Eating my words…

I’ve been given a copy of the Final Appendix document sent to the LA for them to continue with the Education Statement. Now, although I’ve lost any confidence in our SENCo for lying, the last document is surprisingly, a lot better than the first draft I had read at the end of last week.

Does that mean I have to eat my words? I didn’t say the first appendix was bad, just that I’d requested it be held back until I could check and confirm all okay!

I think we can relax on that side of things and hope we get our comments and bits right.

Building SENCO Confidence

I am really trying hard to stay focused on my mission, but building trust and confidence with our new SENCo is almost impossible. Apart from the continuing questions of when are we or why aren’t we going to medicate our son for his ADD; today they lost any minute piece of trust we had in them.  I’ll write-up a full post later on how we’ve got on with the Education Statement but…
I asked if SENCO could refrain from sending in their Appendix B; I wanted to see if there was anything else that needed or could be added to make it more prominent & beneficial for the first statement. I asked if they could phone up the LEA and get their submission date extended.  I’ve not made this request to pick holes but to help not just our son but his school by trying to push for the full hours. Every time SENCO has called, they’ve tried home and then my mobile. Today was different; they rang my husband on his direct line at work to tell him they had phoned the LEA but due to the time constraints wasn’t allowed an extension, but not to worry me and I didn’t need to phone them back. Of course I phoned them back and they rattled off the same discussion exclaiming half term would mean they’d miss a week etc. and it must get sent in. When I said I would phone them to check my extension was still okay, they said it was fine?  Of course I phoned anyway and they told me that isn’t what they had said nor what the SENCO had said. SENCO had told them they had finished their appendix B, was ready to send it in but I had asked them not to and was that allowed! The LEA explained to me that it could be extended but it would be better to send it in to allow more time for them to prepare the statement thus allowing us more time to check it – their deadline for statement submission still stood.

Why did SENCO lie? All they had to say was, there isn’t anything else that ‘they’ can put and did not want to hold it back because etc. I don’t need a SENCO that feels the need to twist information. Our earlier SENCO, who although on occasions wound me up, didn’t play ‘obvious’ games with me!

Luckily the LEA explained that it would be beneficial to get the school papers in now, and once we receive the first statement and all supporting reports, that will be the time I can query/raise or add anything that isn’t right.  Obviously, this might leave less time to get anything questioned, but I’m aware of that and am getting ready with a request to school for a copy of their final Appendix B ahead of my LEA copies.

I already knew that this SENCO wasn’t as good, but they seem to scrape through this career with confidence of the school yet lacking from some parents (namely me as I haven’t discussed it with other parents). I’m concerned…

Occupational Therapy – Sensory Processing

Yes you’ve guessed it, I got our son’s OT report through the post today. I had to quickly read it, try to take a little in – then copy and add it to the rest of the paperwork for his Statutory Assessment request. As per last nights post, stayed up until late amending the question responses; today I copied everything, amended the OT details and this time got my husband to sign the sheets as well!

Anyhow, the OT report confirms that our son has various Sensory Processing Disorder issues and requires intervention, therapies, auditory integration etc. He has various proprioception and vestibular issues, posture problems; lots of little snippets to add to the big bits. To be honest, I thought the therapy advise was a little broad in information, but we have another 45 minutes with the OT to run through the report and maybe get a better understanding of the needs.

We then have to find some cash, work out what therapies we really need, want and start booking them up… seems like a few hours per week on various things over a course of 10 weeks – 2 years! I better win the Euro Millions tonight.

My Views, Yes ‘My Views’ revised

Although it’s late and I’m exhausted, I’m a little more content with my revised, extended, referring to reports ‘my views’ on the need for statutory assessment, our son’s SEN etc.

I sent in my version last Thursday but upon reading it after my 2am stint, I realised I just fluffed it. There were mistakes, bits missing, answers were under the wrong sections…

As per earlier post, I felt like I’d failed him! I spoke to SENCAN this afternoon and they said I can send in revised and extra paperwork as long as it’s there for the panel to review on Thur 23rd.

Happier me, albeit tired me; now for the IEP review and questions for the transfer meeting

Yawn. Zzzzz

Request for Assessment

I spoke to a member of the SENCAN caseworkers team and they told me that the panel definitely meet on Thursday. I’ve been told I can update my question ‘My Views’ answers and get them sent in along with the Clinical Psychologists and OT report. A little happier at that response although still not sure I can do our son justice with the information I supply.

Its been a very stressful 10 days and it’s not going to let up for at least another couple of days. On top of the SEN stuff incl DLA, IEP & Statement I need to deal with, I have work, my course, kids & chores… my list is endless. Life!

This week I have to get the revised answers in for the assessment request, attend an IEP progress meeting – for which I am hoping we can try to amend quite drastically. We are to attend a transfer briefing that I also need to get all my questions ready for and then I have work, where projects are none stop at the moment. One of my colleagues goes on holiday from Thursday evening for two weeks… oh dear… so that’s going to build up even more.

I’m also working towards a degree and I’m soooo far behind on my units that I need a few weeks to catch up. The only thing I can think of now, is to ask for an extension on my next paper so that I can concentrate on catching up on the units first.

