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SEN panic


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Hi everyone!

 

I met my new class yesterday that will be starting with me in reception in september! I hate to admit it but I came away from it feeling really apprehensive and stressed!

 

Amongst my 30 children there are 2 children with autism and 1 tiny wee boy with global developmental delay amongst other problems! No mention of extra support has been mentioned and the more I think about it the more it is making me panic.

 

Any words of advice out there

 

Xxx

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Don't panic! I think you first need to make your SENCO aware of the needs of children coming in to your class. I don't know how your school does it but we allocate TA support based on the needs of individual classes. I tend to get any 'extra' leftover to support early years e.g. free flow indoor/outdoor time etc. However, my HT and SENCO are both well aware that until they are all in and settled we often don't know what the needs of my class will be.


Can you find out from their pre-school settings what kind of provision has been made for them? Any chance of extra visits so you can get to know them a little better.

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im with helen...speak to their previous setting gather evidence...what support is in place/what have they done? which agenicies are on board? what are their main difficulties etc etc. Can you vist the pre-school quickly before the end of term? Have they already got IEP's in place if so ask for copies. Have they got a caf? once you have all this evidence then you can go to your head and present an argument for money/support!

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I am surprised by the lack of transition work and pre planning with children who are autistic and have global development delay.

 

If they do indeed have these additional needs then you should have been made aware before now!

 

On the upside at least there s still a little time left to speak to their previous settings and gather some useful information before stressing yourself out too much!

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You need to ask for a meeting for each child between you, your SENCo, the parents and staff from the previous setting to discuss the support the child is currently getting and how best to manage the transition. It is late in the day to start transition plans but it's still really important.

 

Also ask the parents for copies of reports. The children with Autism may have been seen by SALT, Occupational Therapist, Autism Outreach, Educational Psychologist and Clinical Psychologist and their reports will probably have all been summarised in a diagnostic report. Not sure who the child with GDD will have seen but quite possible OT or Physio in addition to the Paediatrician. Any recommendations in the reports can be used by you as the basis of a request for additional classroom support.

 

The parents are your greatest source of information about the children. Quiz them about what they think their child needs and run plans by them before implementing them. Using strategies which have been tried and failed already can cause distress to the child and waste everyone's time. Really try to keep the lines of communication open. Emails are a great way to keep in touch and help solve small problems before they become big issues.

 

Try to get staff from their current settings to bring them in for additional settling in sessions so you can observe how they work with the children and ask lots more questions.

 

Also contact your Autism Outreach team for advice if you're allowed to, even a quick chat on the phone could arm you with lots of ideas and help you to avoid some pitfalls.

 

Find out about sensory overload and proprioception as these are two issues which could affect the children with Autism in the classroom and limit their ability to concentrate.

 

Good luck. The very fact that you are looking for advice is a positive sign for these children.

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Do the children have statements already? Have you/your TAs had any training in supporting children with autism? The ratios in reception make it very hard for a single practitioner to be the main key person for the very varied needs of 30 children, regardless of needs (as defined by their pay and conditions/teachers standards) so do talk with your HT about this and raise your apprehensions and training needs now. You may need to involve your LA inclusion team who should be able to support but without a statement sometimes this has to be bought in.

 

Cx

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fab advice especially from upsy daisy (as usual when it comes to these matters :1b )

The other thing i wanted to add is that you need to get this information before the start of term because it may influence how you set up your classroom. Does the child with asd need quiet spaces/dens /somewhere to hide ? communication friendly area will be important for them both. are there any resources they need? ...special toys? do they need fiddle toys etc etc Lots of questions to ask i think.....don't be put off doing it now or the beginning of term will be stressful for you ...but even more so for these children.

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Photograph setting, key areas and staff and make a book for child to share with parent over the holidays. If you are going in just before start of term allow them to come in and have a look at a quieter time with parent. On first day back allow them to come in a few mintues early to settle .Think about how you might feel walking into a busy room. If you line children up allow them to be at the front as personal space can be difficult for them judge. Check special interests as this will really help the settling in period.

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Thank you for all your helpful and reassuring replies. I have already had a meeting about about the little girl with ASD with her current nursery workers, mum, my school senco and our local special needs integrated support service. They gave me lots of information and that's why I felt prepared for her starting. We have planned for her to come in with mum one morning before we break up and I am going to see her in her current nursery setting. However, the other two cases were sprung on me on Friday at the last minute which caused me to suddenly panic.

 

I am going to make a list of questions which you already helped me with a lot and start phoning and emailing the appropriate people.

 

I just want to be as prepared for them as I can be to make September as easy as it can be for everyone (including me)

 

Thanks again x

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Wow - this class sounds so much like mine this year - two children with autism, one with global developmental delay and various other behaviour and SEN. Now at the end of the year we have two with statements, one in the pipeline, and two more moved to alternative education. This has been a very 'unrepresentative cohort' for us and it sounds like yours will be too. We knew most of ours were coming but despite having full time support in Nursery, all of this stopped due to funding when they entered school. We had another TA join us at Christmas, however, and the class will have three adults as it moves through the school.

 

The best bit of advice I can give you is, don't feel bad about admitting if you find the class a challenge and difficult to cope with. Be very clear with SLT from day one about the level of need and how time consuming this can be. I you're anything like me, you may feel torn about trying to meet everybody's needs, including the other staff, if the situation is stressful. Don't neglect yourself, however, and be sure to ask for help from SENCo and management. If the children have CAFs then arrange meetings very early on and get parents and any other agencies on board asap. You may want to consider being flexible with drop off and pick up times at first - with hindsight I know that would have helped our situation.

 

My children with autism have responded well to visual timetables, special cushions for concentration, personalised cue cards and now/next boards. We also set up a sensory dark room with fairy lights and aromatherapy etc - this was a great refuge for them and very effective for calming when having a 'moment.' Good luck - I hope you get all the support you will need.

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