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6 replies

Jayzmummy · 14/06/2005 14:42

to which school should J go?

I know I have asked your opinions before but its crunch time and I am even more blooming confused than ever.
I spent most of last night in tears and chatting to my special friend, who has a son with ASD, about our options.

No matter how much reading up, no matter how many visits I make, I just can not work out which is the "right" place for my little man.

We had thought we were quite sure that the special school would not be an option until yesterday when I sat listening to Maria Hutchings on TV listing all the reasons why mainstream isnt "the right educational setting" for children with sensory difficulties. I sat agreeing with everything she was saying and then thought "Oh Sh*t" because that means the mainstream option just isnt an option anymore.

The problem we have is that we have the choice of two mainstream schools. J's old school were he was bullied and tormented to the extent he wanted to end his life or a school that really is not suitable for J because whilst viewing the school the head reffered to J as "a child who needed a firm hand to keep him in control" and that "all children like J, that are problem children, can be made to conform if you push them to".She appeared very anti SN children being in her school and wasnt keen on listening to what we had to say about ASD.

A special school placement has been gaurenteed from Sept BUT J hates it there. He said he feels comfortable with the school and the teacher but he just can not get on with the other children. The teacher is concerned by his actions whilst at the school and some of the comments J has made have caused a bit of a stir. He says what he sees and he doesnt like what he sees so he tells everyone just what he thinks and its not very PC!

The home tutor we have, has expressed her concerns that J hasnt given any positive feed back about the special school BUT she is equally concerned that when and if J goes back into mainstream the 18 hours support just will not be enough. She feels he needs full one to hey ho back to the battle with the LEA to increase his hours in his statement if he goes into mainstream.

The teacher at special school feels J is to "bright" to attend the special school even though he has a very low IQ and moderate/severe learning difficulties. I understand what she means by being to bright and can understand her concerns that J will possibly regress. We have noticed more mimicked behaviour when he returns from his afternoon session at the school.

DH and I have concerns about the special school because its a school which operates a closed door policy to parents. I offered to help out in an art class and was told this is not allowed. I have chatted with a few parents of some of the other children who attend and it appears a lot are not happy with some of the changes that have been implemented by the new head. Also DH is not at all happy with the restraining policy that they have inforce.

J has asked everyday now for the past month "When can I go back to school?". He even said he wanted to go back to his old school until I took him this morning whilst dropping off DS1 and then he sat shaking and saying "Not right" over and over again. When the head approached him to say hello J freaked and went into I think I can safely say thats a big NO NO!!!!!!

I just can not find anywhere for my boy to go to school and time is running out. Home educating has been lovely and I have really enjoyed watching J flourish but the time has come for him to return to its just finding one!

OP posts:
coppertop · 14/06/2005 16:12

Did you get a chance to speak to the person who would be J's class teacher at the second mainstream school (ie the school where J hasn't yet attended)? I ask because the Head at ds1's mainstream primary is a nightmare, and this is generally agreed upon by all the pros who have had dealings with her. However, the actual teaching staff and the SENCO are fantastic and ds1 is very happy there.

Jayzmummy · 14/06/2005 16:19

No I didnt CT, even though when I contacted the school about our viewing I did ask if we could speak with the prospective class teacher and SENCO....turns out the head teacher is the SENCO anyway!

Have just had a lengthy chat with the CP who dx'd J earleir this year and he feels he knows the perfect school for J...only problems is its residential and I couldnt possibly bring myself to place in a residential head hurts so much and I cant stop worrying about what on earth we are going to do.

LEA officer phoned today to remind me we have until Friday to give them our decission about where is to go.....reminded her that there are no provisions available within our area that can adequately met J's needs and that until we find the right placement she will have to be patient with us. I can not magic a school out of thin air no more than she can!

OP posts:
monica2 · 14/06/2005 18:23

Hi Jayzmummy this sounds like an absolute nightmare, you must be so stressed, do you have an outreach support service who may recommend schools they have children in they work with or even a autistic support group where you could as parents of other asd kids where their children go? I completely understand your predicament over the special school, dd has to change to secondary school year after next and we have been told that she would not cope in a mainstream secondary school but we too feel that a special school is not right for her as she can imitate her peers socially to a certain extent. We have had to but her name down for a very small co-ed school, but the LEA are currently funding an asd child to attend this school, I wondered if there are any similar in your area? I hope you get something sorted for ds soon I have followed your struggles with great admiration.

