Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Kris

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team
Sign in to follow this  
cmuir

Specialist school placement offered but son refusing to go

Recommended Posts

cmuir   

My son has been schooled in a mainstream Primary School with a high level of support. His primary years have been plagued with issues, but no one (other than CAMHS) supported placing requests). No that kiddo is about to start high school, the education authority have decided to place him in a special school for kids with Aspergers and Autism. Kiddo has mounted a 'campaign of protest' and is adamant he's not going there - purely because he doesn't see himself as like them because he's been mainstream and desperately wants to stay with hi so-called friends (in real terms, they're classmates).

 

We've had several visits to special school, but I feel very let down that no one there has given me any confidence that the placement might work. Rather, on each visit, they keep saying that because of kiddo's strength of feeling, it's unlikely to work. Also, there should be a clear transition plan, and with 12 weeks until the end of summer, there isn't one! I've pointed this out to them and have repeatedly had to push for visits, etc. It appears to me that they don't agree with PAGs decision. I'm also aware that staff at his current primary school, have made phonecalls, etc to head at special school (without my knowledge) and when asked why, will only say that they're all very concerned about kiddo's mental health if he's forced to go to the special school.

 

Meanwhile, I've asked Ed Psych to establish what enhanced support package kiddo would receive if he goes to mainstream High School with his peers. Won't know anything until at least 24 April.

 

On one hand I know that kiddo desperately wants to go mainstream, but I'm struggling to see how it can work when he's struggled in a school of 300 (high school has 1500 pupils). His peers are accepting of him generally, but new peers won't be so accepting of him, he'll be vulnerable, easily led, is very hot tempered, etc. I desperately wish he'd go to the special school, but i can see that there are pitfalls there too - I keep asking about peer group and have been given evasive answers. Part of me thinks why let a kid dictate where he goes, but then, he's been miserable for months (and so have I) since hearing about this, special school don't seem to want him, etc.

 

Feeling very confused and hoped that since 21 January when I got the news, things would become clearer, but the clarity and gut feeling just isn't there. Rock and a hard place are the words that spring to mind. Just feel so angry that if he'd been moved to special school 4 years ago (at a time when his social awareness wasn't great), we wouldn't be in this turmoil. Hate this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally44   

Find out about the peer group in the special school. Ask to sit in on a lesson.

 

Find out what the academic level is of the kids there. And if you see them it will give you a good idea of they are similar to or significantly worse than your son.

 

Try to pinpoint exactly what your child needs are in an educational environment.

 

For example, if he needs to be taught in small class sizes of no more than 8 pupils [or whatever has been recommended], can the mainstream school provide that?

 

Can they differentiate his work so that he can access it.

 

Is he realistically at KS3 and able to sit examinations.

 

Could a dual placement work ie. most of the time in special school, but going into the secondary school for maybe one day a week?

 

What therapy will he get mainstream as opposed to special school eg. SALT, EP, OT etc.

 

If you do decide to go the mainstream option, then you need it all set out in his Individual Education Plan how they will meet all his needs. If he needs a reduced timetable, no homework, 1:1 support in classes and during unstructured time. Just get as much as you can in writing, and if that fails and he becomes too ill to attend then special school is the only option left.

 

Can your son tell you what he finds difficult about school? Does he agree that he finds the school environment/lessons hard to cope with?

 

Would he agree to visit the special school just to see what it was like, and for you to be there with him - because his refusal might be due to anxiety around change rather than just his decision that the wants to remain mainstream.

Edited by Sally44

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cmuir   

Hi Sally

 

