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School senco conversation have left me with some questions /concerns

bigmouthbigmouth Member Posts: 3 Listener
This discussion was created from comments split from: Hello my name is Hannah and I'm an educational psychologist.

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  • bigmouthbigmouth Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hello Hannah, I would appreciate your input as I have had some rather difficult conversations with my children's school senco and it has left me with some questions /concerns.

    My daughter is 9 and in yr5 she was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism and coordination difficulties last year and started middle school in September with this diagnosis and accompanying reports.She has struggled with various elements of school, for example, getting changed for PE, concentration in lessons and walking home from school - the SENCO has been very helpful and various things are in place to help but my daughter does have a lot of anxiety around school, self esteem issues and she struggles to do the set homework in the time allowed. I am concerned that while she is bright enough to manage so far, she will get left behind as the requirements of school work get more onerous and her lacking in writing/ presentation/ concentration skills and the rigidity of thought she struggles with daily, will create barriers to progress.

    I am already seeing this pattern as my older son (on waiting list for diagnosis but is probably HF ASD as well) in yr 7 is causing difficulties with his apparently belligerent attitude towards lessons/ skills (presentation/ handwriting - "I can read it" ) that he cannot see the need for and huge anxieties and gaps in understanding in some subjects that are all the more obvious as he is placed in top sets.

    It seems that unless children are floundering and completely failing in school the need for an Ed Pysch input is questioned - as my daughters paediatrician requested that our daughter is assessed in school by a Ed Psychologist we have asked the school to arrange it. They are reluctantly agreeing but are questioning the value of the report. The way I see it is that if the paediatrician wants it that is enough justification. What is the value? What will the process achieve? Are the school simply concerned about the finite resources they have being wasted? I would really appreciate the view of a professional as it is troubling to feel at odds with the school on this as I want to work with them.
  • EducationalPsychologistEducationalPsychologist Member Posts: 119 Courageous
    Hello bigmouth,
    There are usually two reasons why a school does not want to refer a child to an educational psychologist. The first is resources. They may have only a few mornings allocated to them per year and may choose to prioritise other children they feel need a referral more. The second may be that the EP does not have the time during visits to carry out full assessments. Often observations and consultations are used and it may be that the school do not feel this would be helpful in your child's case. Observations and consultations can be very informative and, if used as part of a plan, do, review process can help lead to positive change. Unfortunately lack of time and money places limitations on such a process. My advice is to contact the EP service directly (search your local authority website), share your concerns about your child and ask them to answer specific questions. E.g. Is there a specific learning difficulty relating to writing? What could be causing anxiety? What affects concentration at school? Then ask for specific recommendations for how you and the school can help. E.g. What can help with writing difficulties? What access arrangements are needed for exams? How can positive self-concept be promoted? What support is needed to promote concentration? What needs to be included in a transition plan (to secondary school), including time frame and individual responsibilities? These are just suggestions and you may well come up with more. If you are specific about what you would like to gain from EP input, then you can use this as a measure to see whether you feel the input has been of value and, most importantly, get better understanding and clear recommendations for how to help you daughter.
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