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not sure if you will be able to help me but im at my wits end.. with a situation in my setting.


I have a 4 year old child in my setting who I think is on the autistic spectrum, and dont know how best to support his needs and help him.


parents a refusing any form of outside help, but have allowed me to contact LA who have come into setting and hold the same view as me. after a long slog and numerous meetings parents have agreed to some level of 1:1 and we have recieved funding for this.. but they still wont allow the outreach team to come and assess him. I'm stumped now each week we see a decline in his behaviour, and interactions with the group


I have no prior knowledge or experience in working with a child with these complex needs and am fearfull for his transition into school come september.


Can anyone offer any words of wisdom on how to tackle this, if you have come up against similar scenrios or do you know any good books for me to read... the LA say they are also stuck and cant do anything without parental permission either..


I feel so sad for the child and frustrated at the parents (mum works with children) I cant make her see that i only want the best for her child, and its not for my personal gain but for his benefit.



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oh dear , i take it you have not said 'autistic spectrum' to mum as this is not professional and we are not in a position to diagnose ( even if we have an idea) , some parents find it very difficult to accept that their child may not be progressing as they should. What does your senco think- i take it he/she is aware .

if parents have finally allowed some intervention (1;1) is there an IEP in place - what behaviour is he showing or not showing , what areas does he need support ?

will he be going to local school , do you have good links with early years teacher there?

there are many things that could be put in place and you could emphasise that it is to benefit all children so parents feel he is not being singled out -

i understand your sadness and frustration - maybe if they start to see benefits they may start to take on board his needs.


visual registers, now and then cards , lots of visual /photo aids, small group or 1;1 with another child, routines

Im sure there will be lots of others along who can advise more but without knowing his particular needs it is difficult - maybe you can elaborate on this please

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problems like this are difficult to advise on without knowing your authority and their support systems there is a legal requirement for them to have a senco ....so i would try and have a conversation with them first, tell them your fears and frustrations(they will have dealt with them before!) then dont worry too much about a diagnosis...you need to give parents time to adjust (she will know there are issues she just has to have time to think...imagine if this was your child)perhaps try to use your time to find out what he is really having difficulties with and then send a post and we will try to help ;

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Hi there.

As finleysmaid said, every LA works in different ways. I now for example, we would not usually give 1:1 funding without any involvement with at least some outside agencies, so I am quite surprised that you have got this.

I know having difficult conversations with parents can be quite a challenge if you have no experience of this, and I wonder if your are SENCO would support you with this? This could be angled from the point of view of having to start now to ensure that the child gets the support that will enable him to participate fully when he starts school, given the differing ratios etc.

I would also find out what your LA puts in place to support transitions to school for children with additional needs, I know we start this process around now, doing what ground we we can before we know which school the child may go to.

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Sound advice already, one other thing to consider alongside an IEP is to make as many observations as you can to assist in determining their strengths, needs and any support required. Also this may help to enable a smooth transition to school as possible.

Incredibly surprised that you have managed to secure 1.1 funding for them and that is great, but without any external agencies involvement.

It does take parents time to accept that their child may have additional needs and a sympathetic ear at this time is a great asset.

Have you invited the parent/carers in to a session so they can see them in action this may help bring them on board.

Do you also have a Area Senco that could come to the setting informally to advise.

I know there are lots of questions but without more details it is difficult to offer other avenues of support.

Please keep us updated on any progress and best wishes. :o

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agree with above, as much eveidence is crucial to support any future help and transition


We had a simililar problem with parents accepting help but really not understanding or coming to terms with their childs diagnosis of autism to point of choosing a school which really wasnt suitable for him because the school did not meet or cater for his needs but the parents thought he would grow out of it and then a good school is what would be needed.


thankfully he is now settled at a special school and attending a local school to that a few afternoons a week.


It really was an accepting and greiving process for the parents that only they could bring them selves through with support at their own pace


they have other younger children now and she said to me she can now see he difference in development between her first son and his younger twins brothers.

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Hi, thank you for all the replies,


not sure where to start.


he doesnt have a IEP mum wouldnt allow us e to do one, we have a plod instead... our area inslucion officer is fantastic and really pushed for the funding.


we have invited mum into to observe but when she is in the setting she holds his shoulders and guides him around the room ensuring he doesnt do anything unsafe.


he has no fear of danger, climbs on furniture up fences and under gates/ to escape. can open the safety gates.. to get into the kitch and other adult areas.


