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cmuir

Academic achievements versus social skills

Academic achievements versus social skills   28 members have voted

  1. 1. Which is more important, academic achievements or social skills

    • Academic achievements
    • Social skills

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

75 posts in this topic

Yes, and the whole processes, even SEN support is based on 'a suitable' education, not the best available. Which is why the Statementing process requires that each and every need is identified and met.

But surely that's a contradiction in terms? If the statementing process requires that 'each and every need is identified and met' (my italics) then surely that would be the 'best available'? And if a statemented child has access to the 'best available' education which provides that 'each and every need' of the child be met, then surely it would be discriminatory not to provide every other child in the UK with an education that identified and met each and every need...

And that's simply not a realistic model. Any child's education has to consider many factors; costing, the wellbeing of the child, the wellbeing of other children, the security of staff, the fair distribution of resources, the fair allocation of resources... the list is pretty much endless, but without a doubt the number of children in this country (and I'm sure in other countries)who receive an education where each and every need is identidied and met would be minute, even within the private sector.

 

Which is why LEA and NHS professionals are limited in what needs they identify because of the funding implications. And it is also based on the gradulated approach, which I also agree with. But what I don't agree with is the time it takes to go through the process, especially when professionals involved DO have alot of experience of assessing and working with children like ours. And they already know the probably prognosis and pathway. I have recently had the LEA SALT say to me that she will support me in seeking the school placement I wish for secondary (don't know if she will follow through though), but she has said that presently she feels that his current school is 'adequate'. And under law that is all that is required. I would beg to differ, but the time and money input is probably not worth it at this stage. But at transfer I will go the distance.

 

It is a difficult balance. Parents are responsible, and do have to leave schools to get on with it to a certain extent. But when progress is not seen they have to get involved.

 

I do agree with some of the other points you make, and particularly regarding the final paragraph, but I think how parents get involved is also vitally important. It is not reasonable when parents - whether of autistic children, otherwise disabled children, NT children (if there be such a beast!) - will consider no other factor beyond their wishes for their own child (often pursued against the advice, recommendations, findings and conclusions of professionals or perhaps with the endorsement of a privately paid consultant with no more than a casual acquaintance with the child concerned), or where the 'instincts' of the parent and/or practices at home actually undermine the best efforts of the education system.

 

In terms of the original topic, though, and academic achievement versus social skills, it would seem clear (IMO) that the 'most suitable' education would be one that addressed both, and that many aspects of the school curriculum actually do that as a matter of course. The expectation of 'good listening', for example, is a social skill whether practised in the assembly room at school, the living room at home, an interview room with a prospective employer, a chat with friends or in a communication group workshop. The only real difference, I guess (thinking about it as I've writen it) is that in a communication group workshop it's only a rehearsal for real life, whereas the other scenarios it's actually 'real life experience'. That's not, of course, to suggest that rehearsal isn't valuable and beneficial or even, in certain circumstances, vital. But if the expectations in rehearsal aren't reinforced and transferred into those real life situations as and when they arise they will never be anything more than 'role play'.

 

L&P

 

BD

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Parents have a legal responsibility to cause their child to have an education suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs. The ‘cause to have’ clause recognizes that the task, but not the responsibility, of education can be delegated. Most parents delegate the task to local authorities, who in turn delegate it to schools. If a child is at school, there is an implicit assumption that the school will act in loco parentis, so if a child needs medical attention, or care, or discipline, or support with learning, during the school day, the school will provide it. The debate about exactly where the parent’s and school’s responsibilities begin and end has raged for decades. Since it’s going to be impossible to reach a consensus amongst parents about what responsibilities schools should or shouldn’t have, I think it’s down to school to make it clear what they are prepared to do and not do, so that parents at least know what service the school is actually offering.

 

I've recently finished an Open University set book on SEN, published in 1981. (Found it at a jumble sale.) Prior to the Warnock report, there were two major problems with ESN provision, as it was then. One was that children with significant learning difficulties were deemed 'uneducable' and so weren't fulfilling their potential, and the other was that academically able children with physical difficulties weren't getting the quality of education they could access in mainstream school, if they weren't disabled. The sea-change in SEN provision that took place after 1979 meant that children with learning difficulties or disabilities were entitled to a suitable education. This wasn’t an insurmountable problem at the time, because schools designed their own curricula and teachers were expected to differentiate learning for pupils of different abilities and aptitudes.

 

A PPS officer (former teacher of the deaf) told me that the original idea of a statement was that children who at one time would have attended a special school, would be entitled to any support they needed in order for them to receive a suitable education in a mainstream setting. Judging by the case studies in the OU book, it was assumed that over time mainstream schools would accumulate the expertise and resources they needed to accommodate all but the most severely disabled children. I didn’t get the impression that children with SEN were then seen as expensive add-ons to the system, who needed specialist provision brought in from outside.

