Tag Archives: Sendist

The end of a chapter

28 Feb

We’ve come to the end of the chapter

I feel allevated, somewhat calm and strangely satisfied!

I feel we’ve been given the green light, and we can finally proceed with life.

Its all over and I couldn’t be anymore pleased that it’s finally come to an end!

Four days before the SENDIST hearing which was due to take place today, the settlement agreement went through.Yes, sometime during the beginning of this month I finally agreed to a settlement offered on behalf of Little man’s Governing body at his old mainstream primary school (the one I finally pulled him from during December 2010)

A formal apology signed by the head-teacher on behalf of the school and governing body addressed to myself and Little man. Within the letter is a list of incidents they particularly wished to apologise for. This included: being video interviewed on a school trip without parental consent, any distress caused to little man by way of isolation & exclusion, communication could have been better, more reasonable adjustments should have been made, visual timetable not always up to date.

There was a number more, but I think you get the point.

They agreed to training before July 2011 and to review there policies by the same date.

I requested that the letter be signed by the head-teacher, “what would a letter of apology mean to a child with aspergers (or any child for that matter), given by a person they do not even know (governing body)” This was agreed, to which I signed the agreement and withdrew my appeal for Disability Discrimination.

Of course this won’t be an end to little mans school battles, we have yet to face his transition back into a school enviroment (special school) from the one-to-one home tuition he is currently receiving at the library for a total of 5 hours a day, 25 hours per week. As stated in my post before last, Little man has stamped his feet and let it be known that “I’m never ever, ever, going back to school.”

The letter of apology doesn’t make all his fears disappear his still extermely affected by the treatment he incurred why at this school, the countless exclusions, the misunderstandings, not allowed on trips, refusal to allow his participation in school activities, the hurt, confusion and pain it caused.

However now he knows it wasn’t his ‘fault’ he wasn’t to blame (well, 99% of the time) You see there were of course times when he was a ‘typical’ 10 year old child, after all his no angel! It’s not like I would challenge every sanction they imposed (no matter what they may say)

I have watched him over these past few months slowly become less angry at the world and himself. He seems more excepting of the person he is! It’s not as if everything is suddenly perfect, of course not, we have some way to get there yet. There are days he sits and ponders on the things that happened, referring to himself as “not normal, different and misplaced,” other days his smiling huge happy smiles.
They are the days you cling to.

For me the letter means closure. The thankful end to a messy, tiring, soul destroying experience. His just 10 years old so undoubedly we have many more battles to come, I’m not walking around with my head in the clouds thinking, “from this day on, our life is all rosy”. We are still awaiting the final statement of special educational needs being issued from the LEA. The chances that my suggested amendents if any are copied into the statement is looking somewhat grim, and let’s face it, the chances that my preferred school will be named in part 4 is “atrociously” low with the prospect of me having to make an application for yet another appeal being practically set in stone! Some may call me a pessimist I prefer the term “realist”. Let’s face it parents who made us think this way?

Communicating, helping, sharing and just speaking to thousands of other parents and carers through this blog, my facebook page and the extending on/off line community only opens my eyes that bit wider, reminding me that I’m not the only one, little man’s not the only one! There is such an outstandingly huge number of us fighting the same daily stressful battles (normally education based) that technically we as parents, carers, children, human bloodly beings should not need to face.

I hope that Little man’s school did “really” learn something from little man and somewhere down the line, somehow, something good comes from this mess. I hope that if one day near or far, Little man’s school are expected to educate a child like him again, they do so with much care and support enabling that child to succeed in all areas possible. Most of all I hope that child is 100% happy with the person he is and is never made to feel he isn’t valued and worthy of respect, that his existence is worth nothing!

So now I turn over the page and start a new chapter.

With this new chapter I wonder what life will bring?

I’m no psychic, but you can bet your life on it, it won’t be dull! As much as I’d like it to be, we don’t do dull and ordinary in our house!

Training with a passion

10 Nov

As many of you already know, I’ve been training to become a tribunal support adviser. I’ve never known what  I really wanted to do in life in-till now and this is something I’m sure on. I am seriously hoping to succeed in this chosen path I’ve now taken.

