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Don’t Let Your Child Be The Victim Of Discrimination At School

21 Nov

That’s easier said than done you may say, and yes I agree!

However, there are a few things you can do to help protect your child with autism from becoming a victim of disability discrimination in the school place.

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Its hard to believe that its even a possibility, but believe me, sadly it is! Just ask my little man!

1) If you receive a call from your child’s school asking you to pick them up because they feel your child is upset or stressed and this is disturbing the learning of his or her peers, be sure to only do so once you know the official routes have been taken.

You’re child’s teacher or head teacher may claim your child is upset and they are asking you to collect them for their own good. They may say its optional even, or you can bring them back after lunch. Its important that you ask for this to be made official (but in writing)! Ok, no one wants official exclusions documented on their child’s school record but if you later apply for a statement of special educational needs you will need this type of evidence to show the school cannot meet your child’s needs!

To not record officially is wrong! This makes it an illegal exclusion and the schools (especially that of mainstream) get away with this type of behaviour a bit to often!

2) Don’t let your child be left behind! When I say left behind, I am referring to that of school trips. Watch out for exclusions that take place on days of school trips… These are just to much of a coincidence and happened to little man all the time. If this does happen and happens often, be sure to make a record of days and times (plus reasons given for exclusions, which must be given in writing)!

Watch out for letters. I found that little man was often “Accidentally on Purpose” missed when trip letters were handed out. Ask another parent to keep you in the loop whenever there is a planned trip. I discovered that little man wasn’t being given letters. School trips actually went ahead without our knowledge. Little man was either kept isolated in school with the hope I’d never find out, or he was again coincidentally excluded on the day of any planned trips.

3) Watch out for OFSTED visits. You may find that whenever ofsted visit your child’s school, you’re child is either sent home or hide in a cupboard… Ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme (although I actually wouldn’t put it past some schools) but they are hide away all the same.

It is very rare that schools end up with surprise ofsted visits these days, but many do get very short notice. Again be vigilant! Lookout for letters, talk to other parents and just keep your ear to the ground. If you then receive an evening phone call from a head teacher,(remember I’m talking from experience) who tells you your child had a bad day and will be in isolation tomorrow (in other words hidden) or excluded (hidden again) your ready and prepared!

You have the right to come into school and ask to speak to the ofsted inspectors. Put it this way… I’ve never seen such panic unfold within a school when I did this! I brought my EXCLUDED child in with me and let him have a meltdown there and then, right in front of the inspectors! I was honest and told him he wasn’t allowed to join his class because the nice lady from ofsted were there! Yes this didn’t go down well, and no I wasn’t popular amongst the teachers! But it is my child I care about, not them!

4) Listen to your child no matter how off the wall they may sound! I would get called into the head teachers office and be told little man had done a string of things. These mainly consisted of hitting teachers or something similar. He would openly protest that it wasn’t so, or he was pushed to the limit (head teacher dragging him by his shirt for instance)! You know your child and need to take what they say very seriously. I’m not saying that children with Aspergers are not capable of exaggerating the truth because regardless of what some may say I believe they are. However, teachers, like members of authority tend to stick together.The fact my child was very upset and would angrily protest was enough. However, the added factor of the head teacher being able to stand and tell a room full of people I’d called him a ‘Wanker’ excuse my language… When in fact I had only thought it and not said it just proved to me how messed up and cunning a system I was dealing with.

5) Do all your talking in writing…. If you wanna say it then go ahead, but I suggest you then go home and put it in writing! Email is the best invention ever! write what you have to say then attach it and send it in an email! Copy in other important officials and then print it and send it as a letter to them all too.

I sent everything by email and then letter. I would always send letters recorded delivery meaning a signature was required on receipt. Most other parents would think I was crazy, given the school was located 50 yards away but then they were not the mother of the child being discriminated against were they?

I could go on and write more as this is a lengthy subject involving many Dos and Nots! But my fingers ache so I think I will follow up on another day, another post.

What I will finish by saying is… By doing these things I managed to win a discrimination case. It also helped prepare a case for the LEAs refusal to assess for a statement of SEN… I then got that assessment and a statement. We also got little man into an independent special school for children with autism and Aspergers.

Not all endings are as happy as ours!