 

The problems began in 1988 with the introduction of increased school autonomy, a compulsory national curriculum, and making SATs/GCSE results a school performance indicator. In addition, research had shown that certain teaching strategies, notably whole-class ones, led to improved test results. These changes may or may not have benefited children in the middle ability range, but for SEN children, the systems pressures set up by these changes were disastrous, because there were now positive disincentives to schools to invest resources in SEN provision. In addition, SEN training was gradually phased out, and mainstream teachers were not SEN trained. How this ever appeared like a good idea is beyond me.

 

I think the law is clear that each child is entitled to an education suitable to his or her age, ability, aptitude and special needs. It’s self-evident, in fact, that if a child doesn’t receive an education suitable to them as an individual, they will not learn well. Obviously, there has to be some degree of compromise, since schools have to educate lots of different children, but if children are failing to be educated because they don’t fit a monolithic system, or because schools do not have sufficient resources to provide an education suitable for children as individuals, I think some serious questions need to be asked about the goals of our education system, and the way it is expected to meet them.

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But if the expectations in rehearsal aren't reinforced and transferred into those real life situations as and when they arise they will never be anything more than 'role play'

 

I think that is one of the major difficulties with Social Skills provision as I see it regardless of the setting except perhaps in Specialist Provision where there is a twenty four hour curriculum.

 

In our case the professional who does the vast majority of ''Social Skills'' work for want of a better phrase is an ASD outreach teacher who visits once a fortnight for forty five minutes and is employed by the LA.She can practice role play but any direct input requires NT peers whos parents would not I am sure be keen for them to be removed from accademic lessons to work regularly with Ben.

 

TAs in theory support Ben in some subjects however they are all subject based and have no specific training.They support Ben when the needs arises in lessons however when a teacher plans group work it usually in a lesson with no TA. :)

 

The Head of Year does a lot because she cares about Ben and she is a very good year head rather than it being within her role.None of what she does fulfils the provision in the Statement.

 

Subject teachers offer hugely varied amounts of support.Some do far more than we could ever hope whilst one last year wrote on Ben's report that they were aware that Ben found some work difficult because of his dyslexia.

 

We do an awful lot at home and have been helped by many friends over the years.

 

However there is no continuity,no clear plan,hugely differing expectations [amongst teaching staff and professionals more than between home and school].

 

We have worked with over one hundred professionals in the last three years on what would be broadly called ''Social Skills work'' so there is no wonder that there is confusion at times.

 

What is more school do not do the vast majority of the ''real life'' stuff that impacts Ben due to AS in a way that Ben can accessthe information.He is very able at school,is a model pupil in terms of his behaviour and in a structured environment in lessons working alone or answering direct questions he is fine.

 

We manage as best we can with day to day real life Social Situations such as how to avoid being mugged,how to spot when someone is about to assault you in the street,how to react when you are abused on the bus,how to cope on a central line train in rush hour,how to get shopping in a crowded supermarket,how to use a gym,how to cope with a noisy cinema,how to cope in a coffee shop when the service is awful,how not to repeat information that your teenage brother told you in the expectation that it would not be repeated to mum.

 

Many of these are situations which are covered in school as part of the curriculum with the expectation that pupils will learn as part of the curriculum.Our elder son does.However Ben does not have any differentiated planned support with these issues other than what the outreach teacher picks up on.So much of the stuff Ben does in PAL does amount to little more than role play.

 

We just try to practice as best we can which is not easy when the local police advise me not to go to places where we might practice such as the local park or to allow Ben to go down the road five minutes from the houseto the nearest shop after school.

 

We were very fortunate to have some excellent support from CAMHS on the basis of a previous diagnosis unrelated to AS.However most parents in our situation have access to a monthly support group and perhaps some post diagnostic advice.They do not know about Social Stories,visual supports and the many other things that professionals regard as standard for pupils with AS.

 

School provide loads of input for pupils with challenging behaviour who might be described as having Social Emotional and Behvioural Difficulties because it is a major issue.So there is a clear consequences code,sanctions etc .

 

Many of Ben's peers need support with good listening,good sitting,not swearing,not throwing things,not hitting etc etc.These are all behavioural issues.Ben needs support to recognise when the previous group are doing all of the above and how to manage the anxiety it creates.That is why he has a Statement for AS and dyspraxia and if they did have a Statement it would be for BESD.

Edited by Karen A

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The Code of Practice says that EVERY NEED SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED. I'm sure others can find the clause before I do.

And Case Law says that the Statement should quantify and specify how each need will be met in terms of hours of support and staffing arrangements.

Identifying a need and saying how it will be supported does not mean that that will be the best education possible. That may still only be adequate. For example a child might be identified as having dyslexia and it might say that child will receive xx hours per term of specialist teaching. And the Tribunal might consider that 'suitable'. However the parents might have been asking for a placement at a school for children with dyslexia on the grounds that the child needs specific approaches, a similar peer group, needs a SALT or OT in school to meet other needs etc. The Panel may not agree with that and could say that although the specific dyslexia school can meet all the childs needs that it is not a good use of the LEA's resources and that the mainstream provision with some specialist teaching is enough.

