Little Boy, Big School.

Posted on: March 20, 2012

Its 4 weeks, 6 days, 4 mins and 56 seconds (as I write this) until we find out which school from the ones we chose A will be attending, but whose counting?!

He only turns 4 in June, so he’ll be one of the youngest.

Its an anxious wait & I’m sure time seems to be going a lot slower than usual…

Due to the timing of A’s diagnosis along other factors which I spoke of in a previous blog ‘Mainstream or Special School?’ A will be attending a Mainstream setting – for how long is any ones guess.

So now I know he will definitely at least be trying Mainstream – my attention and worry is focused upon the amount of support he will receive, A needs full-time support and in our area 25 hours is the maximum. I’ve made it clear that if A doesn’t get full time support I will be home schooling him – I don’t want to but needs must.

A currently has full time support at his nursery so I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t get the same for at school.

I worry of how he will cope at break and lunch times, as well as in class – he struggles to sit for any length of time and has a flitting attention.

I’ve had the idea of saying, ok 25 hours – I’ll only send him for 25 hours then – but I think is all depends on your area/Local authority as some parents I’ve spoken to their children have been allowed to minimise their school hours and work up to full-time hours.

I’ve heard so many bad things about Mainstream schools and their sheer ignorance towards children with Autism – the mainstream schools I have chosen for A are 1. The closest by. 2. Very academically driven – which worries me when it comes to A’s inclusion and well being.

So please don’t hold back and comment about your schooling experiences whether it be mainstream or special needs school….

Thanks 🙂

L x


16 Responses to "Little Boy, Big School."

Z goes to mainstream due to the fact he hadn’t been diagnosed when it came to choosing schools (got diagnosed Dec 2011 when in yr1) when we found out what school he got we contacted them straight away to make them aware of Z’s difficulties. Overall they have been very good, he gets 1-1 all day, everyday & sometimes has a teacher with him at lunchtimes. 25hrs is the norm i think for 1-1 in the classroom as there only in the class for 5hrs a day (9-12 then lunch then 1-3) maybe when you find out what school he has you could contact them with your concerns & try to put things in place before he starts in september, theres another boy in Z’s yr with autism & he had everything in place for when he started in september.

Good luck sweetie I hope you get the school you want xxxx

My girl was 4 last June and then started mainstream in September. Although she has a statement, she doesn’t get full time support, but as I’m not in the classroom I can’t tell if she actually needs it or not! At the end of the day, it is down to the school to manage the hours and help, and it’s in their interests as much as the child’s. I’m afraid there are good schools who care and bad schools who don’t, but I hope you get a good one. Either way it is really down to you to educate them about how to manage your child, and I’d definitely try and look at it as a partnership rather than a battle from day one. Say everything with a smile on your face, even if you don’t feel it, and remember one of my Dad’s favourite sayings – ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’!! The most important thing is to get your child happy and settled there first, and worry about the learning side of things after. Good luck!

My son had a special needs statement from nursery onwards, I wanted him to at least try mainstream, all children are different but in our case this was the worst mistake we made, my son struggled from day one to cope and fit in with other children, he ended up really distressed and unhappy and his behaviour was dreadful after a few months of starting nursery. I think most of his bad behaviour was due to the fact everything was new and different and he was extremely frightened. It started to make him ill and we had to finally admit that he could not manage in mainstream and he was offered a place in a specialist language unit, with only 8 other children, all with aspergers and language difficulties. It did take him awhile to settle but it was the best decision we have ever made. He eventually went to a special school at 11 years old until he was 19 and absolutely loved it. The treatment and education he received was second to none. Given his time over I would have opted for special school right from the beginning. I feel like he did not benefit from any nursery education because he was so unhappy, the teachers just thought he was disruptive and did not really understand how to handle him. He could not really comunicate very well at that time and was also still in nappies which was hard, luckily I lived close by and most days he only spent about 2 hours at the most at nursery and then I would have to pick him up. I never felt easy when he was at nursery and was quiet pleased when he was home. Once he started the language unit I could not believe the difference in him, he really benefitted from the small group and the 1 to 1 teaching was brilliant.
Every child is different and only you know what is best for your child, dont be pushed into something you think is unsuitable, stick to your guns and only accept what you want and dont be frightened to say no if you think something is not right. Good luck everyone whose child is about to start school.

Every child is different. My son is 14 now but I underestimated how much Autism would impact on him. He did half days for a while then went up to full days but because the LEA wouldn’t allocate enough hours for full time support we had to go into school and support him through the lunch hour. Eventually we had to reduce his hours back down to him leaving school at 1pm at the end of the lunch hour as this was the hours he had 1-1 support. Legally he didn’t have to go to school full time until he was 5 anyway. At the end of his reception year I decided that mainstream education wasn’t the right thing for him and made the decision to move him to an Autism specific special school and it was the best decision I ever made for him and for us. It was nobody’s fault that mainstream didn’t work – the teaching staff and Head did everything they could. I would advise you to work closely with his school even before he starts to make sure that they and your son can be fully prepared for when he starts.

