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Should I move my son from Mainstream Primary to an ASD unit?

6 replies

Birthdaycake81 · 10/01/2024 20:27

Just looking for some advice, other people's experiences. Sorry if this is a bit long winded.

My son is 6 and has an ASD diagnosis. He is in a Mainstream Primary school with a full-time one to one assistant who he likes and who I'm very fond of. He is very bright and very good at Maths, English, reading etc but is very delayed emotionally and socially. He is verbal but I can't have a full on conversation with him , his speech is quite basic and functional, enough to get his needs met. We have been told he doesn't have a learning disability..
He goes into school happy and comes out happy, I rarely get phonecalls from the school to come and get him etc.
School arranged for him to be assessed by an Educational psychologist. The SENCO in school felt that as my son would be moving to a new key stage in September, that it would be worth seeing if the school still suits him or if somewhere such as an ASD unit would be better.
He does have the odd meltdown in school maybe once a week or every fortnight but it isn't anything major and he doesn't go crazy or anything. He could be triggered by a noise or another child.
The school also has basically no facilities for a child with ASD, it's just a run of the mill small primary school. However when I chose it , I had no idea my son had ASD.
I have now been told that the Educational Psychologist is recommending he go to a mainstream school with an ASD unit and I don't know what to do.

My cons for moving him are ,
he is happy where he is it seems and I worry if I moved him , he might not like the new school.

He is used to being around Mainstream , neurotypical children and a part of me likes this because then he may adopt some more neurotypical behavior. (Please don't come at me for saying this, I'm just being honest)

He isn't used to being around neurodiverse children and I wonder would the various stimming or noises upset him. He does stim himself also and I find the noise very draining to listen to constantly. I also feel would it hold him back if he was only around children like himself who may struggle emotionally and socially.

He will no longer have a one to one assistant if he moves to a unit.

The pros of moving him are:
Much better facilities (his current school have nothing)

He wouldn't be the odd one out which he is in his current school.

His communication and social skills may improve as apparently the curriculum focuses on these aspects as well as the conventional subjects.

I'm really not sure what to do. Any advice greatly appreciated

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KeepGoingThomas · 10/01/2024 20:55

Have you visited the potential ARPs? They vary so much is how they are run, how much time is spent in mainstream classes etc.

1:1 can be given in an ARP. If 1:1 is detailed, specified and quantified in F it must be provided regardless of what is typically provided.

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openupmyeagereyes · 11/01/2024 09:39

Does your ds have friends at his current school?

What are you envisioning for secondary? Many secondary schools are huge compared to primary and there are many aspects of them that ND children struggle with. Is the ARP primary only too?

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Birthdaycake81 · 11/01/2024 10:03

@KeepGoingThomas sorry, not sure what an ARP is? I have visited one unit and have 2 more to visit. The amount of facilities it has compared to my son's current school was like night and day!

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Birthdaycake81 · 11/01/2024 10:05

@openupmyeagereyes the schools with units are primary only. My son doesn't have any friends at school and so is not attached to anyone, I don't even think he would miss his assistant. So that I suppose is a good thing if we are going to move him.

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openupmyeagereyes · 11/01/2024 10:15

I was thinking more that he might be better placed to make friends if he is in an environment with children more like himself. School is about more than just academics after all. If he’s not interacting much with the other children I would have thought his ability to benefit by ‘learning typical behaviours’ is limited anyway.

My ds is in an autism specialist school (moved from mainstream) and there is a wide range of children there, many are more able than him. It won’t necessarily be that your ds is the most able and that he won’t be able to learn social skills from others.

That said, the unpredictable behaviour of other children has been an issue for us, one that I hadn’t anticipated. In our case though, ds was not going into his ms school so we were not in the same situation. I would visit some as pp suggested.

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KeepGoingThomas · 11/01/2024 11:04

An ARP is an additionally resourced provision i.e. a unit within a mainstream school. They are known by various names - e.g. enhanced/additionally resourced provision/unit/base. When you visited did you discuss your concerns?

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