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Hello, I need some advice with regards to my daughter who is 11 years old and isn't attending school at the moment. This is due to her depression and anxiety. She also has a diagnosis of ASD. Is there anything I can do for her while she is at home? Art therapy came to mind. Any advice would be most helpful.

I am sorry that your daughter has become anxious about attending school. I note that she is secondary school age and I wonder if this is a new feeling due to the transfer to a larger school. I presume you have had meetings at school and explored the issues surrounding this anxiety, and looking at the areas of pressure. For example is it maths, PE, a particular teacher or friendship group? An individual timetable to assist her returning may help if she is able to have some choice of subjects to begin with. Whilst your daughter is not attending it is essential that you keep to a timetable, for example still getting up washing and getting dressed ready for the day at 8.00 – have some books that you can read together, and take exercise each day. If you have a computer it should be possible to link into the school web site and educational activities. What unfortunately often happens is that the sleep pattern slips and this causes other complications making it more difficult to return to school. Time watching TV or social media should be kept to the end of what would usually be the school day. Good luck!

We are a secondary school expecting our first student with cystic fibrosis to start school with us. We are trying to find funding to develop an existing rarely used toilet with shower into a newly refurbished room for her and subsequent CF students. Do you have a grant system we could apply for? If not do you know of any organisations we could get in contact with which may be able to help with funding?

Most hospitals that treat patients with CF have an outreach team that can advise - and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust are also available for advice and guidance - however we are not aware of any funding for disability access - maybe try your local authority?

I am a teaching assistant at a secondary school. We have a student with cystic fibrosis who finds it difficult to use maths equipment and I am looking for a protractor I can buy that has a handle or grip to make it easier for her to use. I can only find large teachers' board protractors with handles online. Do you know of anywhere I could buy a student's maths protractor with a handle?

I've asked our staff team and here's a couple of suggestions:
I saw two 360 protractors with little handles. One made by Oxford and the other by Helix.
I'd suggest them making one if they can't buy one. Buy a small cheap handle from B&Q and hot glue gun it on.

My grandson who is 11 has just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately he is not coping with this very well. He has always had a very bad temper and has been quite uncontrollable at times. Now he has taken to smashing up his room and he is hating school and it's getting more difficult to get him to go, his mother has just managed too. His mother is a single parent and I'm not sure how long her mental health can stay stable. She really needs some help, what can you advise please? If you cannot could you put us in touch with someone that can?

Sorry to hear that your grandson is not coping well with his diagnosis - the specialist nurses for diabetes are a great support for families and schools - as children find it more difficult to deal with a new diagnosis if families feel worried.

One my cousin's children has Autism and they are coming to live in England soon. I would like to know what facilities and support do you offer for an Autistic child? He is 5 year's old. We never experienced this sort of disorder before so not sure what to do and how to help that beautiful life to live. Your guidance and help will be greatly appreciated.

To gain access to support for a child who you believe to be on the autistic spectrum it is necessary to have a diagnosis from a psychiatrist - after that it is possible to apply for an education and health care plan in order to have additional help in school or if necessary a special school - this process can take an extended length of time so do make enquires in the area you are planning to move to as soon as you possibly can.

Can you tell me if 2 children with cystic fibrosis can attend the same school?

We would discourage this in a small school as it is very difficult to keep children segregated. However with a larger secondary school it can be managed. Children with cystic fibrosis need to be
segregated due to multi resistant bacteria in their lungs which is very contagious. These guidelines are worldwide and supported by CF trust.

My daughter became ill at the beginning of this year and has been given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. She is in year 10 and has missed so much school and I am worried about her education and the lack of it due to her condition.

This must be very worrying for you all, Year 10 is an important year. If possible we would suggest in the the first instance you talk to the school SENCo about your concerns and see what the school can offer by way of support. If she is missing school for extended periods, 3 weeks or more, then she is entitled to home tuition.
Check this link for more information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/education-for-children-with-health-needs-who-cannot-attend-school
However the home school is responsible for ensuring that she is supported to access as much education as she can despite her medical condition.

I would be very grateful for your advice. My daughter has not felt able to attend school since January 2013. She is under Camhs for anxiety and panic. What are her educational options given that she has missed year 10 and 11 and her GCSEs? We have been advised to apply for her to attend school to repeat year 11, but she does not feel able to attend school. I would be very grateful for advice about her options. Thank you.

