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!