As you know D has just turned 3 in November and he attends a special needs school that focuses on social and communication factors, he has been there for nearly 10 months now as I wanted him to have a head start in his education and I couldn’t imagine him at a mainstream school as he needs so much attention and he wouldn’t start until September coming!! His school is absolutely amazing, teachers are amazing and they learn every little thing about D xx

Hi when G started school he was only able to go 1/2 day even when his peers were going full time eventually he want full time eventually. After 3 days in got asked if he was in the right place he managed another couple of years there n went to a unit within mainstream for juniors now in secondary gets taught in small groups not really unit as such but got a base he can go to and is doing well. Jsng on in there ee

Oops meant to say choices are always difficult buy hang on in there

My son J is in mainstream in reception and our experience has not been a good one! He was diagnosed ASD June 2011, he apparently has a 1:1 but she is also 1:1 for another child!!!! The school don’t seem to know how to handle him when he has a meltdown, it is a roller coaster ride we are trying to get J a statement but in our area it’s quite hard! But I will keep fighting for him because I don’t want to let him down

As you know K goes to mainstream. He is very bright so we thought an academic school would be perfect. We also thought the local small school would be a positive way to be accepted, warts and all. Mixed feelings, K gets 25 hours funded but school top it up to include break and dinner times. Just the support isn’t specialist, they do a good job when the going is good but I’m not convinced as yet. There are other options for K, but I reckon it’s a ‘toss a coin’ decision at the mo as who knows what’s best. At least the future is not set in stone….

My oldest wasn’t diagnosed until he was removed from mainstream. We had some dark times but there are many wonderful caring staff in mainstream schools and the placement is right for some children but every situation is different. My oldest is now in a mainstream with a resource base and have he can n

I am in the process of looking at schools in Iceland right now. I’ve chosen mainstream for my older boy and hope that it will work for him as he is rather strong socially and is unusually strong in adjusting to new scenarios. Now starts the waiting period – whether or not he gets a spot – its grueling. So… I know exactly how you’re feeling.

Good luck!

Hi, I’m in the US and my youngest got diagnosed at 2y, started a special pre-school program at regular elementary school provided by our county right after that. I was hard for me to see this sweetie, so small to fit in the bus seat off to the big (bigger to him) school. The teachers were excellent. Good chemistry has been key. We lucked out with the preschool teacher he’s had for the last 2 years, he is now almost 5 in their Autism kindergarten transition program. Mainstream schooling in collaboration with special needs has been key. He went from non-speaking to the miracle of saying a few words. I’m totally with you and pray for a good program for your A. Socialization in the school is hard, they have to deal with other kids/adults, but at the end they do learn so much, open up and get much more too. I wish you with all my heart a good school, your own teacher angel like my Ms.Martha and a supportive team to help little A. Best wishes.

My response will be a little different, I don’t have a child with ASD, but I am an ASD specialist TA in a mainstream school. The child I work with arrived at school with no statement or concerns (that were recorded) . For the first 3 months he had either no support or no specialist support. He still has no statement, but through consistency he has now settled into an almost workable routine, and his behaviour is better too, fewer melt downs and restraints (In fact none in last 3months) the school know the basic about ASD, but not the little idiosyncrasies. I am not the only person who can do what I do, but I do realise that he is lucky to have me, I feel ready to move on now, knowing he is now able to listen, understand and accept. He will find yr1 difficult, I would like to see the schools co-operate and allow him to attend special ed for part of the week and mainstream for the rest of the week. This would allow him to continue to experience the needs of others and adapting routines as well as getting some personalised teaching from teachers who understand his needs.
I hope you find what you are looking for.

Its a lottery I think. We have been lucky M has attended mainstream nursery, then the same school so went into Reception with 25 hours support. But, the main reason its been successful is its a small village school, experienced staff with SEN, a very loving relationship with is LSA, partnership with us brilliant. The children have always been taught to accept M, and most have known him all through their school years. When he started he was in nappies, and hardly spoke, his statement addressed alot of that, and its always been positively worked on. I know this is not always the case for alot of families, so know we have been very lucky. I have always said nothings set in stone, if something isn’t working, change it. I think you need to try and get a good relationship with A’s new school before he attends, and work with them to get to know him and his ‘isms. Get a good communication system in place, because if A is like M at that age, he couldn’t tell you what was good or bad, and even now at 11, he doesn’t really, so I relied heavily on them.

We are now in the situation of M leaving and moving up to High School, I’m not gonna lie, I’m sick with worry about it. He’s got a place at an Able Autism Base in a High School 10 miles away, and I have no idea how its going to pan out. The base and staff are great, and we are already working on transition now with them. His new teacher has already been to M’s school and has a good picture of him.

Its so so scarey, you just want to protect them. It so depends on the school and staff too.

I really wish you luck with this, and totally get how you feel. Right now I am just trying to go with the flow and trust, but I have my doubts.


My daughter went to a mainstream nursery who were fantastic they used marathon and PECS and really knew how to deal with her…..we chose a mainstream school that is just round the corner from us as it is one class per yr and because she was doing so well in mainstream nursery, and school told us they will help, we thought it was good. Since then we’ve had nothing but trouble. She is now in yr 2 and we are trying to get her moved to a special school as she gets no extra support and we have trouble getting her to school most days

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