MAINSTREAM OR SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL?

Choosing a school for your child is such a hard decisions, then throw in the added the added complexity of deciding between special needs or mainstream school and you've got a really tough decision that will impact the future of your child.

Choosing a school for your child is such a hard decision, then throw in the added complexity of deciding between a mainstream or special needs school and you’ve got a really tough decision that will impact the future of your child.

Archie has Autism and has a Special Needs funded place in a private day nursery for almost 18 months and has made so much progress. The staff have been incredible, so supportive & understanding to his needs. Plus as the nursery is under subscribed and overstaffed he has had at least one to one care, sometimes even two to one and it really shows in the steps he’s made in his development, communications & social development. That said, he is still about 26 months behind in his development and needs constant supervision.

He’s due to officially start nursery this September and we’ve been so stressed out and worried about what will happen. If you’ve followed Archie’s Autism journey then you’ll know we’ve been fighting to get him the right support. He’s non verbal and hasn’t had any speech therapy since October, he has a lot of complex sensory issues plus his ongoing developmental issues.

Initially our local authority wanted us to take a sink or swim approach, their words not mine, and put him into mainstream nursery and see what happens. To me this is a crazy approach, why would you put a child into that sort of environment with no support and watch him sink? This was not going to happen, I was not going to let that happen and have been fighting to get him more support for the past year. On Monday we got the news we were finally waiting for, and was told that he has now met the criteria to officially be put on the waiting list for his MAAT assessment for his official Autism diagnosis which will open so many doors to getting him the right educational support.

Then on Friday we got another very unexpected letter. Archie has been discussed at the Early Years Panel for the last two quarterly meetings due to ours and the SENCO’s concerns that he wasn’t getting the right support. At this second panel meeting they made the decision that they felt Archie needs to be attending our local special needs school from September this year, for his learning needs to be supported, reviewed & assessed through a placement at the special needs nursery there. And as his parents we agree.

This is what we wanted, we wanted him in an environment where he could be fully supported. Where he’ll be finally receiving the much needed speech & occupational therapy. Where the teachers fully understand his complex sensory and developmental issues. Mainstream school can be perfect for many children with additional needs however we felt it just wasn’t right for Archie.

We don’t know hat the future holds for him, but it will sure as hell be a lot brighter with the right start.

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7 Comments

  1. May 24, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    It’s such a hard decision isn’t it. I however am taking the sink or swim approach purely because Harrys needs aren’t quite so complex and he does like to follow and copy others. I think he will be better off in a mainstream school and there is only on ewau too find out. Of it does turn out that he doesn’t cope however then I will apply for a special needs school instead but at the moment I’m thinking he will benefit from a mainstream school as long as he has his ehcp in place. I think we as mums know what’s best for our children though although I did have a bit of a wobble and got very emotional last week at my sons school transitional meeting. It’s a tough time and I know I’ve got tougher times ahead.

    • May 27, 2016 / 2:01 pm

      We definitely know what’s best for our children and at this stage it’s not mainstream for Archie. I hope you get the ECHP sorted soon, we’ll be getting ours started once he starts in September. It’s bloody hard but with the right support they’ll get there xx
      gymbunnymum recently posted…STRAWBERRY & BANANA PROTEIN SMOOTHIE RECIPEMy Profile

  2. May 29, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    We knew mainstream wasnt for Miss S, we were fortunate that we had an early diagnosis and professionals on our side who supported us. Its hard when you have i fight. We had to fight for Mr L to remain in mainstream when they wanted to send him specialist.
    They are both now thriving Miss S attends an amazing ASD specialist school and Mr L our local mainsteam high school
    amanda walsh recently posted…The A to Z of Autism – I is For…..My Profile

  3. June 5, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    That is fab news Toni! Your fighting for him has clearly paid off, and it certainly does sound like the right place for Archie! We are still debating whether mainstream is fulfilling Hayden’s needs at the moment and are exploring specialist schools. Thank you so much for linking up to #spectrumsunday. I hope you join me again this week! xx

  4. June 9, 2016 / 12:22 am

    Fantastic. We were so relieved when David for his
    place last Sept. V happy for you xxx

  5. June 23, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    I’m so glad you got what you wanted for your son. I’m sure he will bloom. Both my children were not diagnosed until after they had started school. With my eldest the move the secondary school was a sink or swim decision and unfortunately he sunk, badly and spent the rest of his school life in a special school. My daughter moves on to secondary school this September, and she has more complex issues than my son had at this age. She will also be going mainstream and will sink or swim. My only hope is that things have improved in the last 16 years and that she will get the support she needs. I’ve had many talks with the school and things are looking ok so far, but only time will tell.

  6. July 10, 2016 / 9:09 am

    This is such fantastic news Toni! I am so glad your persistence has paid off! It really does sound like the perfect place for Archie, and hopefully that progress will continue. Well done you for sticking to your guns! Thanks so much for linking up to #spectrumsunday. We are back at 5pm today, I’d love you to join us xx
    Clare recently posted…Does Hayden have ADHD?My Profile

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