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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Private nursery or Sure Start? Any views please

(25 Posts)
HeartOfCrystal Wed 21-Oct-09 22:01:58

Hi am seriously confused my son is currently in a private nursery, they are offering support where they can and my son seems quite settled there. I have been advised by a few of my friends ( NT children ) that maybe my son would be better suited to the surestart nursery we have close by. Anybody on here who could offer advice? He is 3 non-verbal and awaiting dx for ASD
Thankyou all xx

Sidge Wed 21-Oct-09 22:16:20

I guess it would depend on the individual nursery/Sure Start Centre.

My DD2 went to a Sure Start centre for pre-school and it is the most incredible place - it has an amazing amount of resources, experienced staff, other staff such as Portage are based there, as well as being brilliantly inclusive.

Have you had a look around the Sure Start centre? I wouldn't move him based on the advice of a few well-meaning friends but if you love the place, and if other health and education professionals recommend it then it might be worth checking out! smile

misscutandstick Wed 21-Oct-09 22:18:46

Hmm, well i wouldnt touch our surestart with a bargepole - but thats because i know the girls (the oldest is 24) who run the place, and they are totally inadequate to any form of SN. I asked them specifically what training they had (they were starting up a special needs session, where the kids were dropped off to give mums a break), one proudly announced that she had a Level 3 in childcare... I waited with baited breath for the rest of the training and there wasnt any - not even a recent first aid course. SHe asked me if he would be okay when i drop him off. Hes GDD/autistic, non-verbal, sensory seeking, and no sense of danger, multiple food intolerances, and she thinks i will casually dump him in a an unfamiliar environment with strangers?

If you are considering moving him, i would check out the place scrupulously, check all credentials and training, as well as previous experience. Maybe its just our surestart, but i just wanted to warn you incase its a nationwide problem.

misscutandstick Wed 21-Oct-09 22:20:06


well its seems that they arent all as bad, thats a good thing!

HeartOfCrystal Wed 21-Oct-09 22:22:00

Well i know the local NAS is based there so thats a big plus as i seem to be stuck on an endless waiting list at the mo. Also am having a bit of an issue with the private nursery because i suggested starting sign or pec as he can't say a single word and is getting more violent as he gets more frustrated, but that said it may make him lazy and take him longer to talk, so now i don't know what to do and am feeling so fed up... Thankyou for your advice tho, i think i will ring surestart up tomorrow and find out a little bit more xx

misscutandstick Wed 21-Oct-09 22:30:36


signing NEVER EVER EVER makes things worse, NOT EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Children will use it as long as they need to, and then drop it when they have understandable speech. IT never makes kids lazy! It helps ease frustration, brings a closeness to parents and children because at last parent understands what child wants!

Please, please please ignore their stupid advice!

DS5 is 3.6y and non-verbal, but has been using signing for a few months now (makaton), and its amazing that he can tell me something about another room before he even takes me there! It has been suggested that DS5 has verbal dyspraxia, speech is not going to come easy for him, its not a case of laziness, how do you know if your son doesnt have a similar problem? maybe he might or might not, but whatever way, start with signing NOW, and you wont look back i promise! even if he only needs it for a few months.

Quick word of warning, some children pick it up really quick, and some dont - its not an overnight cure generally, but its well worth persevering with!

TotalChaos Wed 21-Oct-09 22:30:56

agree with sidge, phone up and visit and check it out. sympathies re:the endless waiting lists, is he getting any speech therapy, or still on list for that too? I can see why you are unhappy that his current nursery aren't supporting you about exploring signing or PECs.

HeartOfCrystal Wed 21-Oct-09 22:40:09

Thankyou finally someone agrees with me wanting to try and give him some form of communication grin tbh am not sure what exactly is stopping son from talking have been on a waiting list for nearly a year and only seen 1 person regarding his speech and that was 7months ago currently waiting for a 3way asses and been told could be upto a further 6 months!! Not a happy girl

I have been trying to get someone to get him checked for a sub moucus cleft palate, as he still can't pucker his lips and has an issue with excessive dribbling [hmmm]
But as always met with a brick wall for a waiting list, i have a lot of patients when it comes to my son so will take your advice and start sloely introducing a few simple signs xx

ouryve Wed 21-Oct-09 23:29:44

I'm with Sidge.

Our Surestart has been fantastic with both of my boys. There's a mix of highly experienced, mature staff and obviously some younger staff. They see a lot of children through their doors with social and language delays to various degrees and were ready for the challenges my 2 boys threw at them.

It's definitely worth investigating for yourself.

misscutandstick Thu 22-Oct-09 14:29:40

i was wondering HOC, can he: blow out candles, pucker to kiss, drink successfully from a cup/mug, drink successfully from a straw, and can he lick his lips?

You mention that he dribbles a lot, how was his feeding as a baby?

And how is his understanding in general?