 

And remember we are talking about SEN needs, not just needs. There has to be a significant level of difficulty for the child to have a Statement and for those needs to be identified in the first place.

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The Code of Practice says that EVERY NEED SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED. I'm sure others can find the clause before I do.

And Case Law says that the Statement should quantify and specify how each need will be met in terms of hours of support and staffing arrangements.

Identifying a need and saying how it will be supported does not mean that that will be the best education possible. That may still only be adequate. For example a child might be identified as having dyslexia and it might say that child will receive xx hours per term of specialist teaching. And the Tribunal might consider that 'suitable'. However the parents might have been asking for a placement at a school for children with dyslexia on the grounds that the child needs specific approaches, a similar peer group, needs a SALT or OT in school to meet other needs etc. The Panel may not agree with that and could say that although the specific dyslexia school can meet all the childs needs that it is not a good use of the LEA's resources and that the mainstream provision with some specialist teaching is enough.

 

And remember we are talking about SEN needs, not just needs. There has to be a significant level of difficulty for the child to have a Statement and for those needs to be identified in the first place.

 

I think this might be the information you are thinking about.

It is from the COP on SEN subsection 8.

I don't know how the faces with glasses have appeared though. :D

 

 

Part 2 of the statement should describe all the childs learning difficulties identified during

the statutory assessment. It should also include a description of the childs current

functioning what the child can and cannot do. The description in Part 2 should draw on

and may refer to the professional advice attached in the appendices. Where the LEA

adopt that advice in their description of the childs learning difficulties, they should say

that they have done so. But merely stating that they are adopting the advice in the

appendices is not sufficient. The advice received may contain conflicting opinions or

opinions open to interpretation, which the LEA must resolve, giving reasons for the

conclusions they have reached. All advice must be considered and appended to the

statement. Part 2 should be set out in a fashion which can relate directly to the

description of provision set out in Part 3 (B).

Part 3: Special educational provision

8:33 Once a childs special educational needs have been assessed and set out in full in part 2,

the LEA must specify, in Part 3, the special educational provision to meet those needs.

The key objective in specifying provision is to help the child to learn and develop.

8:34 Part 3 of the statement is divided into three sub-sections:

a the first sub-section should set out the main objectives which the provision aims to

meet. These objectives should directly relate to the needs set out in Part 2 and should

be described in terms that will allow the LEA and the school to monitor and review the

childs progress over time. They should generally be of a longer-term nature than the

more specific, short-term targets in the childs Individual Education Plan.

b the second sub-section should specify all of the special educational provision the

LEA consider appropriate for all the learning difficulties in Part 2, even where some of

the provision will be made by direct intervention on the part of the authority, some will

be made by the childs school from within its own resources, and some may be made

by the health authority. It is the LEA that is responsible for arranging the provision in

the statement, irrespective of who actually delivers it, unless the LEA is satisfied that

the childs parents have themselves made suitable arrangements.

8:35 The Education (Special Educational Needs) (England) (Consolidation) Regulations 2001

say that a statement must specify:

(a) any appropriate facilities and equipment, staffing arrangements and curriculum

(B) any appropriate modifications to the application of the National Curriculum

102

Chapter 8: Statements of Special Educational Needs

© any appropriate exclusions from the application of the National Curriculum,

in detail, and the provision which it is proposed to substitute for any such

exclusions in order to maintain a balanced and broadly based curriculum; and

(d) where residential accommodation is appropriate, that fact.

8:36 A statement should specify clearly the provision necessary to meet the needs of the child.

It should detail appropriate provision to meet each identified need. It will be helpful to the

childs parents and teachers if the provision in this sub-section is set out in the same

order as the description of needs in Part 2.

8:37 LEAs must make decisions about which actions and provision are appropriate for which

pupils on an individual basis. This can only be done by a careful assessment of the pupils

difficulties and consideration of the educational setting in which they may be educated.

Provision should normally be quantified (e.g. in terms of hours of provision, staffing

arrangements) although there will be cases where some flexibility should be retained in

order to meet the changing special educational needs of the child concerned. It will

always be necessary for LEAs to monitor, with the school or other setting, the childs

progress towards identified outcomes, however provision is described. LEAs must not,

in any circumstances, have blanket policies not to quantify provision.

8:38 LEAs should also set out, in accordance with section 364 of the Education Act 1996, any

disapplications or modifications of the provisions of the National Curriculum (in terms of

attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements) which they

consider necessary to meet the childs special educational needs, together with details

as to how a broad and balanced curriculum is to be maintained. It is not necessary to

modify National Curriculum provisions to enable a child to study at a lower level than

applies to most of the pupils working within the same key stage. Where pupils are

educated at home by their parents there is no requirement to deliver the National

Curriculum. Where pupils are at the foundation stage this section should set out how

the special educational provision will enable the child to access the curriculum with

reference to the early learning goals.

