Tag Archives: refusal to assess

The good, the bad, and the dam right ugly!

1 Oct

This post is brought to you today bearing Mixed news, developments, and gratefulness.

Let me start with the good news!

Many of my readers and loyal followers will be aware of my struggles in obtaining a statutory assessment of Little man’s special educational needs. Well, after a refusal, pending appeal tribunal, school resubmitting the assess one, the prospect of hours of mediation with the LEA on the 13th of this month and a whole lot of stress! The Special educational needs panel have made the decision to make a statutory assessment. With this the LEA also informed me that they well contact our preferred specialist school to ask for an emergency assessment placement.

I’m not under any illusion that it’s all rosie from here on! This is just the first step and given how hard it was to obtain it, nothing can shock me. The decision a lone has taken 7 months from that first request that was refused. It’s extremely frustrating how back on the 1st March when I first requested an assessment Little man had only uncounted One exclusion, and now it’s more like ten! A great deal of stress, tears and constant worry for what? It’s a disgrace that your child needs to be seen as totally failing before anybody looks up and takes notice. What ever happened to early intervention and every child matters? We have all these rights when it comes to our child, but who has regard for them? Do they not realise that by letting it get “This bad” is like allowing our children to become “emotionally unhinged” If this is the process to obtaining an assessment, I’m dreading the decision to statement or the content that statement may contain.

However for now I’m just pleased we are a step closer and things are at least moving in the right direction. Little mans emotional needs are my main concern as without emotional well-being there is little point of anything else. I just hope all his needs are taken into account when decisions are made in relation to emergency placements.

So.. here comes the big fat bad news!

With everything good that happens, something totally lousy often follows. Of course we are a prime example of this. Little man went back to school on the 28th September after a fixed period exclusion of two days. However he had only just about got his foot under his desk when…

If you haven’t guessed it already then Why not? 🙂 Yep Little man was excluded once more for a fixed period of five days. So that’s three exclusions in around 11 days (Oh and that’s counting the weekends) However this exclusion comes with a twist! IT MAY WELL BE HIS LAST! Permanent exclusion is on the cards and to be honest I’m not at all shocked nor surprised. After all Little man + current educational setting = affliction and scandal.

So it would seem that after all these exclusions, school know see what I see! IT’S NOT WORKING! You would think that after something has been done two-three times max, and it’s having no positive effect, it’s a done deal. I’m so furious that it took this level of action to come to the same conclusion I did back in March. I’m not saying he should get away with anything and everything, but their have been so many incidents that have been a direct result of anxiety. Of course there has also been times my son has been naughty (He is 10 years old) but I feel even then some less extreme forms of punishment could be given. Even an exclusion that was unavoidable can’t have a desired affect. How can it when his excluded so often?

If I was asked a year ago if I could see this happening one day in the future, I would have answered “Yes I could” Ok maybe not right now maybe not in a months time but sometime in the future. Now some would ask how? How could I have guessed this would happen, when a year ago Little man’s school stated they had NO CONCERNS? I quote “He is very well behaved at school” I heard this a thousand times, and often I questioned myself.. Was it me? Why was he only showing challenging behaviour indoors? It was quite simple really! Little man spent so much time at home and not at school it was near on impossible for them to say otherwise. Lets face facts. So much time was spent judging me as a lazy ass parent who just didn’t fancy taking her child to school. I don’t think so, life wasn’t a picnic and sleepless night, refusal to get out off bed, get dressed and go to school was an exhausting experience (Nearly as exhausting as this one) As soon as he got the “routine” and he started to see school as something that he needed to do, something that wasn’t an option, he recognises that he had to attend and did. With this the school recognises that yes actually he can be challenging and with this comes a new pattern! Exclusion, reintegration, exclusion, reintegration………..

I should know more then anyone that yes, Little man can be a “handful”. But as his mother I also know that he can be interesting, clever, funny, polite and caring.

On his return to school that day I had already noted in his contact book that he was anxious. What with missing his trip and a serious incident that happen at home, he was like a ticking time bomb. The reintegration meeting had only been a few minutes in when problems began. He refused to sign the new behaviour contract as a new sanction was added. This sanction was to spend time out of class and In the office with the head teacher. I feel he explained his reasons in a reasonable manner, minus two swear words. He stated that he didn’t like being in his office due to past incidents like.. Having to tuck school shirt in or miss play and confusing statements made by the head. Some statements made by the head have caused little man distress as the head hasn’t adjusted his language as advised by specialist teachers who have assessed little man. He still uses metaphors and other complex terms that little man just don’t get. Little man has often taken things he has said literally  and he can ponder what his said for days on end trying to work out what it was he actually meant.