(in my very limited knowledge) it seems that people need 3 things to be able to communicate:
The need
To convey internal thoughts for varying reasons, needing something high up, wanting a door opening, feeling hungry or thirsty, getting an out of reach toy.
The means
An ability of some description to be able to tell someone else their thoughts. (wether it be speech, signing, writing, colour codes, whatever)
The opportunity
If you were given everything you could possibly want or need whenever you needed it, would there be much point in asking for it? Making opportunities for communication, without causing frustration is a skill that you will definately master!

If any of these factors are missing, communication will cease, or for that matter - not start.

ANyhoo, ive rambled lectured long enough blush, so will put away the soapbox and get on with the washing...

Sidge Thu 22-Oct-09 16:59:23

misscutandstick is spot on! There is no way at all that learning to sign or use PECS will delay him - it will augment any verbal communication, not replace it.

My DD2 is now 5.8 and has only very recently (ie within the last few months) started to say any recognisable words, she is essentially non verbal as she has a very limited vocabulary and is hard to understand. She has a rare genetic disorder which means she has low tone, verbal dyspraxia, a high near-cleft palate and probable brain damage so we knew she would find talking hard. We introduced Makaton as soon as was possible (she was about 18 months I think) and we now use many signs even though she has a few words. She also has a Total Communication Aid and uses it at school along with signing.

A good pre-school should be able to support your son with his communication needs and it sounds like his present nursery doesn't have a lot of experience. Also bear in mind that a good pre-school can give you invaluable support for the statementing process - ours was brilliant and helped so much, as well as having good links with many schools regarding inclusion and so could answer my 100000001 questions!

I would go and have a look around - whereabouts are you? Maybe someone on MN will know of it?

Sidge Thu 22-Oct-09 17:10:24

Forgot to say, have a look at CBeebies Something Special for learning some Makaton, it's great for picking up so many basic signs (and some not so basic ones - 'king' and 'pop star' anyone? grin)

HeartOfCrystal Thu 22-Oct-09 23:23:21

Thankyou all for your advice sorry i haven't posted sooner massive meltdown tonight.

Miss he can't drink thro a straw, pucker his lips, blow out candles (he'd be more likely to touch the flame then understand what they ment). He attempts to drink out of a cup all the time but when he spills it he has a breakdown. His feeding was ok as a baby really he did throw up alot tho ( i went to gp with reflux concerns)

His understanding is seriously limited, sometimes i don't even know how to explain it. At times i think he understands everything i say, but others i find myself doubting that he even knows the basic things i say.

Sidge am in liverpool have tried to look into private asses, private salt (even tho dp and i are struggling as it is money wise)
Hopefully i will find something soon because i really do feel like crying most of the time. I just feel like my son is a log number to everyone else and they will just leave him to struggle. I have also not developed my thick skin yet so when i hear various comments from my friends, people who dont know the situation ect it really gets to me. sorry for chatting on but first time ive really ever had the chance to speak to other people about it.

TotalChaos Fri 23-Oct-09 08:06:23

heartofcrystal - I'm in Liverpool, and can recommend a good private SALT who can come over to Liverpool from chester. I've not got CAT (private messaging facility) so e-mail me at milkfloatquack at hotmail dot com.

Chaotica Fri 23-Oct-09 16:41:58

Sorry to but in, but some very good friends of mine have a DS older than yours and were in the same situation as you at his age (he is now dx'd autistic, still nonverbal but uses pecs). They had a (very expensive) private nursery who turned out to be terrible at dealing with sn, and never looked back once they discovered their local surestart. So it's worth checking out yours.

Chaotica Fri 23-Oct-09 16:42:37

'butt' not 'but' (of course)

Lauree Sat 24-Oct-09 22:03:33

Hi, HoC.. I can throuroughly relate to what you are saying: my DS (now 5.10) has similar difficulties: dribbling, low facial muscle tone, couldn't blow bubbles ( still can't, although his speech is clearer now). He learn't a few makaton signs, and it helped him get his point over and feel less frustrated.

DS was in a private nursery to start with which was great, very parent friendly, child was breakfasted, lunched, suppered, returned spotless in clean clothes, with brushed hair 'n teeth. they even provided nappies and washed the clothes. Brillliant!grin DS loved it too, even better, and they loved him.

BUT, our Portage worker recommended he should go to the local surestart becausse they are totally wired in to OT provision, physios, SALT, etc they were a great support during the statementing process, and in the transition to school. They set out targets for him, and we had regular meetings, which the private nursery didn't do. ( All this was very useful when going for a statement) He came back every day filthy but happy, and his development progressed leaps and bounds.

In the end, because the waiting list was so long, DS's portage worker had a word with the Sure start head to get DS a place, and we only got a couple of days a week, so he ended up going to both nurseries. I was worried how he'd handle it, but he took it all in his stride - even told me when I started driving to the wrong one one day!