8

Edited by Karen A

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The Code of Practice says that EVERY NEED SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED. I'm sure others can find the clause before I do.

And Case Law says that the Statement should quantify and specify how each need will be met in terms of hours of support and staffing arrangements.

Identifying a need and saying how it will be supported does not mean that that will be the best education possible. That may still only be adequate. For example a child might be identified as having dyslexia and it might say that child will receive xx hours per term of specialist teaching. And the Tribunal might consider that 'suitable'. However the parents might have been asking for a placement at a school for children with dyslexia on the grounds that the child needs specific approaches, a similar peer group, needs a SALT or OT in school to meet other needs etc. The Panel may not agree with that and could say that although the specific dyslexia school can meet all the childs needs that it is not a good use of the LEA's resources and that the mainstream provision with some specialist teaching is enough.

 

And remember we are talking about SEN needs, not just needs. There has to be a significant level of difficulty for the child to have a Statement and for those needs to be identified in the first place.

 

Regardless of whether the code of practice says EVERY NEED SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED and whatever it says about how a statement should be written the fact is that it'll never happen... I think that wording does create huge problems when people take it very literally, and maybe that needs to be looked at if people are going to try to enforce it 'to the letter' for their child with no regard for the wider implications for every other child in a school. The qualification that in real terms needs to be made (which you've identified) is that 'how the child will be supported (or responded to)' one as opposed to the impossible how it will be met. And yes, I do take your point about needs being identified by statements, but we are also told that initiatives like 'every child counts' and 'School action plus' that non-statemented children should also have their needs identified and met. An education system that ensured the needs of the small minority of statemented children in mainstream schools were 'met' but was completely free to overlook the needs of the vast majority of children who don't have statements would still be an inequal one - just with the shoe on the other foot...

There are further considerations, as I've highlighted in my first post, about how needs are identified, and how disagreements can be resolved where conflicting evidence is forthcoming or opinions differ.

 

As I say, a child's education has to consider many, many factors. At the moment there is, IMO, far too little consideration given to the external factors that can make a major difference to how children behave, interact and respond in school. I am in no way applying that exclusively to SEN education and certainly am not commenting on any individual case that might have cropped up on the board ( though, coincidentally, it certainly does apply to one apsect of the OP - that of social skills and expectations - even if not specifically related to autistic or disabled people). I think it is a huge social issue, encompassing all sorts of wider politcical considerations that have nothing to do with disability whatsoever. We need a society that is more tolerant generally, not one that is just forced by legislation to appear more tolerant of minorities while actually becoming, on an individual level, increasingly more selfish and prejudice.

 

L&P

 

BD

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The Code of Practice is certainly far from perfect however it is the legal framework for SEN as it stands.It says every need should be identified and provision quantified and specified.

 

ACE,IPSEA and any local authorities who wish to abide by it recognise that this is currently the case.

The legal framework is there to be inerpreted by professionals rigidly.The law is not usually a matter of negotiation.

 

I am sure that there are many people who would love to consider the broader social issues and parenting as factors in children with SEN.However this would no doubt lead to parents being blamed for all manner of SEN so as to avoid putting provision in place.

 

I notice that the DFES web sites now state something to the effect that current policy is up for review.So who knows perhaps the Government will decide to save money and abolish Statements all together.

 

This would be one way to avoid the current system where some have Statements and some do not and of those who have Statements some have Specialist Provision funded [of those some in Specialist Independent Provision at huge cost]and other do not.

 

http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/Index.php?/topic/25355-oh-my-god/

 

I have posted a link because I did think this could well be related.

Just this afternoon I read with dismay this thread and wondered how much it is to do with money saving.

If SS and health have already started to reduce previously agreed provision I do seriously wonder whether Statements will be next.

 

Karen.

Edited by Karen A

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I am sure that there are many people who would love to consider the broader social issues and parenting as factors in children with SEN.However this would no doubt lead to parents being blamed for all manner of SEN so as to avoid putting provision in place.

 

Karen.

 

Hi Karen -

I'm not sure what you mean by this(?) Why do you feel that consideration of broader social issues would result in parent's being 'blamed' for SEN? I think that looking at broader social issues could certainly help to identify problems within our society like crime, poverty, violence, aggression, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc etc, and certainly some of the factors contributing to them. I would hope that by looking at them we could find some solutions for them rather than 'scapegoats'. Any form of blind prejudice that blamed parents for SEN issues would just be replacing one set of scapegoats with another (LEA officers, teachers, 'bad' professionals - and, yes, in line with the point you make (I think) I'm sure parents can be unfairly 'blamed' too), and that of course would help no one. But looking without prejudice, without the kinds of assumptions that are too often made on both sides of the fence, could only be a good thing, surely?

