3 year old with CP Quad - How do you choose the right school? — Scope | Disability forum
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3 year old with CP Quad - How do you choose the right school?

catherine2 Member Posts: 7 Listener
edited June 2014 in Education

We are staring down the barrel of this process with the council telling us we don't need to worry for ages, and decent schools telling us to start now.

My head is full of the burden of choices I will make for our son. How do I choose whether it is more important to be part of his local community even though the school might not be perfect, or whether I follow a special school route where his complex needs for physio and SLT are more likely to be met but it could be miles away.

I am completely new to this and would love to hear from any families who have already been down this route and can offer any advice.

We have visited one special school, plus Ingfield Manor and they are so different - how on earth do you judge it!



  • hilsflynn
    hilsflynn Member Posts: 24
    Hi Catherine,
    My son started the pre-school at his named school this september, after we started looking at schools when he was 2 and a half...so my first comment is, your are absolutely right to start thinking about it now. A decision made is one less to worry about, and once you have it named in his statement there will be no concern of not getting into your choice.

    My second comment is the decision is the same as with any child, special needs or not. Go look round the possible choices and go with your gut instinct. There is no right or wrong answer, and although none of us would want to do it...what is the worst that could happen if you're instinct is wrong? You change schools later.

    My son has athetoid CP and is profoundly deaf - we looked at the local mainstream, one with SRP (special resourced provision) for the phsically disabled and one with SRP for the deaf. Before we looked round I thought it was going to be an impossible decision, but it was easy in the end. The local mainstream head was like a bunny in the headlights - so I knew straightaway they would not cope, and the school just didn't have the space to cope with a child in a wheelchair. The other two was more of a choice between which 'disability' to concern myself with more but I was lucky that the 'deaf school' is modern and able to cope with the access side of things as well as being a fantastic school anyway that I would happily choose for any child of mine.

    My final thought is one of the reasons we felt confident focusing on the deaf side of things for his education is that with the right equipment, training and attitude anyone can cope with the needs of the physically disabled (but you have to have a specific knowledge to teach the deaf well in sign language).

    Best of luck
  • catherine2
    catherine2 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thank you, this has been a great help. Especially the part about focusing on the most important of his special needs. x
  • kingboy25
    kingboy25 Member Posts: 57 Listener
    One thing you would be advised to do if you are going down the mainstream route is to make several observations at break time. I live close to the mainstream school my now grownup son attended and I've noticed that the children using mobility aids seem to wander around on their own and are not included in the games of the able children. To me this is not inclusion. His experience at special school was quite different where he was part of a group of mobility aid users who ran around just like any other child.! Even those children who couldn't propell themselves would often be pushed by their more able friends. Of course that was in the days before "elf n safty" but some things still apply.
  • mafala
    mafala Member Posts: 71 Listener
    I don't think that it's too early to start looking at schools. By the time my son was 3 he was already statemented at a school nursery in a mainstream school. He has dystonic CP and labelled as having complex needs. Our experience is probably an exception to the rule, but my son's schooling (he is now in year 4) is an inclusion success story. It was not easy in the beginning. We knew that access was going to be a problem as the Juniors were on the 1st floor and there was no lift. I started to push for a lift to be put in already when he was in year 1 and by year 3 he had a lift and the school is now 100% accessible. The attitude of the head teacher and the staff was always positive. The goodwill was always there, even though they sometimes got it wrong. We just worked with them knowing that they wanted to get it right, but needed advice on how to do it. The other day we had his annual review with everyone involved in his care and education. He's made incredible academic strides and he is above average in nearly all subjects thanks to the support he's had. We always had ambitions for him to get a good education and become a well-functioning disabled adult in a non-disabled world. I don't think that a special school would prepare him for that in the same way. OK, his disability does give rise to issues such as inclusion in social activities with other children. He has always relied on adults making the social interaction happen for him. Now they are just letting him out on the playground in his electric wheelchair to learn to make new friends, and he has plenty of those. He is not included 100% in their play, but he is included. I don't think that any amount of physiotherapy, SALT or OT input can make up for what he gets from being around non-disabled children in a mainstream setting.If you look at mainstream make sure that they have a positive attitude to accepting your son into their school, even if the setting is not ideal. Where there is a will there is always a way. If your child is bright, even if non-verbal, I can only recommend mainstream education. You will get frustrated, you might shed a few tears, but you could be doing your bright disabled child a huge favour. Think of how you want him to be as an adult and take inspiration from disabled people doing well in life, because they've had the support they needed.
  • Letty
    Letty Member Posts: 7 Courageous
    My Daughter went to mainstream school, just down our road, she visited at age 2  I knew it was right as it was the one she did not want to leave to go home. she loves her friends and teachers to bits and has been included very well on residential trips, swimming, and clubs with a TA to assist the school where not perfect at inclusion but we taught them lots ;-) they built ramps and put handrails up especially for us. we are now applying for specialist secondary as big school is sooo big. And she would like to be around more disabled children so she can blend in for a change. good luck


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