Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
another Aspie school problems thread...(15 Posts)
Yes, yes and yes about getting sad about focusing on your child's negatives. I know exactly what you mean and I really feel for you as your situation is not dissimilar to mine.
We are mid-assessment process too although we have not been down the ed psych route. I think schools do struggle with this sort of thing. They see a child who 'looks normal' is doing well academically and wonder what all the fuss is about.
We, on the other hand, know that without proper handling, our dcs can be like ticking time bombs ready to explode when things get too much or to come home in tears or riddled with anxiety at the slightest thing in school.
I have posted many times on this and I have had some good advice here. I think you need to speak to your SENCO etc about statementing or at least having an agreed plan of action for dealing with your ds in a structured consistent way. A meeting with class teacher and SENCo together would be best.
Teachers, who don't see the problem, don't like to single children out as they worry that everyone will want to stay in or do whatever it is you suggest. The thing is to make them see that there are deficits in communication etc which require accomodations and they have a duty to respond to this. You are giving the child special treatment because he has special needs.
I spoke to IPSEA who were very helpful about writing down some basic suggestions and trying to get them agreed with everyone. I'm in the process of doing this myself with teachers.
Also, being stuck in the middle of the assessment process is so difficult, so I contacted BIBIC who can do an assessment of your child and will suggest strategies for home and school to help although they won't dx.
The NAS also have this information pack which gives some interesting suggestions and ideas.
Hope some of that helps.
How DS manages does depend on the accomodation and understanding he gets. I think that teachers don't always realise how many accomodations they are having to make; it sort of creeps up on them. Then when you ask for something more formal, they say 'he's doing well, so what's the problem'! Yes, that's because he's being accomodated - round in circles we go
The track I have now taken with school is to be very open and frank. I wrote to SENCO and said he's being assessed, he's gone through all the gatekeeping thrown at him, the professionals working with him have identified areas where he needs help but there is no formal dx of anythign yet - any might never be.
However, needs have been identified and must be addressed. Taking this approach, I think perhaps, moves the teachers away from deciding that they have to be confindent of dx'ing ASD to offer help. They must learn to look at needs not labels.
The trouble is that much of this type of problem is hidden from them - i.e. post school fall out, our udnerstanding of communciation issues etc. A teacher who sees a child in class getting on with his work and doing it well will not perceive an issue. I can understand this. However, if we as parents know that the child is unlikely ever to raise a problem with the teacher if he has one and may actually not be following half of what's going on or be so anxious about the fact that there's a new teacher in the class they can't listen, then we must make these things known to them.
These types of issues impede learning and my view is increasingly that teachers focus on achievement not potential and it is potential which is at risk with these sort of problems and secondly that a formal agreed plan needs to be in place to ensure the level of support/accomodation needed is ALWAYS there not just when teachers perceive it to be required.
I do not meant this as criticism of teachers, just that we know how these things affect our children best.
I think BIBIC look good as they do look at underlying intelligence and match it to skills and can identify deficits. It is that mismatch between potential and achievement that will help in applying for a statement.
Of course, I should add that teachers aren't able to diagnose anything - just as parents can't. That's why we all need the help of appropriate professionals.
I completely understand what you are saying and you sound like you have done brilliantly in identifying and addressing these issues yourself. This board is great for helping to do that as when you post a problem, suddenly you find half a dozen people have had experience of it and can make suggestions.
This doesn't, however, make the problem go away, it means that it is accomodated or managed in a way which makes all our lives easier. Any professional worth their salt will listen to this and understand.
At the end of the day, you are implementing some of the accomodations and working on some of the skills that would be suggested by relevant professionals post-diagnosis. But that the work/accomodations required demonstrate the need and shouldn't prevent a diagnosis.
For example, the fact that I have now got 10 pairs of identical star wars socks for ds to wear has meant that we can live with our sock problem (very sensitive feet!). It doesn't mean that there isn't a sock problem. Try introducing a new pair and see how far you get!
That is why we now there are underlying issues which need managing.
I like to think of it like the adage about the swan gliding and looking serene while frantically paddling underneath. If we can get our children to glide like that, it is usually because we are doing the paddling!!
"That is why we know there are underlying issues which need managing. "
Sorry forgive numerous typos..
I would be personally making the request to the LEA for a Statement of special needs asap.
Do not let school do it because you can appeal if the LEA say no. Also you know its been done then because some schools can sit on such apps for ages.