This is clearly a very difficult time for you and your daughter, the situation you describe is essentially one of the factors behind the drive for CCHS in applying to open a Free School, a small school for young people who need help to build resilience in order to develop independence. Provision for young people experiencing the difficulties such as those you describe is sorely lacking in most local authorities. We would suggest that you liaise with your local authority making reference to the document here: http://education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/statutory/g00219676/health-needs-education The local authority must work with you to support your daughters access to education and if that cannot happen within a mainstream setting, alternative provision should be sought. Some local authorities have a medical PRU or offer tuition at home with support for a reintegration plan back to school. What is clear from the statutory guidance is that the local authority must support your daughter to access education and if it is not possible to attend a mainstream secondary school some other provision must be made available. We hope this information is helpful.

I have been saying on and off for the past two years that my daughter has selective mutism but only in occasional situations outside home and at school. It’s perhaps gone on too long as it has not really been picked up by teachers.It came to a head on Wednesday when the head mistress gave a detention for not completing her maths work and only achieving one sum when to me this seemed harsh and also she must have been struggling to ask for help. Where do I get a formal diagnosis as for two years in her report they have labelled her stubborn and she is obviously uncomfortable in some situation. At home and in familiar surroundings she is fine but school isn't one of them. Please help!

It must be stressful for you all at present. The first thing we always suggest, if you haven’t already, is trying to talk directly to school, perhaps meeting with the SENCo to discuss your concerns. If you feel that you are not able to progress your concerns with school and you would like to talk to a Child and Adolescent Mental health (CAMHs) professional regarding your concerns you can pursue through your GP. Alternatively you may find it helpful to call the Youngminds helpline: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_parents/parent_helpline We have had very positive feedback from families that have used this service.

My twelve years old son is affected by Cerebral Palsy, just looking for professional support to make his life easy and self dependent.

If you are based in the UK I would suggest you liaise with the Children with disability team for support in relation to developing independence. I'm afraid we can't give specific advise but the leading UK charity Scope http://www.scope.org.uk/help-and-information/cerebral-palsy may offer some general information and guidance on a range of areas. If you are UK based they offer a telephone helpline. 

My son has just been diagnosed with severe obsessive disorder. He already has learning difficulties and has a statement of educational needs. On his recent hospital admission where he was seen by CAMHS and the social worker I was advised that we would need a meeting at school to discuss how we progress things forward. In the meantime I have had to do the professionals work for them. I have contacted the school and worked in partnership with the head of year and also the exams officer in order for my son to get the right entitlement for his upcoming GCSE exams. My son aslo has to make decisions regarding his future this year and I am of the belief that currently he is not in the best place to make these at this time. I recently visited a college for him and although the course is what he wants to do, I am not convinced that this would be the right place for him due to it being big and also would it be safe for him. I am just at my wits end regarding this. He is currently going to school, but with support in the morning and afternoon, with dropping him off and picking him up. I do not have much support at home and certainly no group that I can talk to regarding my frustration in terms of getting things right for my son and his future.

This really is a stressful time for you all and thinking of the future must be particularly difficult as it is hard to predict how things will develop. You have made the first step in liaising with school and this seems to have enabled some things to be put in place for your son, though obviously it is still difficult for you. In relation to college, our suggestion would be to keep options open. If possible, look at a range of schools and colleges your area, contact the SEN or student disability services, this may help you and your son assess where his needs will be best met. As he has a Statement of SEN he should be well placed to access any available support. Support for yourself is very important during this stressful time, Young Minds have a parents phone line: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_parents A number of parents we have contact with have found the phone line very helpful. They may also be able to put you in touch with a local support group.

My grandson who is 6 is being bullied at school. We have being in contact with the school but they don't believe it is happening. My daughter has been to the doctor where they have taken photos and given my grandson sleeping medicine. My daughter has taken my grandson to school today, and she heard the teacher telling one of the parents whose son is one of the ones bullying my grandson; it’s not your son which has upset my family. We are at our wits end now what to do and where to go for the support for my grandson. I would be grateful for any advice you can give us.

Sorry to hear about your upsetting situation and the difficulties with the school. The website below has some very useful advice under the “Getting Support from the School” section. http://www.bullying.co.uk/advice-for-parents/what-to-do-if-your-child-is-being-bullied/

My daughter is in year 5 and has severe multiple food and environmental allergies, eczema and asthma. Where can I find more information about how to look at secondary schools? Also I heard that I can ask her primary school for an "action plan" - but I cannot seem to find more information on this online. Could you please point me in the right direction?

