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confused about mainstream or special school

(14 Posts)
shey Thu 16-Jun-05 22:19:27

I know this has been discussed a number of times and I could look back through previous threads but as getting on the computer is a four-way battle I never have any time. Our ds has a dx of severe speech and language delay from one paed and asd from another.... we are in the process of asking for a statement but we realise that we need to know what sort of school we are looking for. We have a lovely infant school nearby (mainstream) that seems very accomodating or there is an option of a speech and language special school out of the borough. I don't know what the pros and cons are for mainstream with support. Is there more likely to be a chance of bullying? Is it a good idea to be surrounded by children with similar difficulties or by children who are so called 'normal' (don't know the abbreviation yet). Very confused and don't know who can give an unbiased view.
very tired , sorry about odd typing etc

mulsey Fri 17-Jun-05 10:18:38

Im not quite sure about unbiased, but I can let you know my thoughts, as we are in the same boat!
My wee girl is undiagnosed, and at the moment she has very very little verbal speech, but does sign alittle and uses PECS. Our village primary is also lovely and my old school too. I would love for her to attend with support. However in my area, it is likley that her assistant wont know any makaton or pecs and would need to learn from scratch. So how is my daughter going to communicate? And if you cant communicate, how will she access the curriculum?
Ive also looked at a special needs school, who sign everything and use PECS, they would also be able to support her with a touch talker. The special school also put the kids through all the examinations when they are older too. I fear that I will send her to the special school, its not what I want, but I think that its best for her. I see at the moment how annoyed she gets when I, her mother cant understand her, how would that be in a large mainstream class? She'd end up being classed as having a behaviour problem, as no one can understand her and shw would lose the plot!
I think that everyone will have a different view and what works for one, might not for the other. I am sure that you will make the right informed decision for your child - trust yourself.

lou33 Fri 17-Jun-05 10:26:14

i have a son who has cp, but with no speech or language difficulties, so we are sending him to a mainstream school with one to one full time support. Bullying is obviously a worrying aspect of school life , more so when you have a sn child, but tbh i think schools are even more strict wrt to bullying of children in possibly vulnerable situations

lucylady Fri 17-Jun-05 11:15:09

Shey. I understand what you are going through.I am in a similar position to you. My ds is 4 and has severe speech and language delay. He will be starting mainstream school in sept. I am very concerned about how he will communicate with his teacher . I have had a meeting with his teacher and the SENCO for his school and also as my ds attends a speech and language school 2 days a week his teacher came along and we discussed his needs. I dont think you need to worry about bullying at this early stage. I think children at this age are more accepting of each other.Hope this helps.

onlyjoking9329 Fri 17-Jun-05 13:27:36

Its always a tricky one and i dont know whats best for your child, i can only go on what i know which is , for some kids mainstream is good my son has autism and is in mainstream he is doing very well but we think at some point he will move to special needs probably comp age my twin girls also have autism they are just eleven and have lots of difficulties with learning they are not able to read just yet ect so i guess i can special needs in both setting one really big difference i find is the battles we face, mainsteam well lets just say i wear battle dress a lot to get support and funding for my son,the only battle i have with special needs school is telling my girls its closed at the weekends and holidays

shey Fri 17-Jun-05 15:55:39

Thank you so much for your thoughts. It seems a really difficult decision. We are in the process of asking for a statement and I know we will need to name a school at a certain point so we will have to make up our minds. Lucylady whereabouts is the language school that your ds goes to ? Will he keep this up when he starts in mainstream reception?

Blossomhill Fri 17-Jun-05 16:00:33

Hi Shey

Well my dd (5) has a language/communication disorder and we tried her in ms nursery where my son goes for 6 months. It really didn't work out at all. We were then offered a placement at the local language unit and dd has benefitted so much from going there. I think it does really help being with other sn children as before dd stuck out liek a sore thumb but now feels so much more comfortable. The SALT that she has received has also really helped and I just feel that specialist teaching does so much more than what ms can offer. Dd is still in ms 70% but supported by language base staff and I feel it has made a real difference to her future. HTH

mum38 Fri 17-Jun-05 16:55:10

hi my ds (5) has a speech and language impairment and he is currently in mainstream school (yr 1). I have to go out now but I'll write more later! Our experience has been mixed

Jayzmummy Fri 17-Jun-05 17:09:17

Im in the same position as I am currently trying to decide where to send my son. I have been home educating for almost a year but he needs to go to school. Special or mainstream....thats a toughy!

J did go to mainstream and did very well whilst in the infants with a class room assistant in every class it meant he had support. However by the time he entered year three in juniors, he had no support and found school life very hard. Statement was issued at the begining of year four but by then it was a little too late for J, the damage had been done.

Home edding has built up his self esteem and his speech has improved, so now he feels comfortable about attending school again....its me thats got the problem!! I just dont want to screw it all up for him and make the wrong choice.

YogiYahooey Fri 17-Jun-05 21:50:16

I fully appreciate what you are going through (like lucylady) my ds2 will be going to mainstream in Sept. I have spoken to the teacher (most of the teachers have seen ds2 as dd and ds1 go there) and waiting to see what funds I will get from the LEA but I know they will employ a full time extra body regardless of amount.
I am not too worried about bullying as the school is small and any bullying is dealt with quickly and little ones are more accepting and helpful.
I do worry about him being in the classroom but he should have a 1:1 for the majority and his teacher has told me not to worry. (if you knew her you would do as she says!!)
I know in this mainstream school my boy will not be put to one side or forgotten but helped and nutured and any issues dealt with properly but if I had the option of a good speech and language school I would certainly take a look - we have a school nearby with a spch and lang unit but the school is full of exclusions from other schools and bullying is rife.
I reckon you ought to go and have a chat with the headteacher and the reception teacher and tell them about your ds and see what they have to offer you and how they would deal with your ds.

shey Fri 17-Jun-05 22:34:43

thanks, Yogiyahooey, sounds a great set up and a brill teacher. I have met the head of the local school and she is very switched on.

lucylady Fri 17-Jun-05 23:47:25

ds will continue at speech and language school in sept. he will be having part placement which means he attends mainstream 3 days a week and the other 2 days will be at the sp/lang sch.
so not only will he be struggling with communicating he will be playing catchup all the time . only time will tell if he will settle.

mum38 Sat 18-Jun-05 07:21:03

hi again! This is my view of mainstream/special school.

My ds2 has had nearly 2 years in our local infant school. He has come on alot. He has a great teacher this year and a brilliant special needs assistant. He hasn't been bullied and the children seem to accept him well. He has made lots of buddies but as yet has no friendships where he gets to go to the other child's house. His social relationships and academic work are still hindered by his speech and language problems. Our big big problem has been the amount of SALT he has received through the school service. This year it has been 2 blocks of 6 sessions for the whole year. They are wonderful people but very over-stretched. Because of this we are appealing to have him moved to the closest school with a language unit.

I would def. advise you to go and see the specialist unit -it is is like our one they get to spend time in the mainstream school too so they have the best of both worlds. Also you probably need to check how he gets a place. In our area places are awarded by assessment and panel the previous November regardless of which school you specify on the statement.

My honest reaction would be the go for a language unit place if offered-they are like gold dust. He will get the best therapy on offer and maybe be able ot rejoin your local school at juniors! Mainstream can be good but very dependant on having a switched on teacher, support assistant and SENCO. You are in a more vunerable position because they can leave the school (this is what happened to us last year leaving ds2 with a useless SENCO).

Good luck!!

shey Sat 18-Jun-05 19:09:33

Thanks lucylady and mum38, you do put forward great points. Will go and see local specialist unit and see what the criteria is for a place.

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