12

The fight for a school place!

We were told from early on that Dylan would need to attend a SEN (Special education needs) school. This means that we started the process to get a school for him at the earliest stage possible. Despite starting this process as early as possible it was still extremely stressful and I still can’t believe that this is still allowed to happen year after year.

We had a lady come out to the house to observe Dylan and ask questions, loads of reports that had to get sent off and heart wrenching forms to fill in.
After doing this all I was hoping that we would be told a date when we would know what school he was going to and that I could leave it up to the board to sort out without calling and hassling them. This was not the case at all.

As I’m sure you are aware for kids in mainstream they are told a date that everyone will find out what school they are attending, yes this can be stressful because sometimes you don’t get the school you wanted. I know how that can be as it happened with Amellia, so how come this can’t happen for SEN kids too?
I personally and I know many others feel that it is in fact more important for SEN kids to find out early on which school they are going too so that they can visit it many times before hand, drive the route to the school, get used to the feeling of the uniform, meet their teachers and many other things.

After many phone calls over the past few months to make sure they had got all the details they need and chasing up others who hadn’t passed on what they needed and having other professionals call to ask what was going on with the whole process it was starting to get very close to the end of term and the education board close whenever schools do so this sent me into a little bit of panic mode.

I called them and was put on hold for 30 mins and then they hung up so I called back and after another 30ish mins wait someone answered the phone and said “Special Education aren’t taking anymore calls today” then hung up again. Now, this was at 10:30am in the morning. So I decided to carry on with my day and try and forget it and call again tomorrow, though obviously it wasn’t really an easy day.
The next day they then told me a different number to call, who then told me another number to call and I must have been given about 6 different numbers and ended up going round and round in circles. While making all of these phone calls I was also running circles after my crazy pair and sorting them out too, eventually I got through to someone who said they would check on the computer .. they then told me they would call me back tomorrow.

She didn’t call me back and it was then the weekend.
They got back to me during the next week and offered me a place in a school I hadn’t even been to see as I was not advised to go and see it, so I told her this and she then tried to claim that the school that was my preference was over 20 miles away from my house. I told her this was not the case and she didn’t believe me after checking my address several times, so she said she would call me back and look it up properly. I decided to do a quick check to see and it was less than 4 miles from my house. When she called back she told me that it was still showing up as really far away, but that she could offer me a different school that I had mentioned I had seen and liked. I was over the moon, she told me I would get the paper work in the next few days and I couldn’t wait. When the paper work didn’t appear after many days I was starting to wonder what was going on. I decided instead of doing the whole going round in circles thing again I would phone the school and ask if his name was down and was he afternoon or morning.

I phoned the school just for reassurance and I ended up in floods of tears, I felt like a complete twat but they were so lovely, supportive and understanding on the phone which was amazing and I apologized a lot for crying. They voiced their opinions on the situation and said they would do all they could to help.

I phoned the education board and said I needed to talk to someone now, but they then told me they didn’t handle placements for nursery so I had to call someone else and after lots of being put on hold they told me they had already sent the letter to the school a good few days ago and on phoning the school back they said that this would not have been the case as they would have already received it. They then told me to call back Monday to see, so I had a whole weekend really fretting about what was going to happen on Monday.

I called the school on Monday and had a long chat with them about what had been happening that morning but they still had not received a letter so she phoned the education board to ask what was going on and why was this allowed to happen to parents as I wasn’t the only one and thankfully she has secured a place for Dylan.

I am over the moon, but can not believe all that we have been through these past few weeks and now my mind is all over the show with absolute delight and such a dump of emotions.

I don’t believe that this is allowed to happen year after year to so many parents who are already going through so much.

2

Getting Dylan’s Education Plan Underway

We finally have started the ball rolling for getting Dylan sorted with a school.
The education board came out and asked us many questions though this wasn’t after me phoning them and gently reminding them that they are meant to have seen a child within 22 days of accepting them.
A lovely and friendly lady came over to meet Dylan and chat all about him so that she could get a full and informed report to help him get through all the stages quickly and hopefully with as little fighting as possible.IMG_0870.jpg

Like the majority of Dylan’s appointments it was pretty tough. You find that you are always talking about what he can’t do and what he should be doing, They ask you if he can do certain things and 9 times out of 10 its a “nope he can’t do that.” I know that this is to get him the help that he needs and to ensure that he gets it but as a parent it is a really tough thing to do.

I was hoping that this appointment would lift a whole load of stress off my shoulders and settle down a whole heap of the worry I was having unfortunately it did not. I understand that the lady who came out to us doesn’t want to give false hope but she said that she couldn’t tell us either way if Dylan would get through the Stages but then also went on to tell us that it isn’t often that she goes out to see children as young as Dylan and it is so obvious to her that they are autistic.
When she left I was so confused. How could she say such contradicting things, though she recently called to let us know that he has got through stage three easily and her boss has told her that she thinks Dylan will get up to Stage five without any questions. Fingers crossed it all goes how it is meant too, and then we can start the fight to get a school close to us and that we think will suit him best.

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She did though also tell me on the phone that her boss thinks he will be best suited to a school for children with severe learning difficulties and we have been told this by several people recently which has been pretty hard to take.
I hadn’t really spent much time thinking about this but it was a rather heavy thing to take and made it clear to me just how hard he does find life, how challenging his behaviour really is and just how much I do for him.

As his mum I do everything for him daily and just get on with it, I don’t put much thought into how much extra support I give him compared to other children his age, but when I think about it, and see other children younger or his age it really makes things hit home. You see them chatting to their parents, shouting for their mum when they are distressed or want something, running about and playing with other children, choosing what to buy in shops, walking down the street beside their parents, turning around when they hear their name.. and many, many other things.

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It’s really tough, really, really tough.
When I heard this, had it confirmed by other professionals who have seem him on many occasions and really thought about how he actually is, it started me on a downward spiral.

-WeeOhana

2

DIS- week 4

I cannot get over how fantastically DIS is going. We went along expecting to be told that we would need to come back in a few months and to see if he was ready for it then, but we went and she said she was willing to try. I am so happy that she did.

We have now completed week 4 and have two more to go. Ad came along to this one as I was desperate for him to see how much he had progressed rather than me just telling him and he was in for a huge surprise.
Dylan moved from table to table fantastically today and even carried the item for two of the tasks from one table to the next. Which is something that he hasn’t done before.

Another thing that he did wonderfully was at the  second table she has been trying to encourage Dylan to put items into the ‘done box’ once he has completed the task and is ready to move onto the next one. She has been encouraging him to do this by aiding him in placing them into the box with a lot of hand over hand encouragement, but today he did it himself straight away after finishing his first task and then clapped himself! He then carried on doing this after every task he finished! It was absolutely amazing.

He also did a picture match, and then went on to match an object to a picture which was incredible, he loves doing the colour matching tasks and posting ones.


Dylan has come on leaps and bounds for her, so I am hoping that this will help when he is in nursery next September. With a very strict routine and 1:1 attention I can just cross my fingers he will settle into nursery ok.

We have the education board coming out soon to assess him(blog post soon about this)and get on the right path to ensure that he gets a spot in the school that will suit him best. We already have our hopes set on one .. so fingers crossed we get it as would be a huge weight lifted once we have his school sorted!

Follow the whole journey here-
What is DIS?
DIS Week 1
DIS Week 2
DIS Week 3

-WeeOhana