Jayzmummy · 15/06/2005 14:38

Here goes....another long rambly post...bear with me please.

Attended a meeting today with DH at a local school. We sat and discussed the reasons why J was removed from mainstream, how badly as a family we were affected by the fact that our son was self harming and threatening to kill himself because he could not cope in an environment where he was so misunderstood.

Talked at great length about the sort of "package" we felt was needed to ensure J could return to mainstream school.

The Head Teacher expressed his alarm about how badly J had been left to deal within the school environment. Head Teacher said that any school that failed to meet the needs of a child with SN should be imediately investigated. That all SN children should be welcomed with open arms as they have so much to offer. His comments were enlightening. Parents of SN children should be used as a massive rescource by all schools as they can provide the understanding and knowledge that teachers just can not gain from text books or by attending seminars.

The school would happily support J's inclusion and integration back into mainstream. Totally understand that this may take some months and the plan would be that J is fully integratd by Dec 05.
The school would happily support us to ensure J gets full one to one suport within school and Head Teacher made a suggestion that we ask th LEA to review J's statement with us asking for ammendments to be made.

Head suggested that possibly a Special Needs Assistant would be better than a Learning Support Assistant and that possibly asking LEA to change the statement so that it reads "J has full time ACCESS to a SNA within the school environment" would be better than him having quantified hours of support from an LSA.

His train of thought is that the SNA would be on hand during the whole school day to assist J within the school as and when needed. The SNA would be based within J's class room and would work along side his class teacher to ensure the curriculum is differentiated in a style which enables J to learn in a more apropriate way. The SNA would be responsible for carrying out any one to one work and also small group work. The SNA would oversee J at play times and during lunch break. Not towering over him but keeping a very close eye so she can judge when to step in and guide J socially towards more appropriate interaction.

Head Teacher fully acknowledged that as parents we know what makes J "tick" and that we are the ones who know best therefore would welcome any advice we can share. Wanted to know if we would be interested in sitting in on some ASD staff training sessions to offer a parents view to the teaching approaches that are used.

The whole meeting went really really well EXCEPT for one thing.

This meeting was held at J's old school with THE HEAD FROM HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the man who physically restrained my son on several occassions to the extent he caused bruising. This is the man who told my son he was a "retard" and then asked him to repeat it. This is the man who told my son his behaviour was stupid and silly. This is the man who told me my son was a loser. This is the man who told me as a professional he was the one who knew what was best for my son.

I swear I could hear the digits running through his head, detailing just how much more money would he be getting to play with if the LEA were pressurised into supplying him with yet another full time member of staff. Someone he can can use elsewhere whilst my boy is left unsupervised sitting outside his office for the day because he has "played up" in class or being entertained by the school caretaker. My son does not go to school to learn how to stack chairs or clean the bins!!

This is the man who can blind the authorities with his brilliance, the man who can quickly silence those that know otherwise and the man who can convince everyone that the only good things are the things he has done.

I fell for all his lies once before. He is so good at telling parents what they want to hear and then doing nothing that he promises. I WILL NOT BE BLINDED BY THIS MAN.

The only reason we went to the meeting was to report back to the LEA that we have explored every avenue possible to find the right placment for J and Im sure as night follows day that my boy will NEVER go back to that mans domain.

Its such a shame that all the suggestions he made can not materialse. His suggestions are exactly the sort of thing we are looking for.....but I fell for it once before and will not again.

Just as we were leaving the office my DH to the oppurtunity to remind the Head of all the occassions he had personally verbally and physically abused our child. "Its such a shame you never practice what you preach" went down like a lead balloon. The man is full of hot air and is in our opinion a danger to children.

There is the right place for J somewhere....we just have to find it.

OP posts:
Chocol8 · 15/06/2005 15:21

OK, before I start ranting, let me get this straight - this fantastic package of goodies - SNA etc etc was being offered by the Head from Hell?

I was really uplifted (and smiling) by your post until I read the "EXCEPT for one thing" part...!

What will happen now? Will you just have to keep on looking for a suitable school? Can't an organisation like IPSEA not help/advise you? Surely there must be someone (beseaching emoticon) to help you? UNBELIEVABLE.

maddiemo · 15/06/2005 16:40

Jayzmummy Will come back to this later, but I don't think 'access to is SNA' is a good phrase. My sons statement is full of 'access to' and it is meaningless and unenforcable. I would prefer specified hours SNA.

Ah, just read the rest of your post and realise it may not now apply anyway.

Hopefully you will find somewhere soon.

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