Helping young people reach their goals.
Other Mencap sites
i am a new user of this service and having read through a few feeds thought it might be worth sharing our educational experiences with our son.
My son is in main stream school and has a diagnoise of Autism. He is in year 2 and will be 7 this year. when he started at school it was very difficult to find anyone with Autism training and he was very stressed and upset at home. At first i thought it was just that he was taking time to adjust but as it went on i stepped back from the situation and realised that it really wasn't like him to be so physically disturbed. It's a long story but 2 years later we've got two LSA's who have experience of Autism. One really likes our son as a person (invaluable) and the other is predictable in behaviour....low and behold he has settled down and for the last few months is doing really well.
then out of the blue the specialist teacher tells us that they think he would be better off in a base unit (main stream school with a special autism / additional needs base attached to it). They don't pin point why, just that the school don't have the resources to help him reach his potential.
We don't have a problem with them saying this but i would like to point out two things to other parents in similar situations. A) if your child is angry or stressed think calmly about why this might be - try and write down each time they blow a fuse what triggered it, when it happened, what you did and what the outcome was. if you do this you might find (as i did) that it was that my son was picking up my tension and getting upset or indeed that at school he'd felt so hemmed in or stressed that he had to release it when he came home. Where ever the problem may lay if you keep a diary you'll soon be able to join the dots and it may help you to help them....alternatively show it to the home school liasion person or ask your local authority who can help you with these things. B) Think very carefully about main stream school. our school is physcially perfect for our son - we live in Hackney which is a very full borough but we were able to get him in one of the smaller schools and we now have good LSA's but the two teachers he's had don't/can't teach him and are scared of the condition.....on top of this the general attitude is that inclusion is good in theory but not in practice and although the teachers mean well and my son is well liked they seem to think that a base unit will solve all - they obviously haven't seen them or realise what little resources are available for them.
I feel that as parents we've had such a battle to get things right for him and now because the school can't put the effort in we've got to move him which will upset all of us. Base units are all well and good but he invariably they are a series of small rooms stuck away in the corner of a school somewhere and of course it depends completely on the kindness of the staff working with our children. Sadly in only 2 of the LSA's working with my son have shown any understanding towards him and he's been with 6 different people.
if we're exhausted think how he must feel!
Inclusion is best practice as our children will be adults with Autism living in a neuro typical world and it does the world good to meet them when they too are young so they don't appear so different and become isolated.
I totally agree its always a battle if you have a child with special needs!
I am still having a nightmare with getting my daughter help, all throughout primary mainstream school she hasnt been statemented and now she has just done her sats exam and ungradeable they now realise that she needed extra help which is what i was telling them from the start!
She is due to start secondry school this september and i am wondering what on earth is gonna happen there to be honest! Its not fair that they would keep chopping and changing things, they must know what upset its going to bring but lets face it, they done deal with the aftermath we deal with at home!
Hope things work out for you xxxx
0808 808 1111
Lines open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Charity number 222377 (England, Northern Ireland and Wales); SCO41079 (Scotland)