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.