Autism awareness is something I’m passionate about, and as many will already know, either from their own experiences or somebody else’s… autism and the Sendist first tier tribunal seem to go hand in hand with one another here in the UK. I acknowledge that not all children on the autism spectrum have Special educational needs (Sen) but a good chunk of them do and It’s then that many families are faced with problems and a good proportion of the time are faced with the prospect of a fight that eventually ends up in the hands of the tribunal to try and resolve! Ok some are lucky and school’s and LEAs have no problems providing the adequate education for the child! But in my opinion it’s a very small percentage that do.

It’s “funny” how one day everything is rosy in the land of education, but then before you know it, it’s all changed! It could come along and take any parent/career by surprise! It happened to me and it could happen to you!

When I discovered little man had Aspergers I didn’t know the first thing about Sen. The thing is as far as I was aware my child wasn’t on the sen register at school. As many fail to understand… “Having a child with an autism spectrum disorder don’t necessary mean they have special educational needs” I suppose the fact little man refused to even attend school most days, meant the extent of his problems were not seen within his school environment. Well, my point is… I had a great deal to learn back then!

Of course now we are in a completely different situation! Yes, my little man does have problems in school, considerably so that at present his going through the statutory assessment process, is currently part-time schooling and we have a pending DDA tribunal case in the near future. I suddenly had to learn everything from IEPs to exclusion.. all things I’ve never needed to think about before. It’s bloody hard when it goes from being told your child has no issues within school to issues so bad and complex your child now awaits the decision of an emergency “Special school placement” Because their level of need is now so high they cannot cope within the mainstream environment they currently with-side. You hear all this mind-boggling jargon and all you wanna do is SCREAM…”WHAT IN GODS NAME ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” School action, school action+, statutory assessments and statements.. “WHAT?” So much time is spent trying to work out what you as the parent needs to be doing to make sure your child is getting the very best education available that you have little time for anything else. I know when I first stepped into the world of autism and special ed I didn’t have a clue! Much of my day was spent running back and forth to and from school only later  spending hours trailing the net for answers or calling autism/education advice lines.

It was from then I armed myself with a hardback copy of the  Sen code and got myself a tool kit. I  also started reading the Education Act (Mainly schedules 26 & 27)  & The Education (Special Educational Needs) (Information) (England) Regulations. With this I began to gradually feel more confident in dealing with little mans special educational needs. The loneliness you feel when your child is diagnosed and when autism and Sen come together is immense. I thank all those that were there advising me along the way, making me strong! If it wasn’t for the likes of .…NAS, Ace, Ipsea and other organisations of this kind I would not have been this strong, I would have likely gone insane! I certainly would not have chosen this route (advising others on their rights within the education system) But that’s just it! By going through it I discovered that I wanted/needed to do more. I cannot thank those that have helped me enough, now this is my way of giving something back.

There was many reasons that made this chosen position feel right for me! The prospect that I will help other parents that like me had no clue where to turn, not knowing when and if they have a right to appeal, deadlines looming while all the time their child is failing or worse still being failed. This was my biggest reason! If my work helps just one family then all this training was worth it!

So… finally here’s the good news!. I passed the distance learning modules (All ten of them) These modules covered a great deal. I swear I’ve read the entire Ed act on Sen, followed by the Cop. I got the email in the middle of last week confirming my place on the two training weekends in Canary Wharf in the Clifford Chance Law offices. The trainers, managers and co-ordinator of the TSS service are fantastic and made us all feel relaxed and very welcome. The first day (Saturday) after a really long training session 10-5:30 p.m. (Ok it’s been a while since I did anything other then be mummy) me and the other trainees were taken out for dinner in this lovely Italian restaurant situated right below one of the tallest buildings, not far from the water. It was a wonderful evening and although I had just met everybody that day I was really comfortable in their company. Sundays training was very practical.. Yes I worried half the night I would mess this one up but it went pretty well.

Well, I’m back for my last bit of training on the last weekend of this Month, and yep I’m looking forward to seeing everybody again and getting stuck in! After that… It’s for real, I’m on my own!! As well as being on the front-line I will also undertake casework, and to be honest I can’t wait!!!

Canary Wharf London




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