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Teaching assistants/1:1

Sunny11 June 17, 2019 16:51

Hi, does anyone have experience of their child being given 1:1 support in a primary school for social and emotional needs? My daughter has struggled severely in school with trauma related anxiety and dissociation her therapist has suggested a 1:1 but school say they do not do 1:1 support apart from the cost they feel it is not beneficial to children to have that type of support. There is a TA in class who gives additional support to four children in class one of the children is my child, but she finds it difficult to wait for help if she is feeling anxious or is dissociating, She also has been unable to make a connection with the TA and feels that there is no-one in school that she can go to when she is not feeling safe. I have suggested a new TA for September if possible but the "best qualified" TA will be appointed to that class so that she/he can support all of the children's needs that need extra help, e.g. If the children needing support have ADHD then the TA with training in ADHD will be appointed to that class (not sure what happens with a class that has children with ADHD, ASD and attachment & Trauma!). Has anyone been successful in changing TA if the child does not get along with the TA? I know it's a bit complicated because the TA is not just there for my child and the other children's needs have to be taken into account too.

Thanks

Donatella June 17, 2019 17:59

Does your child have an EHCP? How do school use PPP?

A fill time 1-1 without an ehcp is not likely to happen. Is the therapist working with your daughter on her anxiety - trying to get her to recognise and manage it? Could she speak to school to give them some strategies to manage her anxiety?

Sunny11 June 17, 2019 18:38

Hi Donatella, she doesn't have an EHCP yet, unfortunately she has been out of school for the biggest part of Year 4 and school do not have the evidence yet to apply for an EHC assessment. In regards to therapy she is at the stage where she has just begun to unpack the trauma and hopefully process it. She is so highly dissociative that it is hard for her to self mange at the moment but there is some progress and she is beginning to recognise wobbly feelings when they start. School have had a lot of input from the therapist, I know we still have a long journey ahead I'm just wondering what the options might be and to manage my expectations of what schools can do.

Donatella June 17, 2019 18:51

My daughter is highly anxious - she’s dx ASD but is undoubtedly pda so any sort of demands/requests - even seemingly innocuous ones - raise her anxiety levels and she will avoid at all costs. The therapist we worked with aimed to get her to understand at 1 on the scale that she was getting anxious by listening to her body - she knew she could feel something in her head and tummy. So that’s where we started. Some lessons were especially hard so we backchained - got her there and to initially stay just for 5 minutes. We then built it up. We didn’t allow her to opt out - this approach helped her to understand that she could do it, that nothing awful would happen if she stayed in the lesson. She can now manage the whole lesson. I should add though that she is in an ASD unit so we all work together.

Do they have an ELSA? Thrive?

Sunny11 June 17, 2019 19:04

No ELSA or Thrive, she is in school more consistently on a massively reduced time-table but has made great progress in being able to get to school. Her worries are around being seen if she is having a difficult time and being able to leave the classroom for a break if it all gets too much for her. She isnt allowed to leave the classroom without asking permission or go for sensory breaks without an adult so if the TA is busy she cant go or has to wait which raises her anxiety level further. She also has sensory processing difficulties.

BeckyAUK July 10, 2019 20:44

Hi Sunny11. It seems as though your LO will need an EHCP. You don't have to wait for school to gather evidence - as a parent you can apply for an assessment yourself. Template letters etc. are available online. You don't need a diagnosis to apply. I'd start the ball rolling sooner rather than later.

Your child's school needs to understand the specific reasons why she needs the same TA all the time to create that safe base. Worth taking a look at Louise Bomber's book "Inside I'm hurting" which has a lot of useful stuff about the importance of key adults.

Gilreth July 12, 2019 17:40

We have an EHCP for our son on SEMH grounds - which includes 1:1 support throughout school day including break & lunchtime. He needs the consistent support - sometimes TA will support other children if he is engaged on task but priority is always my son. So I would suggest applying for EHCP - we have been fortunate that schools (both old & new one as we moved) have supported it but I know others with EHCP on similar grounds. Sqk has a safe place to go to in the classroom (he can lay down in quiet area) but also outside the classroom. School runs sensory circuits 3-4 mornings a week for him and a few others in the school and are Thrive trained. But as Becky says apply for an EHCP sooner rather than later - my son manages full days and before after-school club 3 mornings & 3 evenings (not same 3) thanks to the support he gets in school.

Safia July 13, 2019 08:32

I agree about applying for an EHCP yourself - schools are often reluctant - maybe they are discouraged as it’s obviously funding related but also time consuming and they don’t always get the money at the end. The senco might not be familiar enough with your child’s difficulties either to realise it is needed. She should be able to leave the class when anxious - at my daughters school (which was a special school) they had chairs outside each class so kids could go out for a short break if stressed and sometimes a TA would come out and chat to them if they were free. No reason why a chair or similar could not be provided outside the class for her. There were often children wandering around the outdoor area too - presumably for the same reason and staff were aware of them. At the primary school I do a placement in there are seats in the corridors and these are used to hear children read etc so could also be used. Where there’s more than one member of staff in a class there’s always an option for someone to keep an eye / check. There’s a little boy (yr1) at the same school who’s often wandering around outside his class or in the infant hall which is nearby. My son had a card to show when he needed to leave the classroom - but we had to ask for it - and actually once he had it was able to stay in the classroom better. Children just need to know where they can go (“run to”) - he could go to learning support but it might be a particular individual (an attachment figure for them) or place

Safia July 13, 2019 09:10

I also think it’s important if she dissociates a lot for them to get advice on how to help her stop doing this - as it can be a big problem long term

Bluemetro July 13, 2019 11:35

On the subject of an EHCP. We have just got one and found the recommendations from EP to be helpful and we now have some good suggestions for the new school. Regarding funding we discovered that there is no extra funding as some authorities use the funds for general SEN.

Sunny11 July 15, 2019 13:10

Hi, Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to reply. We are in the process of gathering evidence for an EHC assessment but as my daughter has not been in school for most of this school year due to anxiety they don't have the evidence to support an application. We are also waiting for an EP assessment, the school is adamant that a team approach is the way forward for supporting my child's needs and they will not support a key worker approach. They have also had a lot of support with regards to trauma and dissociation. I am hoping that when she moves to a new class in September she will make a better connection with her class teacher, she just needs someone she can make a connection with which so far she has been unable to do this year. This year has been a horribly difficult year, I am just hoping that the next school year is better.

Gilreth July 16, 2019 09:06

That connection is important - we are fortunate that the school recognises this. indeed they have taken the unusual step (in a one form entry school) of moving his year 3 teacher to year 4 with his class. She has a real connection with our son and as we are still trying to find the absolute right TA fit due to his high intensity and complex needs we know this is easing transition. In fact we have both commented that this has to be the easiest end to a summer term we have had in 4 years of school. Our son is sleeping, is not highly anxious and still wants to go to school.

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