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Moving up to secondary school, lets flap about it together.

(299 Posts)
lostinwales Mon 14-Mar-11 09:42:21

Apologies if anyone has started a thread like this already I just need some handholding before September. DS1 (11, formal diagnosis of Dyspraxia, informal of ASD) is currently in our small village school, 10/15 to a year group everyone knows everyone and he has a nice little group of friends. He copes very well with the routine there and his teacher has time to teach the way he learns and after help with an OT he is doing really well.

The one thing he doesn't cope with is anygthing away from this lovely order. This morning he walked to school ahead of me with DS2 as I dawdled with DS3. He got to school, realised I hadn't signed a form (not essential today but if he's been told it need doing it HAS to be done). He dumped his coat and bag and ran all the way out of school to me in a complete panic, by the time I'd calmed him down and we got to school and signed his form it was 5 past 9, at which point he started to hit himself in the forehead with his homework folder and panic as he was late (and as he has been told not to be late this mega panics him). In the end he was taken to calm down by an LSA and I explained to his teacher and they were lovely and calm and helped him but I could see he would be in a state all morning. How will he cope in a school with 1,000 pupils? Right now I could cry, I want to go with him and keep him safe but I can't and it terrifies me.

IndigoBell Tue 15-Mar-11 14:56:45

My DS is in Y5 and this is pretty much exactly what I'm worried about.

He copes very well now (mostly) because all the staff now him. It's not a small school. 90 per year group. But still school knows him and us.

I don't know what will happen when he gets to Y7....

bigcar Tue 15-Mar-11 16:11:06

I'll come and join you, ds1 is off to secondary in september, he has as yet unspecified learning difficulties, he's ok socially, just about. I'm hoping he'll get more support than currently, well, can't really get any less! Just the thought of him walking to school on his own is bad enough.

brew brew brew

lostinwales Tue 15-Mar-11 16:19:07

Yay, I'm not alone! Have a brew. I went in this morning and spoke to the LSA who calmed him down and actually it has worked in his favour as they have seen a little more of his behavior than they had before. Still I'm not sure having a year 12 'mentor' will quite cut it if he starts to panic on the bus on the way there (they leave at 8am). I'm tempted to follow the bus and then sit ouside in my car for the first year week.

IndigoBell Tue 15-Mar-11 16:26:41

What kind of transition stuff do you both have in place? Lots of visits to the school this year?

coppertop Tue 15-Mar-11 21:02:35

This is just the thread I need.

(Thanks again, Bigcar )

Ds1 is moving to secondary school in September. His primary school are great with him and have a knack for knowing when he needs comforting and when he needs a nudge IYSWIM. I can easily imagine him being upset in the same way as your ds did today, Lostinwales.

His current school isn't small but seems tiny compared to the secondary school. And as for him walking there by himself...


EllenJane1 Wed 16-Mar-11 14:45:59

Should have put my thread here!

It's here instead

Have a look at it, it's all about the transition conference I went on today for my DS who is starting secondary in Sept. He has a statement (ASD) so gets some special treatment, but no reason why lots of the points raised shouldn't be useful to all. Ask for a meeting with next school Senco and try to get a few extra visits planned. Find out how passports work at their school etc.

lostinwales Wed 16-Mar-11 15:23:50

<<waves>> at EllenJane1, that's a great thread, it has given me loads of ideas. I think I'm going to have to go in again and ask about all these things. They sprung a meeting about him on me with the school senco about three weeks ago, but as I didn't know why I had been called in I was all wrongfooted and didn't know what to ask. I will have the opportunity to go to the secondary school and have a similar meeting to your transition next term, so I need to get lined up. I keep asking if getting a formal ASD diagnosis would help but they have told me they will work with him not a diagnosis, but I still feel like I would be listened to more with a formal piece of paper.

I'm sad today anyway 'cos I didn't realise but when DS1 had his meltdown on Monday and was hitting himself in the face he was in front of the(open) door to year 3/4 class and they were all staring at him. DS2 is in that class and has started teasing DS1 about it sad. He's not a completely evil child but, of course, had to be blessed with perfect coordination, natural ball skills and a brain that takes to everything with great ease whilst charming everyone he comes into contact with bastard , and therefore finds his older brother very hard to understand.