 

Taking as an example something completely removed from autism/disability so not to cause any (unintended) offence :

 

A few years ago my son felt left out because he was one of the few children in his school who ate a packed lunch. This was because of his GF/DF diet, which the school caterers couldn't, er, cater for.

Then along came Jamie Oliver and his school dinners programme, and at last the school caterers were forced to get their act together and he could eat school dinners. He was really pleased :thumbs::thumbs: Yippee! Until he went back after the summer hols and found that pretty much the whole school was now taking in packed lunches because the kids, if they couldn't have turkey twizzlers and chips every day, would rather have crisps, cakes, cheesy strings, fruit shoots and crackers...

Now looking at that without prejudice, when we live in a society that gets unhealthier by the day, that has to be a case (unless all the kids were responsible for making up their own lunches)of parents making bad decisions for the wrong reasons. And addressing that, without prejudice whether through legislation/whatever and re-education could only be a good thing.

Apologies to anyone by the way who is already screaming 'but my kid won't eat anything else except...', because it's pretty much impossible to think of anything that won't apply to someone somewhere... but looking at the problem in general terms there is a 'broader social issue' here that could only be addressed by looking at it and being honest about what we see.

 

Hope that makes sense

 

L&P

 

BD

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Hi Karen -

I'm not sure what you mean by this(?) Why do you feel that consideration of broader social issues would result in parent's being 'blamed' for SEN? I think that looking at broader social issues could certainly help to identify problems within our society like crime, poverty, violence, aggression, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc etc, and certainly some of the factors contributing to them. I would hope that by looking at them we could find some solutions for them rather than 'scapegoats'. Any form of blind prejudice that blamed parents for SEN issues would just be replacing one set of scapegoats with another (LEA officers, teachers, 'bad' professionals - and, yes, in line with the point you make (I think) I'm sure parents can be unfairly 'blamed' too), and that of course would help no one. But looking without prejudice, without the kinds of assumptions that are too often made on both sides of the fence, could only be a good thing, surely?

 

Taking as an example something completely removed from autism/disability so not to cause any (unintended) offence :

 

A few years ago my son felt left out because he was one of the few children in his school who ate a packed lunch. This was because of his GF/DF diet, which the school caterers couldn't, er, cater for.

Then along came Jamie Oliver and his school dinners programme, and at last the school caterers were forced to get their act together and he could eat school dinners. He was really pleased :thumbs::thumbs: Yippee! Until he went back after the summer hols and found that pretty much the whole school was now taking in packed lunches because the kids, if they couldn't have turkey twizzlers and chips every day, would rather have crisps, cakes, cheesy strings, fruit shoots and crackers...

Now looking at that without prejudice, when we live in a society that gets unhealthier by the day, that has to be a case (unless all the kids were responsible for making up their own lunches)of parents making bad decisions for the wrong reasons. And addressing that, without prejudice whether through legislation/whatever and re-education could only be a good thing.

Apologies to anyone by the way who is already screaming 'but my kid won't eat anything else except...', because it's pretty much impossible to think of anything that won't apply to someone somewhere... but looking at the problem in general terms there is a 'broader social issue' here that could only be addressed by looking at it and being honest about what we see.

 

Hope that makes sense

 

L&P

 

BD

 

I do not feel the need to spend any time entering into a debate with you about an issue that I feel is completely unrelated to the original topic.

 

Feel freee to start another thread and others can then decide whether they wish to discuss with you whatever question it is you are asking or perhaps others may wish to respond.

I have spent too much time here in the last few days and intend to do something enjoyable today.

Edited by Karen A

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I do not feel the need to spend any time entering into a debate with you about an issue that I feel is completely unrelated to the original topic.

 

Feel freee to start another thread and others can then decide whether they wish to discuss with you whatever question it is you are asking or perhaps others may wish to respond.

I have spent too much time here in the last few days and intend to do something enjoyable today.

 

No, that's fine. I didn't want a 'debate', I just didn't understand the (unrelated?) issue you had brought up.

Hope the 'day off' is a good one - Not looking too bad at all for october so far :thumbs:

 

L&P

 

BD

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Parents have a legal responsibility to cause their child to have an education suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs. The ‘cause to have’ clause recognizes that the task, but not the responsibility, of education can be delegated. Most parents delegate the task to local authorities, who in turn delegate it to schools. If a child is at school, there is an implicit assumption that the school will act in loco parentis, so if a child needs medical attention, or care, or discipline, or support with learning, during the school day, the school will provide it. The debate about exactly where the parent’s and school’s responsibilities begin and end has raged for decades. Since it’s going to be impossible to reach a consensus amongst parents about what responsibilities schools should or shouldn’t have, I think it’s down to school to make it clear what they are prepared to do and not do, so that parents at least know what service the school is actually offering.

