Liaise with local primary school for my boy with autism

Discuss issues related to children who have special needs or learning difficulties

Liaise with local primary school for my boy with autism

Postby Tamama » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:06 pm

Hi all, let me share some background first.
My boy has turned 7. He is on the spectrum. We hv put him for two yrs of therapies without normal school. Just this yr he joined back to mainstream kindy K2. He is doing ok.
We hv him deferred for one yr to prepare him for P1. Previously we hv planned to let him go to pathlight. But since he is turned down from pathlight because of his PR status, we will send him to my elder daughter's local primary school next yr.
It's the end of the yr now. I'm planning to liaise with the primary school to touch base with the AED there.
May I know if any parent here has the experience on what should I ask for from the school and AED? I'm planning to ask for extra time for orientation for my boy, to know about his form teacher and other involved teachers first, to ask for arrangement of him in a class with fewer kids (may not happen, I know), to ask for meet up with teachers to let them meet my boy, to talk about seat arrangement, homework arrangement, mood handling, possible teaching methods, in class and assistance, flexible school hours, safe corner for calming down, visuals and tools can be used to help him,........
May I know about your insight? Or share your experience to liaise with the school? Thank you in advance. :please:

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Re: Liaise with local primary school for my boy with autism

Postby Gifts from Heaven » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:03 pm

Hi Tamama,

Since your DS is going to the same school as your DD, you would probably know the contacts in the school. You can probably give general office a call and get an appointment to meet the AED/School Counsellor to find out how ASD kids are being handled in the school.
As for the accomodations/support you are going to ask for your DS, I personally feel that it is a bit excessive and the school may not be able to accede to your requests since the school is not a special needs school and they have many other kids to handle.
My experience with my DS's school (it's just a neighbourhood school) is that they will just let your kid adjust and settle down first. No additional support is given even after I declare his condition. They will just watch first, at least for the 1st term. Then, if the form teacher thinks that your child can adapt, then AED support will not be called upon. AEDs are in v short supply in many MS schools, so they reserve for those more 'serious' cases.
In my case, my DS does not need AED support 'cos he adapted well enough. But what I did was I spoke to the form teacher after declaration of his condition and gave her an idea about my DS's 'quirky' behaviour so that she is aware and won't get irritated/frustrated when things happen and punish my DS. And so far so good, his form teacher even helped my DS lessen some of his quirkiness through constant encouragement and reminders. And for that, I'm already v thankful.

Gifts from Heaven
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Re: Liaise with local primary school for my boy with autism

Postby phtthp » Sat Sep 27, 2014 3:39 am

In Mainstream primary schools, each P1 class average size is around 30 students.
There is no P1 class, that got very few students.

So, if you ask the Principal to send your child to a class with few students, the school won't entertain your suggestion.
Your child have to learn to adapt himself, ease himself into the flow of Mainstream environment, gradually.

Normally for each P1 class, there is also a limit to the number of special need kids the AED Tr can handle.
In a P1 class of 30 pupils : one AED Tr may not be able to handle a few special need kids, concurrently.

In some schools, depending on the condition of the special need child, after observing your child's behavior, interaction in class with classmates, plus academic progress in class for one Term, some school may counter propose to parents to hire a shadow Tr, for initial P1 first. Then see how.
But if child able to adapt, school won't suggest this.

Before Term 1 is up -
If subject Tr feel that if any child is weak in basic English reading linguistics or basic Maths arithmetic, school will also notify their parents, to let their child attend either Learning Support (English), or Learning Support (Maths), or both (depending on child).
These are good programs placed in schools, to help the child pick up the basics quickly, to cope up with P1 basic, fundamental Mainstream academic requirements.

After Term 1, Form Tr and AED Tr will feedback to parents.
End of Term 2, during Parents meet Tr session, they will also meet up with parents, to discuss status of your child adaptability.

Each Term, school will touch base with parents.
By end of Term 4 (after trying one year), Tr will feedback to parents, whether child is suitable to study in Mainstream, or not.

During the school Term -
if a child also show signs in class like unable to concentrate for long in class, having short attention span issue (this may happen in some autistic kids, not in all autistic kids), parents may also arrange with the Form Tr, to let the Educational psychologist come Down to school premises, give advice to parents how to guide their child at home, towards having a longer concentration span in school. Yes, this can be arranged by your child's Form Tr. Go through the Form Tr.

educational psychologists can come down to school premises every 2 to 3 months, when they receive phone call, from primary schools.

Schools and hospital clinics, are linked up.

If there is a queue, educational psychologists will attend to the more critical, pressing, urgent cases first. Because there may be more than one special need child, studying in the same primary school.
From school's perspective, they look into the more urgent cases, first.

In Mainstream primary schools -
There isn't any "flexible" school hours.

Since the first week of Term 1 -
Form Tr will give to students their school daily timetable, packed fully with activities from Monday to Friday, within 6 hours daily.
Each week -
There are a certain Total number of curriculum hours to teach P1 the 3 subjects, plus Art, Moral Education, Social studies, Music, PE lessons, etc.