Section one, Part (1) Introduction to special educational needs

13 Sep

  Introduction to Special educational needs

 So, what exactly is the definition of Special educational needs?

A child is only considered to have special educational needs, (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty that requires a greater level of support than his or her peers. This would therefore require educational provision to be made for the child.

 A child who has a disability that prevents them from fully accessing the same educational facilities as his or her peers, would also be considered to have SEN. This also counts for children who have social and emotional difficulties, or conditions that affect a child’s mental state, though this child would only be seen as having SEN providing such a condition hinders them from fully accessing educational facilities, therefore requiring provision that is either extra or different from what the school gives through its usual differentiated teaching.

 Children that are younger than the compulsory school age, can also be considered as having SEN, if it is determined early on, that such child could not fully access the same educational facilities as his or her peers, or they have a learning diffculty that will certainly require special educational provision that is extra or different to the provision given to his or her peers, as and when the child was to start full-time education.

Section 312 of the education act 1996, stats, Special educational provision means:

“a) For children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different form, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the LEA, other than special schools, in the area.

b) For children under two, educational provision of any kind.”

Definitions in the 1998 Children Act (section 17 [11], Children Act 1989) defines a disability to be…

“A child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dump or suffers from a mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be described.”

 Autism and misconceptions

 It is often the case that parents of children whom have been diagnosed as having an autism spectrum condition assume that their child’s educational setting will naturally make adjustments and accommodations for the child! Most assume that a child with autism is automatically considered to have special educational needs, therefore requiring additional provision to be made. Again isn’t actually the case at all. A formal diagnosis of autism is just that, “A diagnosis of autism” nothing more, nothing less! Such a diagnosis does not entitle a child to receive additional educational provision (through the school must make reasonable adjustment for any child with a disability, this is a different thing all together).

 Although a child with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder is classified as having a, ‘disability’ this is not a ‘learning difficulty’. Whether the child has a learning difficulty is usually determined by the school or local authority (LEA) dependent of the child’s age.

 Common confusion

 It should be noted that despite a child’s autism, they may well succeed academically, requiring little if any extra provision at all. This is more commonly the case for children diagnosed with High functioning autism or Aspergers syndromeHowever it is extremely important to remember that regardless of a child with autism high academic progress, who may have even received the top grades in their class, can still be considered and seen as having special educational needs. As mentioned before, if such a condition as autism affects areas of the child’s social and emotional functioning while at school, hindering the way they access education could result in a child being placed on the special educational needs register. Behavioural difficulties, exclusions, misunderstandings, due to poor social interaction and communication, increased anxiety and school refusal are all factors that should be taken into account when considering if a child has SEN. Sadly it is often the case that LEAs refusal to carry our a statutory assessment or even issue a statement as they claim the child does well academically therefore not requiring additional provision to be made. This is not true and certainly isn’t a good enough reason not to make educational provision for such a child.

 Lastly it is important to remember that just because a child doesn’t speak English as a first language doesn’t  mean they have SEN.

 Coming up next time… Section one understanding special educational needs, part two, ‘The stages of SEN and is my child receiving the right type/amount of support?’

All information has been created to help others for their own personal use, this advice is independent and is given by myself a lone (No 3rd party participated was used throughout). Please do not use article for anything other than personal use, nor edit the information in any way. All published articles, throughout this site remain property of the author and this blog. Alway seek permission before using any post for anything other than described above. 

Thank you 

Creator

Claire-Louise

To download or see the rest of the fact-sheets via Google Doc’s Click HERE

My contribution to the world of SEN

11 Sep

A while back I came up with the idea of creating a number of information sheets, that contained information for parents regarding special educational needs (SEN). These would be first published on the blog with the option of a download via my, ‘Goggle Doc’s’. 

 Like always, I took this plan and laid it out bear, for all members of my facebook page to see! This was in the hope of gaining constructive feedback, and establishing just how many people within one group may benefit from such information! The feedback has been overwhelming, with all that responded requesting I push on a head as many are at their wit’s end.

 Bearing in-mind the, ‘Green paper’ and the impact it would have on the way an LEA statemented a child, I was unsure whether It would now be a waste of time to go ahead with such an idea. However, given the response and the fact I’m still seeing a mass of parents visiting the, ‘Boy with Asperger’s facebook page’ on a daily basis, all with the same concerns, relating to the SEN system, especially that of the statementing process, (how it works and what rights they have). I decided to go ahead! 