 

I think that's a very sensible strategy to take. An AS support group teaches kids social skills and life skills but attitudes towards it by parents vary considerably. Some parents think it's the best thing since sliced bread and accept that schools are unable or unwilling to teach the social skills and life skills that kids with AS require, now or in the foreseeable future. Other parents are disgusted and dismayed that they have to resort to using services outside of the mainstream school system and believe that it is the responsibility of the school to provide such services.

 

I've recently finished an Open University set book on SEN, published in 1981. (Found it at a jumble sale.) Prior to the Warnock report, there were two major problems with ESN provision, as it was then. One was that children with significant learning difficulties were deemed 'uneducable' and so weren't fulfilling their potential, and the other was that academically able children with physical difficulties weren't getting the quality of education they could access in mainstream school, if they weren't disabled. The sea-change in SEN provision that took place after 1979 meant that children with learning difficulties or disabilities were entitled to a suitable education. This wasn’t an insurmountable problem at the time, because schools designed their own curricula and teachers were expected to differentiate learning for pupils of different abilities and aptitudes/

 

My primary schools in the pre-NC era were unwilling to alter the curricula or teaching styles to accommodate my SEN. They wouldn't even let me do written work on a computer because of problems with handwriting. I don't consider this pre-NC era to be 'good old days'.

 

I think the law is clear that each child is entitled to an education suitable to his or her age, ability, aptitude and special needs. It’s self-evident, in fact, that if a child doesn’t receive an education suitable to them as an individual, they will not learn well. Obviously, there has to be some degree of compromise, since schools have to educate lots of different children, but if children are failing to be educated because they don’t fit a monolithic system, or because schools do not have sufficient resources to provide an education suitable for children as individuals, I think some serious questions need to be asked about the goals of our education system, and the way it is expected to meet them.

 

Serious questions of the sort you mention were raised decades ago and continue to be raised each year.

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Academic achievements in the first instance.

 

But I think out there in the world of work social skills seem to merit better.

 

Makes one wonder why they don't place more emphasis on social skill development through the education system particularly for those who don't mix so well because of social difficulties?!!

Edited by Mike_GX101

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All the qualifications in the world are useless if you don't have the social skills to enable you to get a job in the first place to actually USE them.

 

~ Mel ~

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All the qualifications in the world are useless if you don't have the social skills to enable you to get a job in the first place to actually USE them.

 

~ Mel ~

 

Yes and no: there are some areas where your professional skills are so sought after that your social skills become rather unimportant.

If you are "brilliant" ...

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That's hardly the norm though, is it.

 

~ Mel ~

Of course not. But you stated "all the qualifications ..." and I merely wanted to point out that there exist some, indeed, which enable you to get a job. It is a minority, yes.

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I usually love giving you weirdo lot time to do your thing?

 

and letting to you all disappear up your own bots?

 

for goodness sakes.. we've stared to notice you are making it all last longer?

 

and making peop[le have to suffer more :-( please stop ty please please stop!

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I must admit,

 

I can't help.

 

I'm sorry.

 

the mentally ill site owners have said their bit?

 

they are so mentally ill, they can't make bucks for themselves.

 

I'm sorry to have to say, they are pretty much saying anything anyone says on here, can be milked or used? by them?

 

one thing I do promise you, is I will never do what they do. I give my word, and my promise, if anyone says anything on here, what is said in the room stays in the room.

Edited by dotmarsdotcom

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I was having a really bad night that night.

 

I knew i'd get come back.. I felt guilty about what I typed virtually 10 minutes after I typed it.

 

I hope we can all move on.

 

x

Edited by dotmarsdotcom

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My opinion of academic qualifications: they are a relatively-modern invention of the NT world designed for the career market, rather than the love of learning for its own sake (the Renaissance - and polymathic - worldview). Being by definition, narrow and artificial, they've never appealed to my polymathic tendencies. Careers are important in themselves simply for providing us with 'bread and butter'. 'Economic activity' has become the god of modern societies and states, a universal panacea.

Vocations are far more profound than academic qualifications, for they come from the heart: they are impassioned 'callings', not in the least motivated by material 'success'. The highly materialistic NT world requires some of us to have 'good careers' equating this with 'success', while the rest are expected to have mediocre or menial 'jobs' - to support those of 'higher' social status. These people are deemed less successful or even unsuccessful, but nevertheless are crucially necessary to enable the success of the successful. An artist may work with a fiery passion, but isn't considered a 'success' unless she/he becomes famous which can only happen when his/her work makes money. This system barely recognises vocational drive unless it happens to relate to academic qualifications, paid work and this specious notion of 'success'.

Social skills are so different. They are the natural and essential abilities of any social animal necessary for living harmoniously. Humans are very complex social animals, and so these skills are also complex. We Aspies are constantly being led to assume that it's us who have the social difficulties, yet in reality many accepted aspects of NT society itself are socially dysfunctional. If a highly logical alien race landed on earth they'd see the collective personality of Aspies as being far more balanced and far less sociopathic, deluded, paranoid and hysteria-prone than that of the NT world. This is how we should be looking at the big picture, rather than merely from our own restricted points of view.

