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Excluded at 4
  • Hi,

    my 4 yr old grandson is about to be permanently excluded at the age of 4. Since starting his new school in September he has already been excluded once before and he is on half days but after his latest meltdown and hitting his teacher he is on a 5 day suspension pending either signing a New Protocol or having a permanent exclusion which will go on his record.

    We were extremely surprised at this behaviour as he is fine at home, no melt downs, but after his recent assessment by the educational psychologist we can definitely identify with all of the traits of PDA. He has told elaborate stories, accusing people of things they haven’t done, has a obsession with my H, has to be in control, always first out the door etc. Fantasy role play etc and now of course aggression in school when he feels out of control. We thought he was just naughty in school because he had been to nursery and although there had been a few incident and concerns we thought it was just normal 2/3yr old behaviour.

    It is obvious his current school wants him gone but I’m worried about what his alternatives are and where he will end up ?

    Thanks
  • Em83Em83
    Posts: 98
    Hi Debgreg welcome to the forum. I am so sorry to hear the difficulties you are having. At only 4 it must be so confusing for your son! I can empathise as my son did ok at nursery but everything fell apart when he started school! At the time we put it down to speech delay, being the youngest in his year etc It was a horrendous time for him and for us! I am afraid I do not have a lot of advice as such. We eventually got our son the right school for him when he was in year 4 and the years inbetween were very hard on him and us. I just want to say though although it may be a lengthy battle , it may also not be. With our daughter she got a more suitable school place much quicker (about 12 months start to finish) I would look around at the schools that may be suitable for him you tend to know when you look and be open to the alternatives as we have to think outside of the box with our children. The school my son goes too is quite alternative but it really works for him. Would the school be open to giving him more support? The educational psychologist may be able to suggest some strategies that may help? We have lots of useful information on our education pages https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/families/education

    Em xx
  • Thanks for the reply Em. My grandson actually lives with us and our household is quite laid back and flexible so we hadn’t really noticed anything major, or just what we had put down to the demands of a preschooler. Nursery as you say is a flexible environment where as school expected him to conform. He has made up stories from and early age (about 2) , he rearranged children in the line, pushed kids out the way, speaks to people like he is about 15. I can’t see him being in school until after Xmas, do most children with PDA attend mainstream schools with additional support ?
  • Em83Em83
    Posts: 98
    Hi Debgreg it usually the way it works our children cope better when things are less demanding more flexible and more in their control. As soon as that starts to be taken away thats when the struggles can be come more obvious. Also with our son he struggled more the older he got. I think it can depend a lot on the school, the child and the support as to whether they attend mainstream schools. For both of my children mainstream was not right at all for them. One of my friend's daughter managed in mainstream with some very good PDA understanding and support until the end of primary but is now in a special school. Hopefully some of our other users will be able to tell you their experience but for us mainstream was too inflexible and too demanding with little understanding. But then some special schools are not right either our son got turned away from many special schools and has ended up in an alternative independent school. The only one remotely near to us that can meet his needs. I would speak to the school and get a feel for how they may be able to support and see if that helps at all.
  • Hi Debgreg, this sounds like a really hard situation for you all. Are the school talking about applying for an EHCP so he can have more support? Might also be worth talking to someone in your Local Authority about your options? SENDIASS can be very good at supporting with issues, and I believe there’s one in each county. My daughter coped ok in mainstream but really struggled once she got to secondary school, but I think girls can sometimes be better at masking (we always had difficulties at home). It’s so hard to see you child struggling...
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,594
    Hi Debgreg

    I am sorry to hear that your grandson isn't coping at school, he must feel very anxious and confused.

    It does sound like the school either do not understand his behaviours, are not sure about his condition?, do not know how to manage/support his Special Educational Needs and definitely haven't managed to get enough funding from the LA to support him effectively.

    It sounds like your grandson is going to need both a diagnosis and an Education, Health and Care Plan asap!

    Some children with the PDA Profile of Autism can do well in mainstream school but only if all the staff understand his condition and seek training for their staff in PDA, plus get as much funding for 1:1 support in class for your grandson.

    My own son was very much the same at age 5 ie attacking his teachers and peers and couldn't sit down to concentrate on any work.
    He went from 5 hrs support in reception class to 30 hrs support in Yr2 (when he was given an EHC Plan).

    If your grandson doesn't yet have a diagnosis, go to the GP and ask for a referral to a Paediatrician.

    If your grandson doesn't have any support in school, have a meeting with the school SENCO to discuss his need for support.

  • Thanks everyone, I wrote another post but it didn’t show ?

    The school have told my D she needs to sign a New Protocol, a local initiative to essentially permanently exclude children without it showing on their record or they will permanently exclude him. On Friday she got a call from a school on the other side of the city, in a deprived area, where they have a small unit, that usually keeps children until the school develops strategies, but in my grandsons case it will be permanent as the school won’t have him back. They said he could go in a taxi with a chaperone, not a chance.

