Statement Review Time

11 Jul

Megan has something called a ‘Statement of Need’ or ‘Statement’ for short. In this document is a set of regulations that the LEA (Local Education Authority) must adhere to. When Meg first started school last year we went through a monumental fight (as do all parents of SEN (Special Educational Needs) kids) to get Megan the education we felt would best suit her. Its all documented in here somewhere if you want to have a look but I certainly learnt a few unpleasant things about the Education system as part of that process (did you know that parents of SEN kids have *no right* to attend hearings about their kids that the LEA set up to discuss their inclusion?).

Anyway, as you may also recall, Megan’s two support assistants both left on June 30th so Megan has had to stay at home with us. Now technically, we _could_ have demanded the school meet Megan’s needs as 32.5 hours per week support is specified in her Statement and we fought like utter mad bastards to get that but to be honest, the school have done such a great job with Megan it didn’t even enter our minds. The other thing of course is that Meg needs as much continuity as possible and getting in two people that quickly might’ve been impossible.

However, the school have again performed miracles and managed to get two LSA (Leaning Support Assistants) who both have experience with SEN kids. One started today and the other one starts next Monday. This is great news as it means Megan will have 10 days or so to get to know these people before school breaks up for the Summer and thus she won’t be starting in September to a new classroom with a new schoolteacher and new kids *and* new LSA’s – a situation which would’ve been overwhelming.

Today was also Megan’s Statement Review so I went down to attend that. It was a mostly very positive meeting. Everyone agreed that Megan is a different little girl to the one who started school last September. She joins in with the other kids, she follows a basic session plan, she responds to the instructions of her LSA’s, her PECS work is becoming established and consistent.

However she does have issues concentrating and this is hampering her ability to make more significant progress. Finding something to motivate Meg is difficult as she gets bored very easily. Once she’s done something (swapped a picture for an item for example) she doesn’t see why she should _keep_ doing it. This means its impossible to say with any certainty whether what she’s doing is established and learnt. Our next strategy is to find ways of elongating Megan’s attention span and finding better and more concrete ways of motivating her.

15 Responses to “Statement Review Time”

  1. Matt Robin July 11, 2005 at 20:17 #

    Hey Kev – I really wish your little princess all the luck with her learning and statements and such. It is fantastic that she has a committed family who care for her and want to see her reach her potential, actively encouraging and supporting her journey through life. I’m really pleased that the school could get the neccessary staff in such rapid time.

    Best wishes to you, your family (including Megan).

    Matt

  2. Camille July 12, 2005 at 07:52 #

    Of course, I’m not there, but I have to wonder if Megan is just being very efficient and wondering why she needs to do something “again”. 🙂

    What is Megan interested in?

    Can she use water, for example, to learn the things she need to learn? Write letters with water on concrete with a paintbrush? Measure water for math…

  3. Kev July 12, 2005 at 09:35 #

    You’re absolutely right Camille – I’m positive she is just being efficient in her learning. I guess the trick is trying to help her to appply that learning (i.e. theory) to everyday situations.

    The water motivator is a good one – particularly as its Summer. I think we’ll try that over the school holidays :o)

  4. Toxie July 12, 2005 at 14:19 #

    “Megan is just being very efficient and wondering why she needs to do something “again”.”

    Very sensible girl you’ve got there Kev.

  5. Autism Diva July 13, 2005 at 00:30 #

    http://jamesmedhurst.blogspot.com/2005/07/day-in-daze.html

    I didn’t know where to post this… have you seen this fellow’s blog? He’s a Londoner, I guess, and on the spectrum.

    His latest entry about autism is funny and informative.

  6. HN July 13, 2005 at 07:12 #

    Congrats on getting two more LSA’s… and I hope you do get progress with the attention span. My son (not austistic, severe speech disability, with some profound expressive problems that translate to a severe learning disablity in high school) had been able to cope more with inclusion because he has no attention problems (his problems involve two over-achieving younger siblings — he has to work so hard when his younger brother and sister seem to excel at everything they try. As a teenager he has found this frustrating).

    In the USA that translates into an IEP, Individual Eduation Plan. This is something that can get into the most mundane details. As a parent I can call an IEP meeting whenever I want… something I HAD to do in order to switch him from the special ed. door to door school bus to a regular ed. bus (so instead of stopping in front of my house with a little bus that had seatbelts… he got to ride the regular big yellow bus without seatbelts that stopped on the corner… a whole 30 meters from our front door!).

  7. Kev July 13, 2005 at 09:13 #

    Cheers HN :o)

    We have IEP’s over here too although they seem to be based around development rather than setting the groundrules and as such are regularly updated unlike the Statement which ongly gets reviewed once a year.

