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Advice please for getting school to help DD....

(13 Posts)
galen Thu 08-Oct-09 13:17:39

could use some advice from you experienced people out there!

DD3 is 5.2. She has just gone in to year 1 at school. We have LOTS of concerns about DD , and have doen since she was about 2.
I will try to be brief here, but basically we have concerns regarding her emotional and social development, communication, behaviour and accademic progress. At home she can be EXTREMELY difficult to handle, melt downs all the time over nothing, struggles to communicate her needs etc...You have to be REALLy specific when telling her to do things,she is always winding up her siblings - usually unintentionally etc... and lots more.
At school so far her behaviour hasnt caused significant problems. She doesnt really have many friends though, and is often on her own at playtimes(I see her when I drop my younger DD to nursery)BUT accademicaly she is struggling. I went to discuss with her reception teacehr last year and was told that Yes she is significantly behind most of the other children, but she may catch up so no need to worry at this stage.
Since moving into yr1 she has begun to dislike school (previously seemed happy) and cries every morning, saying she cant do the work. I again have been to see her new teacher to discuss the situation. Again have been told - Yes she is behind, but she may well catch up. She has suggessted waiting until the summer term to see how she is doing before taking tings further. My concern is that she isnt ,making much progress - why do I keep being told to just wait and see what happens?
I have this week been to the GP and he is referring her for developmental assessment at our local unit, but I am not sure how to take things further with school. Whatever her problems are I wnt her to make progress at her own level. I need them to work with her on things that will make a difference for her. For example they have been sendin ghome ridiculous spellings for her to learn when she cant even form most of her letter properly.
I need some advice about what the options are with schools for getting her extra help or proper support. I am fed up with being told to just wait because it isnt helping my DD at all.....
Anyone got any suggestions...this is all quite new to me as my older DC are all academically very able...so not sure how all this works. I just feel so sad and frustrated for DD...sad...

BobbingForPeachys Thu 08-Oct-09 13:24:10

Oh goodness there are somany examples of bad practice in the postAsk the school what the point is of waiting if she will catch up- why is that preferable to early input? I know a specialist ASD ex senco who said thiswas his biggest bugbear and something hre dedicated his school career to changing- with limited success. He thougt there was a real 'pass it up culture', I dont know if that is true but certainly early intervention is alwys the way to go.

I can suggest you place a call to IPSEA (google it) but wondered what you thought the issue might be? From your post alone I can hazrd a guess but obviously that'son no resl experience of the child so very ad hoc IYSWIM

magso Thu 08-Oct-09 13:47:52

I could have posted this when ds was in year 1! It is good that you have asked to see a developmental paed.
Is the senco/ inclusion manager already involved? I think it might be wise either way to ask for a meeting with the senco and express you concers. Ask if her work is being differentiated to be at her level/spark her interests (and how you can teach spellings to a child). Has she been seen by the Educational psychologist- if not when will they see her. ( All schools have access to an Edpshych but limited budgets mean that only a few children ayear can be assessed) Ask if she needs a statement or if not how are they going to support her without one. Unfortunately some schoolsor in our case LEAs are IMHE very poor at providing support unless the parent takes control. You as a parent can ask the LEA for an asessment for a statement if you think it is needed.
It may be helpful to keep a diary/ notebook to record concerns and discussions with professional. I always go blank at appointments and meetings.

magso Thu 08-Oct-09 13:50:35

I meant your child (before she knows her letters) not a child!! Sorry

galen Thu 08-Oct-09 20:36:05

thanks for your replies.
In terms of what we consider could be the problem we are thinking along the lines of somewhere on the autistc spectrum. There are just so many ways in which she seems to fail to interact with the world in the same way as her siblings or peers.
However because she somehow "copes" to some extent at school and isnt a loud trouble maker then they are happy to just sort of brush her under the table for the time being. And whilst they alsways acknowledge that she is behind academically , they seem to think that she will just suddenly catch up for some reason and dismiss all my concerns that actually there is a propblem.
I am hoping that the developmental assessment will help.
I have no idea who the SENCO at the school is, her reception teacher vaguely ention getting outsiders in (?ed pysch?) at "some point in the future " if she didnt progress....but her current teacher is back to playing the whole thing down and saying we should just wait and see how she is doing by the summer (WHY??? what is the point of another wasted year at school??) I just keep being made to feel like it's all in my head ....BUT I have 6 DC, I am an experienced mother and I just know that things arent right...grrr...
I have another meeting with the teacher at the end of Oct (parent review day) so will be looking for some definate answers by then .... hmm