    Fortunately as I work with many professionals in my job I have made contact with a senior manager who I know in Social inclusion who has arranged a meeting with the school Monday. One of his staff have already ( before he knew it was my grandson) been out to the school to observe and reported he is a lovely little boy who she felt didn’t really understand why or what impact his actions were having. He said they would undertake an ECHP and as the school don’t use the LA psychologist they will probably undertake another assessment.

    I think the school are just going through the motions, pretending they want to help, but the head feels he is a problem she really doesn’t want to have to deal with. We have lost faith with this school now, but will obviously attend to see what options are offered. I will post an update after the meeting.

    Thanks for all the responses, it really helps to hear from others in the same situation.
  • Em83Em83
    Posts: 98
    Hi Debgreg Good luck for the meeting if you need any more advice or just to vent please do! We all can understand how tough it is getting the right support for our children! It sounds like a longer term plan is needed and the EHCP would hopefully provide that but its a lengthy process.
  • Thanks had the meeting at school last Tuesday, they tried to put him in an assessment centre in a under subscribed school which when we went to visit the staff said , we deal with naughty kids no chance. Told the head of social inclusion we weren’t putting our 4 yr old with kids age 6-8 who had behavioural issues given he adopts mimicking behaviour.Heard nothing until I emailed Thursday, was told we would get an email Friday, nothing. Email again today, told will hear something Tomorrow. Grandsons 5 day fixed exclusion ended a week Monday and his behaviour at home is deteriorating, started hitting, not wanting to go to bed etc I will let you know if we get any news tomorrow.
  • As a 4 year old he's not yet in compulsory education so I'm finding a permanent exclusion quite bizarre. You can withdraw him without reprise and start the search for a year 1 provision that can meet his needs. As others have mentioned try SENDIASS or any of the signposted links here on the PDA society.
    Good luck and there's always plenty support so drop back in if you need further help.
  • Em83Em83
    Posts: 98
    Hi Debgreg I am sorry to hear you are not getting any answers yet. I hope you hear something tomorrow so you can look at the best way forward xx
  • Debgreg
    Posts: 12
    Thanks everyone just an update. Grandson has not been in school since before Xmas. My D and I have a meeting in the school again Monday. The LA offered another PRU even further away, bizarre, and now they are saying there is a place in a nurture centre in an early years provision but the information was scant what they sent, no times, if they are experienced in PDA etc. I have requested an ECHP to be started as I can see the long road ahead, if they don’t do one, we will do it ourselves. I have also requested an OT referral for his sensory issues as highlighted in his Pysch Ed assessment. Didn’t realise there was such lack of appropriate provision even in a large city like ours. The referral to CAHMS has been rejected for the second time, first by school SENCO, second by Disability Link worker. No wonder the process takes so long. They suggested referral should be made to community paediatrician, case closed ! Why don’t the professionals know the appropriate services to refer to in the first place.
  • KobiKobi
    Posts: 52
    Sounds like you're finally getting somewhere. 'The system' is extremely frustrating. My daughter didn't get diagnosed until she left school and I am still undiagnosed so it's great that you've already found out about PDA and are on the right - long and rocky - road already!
    All you can do is keep fighting and keep supporting your daughter and grandson. It sounds like he is a lucky little boy to have you both in his corner.
    Good luck
  • Debgreg
    Posts: 12
    Thanks Kobi, luckily I’m a SW who has worked delivering services to young people across boroughs so I know quite a few people to make my case to but I’m gobsmacked at the lack of resources and the complexity that parents have to navigate. I am going to look if there's something the charity I work for can set up to support other parents who find themselves lost ?
  • Em83Em83
    Posts: 98
    That sounds like a great idea Debgreg unfortunately it seems to be the case all over the UK of lack of resources and a complex system for parents to navigate. I know so many families who just cannot manage or have been exhausted by it all! Anything to support parents I am sure will be gladly received! It was a charity who supported and helped us through and still do! We have some information here on setting up support groups in your area if this would be of any use https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/resources/Support-and-advice/setting-up-a-pda-support-group
  • KobiKobi
    Posts: 52
    That sounds like a great idea. As you say, it's extremely difficult to navigate, particularly those of us who went into this clueless. I lived abroad since my teens and only came back when my PDAer was 12 so I knew absolutely nothing about services here, including benefits and housing support, and I think people just take it for granted that we all know what's out there - thank goodness for the internet and sites like these!
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,594
    Hi Debgreg

    As part of the EHC Plan process your grandson should have Assessments ie
    Educational Psychology assessment
    Speech and Language Therapy assessment
    Occupational Therapy (Sensory Integration Therapist) assessment

    However, you will need to ask for all 3 in writing stating that your grandson has SEN in all these areas so needs to be assessed.
    The LA will try to say he only needs a Ed Psyc assessment, so if the LA won't do the other 2 I would suggest you look to Independent Professionals to provide the evidence you need for the EHC Plan.

    If the LA refused to do an EHC Plan - Appeal their decision!!!