I did want to attend the Autism Show this weekend but I’m not sure if it will be possible with the current load; plus I don’t have anyone to go with. Our son’s birthday is coming up and we have invited relatives over, so we need to get the garden in order and clear the tons of toys (in big recycle bags) for charity. The problem though, is there are too many, might have to throw some away! Then we need to tidy the house, but again, no chance of that at the moment.

Stress overload…

Who’s views? Your views? My Views

It’s silly to continue a blog post the following day so I’ll start fresh from now. I’ve had a slightly more chilled evening than the last week and had a little lie in, albeit a very small one as my husband is at work this morning, I can recommence from yesterdays post.

The ‘My Views’ pack for my son to complete contained the following sections each with their questions: –
Things I would like people to know about me
I like:
I don’t like:

How I’m getting on
Outside school I am good at:
These things are a bit difficult for me:
At school I am good at:
These things are a bit difficult for me:
It’s a good day at school when:

How I am helped in school
These people help me:
They help me by:
What I think about the help I get:
I don’t need help with:

What I need to make things better
I would like help with:
These people could help me:
These things could help me:
They could help me by:
Sometimes I am unhappy or worry about:
People who know me say I am:
I would also like to say:

As I said in my earlier post: my son had two home attempts and one school attempt at completing this worksheet. We started last Sunday, picked a quiet room, somewhere comfy and started the first attempt. He took just under two hours to complete this task with me discussing the questions with him as we went a long but him writing a response. Apart from his name, date of birth and completion date – he wrote thirty-one words, not including the little break times; that works out roughly 3 minutes per word. You can also tell from the amount of words in comparison to the questions, that there wasn’t much of a response overall in what he wrote.

Attempt number two I completed the following evening. I allowed him to continue with his playing while I asked the questions and basically wrote down our whole conversation from start to end. I thought, if allowing him to continue doing his own thing, he’d be happier thinking about his answers and not be too hasty in wanting to rush off again. This attempt took an hour and three-quarters; I got a lot more feedback but at the same time had to repeat the questions, coax and motivate for an answer, I also wrote down how he acted, his reaction, what he was doing etc. give them the full benefit of his behaviours.

I typed the commentary from each attempt into two separate documents and then was ready to begin on my pack. The parent pack has various questions but with some bits duplicated which really wasn’t necessary.

Initial form – Childs surname, Other names, Date of birth, School, Address, then you have Father and Mothers name and address and phone numbers. They ask you to give your views about whether they should assess your child? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that this form was needed should the school be the one to ask for the assessment, but they didn’t – it was me! So for me to have to duplicate the information I had sent on the letter in the first instance, requesting they assess our child for a Statement was a bit silly. At that stage I wrote that they could refer to my first letter that I had kindly re-attached for them, and that yes I wanted them to assess our son, he needs help and as soon as possible. The last section of this form was to detail all the contacts we would like them to get help from if they decide to go ahead with the assessment. Again, this information was also in the first letter but I went along with it, writing it all out again.

The next section was my main parent questionnaire – the pack for me to fill out with all our concerns; but first we had to complete the top section that again had the child, mother and father details. The questions to complete were:

What are your concerns about your child’s education?
Why have you asked for statutory assessment?
How has the school helped your child?
How often have you had meetings about your child’s progress at school in the last twelve months?
Has the school explained the way it helps children with special educational needs?
Help is being given to my child at SA or SA+?
The following people have met my child in the last twelve months (list of specialists incl. School doctor, Educational Psychologist, SALT etc)
What is your child good at doing at home?
What is your child good at doing at school?
What do you think your child’s special educational needs are?
How do you think your child can best be helped at school?
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your childs difficulties?

Then, at the end, again they ask for contacts we would like them to speak to if they agree to assess for Statement.

Now, I’ve re-read my response to these questions and its shocking; I’ve gone off on a tangent, talking more about his special needs than his special educational needs! FFS
I actually feel like I’ve just failed an exam, like I’ve let our son down and that what I have written is utter crap. It’s like sitting in a big bubble, typing up your thoughts, feeling secure and comfy when BAM, someone pops that bubble and you come tumbling down to earth* with an almighty crash!
What are my concerns about my child’s education? I’ve started to answer this then gone into more the reasons WHY I have requested the statutory assessment, I’ve rambled, fumbled, and failed! I know in my earlier post I said I wouldn’t fail, maybe I am over-reacting as emotions are high at the moment, but I know me and I know that what I have sent in compared with what I could have sent in, is poor.

These two packs combined with the school pack – again attempt three for our son but this time, in a quiet room with SENCO asking the questions and scribing – took 20 minutes! They also sent in some work, where he completed one word in about half an hour.. plus all the other gumpth they had to fill out, that I haven’t seen. But yes, these packs are for LEA to decide whether they are actually going to progress with statutory assessment, so at this stage I suppose I am worrying about nothing. Maybe I HAVE completed enough to get the ball rolling… they will supply the main pack if they agree for which I can then put in all the right detail. Speak to the Key Worker find out what information I lacked to give the first time.

Fingers crossed that I haven’t just failed our son.