He is exhibiting repetative behaviour eats anything (playdough,shaving foam)


the latest developemnt is that he is showing signs of aggression or frustration with the other children and if you take you eyes off him for a second has pushed another child over or slapped them.


I am his key person and the SENCO has left on maternity leave before christas so currently have a stand in with no expereience.


th transition between school is good the head as been across to see if we have any children with additional needs (she is the schools SENCO) she picked him out of the group, and asked the question, she would like a meeting with mum, me and the LA not sure how this will go down.


I am documenting everything and taking as many videos of him when unsupported by me (i'm classed has his 1:1) to show mum at a forthcoming meeting in a couple of weeks to review his progress..


we have used the kind hands scenerio with all the children and this is our daily practice but he doesnt appear to understand even if you repeat if over and over 20 times a session for the same bevahiour and it always seems to involve the same two children..



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Do they use speech to communicate, or are they already using signing alongside speech, visual aids, first and then board etc. Not sure where you are in the country but your Area Senco team have a wealth of knowledge, expertise and support resources that you should beable to access to aide you and the child.

I would have thought that your LA Inclusion Officer who is already involved could advise on your next course of action.

I know it is truly frustrating and emotionally draining from my own experience, but there are only so many things you can do in this situation until you can get the parent/carers on board.

Hang on in there you really are trying to do your best for this child. :o

Edited by bridger
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not sure if this will help, but sometimes i used the tack that I cannot cope and would like the help from professionals or someone outside the setting to show me what i could do better, or improve my care of the child.. it worked a couple of times on parents who were reluctant for me to ask for help but were willing eventually as I needed it as much as the child did.. they never did accept there was a need though until the child had been at school for a while..


it was a parent like this who complained we had not noticed or done anything sooner so make sure you keep all records documents etc to show how much you are doing just in case..


i always found it hard to explain to parents that their child needed extra help when they had so obviously worked out a routine at home to cope with the difficulties they had and were not realising that there was more help and support out there for them.


I can understand how hard it would be to realise your 'beautiful perfect child' was not as 'perfect' as you believe and for a stranger to tell you so.


It is good to get the school 'on board. as soon as you can , they are the ones who will also have to deal with the parents later so if they are willing all to the good.

Edited by Inge
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I think you also have to ask yourself whether without intervention will this child meet his full potential if the answer is no ,this maybe a safe guarding issue, just something to think about. extreme i know

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Lots of good advice. Just a thought regarding conversations with the parents. I was once in a similar situation with a mum, eventually she told me that she was particularly worried that if we sought 'outside' help there would be a permanent record on "her sons file" which might negatively affect how teachers relate to her son throughout his school career and even beyond. We were able to reassure her and eventually she accepted help, and her son is now doing extremely well in main stream school

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I just wanted to add that there are similarities to our situation and I understand how exhausting this can all be.



I was going to suggest inviting the parent in to see the behaviour but you've already done that, I also thought of videoing episodes too.


You may have already thought of this but we have had success with using stories to tackle challenging behaviour, in our case it is issues with sharing and throwing things, hurting other children. We have used board books like 'Sharing time' combined with the sand-timer and 'calm-down time' (bought via Amazon) which we shared with the parent who read them at home.


Another member of the forum also suggested using Social Stories, I'm in the process of reading the book 'THe New Social Story Book by Carol Gray' but haven't started using them yet so don't feel qualified to comment further.


We are also clear beforehand on what will happen if say the child throws something, that the toy will be put away.


Of course we also make sure that the child receives positive attention such as doing activities that he is particularly skilled at.


Hope that helps a little.


We also

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You mentioned mum had come in but had guided him around. Perhaps you could try this again but set ground rules before hand for mum, perhaps giving her a seat and saying that she needs to stay there and just watch rather than getting involved.


As Suer has mentioned you do need to consider safeguarding here. I recently did training on this and parents who are holding back their child's development by refusing help for special needs do need to be reported through these channels. It may seem extreme, but if you really are getting nowhere and the child is suffering you must put them first.

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