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 Mainstream vs. Education Support

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Del

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PostSubject: Mainstream vs. Education Support   Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:59 am

Hi all

Just wanted to start a thread about mainstream vs. Education Support facilities. Suspect

Our boys both have autism.

The older one is more severely affected and possibly also has an intellectual delay. We built our house about 2 years before #1 came along and about 4 years before he was diagnosed but we managed to pick a suburb that had an education support centre on the same school site as the primary school - luck I guess!! He has been in the Education Support Centre since year 1 (mainstream kindy and pre-primary as the school didn't have ed support for those) and we have been extremely happy. How did we decide? We did haggle over it a lot - and in hindsight wished we hadn't let ourselves get so anxious. Firstly, the decision is not set in concrete. Secondly, if we had just thought "What is best for him?" instead of thinking "What do we want?" it would have been easy. He wasn't coping in a large noisy, busy mainstream class - and that would only get worse as the years went on. In Education Support the class numbers are much smaller and the staff are more experienced and often more highly trained for working with our kids. On our angle, the parents and staff were much more empathetic (not sympathetic) and we got access to the special school bus. Would he miss out on social interaction and verbal role models?? NO because there is a lovely mix of kids - very social and verbal right through to non-verbal and socially immature like our boy. He has started in a new high school this year that starts at Year 7 and we have been fairly happy how that's going. he's in a separate ed support class with lots of his peers from the primary school class he was in.

The second one is less severe - PDD-NOS and has more Asperger's tendencies is in a mainstream year 3 class with an Education Assistant 0.6 of the time. She's the same one we've had since pre-primary and she's fabulous!!! He also had the great advantage of being selected for Kindy and Pre-Primary in an Autism Unit - 3 kids to 3 adults all highly qualified with Applied Behaviour Analysis. If you ever get the opportunity, go and have a look. The kids are selected the year before they start kindy. This did wonders for him and us too.

With this one we've had the Autism Intervention Team from the Centre for Inclusive Schooling visit several times over the last few years and they have been fabulous and have assisted his teachers/EA to modify things in the classroom and curriculum for him. He has a computer which follows him right through school - when he reaches high school I hear on the grapevine it converts to a laptop. It has several high priced programs which help him with literacy, numeracy and other things. cheers

I'm not saying ours has been smooth sailing but we are pretty content with school just now.......it's been a bumpy road!

So tell us about your experiences........good and bad.

cheers
Del
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Donna



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PostSubject: school   Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:37 pm

what a drama. For my family it has been a series of disasters,

First of all why didn't the teacehrs figure out there was something different about my boy? It took till year 5 to get a teaqcher to say that I needed to get him assessed thank god she did.
Then despite having the answer the teachers did not get anywhere near sufficient support and so primary school was a waste of space.
High school even worse. We moved ot the city to get a school with experince and they stuffed up so badly that in teh end the pediatrician recommended he home school and now 2 1/2 years later we still homeschool.
Have taken DET to the human rights and equal op commision only ti find them to be toothless tigers.

Was told we should take it to court but what single parent has the money.

Nope school was an absolutel disaster.

So I keep pushing for change in the departments handlign of ASD families. Ihope that no one else will have to go through what we did but unfortunately I hear to many stories like mine.

We need to open an ASD specific school.

Donna
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Marie



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PostSubject: MAINSTREAM VS ED SUPPORT   Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:34 pm

I can't say that we have had it easy either, after Zachary went to mainstream kindy and preschool the district school "psyche" decided that Zac should move to a "ed support" system as the school could not cope with his disability there. I can't see why the teacher was doing a really good job? So off we went back and forth fighting the principal at the time who really didn't want Zac there and then my husband decided enough was enough and put Zac into an ed support unit nearby. I was mad first then as Zac started at the school I decided that if he was happy then I was. It hasn't been without dramas though with some more "disabled" children being rough and hurting him and me trying to sort it out. But hopefully the worst is over. Now I have to decide where he will go to high school - luckily that is about 4 years away.

