time they seemed to say DS will need a statement, now they seem to be on a wait and see approach, because DS has much improved compared to last year.
I need to get the words straight from the horses mouth before i start this statement battle.

mysonben Wed 30-Sep-09 10:06:53

Thanks for the tip Homsa.
DS has trouble reading non verbal cues indeed.
Perfect example of this, i was picking him up from nursery , and i was standing there watching him, he was sat on the floor in front of this little girl, who was happily chatting to him. She saw me, DS didn't. So she looked at me looking at DS, she then looked at DS in a way that said "look who is here", she did that about 3 times lokking at me then at DS to convey this message.
DS didn't 'get it'. In the end she said out loud 'look B you mummy is here' and pointed with her finger.

Will try your approach with him. smile

MrsMagnolia Thu 01-Oct-09 11:49:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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