Friday, March 24, 2006

Email #34

Dear Mrs New-caseworker
Thank you for our meeting today. I feel it is important to commit the results to print, so to recap events as I understand them:
I asked for some minor rewording/clarifications of meaning in section 2 of Son's proposed statement, all of which were agreed, including acknowledgement that he needs constant adult supervision to remain on task and that he needs subtle unobtrusive monitoring in all unstructured activities - in other words that he needs adult supervison to remain both academically and socially appropriate. We also modified wording slightly I believe, to underline that his inappropriate behaviours are a stress reaction to sensory overload.
I asked for minor rewording of provision 8 in part 3 section B to ensure that delivery of the full curriculum would be modified to allow him to access it all, rather than the curriculum itself being modified, so that this could not be interpreted to deny or curb his access to certain sectors. This you also agreed.
Thank you for your help.
As to the rest of section B, you explained that the provisions were "deliberately vague" (quote) to allow for the school, once placement had been awarded, to instruct the LEA how they proposed to fulfil those provisions, that you would then look at mirroring those plans in the statement in place of the current wording, as a way to tie the school to its intentions.
My questions about the phrase 'access to' (where, when, how often, how provided, who by) and questions about what each provided facility is (what is a workstation, how set out, with what equipment, what is a language programme, which person or authority would devise that to be of use to Son as an individual etc) plus concerns about provision being distinct and separate in a manner that reduces his access to the curriculum (such as would these be sessions taking him away from some lessons, or would these be more fluid and on tap for access during time outs etc) - all these were noted. However you informed me that none of these could be answered except by the school that will receive him - that they will instruct the LEA on this, which will then be underlined by addition to the statement after the fact.
My request for any mention of staffing arrangements received the same response, although you took down my request that those dealing with him closely be trained or training in dealing with ASD and Aspergers - once again to be negotiated with the school prior to addition to the statement, or not, according to the school's facilities. You also added that it is very rare to list hours and that Son has been given a 'Band A' statement, funding for which would not stretch to an INA for the entire school day or week.
You likewise informed me that no school can be named in part 4, irrespective of my wishes for P, until a school has already agreed to take him, and that oversubscription by one child could be seen as detrimental to the education of his peers. I could argue with you that if he had been granted a full time INA (something the junior school has been fighting for and calling necessary even in their gentler environment for the past two years) then he would not in any way be taking a teacher's attention from other pupils, which, as a child fit for mainstream, is the only way he could cause a detriment.
I am most dissappointed that the LEA is prepared to say that he needs constant adult supervision but is not prepared to band his statement/pay out to provide for a full time INA trained in dealing with Aspergers syndrome. It is impossible for a teacher with a class of thirty to give one of them constant attention. As I said, I am very anxious that he has had an INA at cost to the junior school, for the past three years, that he does not know how to function without one even in a rarefied junior school atmosphere let alone senior school and that there is concrete proof of this - he currently, through budgetary restraints has one day a week (actually one half day - Friday when the afternoon includes 'Golden time') without his INA and regular teacher and that is the day when he accrues detentions, and comes home stressed, depressed and feeling unfairly picked on. I doubt he learns a thing on those days, for waiting to get into trouble, so as a sensory overload, its a vicious circle. We can expect that to double or triple in the larger senior school environment.
I do not really see the point of going to the trouble of getting the school to tell the LEA what provision should go into the statement, even though 'access to' is unclear and open to wide interpretation, as are the provisions themselves as they stand - eg 'a social use of language programme, a workstation, opportunities to talk, motor skills programmes'.
I am similarly dissappointed that the LEA is unwilling to name a school before first getting that school to agree to accept my son, it seems all cart before the horse.
My feeling now:

Having come away from this meeting and had time to consider, please be advised that I trust you to make the few changes we agreed and I do not wish to see another proposed statement or to argue fine points from here to kingdom come, simply because this would make it a very longwinded process which would be detrimental to my son. He already feels like an outsider for being the one child in his class who doesn't know what school he is going to; the Senco is unable to formulate a transition strategy, I am unable to prepare him and this will have long term effects on his new start.

Please, whether or not you hear from the senior schools by this Friday, could you please finalise the statement with the agreed changes, with or without a named school of the LEA's choosing, as that seemingly has to be the way, so that he has a real statement by the time he goes back to school after the Easter break. Too many individuals and authorities, Son most of all, need this to be finalised in order to move on.
Many thanks


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