aspergers - too clever for a statement? please give me some advice, I don't know what to do about ds school (this is long, but please bear with me, I really need some help)

(38 Posts)
deaconblue Sat 11-Feb-12 07:30:09

Ds is 5. He had 15 hrs of funded support at pre school, largely because he hit other children a lot. At 4 we got a diagnosis of aspergers. In reception the school put in place 15 hours of TA support. He had a mature, experienced teacher who set really firm boundaries and he made massive progress, making proper friends and only having melt downs occasionally. The TA was used to keep an eye on ds rather than for one to one close support. This gave him some independence. At the end of reception he got a really good report.

He moved into yr 1 and in October last year I was told he had made such great progress he no longer needed TA hours or even an IEP. I was over the moon.
I've since discovered that the TA hours were removed due to a reduction in budget not ds' progress and his behaviour has been getting steadily worse in school. He is in a class of 26 children of 2 yr groups and the teacher is often left with no TA support at all, despite there being 5 other children with some level of SEN in her class. In the last 3 weeks ds has started hitting children again, has drawn on the furniture, thrown toys, refused to do his work and spent a lot of time in the head's office.

I had a long meeting yesterday with the head and ds' teacher (who is also the SENCO) and am really unhappy with how it went. The head began quite defensively, telling me that only children with a statement received any SEN funding. I replied that this was not true, every school gets an SEN budget to share among children on the register. Statemented children get EXTRA funding. Well, yes,she said, that is true. She said it was evident that as soon as ds arrived at the school that he had 'severe problems'. I then asked why I had been told he no longer needed an IEP, why they had never logged any behavioural incidents and why they hadn't sought the help of an Ed psych. I asked if a fundamental error had been made last year. "no I wouldn't say that' was her reply.

The upshot seems to be they won't (they say can't) give ds back the hours he had. The head said we need to get him a statement in order for support to be funded. I pointed out that even if he got a statement it was unlikely to be for more than the 14 hours necessary to get an extra funding. The senco then said that ds would need to be two levels behind his peers to get a statement anyway. He is 2 levels above in reading and maths and average in writing. They say they can't put any extra support in now because they need evidence of the poor behaviour for the statement application.

So we are trapped. They won't support him without a statement, therefore his behaviour will get worse. He won't get a statement because he is too clever and even if he did it probably wouldn't bring any more money into the school anyway. They have said they will try to get an Ed psych appointment but that could take months. I ended up tearful and despondent. We have agreed to meet in two weeks to discuss his behaviour again but I can't see the point.
Please can anyone give me some advice on where to go from here? For what it's worth his behaviour at home has continued to improve. We see a bright, funny little boy who would be coping with just a little extra help.
thanks

RnB Sat 11-Feb-12 08:32:53

Ask the LEA to assess for a statement. It has nothing to do with how clever your son is - the senco us talking out if her arse.

A statement is a legal contract which will ensure your son has the support he needs and avoids all of the crap you are going through now.

Honestly get a statement. My ASD son has been statemented since he was 2.

deaconblue Sat 11-Feb-12 09:45:24

so can I approach the LEA or do I have to persuade the school to get on with it?

and the school should still go ahead with organising the ed psych.even if it takes months.

cyb Sat 11-Feb-12 09:50:24

shopping I thought it was to do with academic levels and how far behind they were as to statement provision

Children with SEN in our school who dont qualify for a statement as they are not far enough behind sometimes get a package of hours to be used as support. This comes for our SN budget as far as I'm aware.

It sounds like at the very least your school needs a clear concise behavioural management plan for your son that everyone adheres to, as as you say yourself, he wasn't necessarily being supported before just supervised and managed.

Schools can usually rob Peter to pay for Paul in cases where children are being hurt

cyb Sat 11-Feb-12 09:51:10

But you should also go as far as you can down the statement route as its not the school who decides

Dustinthewind Sat 11-Feb-12 09:55:47

Statements are based on level of need, nothing to do with academic ability. He may be clever, but if his other needs are severe enough then he is entitled to proper support and a statement.
You need to keep your own log of every incident if the school are not and push for proper support against the opposition you are facing. You need to accumulate evidence and get your bolshie flame-proof knickers ready.
It may be a long haul, but worth it.

deaconblue Sat 11-Feb-12 09:59:22

I think he's been allowed to rule the roost this year. I was called into to school in January because he was 'reading all day instead of doing his work'. I said they should make him do his work, we make him do stuff he doesn't want to all the time at home. Teacher looked surprised as if this was a revolutionary idea. If there is no one clearly in charge ds will put himself in charge. He was refusing to eat in the dinner hall so they just let him eat in the corridor. I kicked up a fuss, said it wasn't helping his social problems to eat alone and insisted they make him eat with the other children. He had a moan on day 1 and has been sitting nicely with the other children since.
I will get the ball rolling with applying for a statement.

deaconblue Sat 11-Feb-12 10:00:23

btw thanks for all replies. it is so helpful smile

Coconutty Sat 11-Feb-12 10:12:12

Statements aren't given non the basis of academic levels. Behaviour is taken into consideration too. Would you be able to pay for a private Ed Psych report? This should be very helpful in assessing your sons needs.