  • Debgreg
    Posts: 12
    Thanks, we now have it confirmed the Ed pysch at the nurture centre has agreed to the placement so hopefully something will be sorted next week. I have asked if we can go visit tomorrow, fingers crossed
  • RubytuesdayRubytuesday
    Posts: 339
    That’s great news :)
  • Debgreg
    Posts: 12
    So D , grandson , (4, currently excluded )and I went to see the nurture base today and it is absolutely lovely. Fantastic facilities, onsite forest school, lovely caring staff , therapy dog etc everything he needs only grandson didn’t want to go in and look at anything. Didn’t want any of the other children to see him, didn’t want to go in the class (9children, 3 staff) wouldn’t speak just kept saying I want to go home. He has not been in school for over 7 weeks and he has always been in daycare of one form or another since he was 9mths old. He told D when they got home he really wants to go but he is scared D is taking him back tomorrow to see if he will go in for an hour but I’m worried in case he keeps refusing as there is a waiting list for places , anyone got any advice
  • RubytuesdayRubytuesday
    Posts: 339
    It sounds absolutely lovely! I’m guessing the nurture base would be used to children being anxious about going in, maybe they’ll have some helpful ideas? Maybe they could do a home visit to help put him at ease, although I know for some children this might not work... Or maybe they could provide a social story about the base with pictures that he could look at before going in? Good luck xx
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,168
    When our daughter was younger what helped was someone just sitting on the floor or at a little table with an activity underway that could easily be offered and joined in with. This built our daughter's trust up of the adult and then she was more willing to chat and go and look and try different things.
    The nurture base sounds a lovely enviornment so I'm sure if you explain to them how your grandson is feeling and that he's very anxious they will have some ideas to help. If he likes dogs, perhaps the therapy dog could be a good distraction?
    Wishing you all the best. Good luck. xxx
  • Debgreg
    Posts: 12
    Update *

    Day 3 and grandson has gone into nurture base 9-12....D took him, he said he didn't want to be left. D said its only until 12 then I will come and get you, Henry the dog will be here soon....Ok see you later, kiss, cuddle and in he went :)

    She waited outside for a bit and another member of staff checked and said he's fine, he's gone into the class, feeling so happy at the moment as he loved school they just didn't know how to support him , I really think this will work :)

    When D picked him up he has already made a little friend who asked my D if he could do a full day tomorrow and gave him a hug. He said he’s looking forward to going tomorrow just shows the difference when they get it right and actually care x
  • Em83Em83
    Posts: 98
    that is amazing news for you all!
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,168
    I'm so pleased to hear this, what a wonderful start to a new placement.
  • June67
    Posts: 851
    That's such lovely news it's really brightened my day.
  • Debgreg
    Posts: 12
    Thanks everyone he went again yesterday , no issues with him going in, and no issues with his behaviour. He played the cello, the philharmonic orchestra come in twice a week, made a dinosaur and did lots of writing, he loves it. Starts full time next week. The base only caters for reception and year 1, it has an outstanding ofstead report. I think we need of this provision for all ages
  • KobiKobi
    Posts: 52
    So pleased for you all x
  • Debgreg
    Posts: 12
    Back from dads today where he has been since Friday night and where he masks and he has been an absolute nightmare since he’s been home....hitting, crying, meltdown after meltdown....he won’t now go to bed (he used to go so good) anyone got any tips for dealing with the fall out from masking...my son who still lives at home (24) struggles understanding it’s not bad behaviour, because it is, although we obviously know it’s anxiety driven it’s hard for him and my H to an extent, to deal with it
  • KobiKobi
    Posts: 52
    Hi Debgreg
    Really wish I had the answer to that (for all of us) but I find that with a lot of meltdowns, you really just have to ride them out though easier said than done. If you can distract him with something, a game or favourite film perhaps. Being silly can sometimes help if you can get him to laugh. Cuddles and sympathise if he allows you too - even if that means blaming everyone else for whatever's upsetting him, just knowing you're on 'his side' might help to calm him.
    The thing about anxiety and emotional meltdowns is that they are exhausting and hopefully he'll tire himself out before the rest of you.
    Good luck and hope you all manage to get a good nights sleep

  • RubytuesdayRubytuesday
    Posts: 339
    Ah that’s really hard for you all... My daughter used to massively mask at school and have horrendous meltdowns once she got home. I’m just wondering if you’ve had OT involvement? Maybe they could suggest some sensory strategies to help him de stress? For my daughter things that help are total quiet, a darkened room, a soft blanket... But I guess it’s a very individual thing. I know my friend’s son likes to be rolled up in a rug. Feel for you all, it’s exhausting xx
  • Debgreg
    Posts: 12
    Thanks , I took him into my room , dark and put some sleep music on the iPad. I massaged his back and he eventually fell asleep about 11.30....woke again at 2 and up at 6.30. It’s his first full day today so D told them he hasn’t had a good night. He didn’t want to go in but hopefully he will settle as he loves it , lots of outdoor play. My D is waiting to hear about OT as he definitely has sensory issues

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