With little mans refusal to sign his behaviour contract and his odd use of a swear word, it was becoming clear that the head teacher considered calling it a day. However before doing so he told little man he was going to in-force the contract regardless of him not signing! Well, little man pretty much lost it then. He was close to tears and ripped up the contract and all the copies that he could find. This was contract number three and back when he first signed that very first contract he was made to believe that by doing so he was in control and was making decisions for himself which gave him some control and responsibility . He now felt betrayed, like the school were somehow breaking a law of some short. From then on things got worse and sadly he swore at the head telling him he was a F***ing Irish idiot (Not great I know) Yes it wasn’t on and he had over stepped the line but by in forcing the miss play time sanction then and there was pretty crazy. It was like pouring petrol on the five. I stood in tears as I watched Little man flying through the corridors hitting himself and the wall. I knew then I should take him home! I knew then he would face yet another exclusion. So as I took yet another one of those phone calls that evening. The ones I’ve come to know all to well recently! I just hung up and cried. I didn’t just cry for little man, I cried for every child like him and every parent like me. (And yes there are many families in the same position)

Over 75 per cent of children who are excluded have special educational needs (SEN) and exclusion rates for children in the middle band of special educational needs are 17 times higher for children without SEN. 27 per cent of children with autism have been excluded from school. Government figures out today show that children with SEN are over 8 times more likely to be excluded than those without SEN. (Sonia Sodha)

Surly these statistics highlight the sheer state of the system. Yet what is being done to change these figures? Not much from where I’m standing.

So now we have a new set of problems. Yes, the LEA will assess and No I have no idea when and where. I will attend a meeting with the Head teacher on Monday, so Lets just wait and see! after all what choice do I have 😦

Lastly a thank you.

Message to all my readers, loyal followers, new friends and old.

I cannot thank you all another for your care & support. I didn’t know the world was made up of so many caring people. I thank you for your comments, messages and your time. I’ve made some fantastic new friends and I discovered so much along the way.

The facebook page has turned into a raving success with almost 3000 members and growing by the day. I am so thankful to have found a wonderful admin team who like me have a passion to raise awareness. They have helped create a great, supportive page and for this and their great advice to me and others, I’m truly grateful. Thank you ladies 🙂



LEA make bogus excuses for not assessing child’s needs

9 Jun

At last I finally have time to update my blog. What seems like months has only been weeks. Nevertheless so much has happened in such a short space of time no wonder in losing my days.That’s right today I almost missed my Early bird course (Autism training for adults and professionals) as I could have swore it was Monday. Well I soon came to my senses and got my butt in motion I didn’t want to miss the course as it going so well and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about ASD and when you have a child on the spectrum you can never know enough.

Well I finally received the letter from the LEA sen unit. It was about time too. I was disgusted with the way they treated me and little man. I wasn’t kept informed on the decision process and considering they had not followed the timescale of six weeks an explanation would have been greatly appreciated. I mean what’s the use of the Sen code of practice if the authorities have no regard for it. I’m not stressing over a silly few weeks or something they delayed the decision if to assess for five going on six weeks. Is it just me or would some kind of a letter and a simple apology be too much to ask? Well it seems so as the refusal letter didn’t state anything in relation to the delay and lack of communication on their part. It did however state their reasons for not agreeing to an assessment of little mans educational needs. Ok I’m not joking when I say at first after reading the letter more than once I did consider that maybe the LEA had made some mistake. Is it possible my child’s case was some how accidentally  been mixed up with another childs evidence. reality hit me like a smack in the face. These people really don’t give a ****. I’m sorry but what the hell is happening here? The LEA state that since little mans school have identified his needs and put certain provisions and strategies into place he has started to make progress in terms of his behaviour. Woo outrageous, Given this excuse I’m now wondering if they even bothered to open the letter I sent requesting the assessment in the first place. Lets see would it be the five exclusions his had since the 1st March this year or maybe it’s the fact his had well over twenty serious incidents recorded against him in the same time frame. I’m guessing it would be something more specific that really swung their judgement like the fact he hit a teacher or managed to escape from the school where luckily I was stood outside. Let’s face it given this level of evidence, the extensive list of exclusions and serious incidents it’s fair to assume that in order to access the relevent resources that my son requires directly as a result of his condition he would need to completely fail first. Let’s be honest as sad as it is his not far off. Well as you can imagine I was gobsmacked (not often Claire is lost for words) but I was also deeply worried about what move I would have to take next. The letter also stated that once the outreach teams had been in and assessed and the school had put into practice the advice suggested by them If it was thought little man still required the Statutory assessment the school could then readmit the assess 1 form. I took legal advice and was told to contact the tribunal service without delay given that I only have two months to appeal then I should not risk waiting for forms to be readmitted and again refused as I wont be able to appeal again in till a much later date (six months or a year I think) Made sense to me and with this I searched for a solicitor to take my case. I really needed my sanity for the children and not only was I strapped for time with three children one with aspergers, one trying to cope with daily life as a sibling to an aspie and a six month old baby I also didn’t want to do it alone. I just wanna enjoy the children for a while and at the same time know that someone is working on my appeal. Lets face it without a statement little man will end up lost and with that I will have to make difficult decisions on what best to do for him in till I can readmit my request. Yes It’s unbearable thinking about but I have to be practical.

