Well that actually went ok.
I think this was the first actual meeting where no one had questioned the provisional diagnosis, and everyone was on the same page about Dinky’s needs.
We started off discussing who everyone was, it was interesting that there were 2 education welfare officers, one from the school and one from the county council.
We then went through ‘what isn’t working right now’
Her not being at school was the first thing brought up. They said they were concerned she wasn’t receiving an education.
– I told them that I was educating her at home, and that even when she was in school she was in a room with a 1-1 no access to a teacher and her IEP target was to participate in 75% of learning activities, so how much learning was actually taking place? Dinky still can’t form her letters properly!
They talked about how she should be in school and that they needed to check that she was getting an education
– again I reminded them that I was doing stuff at home with her and that she wasn’t actually receiving an education IN school. If I was home educating this wouldn’t be an issue
They said it would still be an issue as they would send a home education person out.
– I said that it would just disrupt Dinky to have someone come out, not understand Dinky’s needs just until September and couldn’t give me further advice than what I am already doing more than what the school would do.
I explained about dinky practically kicking the special needs health visitor out of our house on Monday, and how difficult it is to know how she is going to react to people coming into her safe space. I asked them about me getting her signed off school.
– they said with what?
I said her high anxiety and additional needs, that the school isn’t suitable for her.
– they said I had a legal duty to send her to school as she was on the roll. They said I should take her off roll
I said that My duty is to protect Dinky and not sending her back there was me fulfilling my duty. That I wouldn’t take her off roll because I don’t want the LEA to get he idea I am selecting to home educate because I am not.
It was interesting to see that on paper the school and integrated services said my parenting was a concern, but they were given plenty of opportunity to say it at the meeting… But didn’t!
They discussed the fact that we are isolated and said hat another issue with Dinky’s non attendance was the fact that she was missing social interaction. I told them this was not true, as much as we are isolated, I have tried to make sure Dinky has access to play with her peers as she wasn’t at school. I told them we went to the park up the road and had been to her SN group and going to any other meet ups with other kids with additional needs.
Still they went on about the structure of school and how it would benefit dinky. I told them they were wrong, she couldn’t cope at school, hence the exclusions ect. The deputy tried to say that she had a good relationship with the 1-1 they employed for dinky and since she started with Dinky there had been no incidents of running out of the school…. I said… FOR 3 DAYS!!! They hadn’t even attempted learning.
I told them she was not going back to the school!
They said they needed to work out what they were going to do until September.
The SWs manager asked if I missed dinky when she was at school, I said no, possibly a little too quickly! I said I love her and she is my world, but I like the break! They said it was good that I was happy to leave her. I said that I worked and she had a childminder before until her needs became too much as the minder had taken on a lad getting his ASD diagnosis, and I had to leave my job.
They discussed my dad and how he isn’t fantastic with her, and that we have no support network. They asked if I had any ‘girlfriends’ to hang out with and chat to. I said no, I have made friends, sort of, through the autism support group, but we don’t do ‘chit chat’ we talk about the kids, about autism, about how difficult things are for our kids sometimes.
I was asked if I had any hobbies, I said football. They asked if I would like to go back to it. I said yes, so they are going to look into it.
The SN group leader said it was a concern that I do not get enough respite. They discussed what would need to happen for it to go into place. The SW told her good that short term was no good due to the fact that Dinky doesn’t do well with change so as soon as she gets used to it, it disappears.
The integrated services lady said that she asked about respite and was told I should send her back to school. I said NOT A CHANCE! I won’t get respite by putting her somewhere she is not happy. It wouldn’t be with the fall out.
We moved onto strengths and ili must admit it was pretty awkward actually being praised, after the continuous fighting, it was nice to be told I was doing a good job! They commented on how much I put into helping Dinky- but to the point where it verges on being harmful to me. That we have a very strong attachment and Dinky is celebrated with having her own wall with all her certificates and proud moments on.
Even the deputy from the school said they can’t fault how much I put into place for her.
They said I do my best to keep her safe, and happy and always put her needs way above my own.
I said that as much as she is very challenging and can be hard work, she is awesome. I love her to bits and I am proud of her.
We discussed where we go from here, and that family indicative was brought up and I said no! That I’m not having them involved, that I do not abuse Dinky and she isn’t set for a life of crime due to being in poverty. They all started saying “no that is not what it is”, so I told them to look on the police website and watch the video, look in the county council website and tell me you would sign yourself up for it!
The county autism support person said that it isn’t like that, that they work with them and so do the SN group Dinky goes to. I said I don’t care, I’m not having other professionals thinking that we were once on the family initiative as they would then ask why.
They said they would do it as a child in need as she does have complex needs, but that technically she wouldn’t meet the criteria as she is not technically at risk of any danger or harm. But that way they could offer longer term respite.
As far as education goes, they are going to use the provisional diagnosis letter to say that she is not coping at school and the fact that she was at risk of permanent exclusion, to try and get the alternative provision team to do some work with her until September via a home tutor. Apparently the special school have until the end of this week to say whether or not that can take Dinky on, and the amendments need to be made to the statement and then we should know what is going on for September.
There were a few points where I got annoyed and made comments about the school, but the deputy mostly agreed with me.
So there we have it, child in need to start soon. Just a shame that the SW is leaving, as she was good. I just hope that we get a decent one. One other good thing! No more integrated services!