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Dd (5) with asd not coping in maintream

(17 Posts)
millyk Thu 25-Jan-18 17:38:32

Hi. Dd (5) attends a mainstream primary. We got through year r ok but as year 1 progresses we feel she is struggling more. They have some things in place to assist her but it just doesn't seem to be enough. She attends small groups weekly for learning, ear defenders to hand, visual timetable, a few sensory breaks. I've been picking her up slightly early to avoid the school run. She holds things in at school and tries to fit in and then falls apart when she gets home. They've been supportive up until now but ultimately it's a large, busy primary. By 3.30 she is completely broken and it's heart breaking to see. In the last couple of weeks things have come to a head, she's not been sleeping, wetting herself at school, and she's started to refuse to go in all together. She can't really tell us why but I would guess it is to do with sensory issues (building work, hand dryers), play ground issues or anxiety around the actual work. Possibly all of those things! They swapped her class teacher before Christmas too so this could be a factor. I just don't know what to do for the best. I've been taking her in late to avoid the rush and picking her up at lunchtime for the last week as until we get on top of things I just feel it's all too much for her, plus it's a way of negotiating with her to get her in for at least part of the day. I spoke to an educational psychologist on the phone yesterday who suggested visual timetables at home and social stories which we are in the process of trying but it feels like we're being blamed for not taking her in when I think they should be looking at why she doesn't want to go and why her anxiety is so high. I spoke to her class teacher last week who told me she's fine at school and they don't see an issue, they just don't get it. I spoke to the senco today finally, we've scheduled a meeting with the educational psychologist for next month. We've got a private ot going in to observe her in a few weeks. In the meantime she's told me if she's not in school full time I'll get a fine. I don't care about the fine but should I really be sending her in kicking and screaming when I'm just not confident they're meeting her needs properly? Her class teacher said that her communication has deteriorated since she's been doing half days (not sure I believe her) but she's certainly been happier at home this week. Personally I'd rather she went in for a while happily than the situation we had last week. Has anyone been through similar or have any advice? Just feeling completely clueless about how to help her.

BackforGood Fri 26-Jan-18 00:20:35

Does she have an EHC Plan ?
What are your alternatives?
Have you viewed any specialist provision ?
What do you feel about home schooling ?
What are the school focusing on through her support plans ?
Does the school get any support from Autism specialist visiting teachers?
Have the school staff done Autism Awareness Training ?

millyk Fri 26-Jan-18 09:14:38

Thanks for replying, she doesn't have an ehcp. My understanding is that to get an ehcp you have to prove the school can't meet her needs but if they don't recognize her needs in he first place I don't know how we progress? We've not looked at alternatives yet, although I think we may have to. I am planning to make contact with the la though so guess I could ask them about this? I can see us home educating her in the long run and I would be happy to. But it annoys me that we might have to as up until now she has enjoyed school, even if she finds it hard, and I think in the right environment with the right support I think she would do well.

millyk Fri 26-Jan-18 09:22:33

They are going to access the outreach service from the local special school, so that's something else we're waiting on. It all takes so long though, it's frustrating that she has to struggle before they put the strategies in place. Iwill ask them whether her teacher has had autism training, that's a good idea, thanks.

millyk Sun 28-Jan-18 12:42:57


BackforGood Sun 28-Jan-18 14:34:53

My understanding is that to get an ehcp you have to prove the school can't meet her needs No, it is for children who need considerable support and/or adjustment in order to access their education.

but if they don't recognize her needs in he first place There are recognising her needs though. You say :
She attends small groups weekly for learning, ear defenders to hand, visual timetable, a few sensory breaks. I've been picking her up slightly early to avoid the school run So they are recognising some needs. The issue (if I am reading it correctly) is that her need is greater than the current adjustments. All of this I've been taking her in late to avoid the rush and picking her up at lunchtime for the last week as until we get on top of things I just feel it's all too much for her is evidence that she isn't coping with school at the moment, and therefore needs something more.

This is a positive step I spoke to the senco today finally, we've scheduled a meeting with the educational psychologist for next month.. What I would suggest is that you write out all that you've told us, (plus of course anything you haven't written here) and get that formally minuted.
Let them know about the fact she may be 'holding it all together' for a lot of the school day, but the impact that has on her (wetting herself, not sleeping, etc.).
Ask for a sensory assessment to be done - for example the AET Sensory Assessment, but I'm sure there are others about.
Ask if staff can do an Autism Awareness Course - even an hour / 75mins at an afterschool staff meeting would help (IME SEN/D training on initial Teacher training is really, really limited).

Ask to see the support plans they have in place for her. They should have specific targets for her and a plan of how to help her reach them. This doesn't have to be academic, it can be around minimising her anxieties, around social skills, even around letting school staff know when something is making her anxious.
As she is not completing a full school day, alongside her peers then that is something they should be working towards.
The teacher - who you say on one hand doesn't see an issue, on the other hand is saying that she has communication issues.

Other people who can support you locally are SENDIASS (Put into a search engine with the name of your local authority, Every LA has to provide this support to parents of dc with SEN/D). Try CONTACT (used to be called Contact a Family). Also NAS (National Autistic Society). There are lots of other local groups, specific to individual areas, which can be really useful as other parents can offer lots of local advice for you.