Bye for now. Marie sunny
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ljsinoz



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PostSubject: Re: Mainstream vs. Education Support   Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:03 pm

My son was in a mainstream classroom up to the middle of year two when we started homeschooling. He did reasonably well the previous year despite having no aide time. We did get aide time the next year but it wasn't really used to benefit him and school refusal became the usual thing for him. My older son had had a nightmare year the year before due to his own educational and attention issues and wasn't learning at all so pulled both boys out of school. I don't really think an ed support unit would have been the way to go for us but if he'd had more appropriate support he might have remained in school. Homeschooling has worked out well for us so that's what we will continue to do.
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Jenny



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PostSubject: Re: Mainstream vs. Education Support   Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:43 am

My boy has only been in mainstream, as that is all we have here. It has been some years good, some years bad, some years neutral. Kindy and year 1 were the worst as we didn't have a diagnosis then, and the year 1 teacher assured us there was nothing wroing, so we thought he had grown out of it. Hah. She was just blind. Last year was hopeless he went backwards in his maths which is his best subject. Preprimary, year 2 and 3 were his best years, he had great teachers those years who looked at him as an individual and seemed to actually get him. The year 4 teacher tried, but she just didn't get him. The one thing we really regret is not keeping him down in pre primary, but he is very intelligent so we thought it would be better to move him along, of course we didn't realise at the time that he had autism, we just thought he couldn't relate to the kids in his class, I can't relate to half of them either, so thought that was fine. So far this year is a good year, his teacher is happy to talk to me, and seems to understand that I do know what I'm talking about. Early days yet, so we'll see.

Jenny
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Alaine



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PostSubject: High School for High Functioning Autistic Children   Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:33 pm

I was hoping some of you may be able to give advice and your experience when selecting a High School. My son has been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism and currently receives 15 hours a week of aide time in Primary school. I am trying to decide where to send him for High School and would dearly love to hear any of your opinions on good or bad ones. We live in Bateman so would need a High school relatively close, either public or private.
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Del

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PostSubject: Re: Mainstream vs. Education Support   Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:39 am

Hi Alaine
I think it's worth you being open to all options. Talk to your son about it too, tell him what high school is usually like and ask him what he thinks will be easy and hard. If he already knows aobut his diagnosis and is familiar with what makes life difficult and stressful for him then this will be easier.
You have the Option of the Autism Extention Programs at Canning Vale College and South Fremantle SHS - these have been specifically set up for kids with high functioning autism, smaller groups, teachers with more education about autism, not moving around and less teachers than regular mainstream. I get the impression they will work with each student's strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately one controversy with this program is that it ends at year 10 and the students re-enter mainstream. That would be a BIG question I would ask if you approach either of these schools. We know of two boys who's parents have now moved them to home schooling because they have finished year 10 in this program. You may also like to talk to these two mums as they have started the process of setting up an Autism Specific School for (firstly) high school kids with HFA. Let me know if you'd like me to put you in touch with them.
Another option is to approach the mainstream schools in your area and have an meeting/visit/discussion - I've heard several private/independent schools in your area are great with kids with HFA. Sadly (and I'm a high school teacher who's worked in a Gov't school close to you) I haven't heard glowing reports from parents who's HFA kids are in mainstream Gov't schools. As a teacher, I know how hard it is to help HFA kids in a FULL mainstream class, and most teachers don't "get" autism unless they have been very proactive in learning about it. Many of our HF kids are "normal" a lot of the time but have major stress/meltdowns in certain circumstances, often when the teacher just hasn't though ahead to the "what if" scenario. Our kids can be fine/cope with a situation one day but meltdown the next week with the same situation. Another problem with mainstream high school is that you may get 2-3 FANTASTIC teachers and 2-3 inexperienced/not prepared to learn type teachers - this could be a nightmare for your child.
These are just a few personal perspecitves, Alaine, I will see if a few other parents can post you a message too. The forum is fairly quiet at present so I will post a message on our e-Newsletter. Let me know if you'd like to be put on the email list.

Cheers
Del
Mum of 2 boys aged 13.5 (Classic Autism) and 10 (PDD-NOS)
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Alaine



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PostSubject: Re: Mainstream vs. Education Support   Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:56 pm

Thank you for your great information, Del. Luckily as my boy is in Year 4, time is on my side. I had not heard of the Autism Support classes in the two schools you mentioned and after goggling the Department of Education, still couldn't find any mention of it. Sometimes it seems like they just don't want to make it too easy. Anyway, I will keep researching and would still love to hear any other opinions, ideas on High Schools for HFA's. I would also like to go on your email list for newsletters, my address is alaine.lloyd@bigpond.com. Once again, thank you for taking the time to reply Del.

Alaine
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