Statements are not just about academic needs, they also can cover the social and communication side of things too. Also junior school can be a very tough old game for any child regardless of where they are on the autistic spectrum and particularly if they do not have a Statement. Their needs are not fully recognised and other plans are not legally binding and have limited scope.
The only children I know of who have extra support at playtimes/breaktimes all have this written into their Statements (and often this is only done after more struggle). The school won't give any additional support at lunchtime at all if a statement is not in place to start with.
Re your comment too:-
"I gave the NAS info for schools pack you've linked to last year's teacher, and was told that she'd done training on ASD and had taught children on the spectrum and didn't think ds 'fitted'. She told me she'd discussed my belief that ds had AS with the head and the SENCO and that they didn't think his problems were serious enough to warrant extra help and that we wouldn't get a statement - from what I've read on here though I think perhaps we could?"
Tsk on both teacher and senco here. What on earth gives them the right to make such crappy pronouncements?. It smacks of arrogance and importantly they cannot diagnose anything. I know, its because she's been on a bloody course which therefore makes her an expert on all this ASD. Shame on them both. Do not get sucked in by such naysayers; they do not make the decision on whether your DS is statemented or not. That is down to the LEA and if they say no you can appeal.
You are your child's best - and only - advocate. No one else is better placed than you to fight for him,
Better as well to apply for the Statement now rather than when he is approaching the end of primary school.
Well, this can be as basic as writing down the issues and sorting out a list of suggestions. IPSEA may be able to help you with that.
For example, with DS, communication is the key thing so we have a home/school book, I have arranged for teachers to repeat instructions directly to him and ensure he understands.
When we had problems with unstructured times, all staff were told about the issue and he was given strategies to help e.g. he could stay in during break or do a job for the teacher if he didn't want to do PE.
He also had help with a social skills group and with some additional TA time (although I'm not sure what that was used for).
There are other things that can be tried like a circle of friends, buddy system, use of cards to indicate the child is getting stressed etc. But it really depends on identifying the issue.
Sometimes, these accomodations don't need to be permanent so it may be that when he gets stressed out at playground, he may need to take time out from it for a while. perhaps if you stress to the teacher that it's not for ever, just for when he needs it.
I have a 5.2 year old DS who's just gone into Y1, he was DXed as being aspergers in May this year and is on School Action Plus. We don't have quite the same issues as you do, but I thought it might be worth replying as some of the strategies put in place for DS may well be useful points for you to consider:
- he attends a 'socially speaking' group which is organised/run within school, this is to help him learn positive ways of joining in with other children at playtime and so on.
- he has 1:1 support on three afternoons per week to help him with the 'free play' times - he responds well to the structure of Y1 compared to reception but does struggle with free play. The 1:1 also encourages interaction with other children during free play times.
- he has a lot of help with fine motor skills which has been a major issue - had an external course of OT and now attends OT within school for 15 minutes, 3 times per week.
- all-class instructions are repeated using his name so that he is clear they apply to him too (he has a tendency to drift off and not concentrate).
As I say, our issues are rather different in that DS isn't particularly anxious or distressed by school, neither does he have a tendency to melt down or lash out at other children. He enjoys school and we have no issues at home. He went into Y1 with no problems at all (he too is in a jobshare) and seems very happy. BUT he is nowhere near excelling academically - though has made a lot of progress since starting reception - and is perceived as a 'failing' child on that basis. He also definitely struggles socially in the large group situation - is keen to make friends for example, but doesn't always pick up on social cues, and can be silly and immature. He's a summerborn so that doesn't help either. My concerns are more that DS is viewed very negatively by his teachers and they seem to have pigeonholed him as a problem child who will never progress, and I am finding that very hard at the moment. But that is another issue and another thread
I've found that one problem with many schools is that they have a list of behaviour management strategies which all rely eitehr on peer pressure or on the fact that the child wants positive teacher attention. As many ASD children (a) do not even notice peer pressure let alone respond to it and (b) aren't that bothered about positive teacher attention then they do not respond to the tactics. It is difficult to get schools to see this.
One thing that dd school do though which has worked is that they have fomred a group of friends for dd (she had none before). th egroup meets once a week and the SENCO discusses activities with them, explains that dd needs rules to play etc. Sh ecomes up with games for them that dd can join in with - things like puttign on shows, making up plays etc works for her as everyone then has a predetermined role - and they then do thsi at play times so she has peopel to interact with. Maybe something more sporty (football) would work with a boy?
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