Our experience was that both were good, in very different ways, but DS got a hell of a lot more out of the surestart nursery in terms of his development.

Of course each nursery is different, but I would urge you to check out the sure start, and ( if you like it) even if you can't get all the days you want, consider taking just a day or two to get into their system. Once we were in, we got extra days when they came up.

And if you need someone to give them a ring to see if you can get a place don't be shy to ask your salt, GP, physio, health visitor, whoever to help pull some strings wink

mumzy Sun 25-Oct-09 07:58:21

It does depend on the individual centre and, the experience of the staff and the provision they have. One of our council nursery knocks all the private nurseries into a cocked hat. The staff are incredibily experienced and all have been there at least 5 years and 1/2 have been there at least 15 years. The accomodation/facilities were great they are well organised and activities well planned and match the developmental needs of the children. They are linked up with the child development team and refer to speech therapy/physio/sencos as needed and help parents with the transition to primary schools esp for SN. The fees were also means tested so they could take anyone who needed it. However our other council nursery was'nt as good mainly due to the inexperience of the staff working there but still fab accomodation and facilities
I'd advise you look at it and see if it would suit your ds

mumzy Sun 25-Oct-09 08:05:45

Also wanted to add to enquire about council run nurseries as well as surestart ones (early years dept of council). As some councils have nurseries whose priority are children with SN and possible SN but will also take other children if they have spaces
Our council run nurery is miles better than our surestart nursery as they have much more experienced staff. I'd also ask your HV for recommendations if he has a medical need to be at the nursey then supporting letters from your gp and HV will bump him up the waiting lists

HeartOfCrystal Sun 25-Oct-09 09:34:25

thankyou mumzy i will look into that, at the moment am not getting support from HV or GP. GP says see your HV, HV says see your GP. angry Think one day i'll snap and end up refusing to leave the office until someone can give me some answers, until that day comes am expected to sit around like a lemon. Ah the joys of nhs huh.

Lauree Sun 25-Oct-09 20:25:06

Sound like you need to get some help for your son. I don't like to recommend it, but we started getting help after I lost my cool ( it was tears) in the community paed's office. Everyone was trying so hard to get a diagnosis, and no-one was actually doing anything to HELP my son. After that, things started to improve,

Can you ask GP / consultant for a referral to a SALT or portage? Or phone up Portage or Speech and language directly, and ask how to get referred, or if you can self refer.

In my experience the sure start or Council nursery will be really well placed to help you with this in a way the private ones may not. Even if you can't get a nursery place, make an appointment and go in to talk to them about how to get referrals to specialists. Sure start should have resources to help you find your way through this.

If that fails, go right ahead and camp out in the GP's office.

good luck!

2Siobhan Mon 26-Oct-09 08:20:42

I do agree that it does depend on the individual centre but from my experience the surestart center has been great. Ds moved to surestart children's centre in september and its the best thing I could of done. DS is part of their language group and receives salt every week which is great as he had only 5 sessions in the past year. Also he has been waiting to see ot since gp referred him in march and I told salt and she rang ot and got him an appointment for the following week :-). The staff have lots more experience of sn and most have been there 10-20 years. xx

TotalChaos Mon 26-Oct-09 21:05:45

did you get my e-mail OK HofC? although DS didn't go to a surestart nursery, surestart (kensington) were the only people who offered any sort of help whilst we were on waiting lists (did a course about helping your child to communicate) and there were other groups there too.

HeartOfCrystal Tue 27-Oct-09 11:09:05

Hey total, Sorry i haven't replied been working no-stop yes i got it thankyou. Am going to go with your salt advice just trying to get the funds together, hopefully once i go on maternity leave i'll be able to take up one of the courses you mentioned. Plus point is am setting up my own business from home so hopefully once it's up and running i'll have the bit of extra money to get him regular private salt. All i do know is things can't go on like this.

Thankyou all for the advice xx

TotalChaos Tue 27-Oct-09 21:14:32

oh good, just checking because I don't always find hotmail 100% reliable! my DS got referred to Liverpool's Early Intervention Service team of speech therapists - it's geared towards kids with asd/social communication problems or learning disabilities - I found that SALT quantity/quality improved once DS was transferred to that team. (DS got referred to them after his assessment for ASD). In terms of courses - Liverpool SALT department runs Hanen courses for general language delay (It Takes Two To Talk) and ASD related (More than Words), waiting lists for these can be several months long unfortunately. Surestart centres run a potted version of a Hanen course called "You make the difference" - which I did whilst DS was stuck on waiting lists - it was quite useful but it's weakness was it wasn't SALT run. Not sure how useful the surestart course would be for a child with ASD tbh.

PS - at this stage when not sure how much language is understood - I found it best to go back to basics - back up everything with gestures/pointing/photos and to use very small caveman like sentences "mummy get cup" etc.

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