EllenJane1 Wed 16-Mar-11 16:43:30

There are some boys like that in DS's school. Clever, sporty, popular. (Little gits.) You can't help liking them but still wish they found something difficult!

lostinwales Wed 16-Mar-11 17:01:04

<<whispers very very very quietly>> but I kind of prefer the less than perfect type, I keep thinking 'that boy needs taking down a peg or two', <<evil mother emoticon>>. Can you tell he is like his father whilst DS1 in like a mini version of me just maxed out blush

Niecie Wed 16-Mar-11 17:16:14

I feel for you Lostinwales. DS1 has a similar dx (dyspraxia and AS although the AS was the original dx and the dyspraxia has only recently been formally added). His junior school is much larger (90 per year) but everybody knows him, the teachers understand him and they know me as well which I think helps!

He is going to secondary in September and there have been great plans to give us a personal tour this term and then for him to go in one morning a week all of next term. Unfortunately nothing has happened about it yet but I will chase it on parents evening.

Anyway, DS went to the school for a day with the rest of his class at the end of yr 5 and completely lost the plot. They LSA ended up taking him back to the juniors mid morning. He said it was all too big and noisy.sad

The worst of it was that I forgot he was going and didn't talk to him about it. DH did the evening before apparently but I don't think he felt prepared.

The thing that is worrying me is that for a dypraxic child, moving between classes is going to be a major trial. I sure he will get used to it but it will be the settling in that will be bad. I can't see him ever arriving to a class on time!!

The yr 5 teacher was trying to get us to get a statement for secondary (not chance - he isn't bad enough) but when I talked to the SENCO at the secondary school she said a similar thing about dealing with the child and not the dx.

Oh and all those teachers - how will they all know which children have SENs and which don't when they only see them for an hour or two a week. <sigh>

Niecie Wed 16-Mar-11 17:18:16

Oh and I have a very similar DS2 to you as well Lost. Thankfully he is OK with his brother but they won't be in the same school until the last year of secondary so DS1 never gets to do daft things in front of DS2 mates at school.

bigcar Thu 17-Mar-11 12:22:24

have been having an absoltely manic week, LEA playing silly beggars with dd3, will have to ask carrot for a borrow of her pointy stick grin

no transition plan in place here . . . yet, as ds1 isn't statemented I'm not sure how much I can negotiate with them, will have to see what I can do. I need to sort dd3 out first before I can start on this really. Dd2s went really well and she doesn't really have any sen, just working at the lowest levels. They had her in school every day for a week over the summer holidays with a small group of girls, was fab, they got to know the school while it was empty and meet quite a few teahers, I was very impressed. Just hoping the boys school does something similar.

Ds1 uses an edulink so will be going with equipment so we'll have to arrange a proper handover at some stage. I've heard good things about the pastoral care at this school so hoping it will be ok.

Still panicking about the walk to school, he can walk with dd2 to her school and then carry on to his own but I'm not really happy with his idea of road safety, will need to put some serious work in on that one.

sugarcandyminx Thu 17-Mar-11 13:32:42

I was in the same position as you guys last year, though DS ended up going to special secondary from a mainstream primary.

Here are a couple of links which might help:

Transition Toolkit from the Autism Education Trust

Transition Information Network. The Good Practice section contains really useful documents on what your LA should be doing and suggestions on what you can ask for.

If your child has a statement, it should have been amended by Feb 15 to name their secondary school - this is law and in the COP.

lostinwales Thu 17-Mar-11 13:33:15

Don't you all sometimes want to go over to people fussing about how hard a baby is and make them read threads like this? I NEVER thought it would be such hard work and such an emotional roller coaster when he got so big.

I'm enjoying this thread though, helping my brain think over what to do and hearing other people with the same worries is very reassuring.

Niecie I worry about moving about between lessons too, the jump in organisational skills is huge for a boy who 9 out of 10 times has forgotten why he was going up stairs by the time he gets to the top! I'd forgotten about the noise too, we went to the village pub to watch the rugby on the weekend and he was freaked out by people cheering.

