Its Helen here, not Fionn
we are CONSTANTLY moving it seems from one set of transition meetings to another.
So i decided to repost some of our previous examples and experiences.
they are ONLY our experiences.
but hopefully will help someone a bit.
every so often we post a bit of information that we have found helpful when moving through the process of statementing, education, transition to other schools…
They aren’t by any means rules – but we wanted everyone to realise that we too have had the fights about hours for assistants, the frustration about who does what, and nobody really told us that this is a part of a journey we ALL need to make.
We learned that :
- Fionn is OUR child primarily – so WE care most and must push for his needs.
- There are no classes to tell you how to engage with a professional, but be sure that YOU are the EXPERT on your child – as you have experience of them day by day.
- No 2 children are the same – autistic or not – so one approach does not suit all children.
- be armed with facts, samples of work, examples of your child in any meeting.
- the only people who care for your child completely are you and your family.
- you must lead his care, and be part of his care.
- when his needs change YOU notice that.
- be determined to do YOUR best for your child – as much as you ask any school, specialist to, but do it as you would for any of your children.
- you explain HIM to the world, and translate the WORLD for him…
it’s really just being a very determined parent.
Spoke to a friend recently whose son is due to change schools soon – and i remember “interviewing ” the possible schools about what THEY could offer us…not the other way around. And that’s how it should be….
we have a son in RIGHT school – who is REALLY HAPPY there. I have to support him with bits… but he is my child – i have to do that in different ways for each of them.
so decided to repost these bits of recollections from various parts our of work in progress.
and when you are tearing your hair out some day, remember that we ALL have those days.
one of the BIGGEST leaps of faith we have had to make in recent years is choosing a secondary school for Fionn. We genuinely struggled. We had some where we liked the ethos, others where we didn’t like hos assistants were used, schools we worried about him coping socially in, others would he manage academically, or really would the work be delivered at an APPROPRIATE and understandable way for Fionn to process it.
We were quite possibly the last parents that year to fill in our first choice of school…and it was certainly only after having “interviewed” a few schools and directed some questions at them:
- what would you put in place for Fionn
- what would you forsee as the main problems he may have.
- his ADHD would be treated how?
- what do classroom assistants generally do for the pupil they are assigned to….
there were a few memorable answers!…but paramount for us, was that we had a son who was happy, confident, and socially able to go to a school. We weren’t going to compromise that in any way by choosing wrongly.
I HOPE reprinting this helps other parents who may be approaching that TRANSITION…and yes, it took MUCH more out of me that it did Fionn!
one CRUCIAL point to make at the end of PRIMARY SCHOOL , is that your statement is a document which is divided in “sections”. in Fionn’s case his statement was written when he was very young. We had seen his needs change but on paper, his statement was very broad and basic. We had added inserts and appendices over the years from OT, or CAMHS, paeds… BUT the only thing you can ask for to be provided for you child, is provision of the needs WRITTEN in section 2 of the Statement. (you could have 100 appendices but a school may choose to ignore them). So i would STRONGLY advise any of you who has a child approaching the end of primary school :-
- FIND the statement.
- Look at section 2.
- Does this cover all his needs NOW?.
- if not then any new items you must ask to be included in section 2 – amplify it, to include current information – including all KEY current information from all his/her specialists.
- Then section 3 of the statement is about HOW the needs mentioned in section 2 will be met.
It is SO vital to get this right . Your child will LEGALLY be provided for if he needs in section 2 are addressed. So please, make sure you check the paperwork. you do have a copy somewhere!
Tomorrow we have Fionn’s transition aged 14 and innocent, transitioning to statutory adult services…so OFF we go again to more “new situations”. ..more “what ifs” …. will keep you posted from our point of view if anything may help you going through it with at least someone else’s experience to start with.
we have made it THIS far – not without gnashing of teeth, and days of huge frustration – but look at the journey so far. it’s the right one!