BackforGood Sun 28-Jan-18 14:35:15

Oops Sorry - bit long blush

millyk Sun 28-Jan-18 20:25:00

Thanks BackforGood. You're right, they are doing a lot, I just don't think is not enough now she's in year 1 and the demands are increasing. I'm hoping I'll get her in for an almost complete day tomorrow (avoiding school run) The school want her in full time regardless of how anxious she is. They've said any absences will be unauthorized. I'm sure they think I'm exaggerating. Her teacher is blaming her reduced communication on the fact she's doing shorter hours. But we've been doing shorter hours because she's struggling so much. I was thinking of talking to the gp. Do you think they would they give her a note for her anxiety?

millyk Sun 28-Jan-18 20:29:53

I've been asking to see her IEP for a few weeks without joy. I'll ask again tomorrow.

millyk Sun 28-Jan-18 20:36:22

She had a sensory assessment a few years ago and they have a copy. They were very good in year r. Covered the hand dryer do she couldn't see it for example as well as turning it off. This year, it feels like they've forgotten. They've got her using the toilet with the hand dryers in it. She won't go near them with us but they wrote her a social story and she chose to apparently. But I know she will be saying what she thinks is expected, not want she wants.

Cantchooseaname Sun 28-Jan-18 20:47:36

𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 gp can give medical note for anxiety- wether it would allow part days or just sign her off, I’m not sure.
You can apply for ehcp, with or without school on board- it sounds as though she needs the legal weight the adjustments would bring.
Social stories can help.
Don’t let school bully you into doing things you know are wrong for her. Sit down frankly with Senco, and list of issues as you see them. Hopefully they will get on board.
Your poor dd- it’s a hard road, but she’s got you fighting her corner. Stand your ground.

Ellie56 Wed 07-Feb-18 19:18:11

Quite simply your poor little girl is not coping because the school is not meeting her needs.
I can't believe their attitude. She has to go in even though her anxiety is sky high, or they will mark her as an unauthorised absence? hmm How dare they?!

Instead of making such unhelpful comments, they should be getting their act together and thinking what else they can do to help and make school more accessible for her. Tell them the next time they try to play the unauthorised absence card, that they have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for her under the Equality Act 2010 and she is absent because they are not adequately fulfilling that duty.

Do they have a sensory room or quiet room where she can have time out when everything gets too much for her? Can they bring in support from an autism specialist to advise them?

In your position I would apply for an EHC Needs assessment yourself, citing increased anxiety, school refusal etc. All the information you need is here:

I would also start looking round at other schools. This one sounds a bit too full on for DD. It sounds as though she needs somewhere smaller, quieter and calmer. Look for one where they have experience of children with autism, or where autism is the main specialism.

brokenshoes Fri 09-Feb-18 21:02:21

Hi there, OP. I'm not sure if I can be of any help, but we are in a very similar situation. DD is also in Infant school, diagnosed with ASD. She has very high anxiety, but masks/blends in at school. I have mentioned this countless times, but they always say she is "fine" once she is there.

They have put support in place, but like you, I don't feel the support is sufficient.

We now find ourselves in a situation where we are waiting for the ehcp assessment to take place, which is delayed to the the educational psychologist work load. My daughter's school-related anxiety has reached the point where she can barely attend and we have been pulled up on her attendance. Basically the onus is on us to get her through the doors each morning as she is "fine" once she is settled. They don't seem to understand that the reason she is so scared of school is that they are not meeting her needs.

emmachan Thu 15-Feb-18 19:33:24

Hi OP and brokenshoes,

We are in the same situation, unfortunately. Its been really helpful for me to read this thread.

Dd's anxiety is so high that she started reception doing half days, but they are now pushing to get her up to full time. This is despite the fact that I have to be there during lunch , and once we get home she is completely spaced out for hours, before she lets out all the stress of the morning. She will then delay going to the toilet until she is desperate (there is no way she would go at school)....

Anyway I just cannot believe the schools say they will fine parents for non-attendance, or put all the onus on parents to get the child to school.

It makes me mad.

I think the idea about getting a note from the doctor is a good one. We may well do the same.

Ellie56 Sat 17-Feb-18 12:43:27

emmachan why do you have to be at school during lunch? Can't you take her home for lunch?

emmachan Sat 24-Feb-18 19:26:38

Hi! Sorry I missed this.
Oh gosh - the school have had this plan to increase dd's time in school which resulted in her being pretty much forced against her will to stay for lunch.

We've had a big review meeting this week and thank goodness the paediatrician agreed with us that the school shouldn't increase her hours or force the lunch thing.

Iluvthe80s Sat 24-Feb-18 21:52:59

Could you see GP or paediatrican and ask them to sign her off school with anxiety. You can then ask HERs to educate her at home while you apply for ehcp. The school are not delivering what she needs. YoU know your child best do not be bullied. Speak to SEND at council for advice. Our son is near 16. Just been awarded ehcp. We applied ourselves

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