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I agree with the impression that the earlier posters give. It is necessary to have a fairly complete set of social skills for your peer group to obtain an education. Therefore 'social skills' are more important than 'academic qualifications'.

Education is a life long experience, and in my opinion really starts once one has left school.

The main purpose of the long years in schooling, is roughly child minding with a bit of education thrown in. Remember your school days? Thats what it seems to be to me now.

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Academic qualifications other than maths and English GCSEs seem to be largely ignored by employers these days. They are pretty meaningless to me, too. Having a GCSE in English does make you good at English. Someone I know in my English class when I was doing my GCSEs somehow got an A in both English Literature and English Language despite him having one the worst writing styles I have ever seen and his spelling and grammar being atrocious. I still have no idea how he got As, but it certainly seems as if actual written communication ability has nothing to do with English GCSEs.

 

I totally agree with Waterboatman that education begins once you leave school. I estimate about 5% of everything I learnt at school has actually been useful in real life. Schools also don't teach important life skills, such as managing money, gaining employment, understanding politics etc. There is far too much focus on academic subjects at school, too. In my opinion, kids should be able to choose to do more vocational subjects from a much younger age than they currently do and I definitely think there should be optional social skills lessons as well. After all, they are skills, hence the name 'social skills'. Most people take them for granted but obviously some of us need help with them. Driving lessons would be useful at school, too, considering how important a skill driving is these days. If you don't live in a city, you can't drive and you're looking for a job, you're pretty much up the creek without a paddle in many entry-level jobs.

Edited by Laddo

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I vote for social skills on the premise that they're important to develop, but qualifications are also significant so it really depends.

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Social skills are important I think, I am good, loyal and honest, but can't talk to people face to face easily without acting. Then when they pick up that you're acting, because you're nervous, scared or just don't want to be there. They think you're dishonest or don't like them. So I say social skills

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Waterboatman said:

Education is a life long experience, and in my opinion really starts once one has left school. The main purpose of the long years in schooling, is roughly child minding with a bit of education thrown in.

Yes! I would have learned far more out of school than I did at school. I'm virtually self taught (thanks to my parents encouraging my curiosity) and this process has continued unabated ever since. School got in the way, severely held me back, damaged me and did me no good at all.

 

Laddo: I agree with everything you said. :)

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My opinion of academic qualifications: they are a relatively-modern invention of the NT world designed for the career market, rather than the love of learning for its own sake (the Renaissance - and polymathic - worldview). Being by definition, narrow and artificial, they've never appealed to my polymathic tendencies. Careers are important in themselves simply for providing us with 'bread and butter'. 'Economic activity' has become the god of modern societies and states, a universal panacea.

I hold a similar opinion in that an education system driven by qualifications has the potential to spoil the enjoyment of a subject. Take history for example. History courses at school and university are all about essay writing and critical analyses rather than learning in an enjoyable way. I hated secondary school history and my brother, who has a history degree, was up all night writing critical essay after essay about wars and other things. Yet at the same time I enjoyed watching history documentaries and visiting places of historic interest.

 

Vocations are far more profound than academic qualifications, for they come from the heart: they are impassioned 'callings', not in the least motivated by material 'success'. The highly materialistic NT world requires some of us to have 'good careers' equating this with 'success', while the rest are expected to have mediocre or menial 'jobs' - to support those of 'higher' social status. These people are deemed less successful or even unsuccessful, but nevertheless are crucially necessary to enable the success of the successful. An artist may work with a fiery passion, but isn't considered a 'success' unless she/he becomes famous which can only happen when his/her work makes money. This system barely recognises vocational drive unless it happens to relate to academic qualifications, paid work and this specious notion of 'success'.

My findings are that parents of kids with AS put vocations well behind school work but often fail to realise that their kid's talents and interests could land them with a good or very interesting job. They think that getting GCSEs are more important although rarely do they even research what subjects are available for GCSE.

 

Social skills are so different. They are the natural and essential abilities of any social animal necessary for living harmoniously. Humans are very complex social animals, and so these skills are also complex. We Aspies are constantly being led to assume that it's us who have the social difficulties, yet in reality many accepted aspects of NT society itself are socially dysfunctional. If a highly logical alien race landed on earth they'd see the collective personality of Aspies as being far more balanced and far less sociopathic, deluded, paranoid and hysteria-prone than that of the NT world. This is how we should be looking at the big picture, rather than merely from our own restricted points of view.

Popular opinion, majority consensus, and historical tradition are powerful forces in shaping social skills. More NT people do things according to etiquette or convention rather than look at things logically from first principles.

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As said before, social skills are uppermost. Academic qualifications smooth the way.

 

ASD's can be very difficult to be around, I am intelligent, high functioning and while young employable.

 

Where possible social skills should be taught in preference to anything else first for any that may be considered lacking.