BobbingForPeachys Thu 08-Oct-09 21:18:49

thats common with spectrum kids

I would make a print iout of the triad (google nas) and make ntes on hw she fulfils it to present to the teachers

Girls present mroe subtley than boys often so they miss out- but they still deserve support.

Have to go noiw but will check tomorrow to see if theres anything else

You may find the lea is one that frowns upon requests gor help,play them at the game- say unless you do x, y wewill request a statement

amberflower Thu 08-Oct-09 22:04:32

I have a DS with a mild ASD DX who has also just gone into year 1 but like your DD is the kind of child who is not disruptive in any way and I suspect in many schools he, too, would have slipped under the radar; he is also summer born and of course there is always the argument that they do take a while to catch up. DS is on School Action Plus and is receiving support now in certain curriculum areas - a key issue for him has been fine motor skills, for example - and I can really see the difference in him already. So definitely push for additional support. As you say you are an experienced mother and you know this little girl better than anyone - she is obviously struggling, and I completely agree with you, where is the point in just "waiting and seeing" ad infinitum?

I would be tempted to list out the key areas where you feel she is struggling - i.e. do you feel she has particular issues with gross/fine motor, expressive/receptive language, concentration, etc etc - to use as a basis for a discussion with the school SENCO and request an assessment for her. As well as an ed psych, if she's struggling with stuff like letter formation, for example, an OT assessment may be helpful.

As magso says, you need to know from them how they propose to support and help her - and if you keep coming up against a brick wall of 'wait and see' then you may well need to go down the statement route.

galen Fri 09-Oct-09 08:07:04

thanks for the rplies again.
Amberflower I could relate to a lot of your post. DD is a July Bday and I do get all the time "well she is just young for her year" and while there may be an elemant of this Iknow it is not the whole story.And her fine motor skills are TERRIBLE even just holding a pencil is a HUGE challenge for her. She has lots of sensory issues too. Very unaware of spatial positioning, bumps into things all the time (had her eyes checked 3 times now!) , really struggles hearing sounds so cant cope with phonics(had hearing checked twice!)mishears words etc...
I think making a list is a good idea. I am going to do a list of all my areas of concern for school to discuss at next meeting, and think I will also keep a diary of significant events to bring when we get her app through at developmental unit - I tend to forget things when I am wanting to explain or give examples to people when discussing the situation soa diary would help.
Thanks for all the advice - it gives me more confidence to push for the help DD deserves. The whol thing is weighing very heavy on my mind atm sad

BobbingForPeachys Fri 09-Oct-09 13:14:02

We used to get that- DS3's birthday is July 27th, and I do think it was the birthday that led people to not bother with support for the first part of his education (he went through nursery with nothing,I started him PT at Christmas in Rception then when his statement came through at Easter FT with a 1-1, and he transferred to SNU a year later)

DS3 is fairly well embedded on the spectrum- like many children he doesn't have a firm palce but he probably easily sits at moderate and would need some level of lifelong support / care.