 Of course these documents will need a complete overhaul, once the new system comes into play, but for now, they may be very beneficial to somebody who is about to, or otherwise already on, the Special educational needs roller-coaster.

 It’s a big old jungle out there, meaning there is a huge amount of information you will require! So… this is how if decided to deliver it!

I will create three sections, these will be… section one,‘Understanding Special educational needs’ (requests, assessments, decisions). Section two, ‘Tribunal, the right to appeal’. Section three, ‘Preparation and the hearing’. Section four, ‘Maintaining a statement of SEN’(annual review, requests & decisions) Section five, ‘Disability discrimination

 Now you know what Sections will be covered, here’s what each will contain!

 Section one, ‘Understanding Special education needs’ (request, assessments and decisions):

  1. Introduction to Special educational needs (SEN)
  2. Stages of SEN & Is my child receiving the right support
  3. Request for a, ‘Statutory Assessment’
  4. Decision to make a, ‘Statutory Assessment’ (Process & time-scales involved in carry out an assessment)
  5. Decision to Statement (Delivered in three sections 1) The proposed statement, 2) Parental choice (type of school, including a break down of options) 3) The final statement.

Section two: ‘Tribunal, the right to appeal’

  1. A refusal to carry out a statutory assessment
  2. A refusal to issue a statement
  3. Appealing the contents of a first Statement (including the school named in part 4)
  4. Appealing the contents of an amended statement
  5. A refusal to amend following a statutory reassessment 
  6. A refusal to change the school named in part 4 of a statement
  7. An LEA’s decision not to amend a statement of SEN following an annual review
  8. An LEA’s Decision to cease to maintain a statement

Section Three: ‘Preparation and the hearing and decisions ’

  1. Mediation 
  2. Witnesses 
  3. Working documents
  4. Representation
  5. The hearing
  6. The decision

Section four: ‘Maintaining a statement’ (annual reviews, requests and decisions)

  1. The LEA’s duty to deliver the contents of a statement (required steps if duty is not delivered)
  2. The right to request the school named in a child’s statement 
  3. Requesting a Reassessment of your child’s special educational needs
  4. The Annual Review process (Including information on an interim review)
  5. The Annual Review Year 9
  6. Annual Review Year 10

Section five: Disability discrimination

  1. Admissions
  2. Every child’s right to education
  3. School trips and education & additional activities (including playtimes, assembles, after school activities)
  4. Unofficial exclusions
  5. Exclusions
  6. Alternative education
  7. Permanent exclusion
  8. Raising complaints
  9. Claiming Disability discrimination and the Law!
  10. The order of the tribunal

 Each section will come with useful links and contacts. Section one, (a) will be posted on Monday the 12 th September. This post will be copied and added to the SEN, Know how! Page (This page will list all the post already published, providing a link for easy allocation). This means you will be able to locate your desired section and its content whenever you require it. It’s a challenge to bring you, my readers, all of the above. But those that know me, even in cyber-space, will know, I love a challenge!

My plan is to cover all the above, depending on how fast I can do so, is yet to be seen. Remember the laws and procedures applying  to Special educational needs are all gearing up for a change (I will adapt this as need be, in-order to fit in with the new Education, health and Social care plans as of when it arises). As for how often I can publish each section and what it contains is random. I’m not prepared to tie myself to a certain day of the week, for one, this would be far to many weeks and at times I may decided to write two at once, or three a week, other weeks, I may have no time to write non at all. SEN is a complicated process, you really do need to be in the right frame of mind to get this out there. You should also remember I haven’t personally been through every single one of the listed above. However, I have been through many, and have read and studied a great deal in the subject. 

 Disclaimer: The information provided, has no bearing on my role as a tribunal adviser with NAS, and the advice provided is given on an independent level through my own choice to help others dealing with the listed issues and is created to form an additional feature to this blog and my facebook support page. Each post will contain a link that enables you to download as a fact-sheet via Goggle Docs. Copyright still remains the same! No one should copy or republish the information without given credit to the author and providing a Link back. If you require the use of this informational for anything but personal reasons, full permission must be sought. Please do not edit any of the wording in any of the post or the downloaded documents (these are provided for personal use only)!

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