Each Term -
MOE P1 syllabus must teach & cover A certain number of Topics in class, for 3 subjects : English, Maths, Mother tongue.
After teaching, pupils then have to do class worksheets, hands on practical manipulatives, do group projects assigned in small groups, etc.
Then, there are also regular byte sized Term Tests papers the pupils need to sit for. Each Term test for each subject, constitute a certain weightage and proportion towards the Final Year end Total consolidated, to indicate whether child pass or fail, in that subject.

So if you suggest flexible hours -
That means your child come in to school, as and when he feel like, then how can he possibly keep up to the regular momentum expected in Mainstream primary schools -
To submit school class work on time, to submit homework on time, to submit group project work on time, to pay attention to subject Tr in class, so as to be able to understand the concepts that the Subject Tr teaching in class ?
If the child keep missing attending daily lessons in class, how will he pass the regular Term tests expected, per subject ?
How do you expect his subject Tr to grade him ?

Don't forget : Mainstream teach, at fast pace.

If a child miss attending one day's lesson, means he has to buck up.
Because tomorrow will teach something else instead, based on the previous day's earlier topic & understanding of concepts already been imparted.
The subject Tr not going to repeat yesterday's topic taught, just because your child didn't come to school, yesterday.
In fact, if your child miss school often, trying to come to school at "flexible" hours, he will even feel more stressed.
Because his school work, home work, group assignment, will just keep piling, on top of one another, waiting to be done.
There is this back log of tasks, to be completed, to be submitted to various subject Tr.

The Form Tr will also question you (the parent), why your child keep missing school ? What's wrong ?

Pathlight school is popular.
There is a long queue of children, hoping to get a place to study, there.

However, Priority is given to our own Singapore citizenship autistic children needs first, besides child must pass Pathlight school's own entry requirements tests.
Autism cases, on the rise.
The vacancies in Pathlight, are precious to the needs of our own Sg children.

Pathlight : only one school in Sg.
With an increasing rate of autism kids born, there may not be enough vacancies at Pathlight, to meet the needs of Sg kids.
Hence, the waiting queue is always long.
Last edited by phtthp on Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Liaise with local primary school for my boy with autism

Postby phtthp » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:49 pm

Since your older daughter already studying inside the primary school now, is easier to book an appointment, discuss with AED Tr and find out info (for your son) -

- Total : how many AED Tr are there in the school, taking care of just P1 classes alone ?

Is it only one AED Tr to handle all the P1 classes, or is it each P1 class does have an AED Tr assigned to it ?

There is a shortage of AED Tr, in Mainstream schools.

- for each P1 class -
if there is a special need child there, does the school expect parents to hire a Shadow Tr ?

Because some schools allow an ASD pupil to remain, on condition that parents hire a Shadow Tr.

However in other primary schools, they may not impose this type of condition. Thus, better to clarify.

If allowed to hire a Shadow Tr -
can shadow the pupil, until how long ?
Normally, heard of Shadow Tr for P1 / P2.

From P3 to P6 -
does the school still allow, or only up to a certain level only, beyond that level Do not allow Shadow Tr anymore ?

Because once P3 comes, the Mainstream pupils re-organize themselves.
From an earlier average size of 30 pupils per class in P1 / P2, from P3 to P6, now changed. average size become 40 pupils per class, bigger size now.

With 40 pupils per class from P3 to P6 -
not sure if schools still allow Shadow Tr to come into the class.

- ask the AED officer to provide you a list of the school's requirements expected, from a Sped pupil - in terms of behavior, in terms of basic reading literacy requirements, etc

Once you become clearer of the school's expectation / requirements -
It eliminate the fear of the unknown, help to reduce your anxiety stress

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Re: Liaise with local primary school for my boy with autism

Postby Tamama » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:18 pm

Thank you both parents for your reply.
So did other parents did or plan to do something to liaise with the school?
Phtthp, I fully understand that we are just 2nd tier residents living in SG here and pathlight of course should serve the SG first before others. I don't hv any complaint on it. My boy passed the requirement test as well. Just no luck to go in next yr.
My daughter's school is a neighborhood school as well. I will connect with the principal and the AED to see what will happen. I understand that nothing much can be changed, but as a parent, we need to advocate for our children.
I see quite a number of parents concerning about which school can hv better support for our special needs kids. I believe that each special needs kid differs from one another so through communicate with the school you know more about what they can do. Mainstream is stressful. It's all for the grades. I wish my boy can cope with the hours. My hope for flexible hours is like he still goes to school everyday, but off earlier. Of course I don't know the possibility. I will explore. If it is only for passing exam, I don't believe it's a big problem for my boy, indeed...

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Re: Liaise with local primary school for my boy with autism

Postby ImMeeMee » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:39 am


I cant comment much on MS since my daughter is not there, but just want to give you some moral support here ...

Daunting it may sound and look, but take one step at a time. You are starting the preparations early, and that is already a good step forward. There is no hard and fast rule, so I suppose its a lot of experimenting and review, plus a lot of communicating with the school team in the MS environment.

All the best and hang in there ... :hugs:

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