Sunday, 21 November 2010

Better news

Thankfully feeling more positive at the moment, although I know only too well that in this game it's likely to be up and down always... Good news is that the school came back to us with the offer of a morning nursery place for Sasha starting in January, so of course we accepted and am very pleased. That means only a few more sessions for Sasha at her current nursery, couple of weeks off (not for me!!) over Christmas and then a fresh start at school in January. Although she doesn't really understand fully, she has already asked to go to school and I'm sure it's the best option for her. Fingers crossed anyway! Just need to try and improve her understanding - and now we have a great new speech therapist on board so another thing to be optimistic about.

Also had the meeting with the council and a new date set for the panel to decide on assessment again, so more fingers crossed!
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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Good news and Bad news....

Last week we had a very positive meeting with the Head and SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) at the school our oldest daughter currently attends. They've managed to dispel any doubts I had about it being a good school for Sasha, so it's a weight off my mind to know we will most likely apply for her school place there.

However when we arrived home from that good meeting, I received a phone call from the nursery Sasha currently attends, to say that they are not willing to take her for the 5 mornings pre-school as planned (and as all others her age will be doing) from January. Instead they are only offering 2 morning sessions and one full day - so less time than she currently does with them now. The main issue for me is the lack of routine though - I was really looking forward to taking her on a daily basis in the mornings, as I think starting the day in the same way would be a big help to her and she would have actually enjoyed it. As they are a private nursery, they are entitled to offer what they like, and as a business decision it obviously makes sense to them to take the money from parents with those children who do not cause them quite as much difficulty during the day. I appreciate that their funding (which was only 5 hours per week anyhow) is being cut next year, but am disappointed that they don't want to go the extra mile for special needs and the experience of that themselves. I am also extremely annoyed with myself for not applying for a state nursery place for Sasha - but back last year when we had to apply, we had no diagnosis and no idea of how Sasha might be, and I decided that this local nursery, where Tamsin had happily gone, and Sasha was already doing a day a week at, would be the best place to keep her before school. How wrong I was! Sadly they have let us know this too late, and all the school morning nursery session places have been allocated. So for now Sasha will stay on the waiting list for the school nursery and we will start her there as soon as possible, although a space may not even come up now before next September.

I am looking into another option, which is to send her to an autism specific nursery, where she will get experienced teachers and almost 1-1 care and attention. In fact I would do that tomorrow if it was local and daily - sadly it's up in Stevenage so around 30-40 minutes drive (depending on traffic), and they only do 3 sessions a week. So lots going round my head just now as we try to decide what is best to do for Sasha. Tomorrow she is having a CARS (Child Autism Rating Scale) test, although I'm not quite sure what that will prove - we know she is very bright in some ways but it all depends on whether/when she wants to be! Then the day after that we will have the first private speech therapy assessment, and next week I will be having a meeting with the SEN team/lady at the council to put forward all our info for the statement application again. Busy busy!
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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Applying for a statement - difficult start.

A lot has gone on since I last blogged, and I just haven't had time to stop and think! Lovely half term, with trip to Butlins for me and Tamsin, and then a trip to Norfolk for me and both girls. We met up with my family there, and the girls had a fantastic time playing with their cousins. Sasha seemed a bit off colour for the 2nd day, and on the 3rd woke with a very unpleasant nappy which was a sign of things to come... she was hugely sick just before I was due to start the 3 hour drive back home, and carried on being poorly in the nappy department for the next couple of days. Am now very grateful that we hadn't pushed the toilet training issue ;) (she is still refusing on that front, so we're biding our time, will probably have a more concerted effort after Christmas). Still, it is the first time she's been sick properly in 3 and a half years, so can't complain! Medicine was suggested, but as that's another thing Sasha refuses, we've actually not given her any for the last 6-12 months. It's amazing how she manages without the good old Nuropol...

So. Applying for a statement. Not as easy as it should be, in my view. My anger has somewhat subsided but I'm still very frustrated with the whole system. Sasha's reports went to the panel (whoever they are) and she was rejected on the basis that a) there wasn't enough info (none was specifically requested mind you, and even so I sent in what I thought was a lot of info) and b) Sasha is receiving help at the moment. By this they mean the EYAS, which is a great service, at home for an hour every week, but as I've said before this doesn't really directly translate to what will happen in a chaotic classroom where the attention is not all on Sasha. They also mentioned SALT. I don't really call having one good assessment/report written over a year after first referring her a great service to be honest - and as lovely as the SALT is, she's still not offering Sasha any regular sessions, just a visit to see her at nursery once every 6 weeks or so. It's all just advice on how we can help her, but of course we follow that daily and it's not making a huge difference. So I have finally had to call in a private speech therapist, at great cost, who is comng next week for the first time and will see Sasha weekly. I'm just hoping Sasha 'plays ball' so it's worth it!!

So all this adds up to a lot more paperwork to be collected by me, and we will reapply in a couple of weeks time - in fact I intend to keep on reapplying until she is assessed formally. This is just the first step, to get the council to agree to assess her for a statement, and after 6 months of doing that they may still decide they're not going to give her one! It's ridiculous, it's not even as if the outcome will be any extra money to help her at school, it will just be a load of reports from the council and then it's down to the school to agree how much (or not) they want to spend their money on help for her. But to me it's obvious that Sasha is not the same as all the other children, and she will have huge difficulties at school, so this should be recognised and discussed openly. Seems to me like the council are just trying to brush any special needs children off their doorstep and avoid all responsibility.

Must go for now, more later.....
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