Well here’s some positive news I attended the follow up meeting from the 26th April 2010, This was basically to review little mans past month’s progress. I have to say the last meeting was incredibly strained. I felt nothing was achieved and it wasn’t constructive in any way. I became a little emotional and I cried which I regret but sadly couldn’t help. With this memory I wasnt looking forward to this meeting and would go as far to say I was feeling kinda sick knowing it was approaching. This time I took my Mother (Who better than to support and keep you strong) I was surprised to see that this time other professionals had attended and the meeting was looking a little more formal. I felt nervous and uneasy and just wanted to get thinks done. Well I have to say I needn’t of worried so much. The other professionals who had attended where from a specialist school who provide outreach to little man. They were made up from a group of three. There was the outreach worker who works directly with little man on a one to one basis once a week, the headteacher from the specialist school itself and another very nice lady but I was and still am a little unsure what role she played within the outreach team. However she was extremely nice and made it her mission to be fair and understanding. It was also helpful to meet the outreach teacher working with little man. Again she was extremely nice and not only shared her thoughts and opinions on little mans learning and behaviour but she also took the time to listen and encourage me to share my thoughts and opinions. The Headteacher of the specialist school was very organised and direct but not in a rude way. I really liked him and felt he was fair and made valid points and helpful recommendations on ways to best solve current problems experienced with little man. The headmaster and the Senco were also at the meeting and we spoke about the LEA refusal to assess, little mans growing complexed needs and the head made a point of saying that little man wasn’t really being included anymore as he was chosing to move himself away from classroom activities. This I could also understand and is a bit of a worry. The level of support he currently receives is high and integrating him slowly back into the class routine will be incredibly difficult. We all discussed little mans need for an assessment which will hopefully lead to a statement. It was reassuring to know that everyone at that meeting was in agreement with that. So on the whole it went well and I didn’t leave feeling miserable as I had perviously.

So before I get some much-needed sleep I just want to say that all though things have been a nightmare at school home life has been Ok. I say ok as that’s all it’s been but when you have had real trying weeks you fully appreciate the “Ok” days. Half term was good and little man spent a lot of time socializing with the boy next door. They share a love of transport and though little mans is more a obsession his little friend seems ok with it. Yes they had a few disagreements but nothing to explosive. It’s great he has a friend who is happy to be bossed by him 🙂 Honestly I say this in a joking manner but all parents to children with aspergers will completely get where I’m coming from. It’s also nice to have a non judgemental parent who don’t drag their child away from yours in the fear he may catch Aspergers or just be lead down the route of misbehaving. She is very sensitive to little man and his needs. She allows him over and puts up with his very loud tone and moody strop without ever judging him. I can see he has become more and more comfortable with their family and that is a great achievement because apart from his cousin and his partner in crime at school he didn’t really have a real friend till now. And to be able to hold onto this important friendship makes me so very proud. Like the teacher at my ASD workshop said today. All parents love to feel proud of their child and it’s the same for parents of children on the spectrum only they can be proud at what may seem the simplest thing to a “typical child” but to a child on the spectrum it’s a huge achievement.

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