Thanks for your response. All the points you've raised (split placement, support, peer groups, therapy, etc) have been raised by me and I won't get answers on some of the things until the end of April. R has visited the special school twice and taken part in activities. He understands that it's not a bad place, but just doesn't want to be there. The special school isn't helping by repeatedly fobbing me off when I ask about peer groups - I keep asking if they've met the peer group, what they're like, etc etc and still not getting anywhere. Legally, they don't have to tell me. I've stressed the importance of peer group and pointed out that the GIRFEC model covers social stuff including peer group. Because R has been kept in a mainstream school for 7 years (despite my attempts to move him), he has an identity crisis - he's sees himself as more neurotypical than autistic (but admits he has issues) and desperately wants to be like his neurotypical peers. That's the fundamental problem. ASD kids can be very single-minded and because of his existing mental health issues, staff are all using that against us in this instance i.e. pointing out that sending him to a school where he doesn't want to be could cause more issues. I've argued otherwise, but it's clear what's going on. In the meantime, I'm unable to make an informed decision about the mainstream school because I won't get any answers until the meeting has taken place at the end of April. Meanwhilse kiddo is miserable, threatening to self harm, etc etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Suze   

I would be very concerned like you , the specialist school sound like they are back tracking now on the placement.How has R coped in primary ?..........what level of support did he have ?.........if you can get the right mainstream high school some placements can work really well.Its difficult as all our kids manifest their difficulties differently.My son was at a high school with over 2000 pupils.However he went as part of the AS resource unit there.He was disapplied from some subjects,did his homework at school with help, was excused from assemblies, and registration , had a key worker, support in most classes, which were smaller target classes aswell.He was very settled there.One thing that worries me is how able you think your son will be and become as an adult.I,m glad my son went to his high school, they focused on him gaining independence and being able to work independently and they pushed him to do things out of his comfort zone.He left 2 yrs ago and is a very pleasant young lad , he has his own car , has gone to college successfully (he had some support for his dyslexia there ) and is now working .At some point if our kids are able they go out into the neurotypical world on their own, I guess the decision is , is your son capable of doing that yet within a mainstream school , some schools have amazing support, but it means alot if your son is happy , good luck cmuir its not an easy descion the move to high school we looked at 4 schools in total .best wishes suzex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bed32   

I would be very reluctant to force him into a special school at this stage if he is reluctant to go. You know your son best, but I know for mine that would never work - once he'd made up his mind he didn't want to go then it could not work.

 

Do you have the option of a mainstream school with an ASD unit? That might me more appropriate in your case - but of course there is still the problem of losing his "friends".

 

I hesitate to offer others advice as each situation is different. If it were me and my son I think I would keep him in mainstream with a continuation of whatever support has been working in primary - I think it would be highly unlikely to work but it may be that he needs to come to realise that for himself.

 

For our son I believe that mainstream will be better if he can cope (and that is a big if as we don't think he will) but once we put him into special schools there is realistically no way back - so we have taken the approach of keeping him in mainstream for the moment (still Yr 5) and keep the situation under review. If things deteriorate we will have a difficult period while getting him moved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
caci   

With hindsight, I wish I had insisted on more accuarate information about the peers our son would be with at special secondary school (he went through M/S primary, and was the only one from his school NOT to go to the local M/S secondary)

 

We struggled to make things work for over a year, but our son never quite fitted in at the special school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cmuir   

Hi

 

Many thanks for all your comments. My biggest fear is that we could force R to go to the special school and it won't work. I've been told that it would then be very difficult for him to go to the mainstream high school, whereas, if he's goes there in the first place, there are options if it doesn't work. The biggest issue is the identity crisis that he has - he's been in mainstream and to suddenly put him into a special school where he doesn't want to go could big problem because he won't fit in. One point is spot on in terms of what my thoughts are... Years ago, kiddo used to refuse to get his hair cut. I remember cutting his hair whilst he was sleeping before deciding to let his hair grow long enough for him to see what a pain it was so long. It worked! In a crazy kind of way, I'm thinking that time will tell. I think R will struggle in mainstream high school, but that's very much dependent upon the support that he'd received. At least R would work out for himself whether he can cope with it.

 

Thanks.

Edited by cmuir

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally44   

I know in Scotland they don't have Statements.

 

But is the equivalent you have legally binding on the school/LA? And can that be altered to include everything he needs in terms of support, approaches, curriculum differentiation, therapies etc so that it fits what he needs regardless of where he is placed?

 

Will he cope in the larger class sizes, changes of classroom, peers and teachers for each lesson? Do or can the school have smaller class sizes?

 

And if it does all go pearshaped, will there be a place at the special school for him?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×