Diagnosis and school

We, at GAIN are not qualified to give advice but here are a few thoughts.

If you think that your child may have Special/Additional Educational needs (SEN), you may need to find someone who will take the time to listen and discover for themselves what your child is like and what he or she needs.

It might have taken you years of devoted attention to piece together your own insights and it may take some time for others to catch up with you.      It might help to keep things factual, describing the specifics of what is happening, and leaving the professionals to join up the dots.

Alarm bells may well start ringing for service providers when autism is mentioned because there is a lot of demand for SEN resources.       So it may be better not to mention autism.

 Teachers

The National autistic society recommends that a child’s teacher keep a behaviour diary of any signs that may indicate the need for a formal diagnosis.       They say that it is not unusual for GPs to request observations from schools before making a referral.       Click icon for the article.       Your child will need a diagnosis to get funding for additional SEN support.

 Survey of teachers

Unfortunately teachers do not always see the Special educational needs (SEN) in a child that has them.       An article in Special needs jungle explores the implications of a YouGov survey of teachers.      Click icon to view.

The author writes that teachers may be resistant to a suggestion of SEN, particularly if ADHD or autism/Asperger syndrome does not start to show up until the child is in the restrictive and confusing world of the school classroom.      There seems to be a lack of awareness of the SEND Code of Practice.      Some teachers that have read it may have thought it was rubbish and tossed it in the recycle bin.

One SENCo thinks that professionals must be able to work holistically and hold a fluid construct of the child’s difficulty, rather than looking for a label.      The author believes that although there is SEN training for teachers, more is needed.

Toolkit

Ambitious about autism has produced a toolkit called Right from the start to take parents of small children through their autism journey.      It starts from wondering whether a child might have autism, through diagnosis, to supporting a child who is on the autistic spectrum.       Click icon to find out more.

 Autism assessment

The NHS website outlines what an autism assessment involves.      It mentions a school SENCo referral, as well as GP referral, unlike some other websites, at the top of the page.       Click icon to view.       It looks like one may not always be able to avoid mention of autism before diagnosis.       Maybe it might be wise not to mention it from the outset at least, though.

They also have some very handy tips for getting diagnosed.

Advocacy

Getting what your child needs often puts parents up against difficulties and obstacles.       Professionals may try to fob you off to begin with, suggesting that things might sort themselves out – perhaps partly because they do not see your child at home.

  • Ambitious about autism says that some parents of children with autism develop a talent for making a polite nuisance of themselves – formally known as advocacy.      Find How do I get a diagnosis under the adverts.
  • Also, there are waiting lists for much needed services and the solutions may not be easy to identify.

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