Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Email #16

Dear Mrs New-caseworker

Thank you for the assessment papers and Note In Lieu for my son, dated 16 November and received on Friday 18 November 2005.

Please accept this email as my permission/approval for the new Note In Lieu and related reports to be issued to all interested parties, as soon as possible.

I do have some very worrying concerns, such as the quantity of advice/guidance given on the previous Note In Lieu which is missing from this new one, with no apparent reason shown.

I am also concerned that my son's personal opinion that he is improving is being given any weight at all - he is anxious to 'improve' and to fit in, and his response to such a question would depend on who asked and what day of the week it was. Aspergers syndrome, as part of the autistic spectrum of disorders is a lifelong condition that cannot in itself 'improve'; only the way in which it is managed can be improved and success should not be taken as an indicator that the management could safely be reduced.

As we previously discussed, I know the (small) school to have been taking measures well beyond SEN+ to see him achieve any progress in his education, unmarred (or marred to the least possible degree, given resources) by distractibility or overfocussing or confusion and distress and defensive violence.

I am already disconcerted that this 'management' involves timing his reward periods and time outs to coincide with lessons where his difficulties would be most obvious - for example for the second year running he is to help with the technical side of the Xmas production in some way, mostly because he can learn the songs etc in class but cannot cope with sitting still in normal assembly hall lines. Without even more support than he currently receives they have opted to spare him from the bustle and confusion and distress of that situation (in a school with only 200 or so pupils), although this means that the curriculum is already being adjusted around him and costing him eventually vital practice at managing himself in crowds or tight spaces.

I am extremely upset at the suggestion (in the new Note In Lieu) that the curriculum should be adjusted for him, as there is no clear explanation of what this means. The idea of him attending mainstream school is for him to have full access to the curriculum, with whatever support he needs to access that.

I feel that similarly nothing has been put in place to prepare for the increased frequency and volume of stress triggers in a larger, senior school environment, nor to prepare for the likelihood of OCD or depression presenting themselves at onset of puberty, although both were listed as highly likely by the expert who diagnosed his syndrome - apparently the conditions too frequently go hand in hand.




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