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Recommendations for online home tutoring for Autistic son (14)

6 replies

Wishiwasalittlebitsmaller · 26/02/2024 22:13

I am considering de-registering my son from secondary school and finding some sort of home provision while I wait for his EHCP to complete and for a specialist place. I have a tutor lined up to do a few lessons a week, his father (doesn’t live with us) is a teacher and would hopefully help - combined with what I can do and something online… Luckily my work means I am at home most of the time and flexible to work around his needs.

Since his diagnosis (late last year) we have really tried for him to return to mainstream but it’s not working and his anxiety and sleep is terrible. I need to find a positive solution.

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SearchingForSolitude · 27/02/2024 09:14

Do you want an online school or online tuition? For the former look at: Wolsey Hall, Minerva Virtual Academy, Interhigh. For the latter look at: Wildheart foundation, Tutor Room, learn with SAT, Fleet tutors. There are other individual tutors focusing on specific subjects if you would rather that.

However, personally, I wouldn’t deregister. If DS can’t attend school the LA has a duty to ensure he still receives a suitable full-time education. Whereas, if you EHE the LA will say you are making suitable alternative arrangements thereby relieving the, of this duty, and it is easier for professionals to sweep DS’s needs under the carpet.

Is the LA sticking to the EHCP timescales?

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Wishiwasalittlebitsmaller · 27/02/2024 10:29

Thank you so much @SearchingForSolitude . Those suggestions are really helpful.

Thanks also for your thoughts on de-registering and great point. My son has not had a full time (or even part time) education since February last year. There was talk of applying for medical alternative provision because of his anxiety stopping him from getting into school but that never materialised. I have a meeting next week re EHCP - to my knowledge the school submitted it in October but I don’t have any documentation or communication confirming the date/progress.

The head of SEN is wonderful and full of ideas but there is only one of her and the rest of the support team are not so clued up or enthusiastic. When we had the diagnosis school feedback session with the specialist only an attendance officer turned up and no recommendations actioned (that I am aware of). Schools are so stretched so there is no blame but my son is being failed and I feel like I need to take positive action. And to avoid all the calls, letters and meetings focusing purely on attendance!

Thank you so much for info and insight - much appreciated.

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sleepworkmum · 27/02/2024 12:32

Watching this thread. We are approaching a similar crossroads and I am finding the various MN threads on online school for ASD/PDA kids really helpful in gaining knowledge and confidence in case we do come to it.

@Wishiwasalittlebitsmaller If you google 'mumsnet ASD online school' etc you'll find loads of threads on this. There are a lot of helpful pros/cons discussions, including on all the various EHCP/EHE/EOTAS faff and King's Interhigh (which the one I am most drawn to but as I say, we are not there yet). I think @SearchingForSolitude is a regular contributor to these so you are already in good hands!

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sleepworkmum · 27/02/2024 12:43

Also, I agree with @SearchingForSolitude that if you deregister/EHE then that will stop your ECHP process so it's probably worth seeing that through.

However, if home/online school is your ultimate destination then I don't know what value an EHCP has to you, other than the unlikely event that it covers some of the cost of alternative provisions under an EOTAS. To me, EHCP/EOTAS has little benefit (especially considering the effort and time it takes to secure one) if you are going down that route.

This is not speaking from experience though, that's just the impression I get after having read all the threads and spoken to others going through it.

I digress though - your original question was for reviews of various online options!

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SearchingForSolitude · 27/02/2024 13:21

Email the Director of children’s services request provision under s19 of the Education Act 1996. IPSEA has a model letter you can use. This should have started long before now. If that doesn’t work email again reminding the LA of their statutory duty and threatening judicial review if they don’t comply. Then, if that fails, you need a pre-action letter which SOSSEN can help with.

Alongside this, check what DS’s absences are being recorded as. They should be authorised, but many find they aren’t. If they are being marked as unauthorised you should challenge them.

If an EHCNA was actually requested in October the LA is in breach of the timescales. They should have informed you if they were going to assess or not within 6 weeks. If they were assessing by now the NA should have taken place and you should know if the LA is going to issue or not and if they are you should have a draft. However, I suspect an EHCNA was actually requested so check this. If one hasn’t been requested use IPSEA’s model letter to make the request yourself. If one has been submitted use IPSEA’s model letter for failure to adhere to the timescales.

Sleepwork thank you. Interhigh seem to be marmite. Some love it and their DC thrive. Others find it doesn’t work for their DC.  

Deregistering won’t stop the EHCNA process. But the LA won’t have responsibility to provide s19 provision.

However, if home/online school is your ultimate destination then I don't know what value an EHCP has to you, other than the unlikely event that it covers some of the cost of alternative provisions under an EOTAS. To me, EHCP/EOTAS has little benefit (especially considering the effort and time it takes to secure one) if you are going down that route.

An EHCP can fund online schooling in full. An EOTAS can fund far more provision, including therapies, than the vast majority of parents can afford to fund if they EHE. However, it sounds like OP’s preference is a SS.

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usernamebore · 28/02/2024 15:53

We ended up removing our DS just before the start of year 8 due to ASC and severe anxiety. We tried the Portland Place Hybrid option for a while, but (a) he could not make it in for the one day in person and (b) it is now closing anyway. We did a lot of research and are starting at Minerva in April. So far, very impressed with it all. I think the difference between it and Interhigh is size and SEN support. My understanding is Interhigh is a bit "sink or swim" and some of the classes have huge numbers of kids. In MVA each kid has a weekly 1-1 mentoring session, there are smaller class sizes, and a lot more independent learning which takes away some of the stress. They are very neurodiversity positive and have a lot of experience with anxious autistic kids. They are also completely willing to adapt for a kid's individual needs (e.g. camera off if you need it, no requirement to do group work, teachers know not to ask you questions in the lesson etc). When you enroll there is a detailed form for you to complete setting out what works for your child, what things do not work for them, what their interests are, what stresses them out etc.

What it is actually like in practice remains to be seen. It is hard to give up on the idea of "real" school, but ultimately our children cannot learn, grow or challenge themselves if they are in a state of high anxiety and stress the whole time. Mental health first, education second.

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