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SPD - How supportive are UK schools?

2 replies

whatevernext1976 · 11/02/2020 12:56

My 12-year-old son has lived outside the UK since he was 18 months old and we are returning to the UK soon to live. He isn't autistic but he has Sensory Processing Disorder which was diagnosed where we live now. We first noticed it when he was at nursery in the UK and he would hide under the table with his hands over his ears, as a baby, he constantly cried as if something was really bothering him. As he got older he had an aversion to pencils, colouring pencils and as a result, he hates art, he can't bear the sound they make on paper. He says it is like chalk on a board, only 100 times louder. He hates cutting his nails, having his haircut and certain fabrics. On his bed, he has to have a fluffy blanket on top of his sheet as he doesn't like the feel of the sheet.
He doesn't have any signs of autism and we've tried not to make his issues a problem. At school that have recognised that Art is never going to be his 'thing' and let him use drawing pens. He has earplugs for the occasions that he has to use pencils such as in maths and science.

Fortunately, his school uniform is trousers and a polo shirt.
I've been looking at the school in the catchment area where we are going which looks perfect, especially the uniform which is a polo shirt, soft sweatshirt and trousers. However, they are no spaces at the moment. The next option is a school where the uniform consists of a blazar and a school tie, which my son will have a real problem with due to his sensory issues. It seems such a ridiculous reason not to want to send him to that school for but he will not be able to stand it. We've tried to make light of the pencil thing as he used to just well up with tears when he was using them. The earplugs help along with using pencils only when necessary. Are schools supportive with issues like this? Or are they likely to turn it into a huge issue and make it worse?

I have family members who think he is making a fuss over nothing but it is a genuine problem. In contrast, my other son has no sensory difficulties at all and I can see a huge difference.

OP posts:
Ellie56 · 11/02/2020 15:51

You only have to read the threads on here to find out all schools are different. Some are good, some are fabulous, some are bad and some are beyond awful and downright discriminatory.

Your son may be covered by the Equality Act 2010.
You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you "have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities."

I suggest you go and visit all the possible schools and explain the problem and ask what reasonable adjustments could be made with regard to the uniform and any other sensory issues.

Schools have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils. A reasonable adjustment in this case may be to be allowed to go without a tie and a blazer, and wear a pullover or fleece in the school colours.

KissyThief · 03/05/2020 14:08

I think you may have a difficulty because in the UK SPD isnt recognised as a formal diagnosis like in the states for example.

Saying that your sons school has a duty to ensure he is in an environment where he can learn. I would make a list of his helpful coping strategies that he currently uses at school and have an open conversation about his needs.

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