*down to earth – free-falling to the ground from a great height, maybe bashing into a few things on the way, such as a tree!

Scream, Cry or Sleep

I’m cold; I should really pop downstairs and kick the heating on! I’m also hungry and I’m supposed to be making the dinner. The kids are downstairs playing the Wii, I’m sitting here for the first time in ages on the laptop typing this up (usually its on the iPod touch or Mobile!). I’m a little tired, slightly emotional, in need of a hug, a warm cuppa and a nice chat with a friend. I can fulfil the warm cuppa bit until my husband gets home, but not sure what time that will be at the moment. He’s been working all the hours this week and I’ve working into the early hours including statementing – I’ve put my course on hold until the weekend.

I don’t know where to start? I suppose from the weekend when I made my attempt to get our son to complete his ‘My Views’ pack to send back to LEA for his Statement Assessment. Now, this pack was just for them to say yes or no to even start the assessment, so who knows how much they want us to do when they say yes. They will say yes, and I will not need to go to a Tribunal because I am the best Mummy in the world and I’m a very determined person!

In total, I typed up of 2,500 words for my running commentary on his attempt at filling out the worksheet himself, then on my attempt at asking him the questions and me scribing. It took about an hour and a half each time and I managed to get much more response from him the 2nd time. School then completed it too and SENCO scribed, but that apparently took only 20 minutes. I then worked into the early hours of Thursday morning, typing up the answers to my questions. They were duplicating information and I’m not sure I even answered them properly. I was tired, run down and working on autopilot… think I waffled in all honesty but it should be enough to get them to agree to assess – I hope.

It’s at this point I need a sleepy emoticon, but as I don’t I’ll just consider publishing as it is for now and finishing it later.

A day of pickles

This morning I received a phone call stating the letter requesting an assessment for Statementing our son, had been received. A letter and information pack had also been sent in the post… It’s also a start to the 6 weeks count down.

We checked our son’s birthday presents that arrived yesterday. His birthday is a couple of months away, but what we have is awesome.

Our daughter’s present also turned up today, we’ve given it to her early and it’s hopefully going to be a project she can get into.

I carried on with the DLA form tonight, I’m on part 9 of 42 and it’s taken 3 months on and off! My husband and I have decided to spend a fair bit of time on it tomorrow, or we’ll end up finishing it in about two years.

We all popped to the arts and craft shops today; we’ve ordered our son’s teachers end of year pressie – hoorah
I gave the man the description of what I want (a rustic, floating boat dish for the bath), he’s going to attempt to make it; if I don’t like, I don’t have to buy. A very nice chap and I’m very hopeful he’ll come up trumps. Whether my ideal design that I have in my head or not, I think he’ll make something just as good, if not better. I’m looking forward to my first viewing and the response from the receiver in approx 8 weeks time.

I had a slightly stressed afternoon yesterday, but certain people, one in particular, always manages to put a smile on my face just for being there.

School SATs week

Oh dear, our son isn’t coping very well at all with SATs week. The teary, grouchy, slow little bean is melting with a mild change in routine and structure.
He’s in Yr2 and will be moving into the Juniors in September where there will be much more structure. He’ll collapse within a few weeks.

I’m sending off his Statement assessment request letter tomorrow morning; I REALLY hope they give him 1:1 and the 30 plus hours, he’s really going to need it

Pushing forward

Following on from my adjustment… I’ve looked into visual aids and social stories – taking pictures of our son doing various things in sequence to help on the areas he gets really distracted with. So I’m not sitting by waiting for the professionals and not, not doing anything at all, it’s just really frustrating waiting. I hate waiting!

We are applying for a statement (statutory assessment) although we’ve been informed this is unlikely to succeed due to our son meeting the educational targets. If the reports given for SALT and OT aren’t good enough (when they eventually happen), listing only what they can offer as opposed to what he needs, then we’ll likely have to pay £4-600 per set of reports to support our case. Ideally I didn’t want to pay for the first reviews so we are waiting for the NHS to see what they say.

In the mean time to aid our son, I’ve read lots of books and thought about implementing sensory play and things suggested within books like ‘The-Out-Of-Sync-Child’ but my concern is while we wait, especially on the sensory side, that we could make things worse; I really don’t know where to start? Why is it that once you get a diagnosis for Special Needs you just end up going back to the sidelines not knowing what to do next. Yes there is charitable support but nothing in the way of forthcoming professional support; then you also have family and friends who offer support but don’t really understand what you’re going through. Here I’m generalising because we haven’t really been offered any family support other than from those who aren’t really friends!

I suppose, in the last few days, I’ve let myself spiral into a little self-pitying depression, distancing myself from those who want to help – just because I feel awkward and don’t know how to accept help. Then the more I distance and feel weird around those people the more paranoid I get, then I can’t give eye contact and then it just keeps spiralling. I feel like I’m in a no-win situation but I feel stupid that all I seem to do is keep whingeing about the same things all the time and then that’s only going to push those who want to help away.

I don’t seem to have any positive in me at the moment; all I want is to see one of my friends for a chat, have a hot chocolate, talk about everything and anything – not just me (although there’d be plenty of it). A little normality where people allow me to hear their worries for a change.