Transition to secondary school is often a stressful time for families but more so if your child has particular medical needs, so thinking about it now when your child is in year 5 is a good idea.
Feedback from parents suggests the following points may be helpful:
• Talk to parents of children currently at the secondary school. They can tell you what the overall ethos is and may give you examples of how their child has been treated when additional care/ support was needed. (how the school deals with a range of needs/ problems they may not have medical needs but this will at least give you a view of how they manage adjustments)
• Talk to children attending the school too, they will let you know if staff are approachable and what it feels like if you need help.
• Always visit the school either at open days or via appointment. Request to speak to the member of staff responsible for medical needs. Ask to see their policy on the management of medical needs. All schools should have a policy and a named staff member. This is often the SENCo.
• Ask the current primary school what they know about the local secondary schools.
• Check out the school websites and see if they have copies of school policies. Read an up to date OFsted report, this is unlikely to mention medical needs but will comment on ethos. • When you have identified a school work with the school in drawing up a support plan for your child so that everyone is clear about what is helpful and required to keep your child well.

The following link give good practice advice to schools on medical needs plans:

http://www.allergyuk.org/childcarers-and-teachers/advice-for-childcarers-and-teachers-menu

I need some advice, my son who is 6 has eczema and asthma and food allergies. School are aware of this but it’s a constant battle to get them to do things right for my son even with medical hospital letters. Well there was an incident regarding my son being given extra medicine which the school deny but my son still says happened even now. Well I told school I didn’t want them doing anything for him so I went in for 3 days to do it myself once a day when he’s supposed to be done 3 times a day. Well 2 days later he was given pizza at school for dinner which he’s not allowed to eat as he has an allergy to tomato based food. Which he wears a badge stating and school kitchen and office are aware of this but still happened. I’m not happy now with my son school and I take him home now to feed him and cream him at dinner times and also provide snacks and his own juice as he can’t have at school. I just don’t know what to do as I’m not happy with him there and don’t feel like they dealing with his needs as this keep happening and when I go into complain I get told to take my child out of school and that they do more than enough for my child I just don’t know what else to do.

The situation sounds very stressful at present. I wonder if you could find a way to talk to school about your concerns. Is there a teacher or teaching assistant that you have a good relationship with? If there is perhaps you could request a meeting with the schools special needs co-ordinator or other staff member responsible for pupils with medical needs and ask if this person can also attend. Do you have a clinical nurse specialist at your local hospital? They often have a role in helping schools understand medical needs and how schools can work in partnership with parents. Some will attend meetings with parents at the school. If you have a medical plan in place at school, a review of this is a good way to talk about what is and is not working well in school. This can be a way to be both positive in relation to what is going well but also let school know what is not working. If you feel that the situation with school staff has broken down it may be helpful to contact the school governor responsible for special needs and explain your concerns.

I'm looking to find a list of alternative education establishments more suited to my daughter's needs. She has recently received a diagnosis of Autism, and even with support is very unhappy in mainstream school.

The simple answer is that there is not a list of alternative education establishments. Your local authority website should have details of all maintained schools in your area, mainstream and special schools and units. Some specialist units will be based in mainstream school. You may have done this already but we would suggest that you talk to the SENCo at your daughter’s school to see if adjustments can be made. There has been a growing demand for specialist provision for children diagnosed with Autistic spectrum disorders some schools now refer to themselves as serving children with complex needs. There are some independents schools such as those run by the National Autistic Society. Your daughter would need a statement of special educational needs to be considered for this provision. Special schools/provision generally require a statement.
You may find these links useful.
http://www.autism.org.uk/
http://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/help-and-advice/special-needs-advice/types-of-sen/the-autistic-spectrum/179/asd-asperger-s-syndrome-and-autism

My daughter is 16, and started her A level course this year. Last year she became ill and has not really attended school since. She sat her GCSE's in the medical room crying. She's only attended school about 5 days in total this term.
The hospital are doing tests to find out what the problem is. She is in constant pain, and I'm at a loss what to do. I constantly contact the doctors and the hospital for answers, but all the time she is sick she is not at school. All the while they are looking into her illness, she is missing vital lessons. The school have been great, sending work home, but I’m worried they'll lose patience with her, and even though she works hard, she's losing vital interaction with her teachers. I'd appreciate any advice you can give.