Push, push, push the school for help now and also in getting a statement.

Dustinthewind Sat 11-Feb-12 10:19:23

You could tell them my personal mantra, a diagnosis is an explanation not an excuse.
It sounds as if they have very low expectations of him and are not setting any boundaries or small challenges within hos capacity to achieve. Which is not good news.

deaconblue Sat 11-Feb-12 10:20:44

we could definitely pay for a private ed psych report. Not sure how to go about it though. How can I find a decent ed psych who does private work? Ds' reception teacher got me to sign a permission slip for an ed psych visit then told me that the ed psych had told her ds wasn't bad enough to need a visit. Am now wondering if the school chose not to spend their hours on a visit for ds instead.

deaconblue Sat 11-Feb-12 10:23:01

dustinthewind, I totally agree. I keep telling school that it is our joint responsibility to show ds how to fit in with society as much as he is capable of. We are really quite strict with him at home because we don't want his aspergers to rule all our lives. Obviously some things are too distressing for him, I wouldn't dream of taking him to a really crowded, noisy place, he would be desperately unhappy but to as great an extent as possible we encourage/insist on 'normality'

Dustinthewind Sat 11-Feb-12 10:27:00

Mine is now 17 and able to live and function in the world with some reasonable accommodations. Most of which he now recognises and implements for himself, or is capable of explaining to others.
That's because his secondary and his 6th form worked in active partnership with me. They were and are amazing, and without that interactive relationship DS would be a very different proposition for the world to have to deal with.

Hi shopping,

re your comment:-
"The upshot seems to be they won't (they say can't) give ds back the hours he had. The head said we need to get him a statement in order for support to be funded. I pointed out that even if he got a statement it was unlikely to be for more than the 14 hours necessary to get an extra funding. The senco then said that ds would need to be two levels behind his peers to get a statement anyway".

SENCO is talking out of her behind; you were told an out and out lie here re this last sentence. Such blanket policy is not allowed in law and is unlawful. It is also nothing to do with how clever he is; that is not how it works at all.

You can approach the LEA yourself and I would advise you to act on this asap.
Apply for the statement yourself and ignore the naysayers; you are truly your child's best and only advocate here. If you apply you know its been done then (some schools can sit on apps for ages) and importantly you can appeal in the event the LEA say no; the school CANNOT do this.

IPSEA's website is good at the whole statementing process www.ipsea.org.uk
Use the letters on their website.

Statements are granted ideally only on basis of need; it is clear to me that your DS needs a statement. It will give him the legal protection he badly needs with regards to his educational rights. No other plan offered will give you and him that.

You do not have long before your son goes into Juniors and Juniors can be a tough old game for those with additional needs whose needs do not get met. You need to act now; this is also because no-one else will.

deaconblue Sat 11-Feb-12 15:56:04

thanks again everyone, really helpful

Niceweather Mon 13-Feb-12 10:42:29

Also try Parent Partnership for advice:

http://www.parentpartnership.org.uk/

alison222 Tue 14-Feb-12 12:50:55

Just to let you know we got a statement for social difficulties and "barriers to education" - sensory problems re music , social difficulties -and physical (hypermobilty) re PE and also for writing - he has OT program for hand strength, so it is possible.

In truth academically my DS is doing really well and we were initially advised by school that we wouldn't get a statement because of this.

Have a look at your council's guidance re ASD and statements and cherry pick the phrases they look for and find out how you can evidence these if they apply. In my borough it was called "guidelines for schools for statutory assessment in schools and early years in XXXX" and also the Special educational needs code of practice is worth a read to help you use the right sort of language when they ask for parents views- you can download it here

Start putting everything to the school in writing to provide a trail of evidence. Start with sending notes to confirm the content of your meeting on Friday. Keep it factual - you said "xyz" . "ABC behaviour is happening" etc. Detail each of the incidents over the last 3 weeks as you have been informed about them with a date and ask the school to confirm that this is what they have on their records (I's a way to check if they are keeping proper records of them, so that you can use it as evidence - and so can the school when talking about the reasons you have for needing a statement).

Ask for a date for the Ed Phyc appointment. You can also ask to meed the Ed Psyc too.

Ask if they receive outreach help from any local special schools who deal with ASD. Ask to meet the outreach worker. Ask to see the recommendations of the outreach worker.