I found out yesterday that none of his friends are moving with him either, the have chosen to go to the school over the county line and be taught in English wheras DS1 is going to our area one which is Welsh speaking (I'm not militant about the language, DS1 is great in both languages but his Paed and OT think it has the best SN care of the two). I can't bear the thought of him starting in such a big place without a familiar face to go through it with. I wonder if I start laser treatment now I could pass for a school girl again in time for september....

sugarcandyminx Thu 17-Mar-11 13:36:15

Actually, only the first link is probably relevant for secondary - the TIN is mainly for transition to adult reviews.

lostinwales Thu 17-Mar-11 13:37:51

Thanks for the links sugarcandy I will go and have a good look at them when I wiped away the stupid tear stuck in my eye, honestly bloody kids they don't half make you worry! I hope your DS is enjoying his school.

EllenJane1 Thu 17-Mar-11 14:39:37

Our Autism advisory teachers were quite reassuring yesterday about the lesson changes. They pretty much all start in their tutor groups and aren't set much to begin with, so go in a little lost gang from classroom to classroom. Also they said that DC with ASD can really like the structure of a timetable. Much more consistent than primary school. Once they've got the school layout sussed(!?) they cope quite well. If the noise is a factor ask if he can leave lessons 2 mins before everyone else.

IndigoBell Thu 17-Mar-11 14:49:17

I keep reminding myself of the upsides of secondary school:

* Shorter lunch time (only 45 mins!)
* Getting to walk (ie a bit of exercise) between each lesson
* A timetable which is far more consistent than primary school
* Being set for maths and english

I have heard that lots of kids do do better at secondary school than primary.....

Niecie Thu 17-Mar-11 15:07:02

DS's lunch time will be 30 mins - I don't think that is long enough. It must a scrum in the dining room getting 700 children through there in 30 mins. <fret, fret, fret>

IndigoBell Thu 17-Mar-11 15:20:34

But less time to get into fights with other kids....

HelensMelons Thu 17-Mar-11 15:44:17

I'm glad you have reminded me that there is an upside to secondary school! Every time I think about the next few months my stomach flips over about 10 times!

DS1 (P7)(nt) will move into big school this Sept and be travelling on a train on his own! and ds2 (P6) (asd/adhd) next September - it's likely he will have a place in the local secondary asd unit (fingers crossed).

It's a big transition for them all x

Niecie Thu 17-Mar-11 17:02:54

I see what you mean Indigobell but DS doesn't tend to get into fights..... not yet anyway!

He seems to spend his break times pacing and flapping around the playground and I think he needs some time alone to let off a bit of steam. Am a bit worried that he won't get that at secondary and he won't cope.

bigcar My DS isn't statemented either but the school nurse has been coordinating (or should as it has gone quite quiet) the transition as she is the school nurse for the new and old school. You could ask to see her and the SENCO to talk about it and hopefully the SN will be the link to the secondary school to arrange extra visits.

The SENCO also suggested an Individual Partnership Agreement which is supposed to help with transition but as yet we haven't seen that. They are pushing that if you can't get a statement as my DS won't as he doesn't cause anybody any bother at school. Somne people don't rate them because they don't give you any legal powers to enforce whatever it is you have on it but I think they are better than nothing if you haven't got a statement.

Parents' evening tonight so I shall be pushing for action.

Niecie Thu 17-Mar-11 17:04:01

And as for the journey to school....... <dons dark glasses, trenchcoat and trilby and practices secret survelliance techniques in readiness>

catok Thu 17-Mar-11 23:36:42

DS is now in Year 8. He visited the secondary lots of times (about 10) before the summer holiday, and took photos of people and places (and floor surfaces as they are VERY important!) All his teachers had seen his face - and hopefully found it easier to match the child to the IEP.
I was really worried that transition would all be too much; but the timetable and routines all helped him to settle. He still hates 'citizenship days' because they are a 'change', and gets extra tired if there are too many 'changes' in a week.
He goes to the SN base if he needs to flap, moan or explain what wrongs he thinks have been done to him.
Biggest advice? Don't let it 'go quiet' or the time will have gone by the time they do anything - keep on pestering about transition activities and take him for visits yourself if you can. Any school wanting 'inclusion' should want your child to feel happy and as prepared as possible.

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