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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.

0

How To Make Your Own PECS!

The other night I made my own PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) for Dylan!
There are several stages of PECS, for the moment Dylan is on stage one as he has just started using them! PECS is a form of communication that is used with lots of children on the autistic spectrum but can be used with other children too.It is where they learn to relate pictures to the items that they want.

I have seen lots of people who make these online and charge a fee for doing it then send them to you, I was very tempted to do this until I thought about how often I would need to order new ones as he got new interests, foods he likes etc. So I decided to have a crack at making my own and it really wasn’t that difficult! Took a little time to get all the things together and work it all out, but I did and I must say I’m pretty proud of myself with how they turned out =D So I am going to show you how I did it and what I used so you can make your own too! If you need any extra help/advice etc drop me a comment and I’ll be more than happy to help! =D

I already had a printer, which is the Epson Expression Home 322. I have had it for a while though so you may be better sourcing your own printer! Mine isn’t a very fancy printer but does all that I need and was a very friendly price! I then sourced a Laminator (Amazon.. my favorite place for finding everything I need/ want ;]) it wasn’t a fancy all dancing one, just one with good reviews and could do exactly what I wanted! (Click here to view it) Along with this I also ordered 100 Laminator pouches.. I’m not entirely sure why I ordered 100.. but when I see a good deal I can’t resist! ;] (Find them here) I then needed a paper-cutter as I wanted all the edges to be straight and nice! (This one!) and the last thing I ordered online was some Velcro! (Here) You will also need some paper and few bits of thicker paper too! =]

Now, I am going to try to do this in a step by step stages so it is easy and clear to follow! =] I’ll try and not waffle as we know I do get carried away sometimes! πŸ˜€

  1. To start I made lists of what I wanted to make PECS on. I started off by just doing two, Snacks and TV Programs then thought of nine of each that Dylan liked and wrote them down!
  2. Next I searched online for clear and simple versions of these images! I found when I searched to put the words “White Background” after whatever I was searching as it means they won’t get distracted by looking at the whole picture
  3. I then made a folder on my laptop for each PECS board and save the nine images of each topic into the correct folders
  4. After finding the nine images I then went into the folder and selected them all. You do this by left clicking once on the first image then holding shift and left clicking again on the last picture
  5. When they were all selected I then right clicked on the images and selected the option print, which opened a pop up.
  6. When in the pop up I scrolled down the side of it which gives you the options of how to print the pictures until I got to one called Wallet. This meant that all the pictures could be printed off on one sheet of paper and would all be the same size!
  7. Then I used the paper-cutter to cut them all out. This took a while for me as I liked to make sure they were all exactly the same size! Very simple to do though with the paper cutter recommended above as it has a built-in ruler! =D
  8. I then put them into a laminating sheet with a good distance between them so that they would all seal correctly and wouldn’t peel once laminated.
  9. Once the PECS images were done I left them to cool while I laminated the thicker paper that I would be using for the background!
  10. I then cut out the images again, making sure I didn’t go to close to the image as I didn’t want the laminate to peel off them!
  11. Next I stuck 6 of the Velcro dots onto the piece of thick paper all evenly spaced of course ;]
  12. In the middle of each of the PECS images I then stuck the other side of the velcro dots on. (I know I said nine but have only put six on the page, this is so that you can change them about, or remove some and put the other ones on when things aren’t available!)
  13. Admire your work and feel very pleased with yourself! You have just made some PECS for your child which will greatly improve communication and hopefully make meltdowns less often as your child has a way of telling you what they want when they get used to the PECS =D

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These are the ones that I did,and I would love to see the ones you have done! Especially if this step by step has helped you! =D
I wish you all the luck on your PECS journey! =]
Also remember if you have any questions on how to do this etc, Just ask! I’m more than happy to help!

WeeOhana xx