    Hope things work out well with your son :o)

  8. HN July 13, 2005 at 09:18 #

    Okay, I KNOW it is WAY past my bedtime… So do you do your best work in the very wee hours of the morning?

    By the way, thanks… I hope things work out for him to. He has improved since the end of school… though now he must pay for a math book. He is a sweet trusting child who lent his math book to someone who lost theirs. So when it came to turn in the books, his math book went missing — so now WE (or more accurately HE) must pay for it. sigh

  9. Kev July 13, 2005 at 11:54 #

    Too right HN ;o) I often find myself peering at a monitor at about 3am. Its gotten much worse since the baby’s been born – now I have an excuse to sit up with her!

  10. SunnyDaze July 13, 2005 at 23:24 #

    Hey, Kev!! It’s you-know-who!!

    We have the same problem over here in the states with LEA’s and IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) & I’ve battled the school many, many times – so I know how you feel. I’m glad Megan’s review went well. I just had to go through a review for my daughter – every 4 months they review to see if she still needs an aide. At our last mtg they told me they were going to take away her school aide when she starts kindergarten. I was preparing for a massive battle. On the meeting day my daughter wasn’t feeling good and bit me in the front of everyone – the teacher was shocked and pushed for a full aide 32.5 hrs a week & I didn’t even have to say anything!! Not that I’m glad for the bite – but she coudn’t have picked a better time to do it!!

    BIG CONGRATULATIONS on your new baby. I saw her pic – she’s awesome.

  11. Shawn July 14, 2005 at 05:16 #

    It’s always good to see someone sharing some positive experience with the schools. I think we parents often have a tendency to make a lot of noise when things aren’t going well but say very little when they are. I’ve certainly made my share of noise. With that in mind, I called our Special Ed director a few weeks ago and told him “Thanks. Both the boys had good years.” I pretty much left him speechless, in a good way. It’s good to keep those relationships positive.

    I had a similar experience to SunnyDaze. When we first started the IEP process, the principal said “lets just see how things go for a while”, putting off the evaluations. Later that day my son threw a pair of scissors at the teacher. No one was hurt and the evaluations were completed very quickly! I think kids have a way of letting us know when they need help.

    And as many others have said, Congratulations!

  12. Kev July 14, 2005 at 06:53 #

    Tox – she’s wise allright. Too bloody wise sometimes – she runs rings round me ;o)

    Hi Sunny ;o) thanks for the congrats and glad your LEA saw sense – sometimes a kick (or in this case a bite!) in the reality is what these beaurocrats need!

    Shawn – I totally agree its good to tell the school when they’re doing right as well as wrong. We’re lucky that the schools SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinating Officer) is so dedicated.

  13. bonni July 16, 2005 at 10:14 #

    “Finding something to motivate Meg is difficult as she gets bored very easily. Once she’s done something (swapped a picture for an item for example) she doesn’t see why she should keep doing it.”

    Boy, that sounds JUST like Zoe! When/if you figure out how to get around that, I’d be delighted to hear what you’ve done. We’re still trying to work out how to keep Zoe going at tasks.

  14. Helena November 29, 2005 at 21:30 #

    Hi,
    Just came across your website when looking for stuff on Autism and PECS, and wondered how Megan is doing with her PECS? I ask because I’m an LSA in a Special school, working with a 12 year old who has made enormous progress in his communication this term, and I’m really interested in how PECS is working for other kids.

    My pupil is on Phase 1 (with a little bit of Phase 2 distance and persistence for things he’s really keen on), and we’re being careful not to rush onto the next phases too soon, because we want him to be fully understanding and really enjoying communicating before we move him on. He doesn’t always concentrate for long on one thing either, so we switch activities a lot and use loads of different pictures, but there are some he definitely recognises and remembers, and will spontaneously search through his book to find when he wants them. We started out using objects, but more recently he’s actually been more motivated and keener for longer on things we do with him – so he has a picture for ‘Run’ (which makes us run around wildly and he chases us!), ‘Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes’, and things like that. We also have a ‘Help’ symbol stuck to the front of his book, which he’s just learning to use.

    Hope you don’t mind me emailing – I would just love to know more about your thoughts on PECS, how the school is using it in lessons, how the new LSAs are getting to grips with it and how Megan’s doing with it – if you have time to reply.

    Hope the new LSA’s are working out well. Our school has a new scheme of new LSA’s shadowing old ones before they start, which is great for continuity, but obviously hard to acheive unless they have plenty of warning about staff leaving. Anyway, hope Megan is getting along well in her new class.

    Thanks,
    Helena

  15. Kev December 1, 2005 at 00:56 #

    Hi Helena, feel free to email me on kevleitch@gmail.com . I’m afraid I don’t discuss my daughter publicly on here anymore but I’d be happy to discuss these issues with you via email.

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