So after what seemed to be a good first day back (They honestly need to stop saying that as it makes it sound hopeful that the next day will be the same), I have had two calls in two days.
Yesterday morning I took Dinky in and asked the head of nurture if she had read the ‘understanding PDA in children’ book I had lent her. She said ” I really enjoyed it”, like she had been given a gripping fiction book to read.
As I got near the school to pick her up and my phone rang, I was surprised to see it was the school! I picked up and they asked me to go via the reception. So I detoured, was taken out onto the playground to find the groundskeeper and the head of nurture standing at the gate and dinky attached to the gate at the top. So I went down there. There were lots of parents waiting to get in, some decided to take it upon themselves to tell Dinky what she should be doing, which of course made Dinky worse. The head of nurture just stood there like a lemon.
so I peeled Dinky off in a jokey but not too anxiety provoking way, but as soon as I let her down she ran off. She circled round a massive puddle and had to be stopped from leaving by the groundskeeper. Then she came back ran off, I manage to get her into nurture where they told me that her coat was at the year one pegs. Dinky then threw off her police roleplay vest and threw it on the floor, she was asked to pick it up ‘now’ and that sent her off again.
I got her coat and she climbed on top of the pegs and refused to come down. EVENTUALLY she calmed enough to come home.
Today, well today I have a local article about the early diagnosis of autism. I had been asked my opinion and gave it, and explained that Dinky has a provisional PDA diagnosis, I told them how hard it has been, and what a fight it is. He published it in the paper.
Later I got a letter from the LEA. Now, the guidelines for statutory assessment state that after the statutory assessment decision had been made that they then had 6 weeks to gather evidence and then 4 weeks to make the decision whether or not to make the statutory assessment. Giving a total of 10 weeks until the decision. Considering that the panel agreed to statutory assessment on the 18th of December, that would mean that the date for the decision would be the 25th of February. Well, their letter said the 31ST MARCH!
Oh I was not happy! I phoned ipsea who said that they are in the wrong. I then remembered I had an email from the SEN caseworker (whom I phoned an impressive 83 times the day after the panel meeting!) on the 20th of December. She said that that would serve as confirmation of the acceptance of the statutory assessment request. So I phoned the new caseworker who said she would get back to me (which she hasn’t). I get a feeling that it stems from something another parent from the same school said after her PPM. She said that they had said that they would restart the time and make it a new request and reset the time so they had time to appeal. If they tried to reset the time for m they never said. A reconsideration should not reset the clock, it should be counted as a delay in the process.
Today I got a call at about 2 pm from the school
“Can you come and get her, she is unsafe?”
So I go to get Dinky on arrival I am handed her socks and shoes (which is getting rather irritating), and told to follow the head of nurture. when we get to Dinky, she is standing on a stack of 5 chairs with a teacher/TA I have not met before. I ask dinky what is wrong and she is very very anxious. The new person asks her to do something and Dinky runs off into year 1, she said that she didn’t want to leave yet because school is not over (this is the one non PDA trait, she HAS to complete her routine, variation normally leads to meltdown).
On the look round for her the head of nurture said that OFSTED might see how things are on a REAL school day. I said they would get to see the illusion of inclusion up close! The new person asked what I meant. I said that it is clear Dinky cant cope in the classroom, and nurture isn’t the right place for her but the policy is inclusion which is failing Dinky. She didn’t understand. I said Dinky has complex special needs and she is unable to cope with demands, so a mainstream school is not the right setting for her, there is no way they can do it so that she doesn’t get the level of demands that everyone else does, even if she got 1:1. What she needs is specialist provision, which is difficult given that the LEA were trying to set it back by a month.
We finally find her in the library, she was trying to scan students codes. I tried to use it to my advantage to put her shoes on, but the new person tried to take the scanner away (she wasn’t doing any harm, the scanner wasn’t registering). Dinky got annoyed and tried to look for a book, the new person told her to ‘make the right choice’, so dinky went to some draws pulled out some scissors and began cutting up some green tissue paper. The new person then tried to grab the scissors. I had to try and get them off her in a more PDA way, and managed it until Muppet jr came and wound Dinky up more and said her choices were to walk out or mummy carries her out. Cheers for that one!
So I had to pick Dinky up and try to take her out. She then had a meltdown in the reception area. She was throwing things and trying to climb over the counter. During this an official looking visitor, tried to exit the school and was ushered out the delivery door along with another official looking visitor. At this point the head of nurture said “Oh dear”. So I am guessing it was the Ofsted inspector. After that she seemed more relaxed and we managed to get Dinky out and home.
Once home she was ok while she watched the smurfs.. again.. which has now over taken Ice age, which we watched after it for the first time since Christmas!
While Dinky was eating her dinner I got an email from the SN group leader (I had posted my frustration on the local autism page), she was really in Dinky’s corner. I explained what happened and then she called, she had spoken to the person who set up and runs the SN group who I met in January last year after Dinky went on the SEN register. He said he was going to take this further, he said it wasn’t on at all what the school were doing. She asked for more details and then said that she was going to go into school to observe Dinky, to try and see first hand what everyone else sees and how the school deal with her as she is going to be our lead after the next TAC and the switch is going to be announced then.
It has been a busy 2 days. I have to do my parental advice form for the statutory assessment, but we will get there.
I must say though, I wish it wasn’t such a fight to get this going. I am sure they are going to try to put off doing the statement, which I will fight to the end, it is just tough.