Published on 12, July, 2020
My son Nathan is 11 and should have started High School in September. He was diagnosed at 4 but has been in mainstream education throughout his life at a local junior school, with 30 hrs support, and has grown up with his schoolmates. 55 of his junior school year moved to the same High School, which we named on his EHCP and which Nathan said he wanted to attend. Nathan is a meek child entirely non-violent but vulnerable and as a result we could not get him into an Autism specific school.
Unfortunately the Headmaster refused to allow Nathan to attend an induction day in June alongside the other 55 children, even though the junior school SENCO would have accompanied Nathan throughout the visit. He has since refused to enrol Nathan stating that his school cannot meet Nathan's needs and that they refuse to be named on the EHCP.
Nathan has since been off school and receiving a home tutor, but he is becoming increasingly distressed and isolated and talks often about going back to school and seeing his friends again. We continue to have to wait for the school, the local authority and the Education and Schools Funding Agency to conclude this matter.
Nathan loves YouTube and loves reading, albeit younger child's stories. I was particularly struck by a comment made by the Headmaster in his submission to the ESFA that Nathan's reading was ‘Far below age-related expectations’, which is frankly rubbish. So I let Nathan read Slinky Malinki, one of his favourites and uploaded it to YouTube, initially privately for us and his immediate family. He was very excited to see his reading on You Tube.
It has been suggested to me that other autistic children may react well to Nathan's reading and that I should make it public. I have now done so. It would be lovely if Nathan's reading was of any benefit to other autistic children and we would be delighted to see it used in such a way. It may be found by searching 'Slinky Malinki Nathan'.
If nothing else the video shows what rubbish we have been fed by the school!
Thanks very much.
I am so glad you enjoyed it, I was very proud of him when we recorded it. I do think that the rhythm of the story adds to the appeal, he loves Julia Donaldson too. Although he is also quite a fan…
Just listened to Nathan :-) Put a massive smile on my face!
Does he like the stories because they rhyme? My 8 y/o who is on a pathway towards assessment has always liked nursery rhymes/rhyming books and, actually, I like them for this reason too (I am on pathway for adult assessment).
We have read Hairy McLary books - I hadn't realised that Slinky Malinki existed or that rhyming might specifically appeal to ASD kids.
Hearing your story about Nathan's school place makes me swing between sorrow and rage.
I hope he gets a place soon :-)
I am so glad you enjoyed it, I was very proud of him when we recorded it. I do think that the rhythm of the story adds to the appeal, he loves Julia Donaldson too. Although he is also quite a fan of the Thomas stories which do not work in the same way.
I am so angry and frustrated about the school. Nathan is very clumsy socially and with his language and finds it hard to socialise, but at the same time really wants to have friends. His junior school year were lovely with him. which is why he wants to go to the same school as most of them. Being at home all this term has made his whole development worse, it is almost the antithesis of what should happen to an autistic child. As a passive little boy it really never occurred to us that he would be excluded.
I hope the assessments go well.