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As I have previously stated in #20, it's a highly polarised either or argument with the terms academic achievement and social skills lacking precise definitions.

 

1. The majority of the social skills that NT kids pick up at school as they go along are school survival skills rather than social skills for use outside of school or for life as an adult.

 

2. Conversely, the majority of social skills that kids with AS lack are school survival skills rather than social skills for use outside of school or for life as an adult.

 

3. A common misconception that parents of kids with AS make is that if they can get the social skills right for life at school then the social skills will then develop naturally into those required for life as an adult. The reality is that this strategy rarely works and often leaves young adults with AS very confused or behaving in an immature way. An extreme example of this are the 20 somethings who struggled to socially relate with teenagers when they were teenagers who now relate easily with teenagers but have difficulty relating with adults at work so cannot hold down a job. When NT kids leave school and transition into adulthood they automatically unlearn certain social skills that are actually school survival skills. This doesn't always happen with kids with AS and they tend to resent to having to unlearn something which took much effort to learn in the first place.

 

4. The only way that kids can learn the social skills for use outside of school for life as an adult is by associating with adults outside of school. They cannot learn them in school.

 

5. Academic achievements are not synonymous with the NC and getting a string of GCSEs. They extend beyond school subjects.

 

6. It is often better to focus on an individual's strengths rather than try to make them go along with the flow of the NC. Too many parents worry about their kid's weak subjects or what they are bad at rather than capitalise on their strong subjects or what they are good at.

 

7. Academic achievements are capable of improving an individual's confidence and self esteem but this is often overlooked by parents.

 

8. Gold stars, merit marks, and similar token rewards don't mean anything to most kids past the age of 7.

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I agree with all you say, Canopus, except this part:

 

The reality is that this strategy rarely works and often leaves young adults with AS very confused or behaving in an immature way. An extreme example of this are the 20 somethings who struggled to socially relate with teenagers when they were teenagers who now relate easily with teenagers but have difficulty relating with adults at work so cannot hold down a job.

 

Yes, it leaves us emotionally immature, but I feel this is neurological and fixed - at least in many cases. And this doesn't only apply to young adults either. Your example is hardly extreme, and seems to be the norm among Aspies. I'm still much more at ease with teenagers than with adults (and they are clearly more at ease with me than with NT adults), and at this late stage I can't see myself ever changing. Besides, I no longer want to change, and I'm quite happy the way I am.

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I tend to get on much better with older adults at work than people my own age. I probably usually end up annoying them, though

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I agree with all you say, Canopus, except this part:

 

The reality is that this strategy rarely works and often leaves young adults with AS very confused or behaving in an immature way. An extreme example of this are the 20 somethings who struggled to socially relate with teenagers when they were teenagers who now relate easily with teenagers but have difficulty relating with adults at work so cannot hold down a job.

 

Yes, it leaves us emotionally immature, but I feel this is neurological and fixed - at least in many cases. And this doesn't only apply to young adults either. Your example is hardly extreme, and seems to be the norm among Aspies. I'm still much more at ease with teenagers than with adults (and they are clearly more at ease with me than with NT adults), and at this late stage I can't see myself ever changing. Besides, I no longer want to change, and I'm quite happy the way I am.

I think you have slightly misinterpreted my statement. I am not referring to adults with AS who are naturally emotionally immature - and many are - but adults with AS who were 'programed' with teenage social and school survival skills in an attempt to make them socially relate to other teenagers and fit in at school. This 'programming' usually takes place around the age of 11 to 12 in secondary schools as it is usually the most problematic age for kids with AS and the age where the gap is the widest between them and their peer group. This 'programming' is not unique to Britain and often isn't AS specific.

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Speaking from experience I think that social skills are far more important than academic qualifications for anyone on the autistic spectrum. This is one of the hardest things for most of us to deal with in my opinion and If social skills are improved then it opens a wide range of options that otherwise wouldn't be available due to the many problems that this causes.

My social awkwardness made me fear a lot of things in my school years which did effect my education and performance within many subjects because in my head dealing with learning was less important than avoiding situations and trying to be unnoticed in class by not participate and getting noticed or singled out for actually achieving something.

I was a good athlete in track events and represented my house and school and I was told I was good enough to progress to competition level and was asked to compete in area competitions.

I said no and wouldn't take part in any events because I got noticed and just didn't want the other children being around I was even mentioned in assembly and had awards for my track records within the school.

I gave up because I just couldn't deal with the social situations that put me into and as a result I lost my chance to be an athlete.

I've no ideal how far I would have progressed or how good I was outside of my school but I would have had an opportunity to find out but I didn't take it due to my fear of social situations.

If you have help and develope this area then anything else you can do becomes easier and you achieve more because without so many social issues you are more apart of society can express yourself better and interact with others without that you become very isolated whatever your academic achievements are.

If you can't interact with people whatever your skills are it becomes harder to progress increasing the chances of anxiety and depression due to the frustration of life.

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