Every time there is an incident that your DS tells you about, write a short note to the teacher detailing what you have been told and ask them to investigate if appropriate. This means that you are helping them keep a log I know but then you are sure it is being done.

deaconblue Tue 14-Feb-12 15:15:06

Great advice Alison thanks. I've written a detailed review of last week's meeting as I was aware no one was taking minutes and intend to send it to the head. Will make my own log too

abeltasman Sat 25-Feb-12 11:35:55

I have great sympathy for the OP, my son has Aspergers but because he was so far ahead academically they failed to accept there was a problem until Y2, despite significant behavioural issues that they either verbally told us about (but never recorded), or neglected to tell us about and I heard about 2nd or 3rd hand. Grrr.

Very long story short, we asked for inclusion on SEN register at School Action, but a statement was considered too 'much' as yet, but we will have to see how it goes. The Outreach worker hasn't visited yet due to paperwork issues, but I am hoping that will make a difference. They have made some concessions re sensory issues, but the biggest issue for us is the playground; the lunchstaff are not in any way trained to handle his issues with unstructured time, despite this being his biggest problem.

I would just be very pedantic about recording everything. I wasn't and that's why it took us so long to force the school into action. If you have a concrete record it will a)force the school to have to take action and b) hopefully show that the school has been remiss in record keeping; trust me, with OFSTED changing and toughening up they will be running scared of this failure and will step up a notch.

Well done so far. I am sure our school thinks we are really 'hard' on my DS but he craves structure, and letting him get away with stuff at school undoes all the hard work. Sounds like you have your finger on what makes your DS happy and secure, and the school needs to work with you on that.

Good luck and let us know how you go.

alison222 Sat 25-Feb-12 17:20:39

albeltasman I just wanted to let you know that we had the same issues with DS before his statement too. I pushed and pushed the school as all the issues were mainly around play/lunchtimes when it is unstructured. I managed to get them to run things to keep him busy over a period of several years leading to him having much less unstructured time outside.

For instance they run a "social " club one lunchtime where specially invited children (selected by TA) have lunch separately and talk and play games all related to teaching him social cues/how to relate better. It has then helped the other children to get to know him better and then things are better in the playground too. They also have one lunch where the year is allowed to use the computers so he spends one lunchtime there, and one where a sports teacher takes several children to play team games who require intervention.

Overall this lack of stress around lunchtimes has led to his behaviour improving both in and out of the classroom at school.

I know that this is a bit of a long "me" post but wanted to give you examples of what can be done and what has worked for us. all of this was under SA+ by the way.
Don't give up. Push for help in these times

deaconblue Sun 26-Feb-12 18:14:22

thanks all. The school has miraculously found time for a TA to be with ds now (having told me in October he didn't need one and two weeks ago that there was simply no funding for him to have any TA support at all). It seems that the more one kicks off the more help one's child will get. I've emailed the Head with a detailed summary of his time at the school, term by term, including awards he has won for good behaviour and incidents of poor behaviour I have been informed of. That was 10 days ago, no reply as yet. I'm lucky that he is unfailingly honest so tells me every time he's done something wrong or been in trouble as the school aren't recording much at all.

He is now apparently sitting in the classroom and getting on with his work but apparently can't sit for more than 10 mins without getting stroppy (this irritates me because by the end of his reception year he was working with as good concentration as the other children and I feel that the teacher has let him slide backwards). At least they are making him do the work now though.

Friendships have suffered as a result of his behaviour break downs before half term. This is so disappointing as his reception teacher had worked so hard to help him develop and maintain friendships. His 'best friend' doesn't want to play with him at the moment. I'm hoping that a few weeks of better, calmer behaviour will lead to his friends wanting to play with him once more. He finds this really confusing as he forgives and forgets so quickly.

I'm going to work towards applying for a statement myself as the school can't be trusted to get anything done imo

alison222 Sun 26-Feb-12 19:07:40

Ask if they have tried a move'n'sit cushion. The OT recommended it to us for the classroom. It gives them some physical stimulus while sitting on the chair without having to get up and fidget so much.

madwomanintheattic Sun 26-Feb-12 19:38:45

Or a dynaband on the chair legs, or a fidget box on the desk that he can choose one item out of (or a small piece of blu tax that he can squish -not distracting to peers)

School should be applying for the statement if they say he needs funding and they can't provide. Tsk.

Sadly, you are quite right. The more disruptive and likely to distract or actually hurt other hurt, the more likely they are to pay attention. Has ever been thus.

And yes, she is talking out of her arse wrt academic attainment.

Dd2 was working 7 years ahead in reception and was statemented. Each case is judged on need, not academic ability. Or it should be, anyway.

deaconblue Sun 26-Feb-12 20:11:27

They have just given him a sit and move cushion - which he hates because it smells of new plastic! So often one 'cure' brings with it associated problems. He had a fidget thing in reception, bound to be another thing that has been forgotten about. Will check tomorrow. They used sand timers last week and were delighted with the difference it made. I sighed inwardly as Pre school and reception teacher used them and I had assumed they were still in use. Lots of the stuff they have put in place this week is so simple and obvious and should have been used all year sad
Thanks to everyone for replies and suggestions

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