DS1 is higher up the spectrum, but it took until year 2 before we got real support in palce (he'd been in and out of assessment since 2, initially we pulled him,,then paeds pulled him until wemoved and met someone with a wide field of knowledge and things crashed with him). He has a lot of additional issues now that are really ususal to children either far higher along or totally unsupported, and I do holsd the constant wall of deafness we enountered as responsible. In the end we got a statement in aplce ourselves, and the Paed had to tear up the schools submissions as contradcitory (letters saying no issue here accompanied by signed IEPs mentioning very complex issues) in order for us to get anywhere- the up side of course was that it was beyond easy to demonstrate that the school could not manage in the statement application!

galen Fri 09-Oct-09 13:32:49

Bobbing - DD's Bday is July 27th too! It does get put forward all the time as an explanation for everything - but I just KNOW it isnt all down to that.
Sounds as if you have had quite a fight for you DS's. Glad you got them the support they needed in the end.It is so demoralising that things like this have to be such a struggle. We already struggle so much with DD3, and now it looks like I am going to have to take on all sorts of battles with school for her too....sigh...I just want her to achieve her own best and to be happy.....is that too much to ask?

BobbingForPeachys Fri 09-Oct-09 13:49:56

It's not too much, in fact it is eaxactly what you must ask.

This part doesn't last forever mind, it really does pass. Now my BP rises at times of stress and review, but it mostly has attained a level of equilibrium.

You do need to attain an image of control; I used to sit there saying 'whatever's best'- now I am 'My name is Mrs X, I ahve 2 spectrum children, am studying the condition at Postgrad level and I will take you on via experts you can only dream of. Now listen to me (I rarely ask for much comapred to what I could) or spend the entire budget on fighting only to lose anyway'.

Becuase budget runs everything in ways we can barely envisage; once you get to support level everything ahs to be counched in tersm of I need X which is cheaper than the alternative Y. We got ds3's SNU palce due to the cost of a certain fence for safety in ana rea of special significance- not upon need which had been the same ever since we started asking for the placement. Go figure LOL

amberflower Fri 09-Oct-09 13:54:30

Oh yes, my DS is a July birthday too! and young/immature for his age...In fact galen he sounds very similar to your DD in terms of the fine motor stuff, spatial awareness (he is the kind of child who, to quote one poster I read on here, "could fall over the pattern on the carpet" - bless him) and auditory processing too. DS's actual hearing is fine - we've had all the sight/hearing tests several times - and his language is absolutely normal for age BUT he does tend to tune out very easily and often needs things repeated. He must say 'what was that mummy?' or 'what did you say mummy?' about twenty times a day - and that's just at home with us as a family - dread to think how hard it must be for him to tune in at school with 29 other kids in the classroom.

I think a diary is an excellent idea. Plus make a note of the kinds of things DD herself is saying to you as extra ammunition. I really really noticed DS's poor levels of self esteem last year (we had a lot of 'I can't do it', 'I'm no good', 'everyone else can do this but I'm rubbish' etc) and it was heartbreaking.

If it would be helpful I would be happy to pull out some key things from his IEP that are really making a difference for him this term and list them generally on this thread -as there are so many similarities it might also be useful for you to have an idea of the kind of interventions that you could perhaps request/suggest? Some of the stuff DS now has is pretty basic, to be honest, but it makes a difference - a wobble cushion to sit on at carpet time, a fiddle toy to give his hands something to do and help him concentrate, etc etc. Let me know if you'd like any more info, anyway.

The other thing I would suggest would be to try your DD on fish oils if you haven't already - I started DS on the Eye Q strawberry chews following the DX, as poor concentration was a real problem, and we've definitely seen improvements there too.

BobbingForPeachys Fri 09-Oct-09 14:52:02

Amber it's good that he asks what things were; ds3 has 'autistic absences' and never asks afterwards. I'm a bit prone to absences as well, and I find I gradually tune back in (related to casein) so usually know wha twas going on, just it was I had 'recorded' events rather than directly viewed them iyswim? had a knowledge of what had happened but no memory of them- sorry, hard to explain.

Intersting about teh Eye-Q; i've read many responses to them, I know some children find they increase hyperactivity and others benefit massively- fish oils are a very good idea, eskimo oil is a nother popular brand and we use flax oil as ds's woudln't touch the fish oils.

Also always worth observing responses on days where gluten and casein (n milk) are avoided- for some it is a major trigger, others insignificant. Something to google though.

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