Your situation sounds very stressful for you and your daughter. The situation you describe and the feelings you have at the moment are not uncommon. It sounds as if your daughter’s school is supportive by sending work home. Please do not feel that this is a favour, all schools have a duty to support access to education for students with a medical condition. The school should have a policy on this and certainly your education authority should have a policy statement. If you have not already met with the school to discuss the current situation and your concerns I would suggest that you do this. This meeting could be with the Head of 6th form and the schools special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). At this meeting you could discuss the best way for your daughter to plan her time in relation to the subjects she is studying at A level. It may be suggested that rather than do 4 AS levels this be reduced so that more time can be spent on the remaining AS levels. Having subject teachers email addresses so that work can be sent for marking and your daughter can ask questions about specific tasks will be helpful. Having access to text books and other teaching resources can be discussed. Also, do you have a school learning platform (MLE)? This can be used to upload teaching resources used in class. The A levels being studied can also make a difference. Talking to the subject teachers directly can help in making sure that your daughter can undertake tasks appropriate to studying independently. With the rapid development of online teaching resources working independently when your daughter is feeling well enough can be interactive and fun. Stress about falling behind is not going to help. I would suggest that the key thing to remember is that if the situation continues and daughter continues to miss a lot of school now, all is not lost. Many students spend more than 2 years getting their A levels and universities will take into account personal circumstances when looking at applications. (If university is something she wishes to pursue) If the situation continues and ultimately she needs to take more time to get her A levels, please be assured we have worked with many students at the hospital school who have been in this situation but have ultimately been successful, it’s just taken a bit more time and organisation.

 

 

 

What are the steps a school can take to promote mental health among students?

A good place to start is by looking at the resource ‘uthink’ in the resources section of the website; it is under mental health resources. You need to register to download this but it is free and very easy to do. This will give you a range of things to consider. It is important that an attempt is made for all staff to be involved in considering the mental health needs of students and as with many initiatives support from senior management is useful. A good way to get everyone thinking about this as a whole school issue is to try and use some whole school INSET time to consider the needs in your own school. The resources section of the website has some useful PowerPoints and training materials to help organise such a session. Hope this helps and thanks for contacting us.

A boy of 10 years living with autism has an extreme fear of growing up, won't discuss the subject gets angry. Any advice for school and home?

It would help to know a little more about the situation. Is the fear of growing up related to his own physical changes? e.g. growing taller, or maybe related to expectations, e.g. now you are in year 6 preparing for secondary school etc. If you can give a little more detail we will try and help as best we can. The fear is to do with what you have mentioned plus if we say things like "what are you going to do when you grow up?" he answers by saying "I don’t want to grow up" panicking, showing fear, becoming angry and making it clear the subject is closed. We need to get him to open up and tell us what the fear is. This started when he was around four or five. Have you heard of any others in a similar situation and any strategies to try? The general advice is that this fear of growing up is very common amongst children with AST, and particularly so around transition time, be that moving from one class to another or onto a new school. Another suggestion is to contact the helpline at NAS - www.autism.org.uk/helpline
You might also find these suggestions helpful:
- Normalise changes and make sure he's well prepared and supported when they do happen.
- Don't ask him what he wants to be when he grows up - his concreteness will make him think he has to have "the" answer, maybe ask what interesting jobs has he heard about.

I deliver education to medical needs young people on the internet. Do you have any 'best practice' examples of Personal Education Plans you could share with me?

At CCHS we use a variety of formats to record planning and outcomes for individual students. The format we use is dependent on the nature of the work undertaken. We have developed these over the years and find that we revise and adapt regularly to ensure we can record the necessary information while aiming to limit time spent on duplicating information. We are fortunate enough to have an excellent database system that has been custom built to meet our needs. I will upload into the resources section of the website the formats we use. I hope you find them useful.

I was wondering if you can help me find out if my child has ASD. He is undergoing assessment but when you are a parent you just want to know if there is something wrong. He has just got a statment going through as we speak. He is 3 yrs academically behind and is in year 5. He has difficulties in socialising with anyone he doesnt know. If you look at him on the outside he looks like any other child.I believe he has ASD but need it medically proven. He quiet and withdrawn and he does not have any friends. He is bullied at school due to the lack of understanding and he can't procees things that we take for granted.

Thank you for your enquiry, I am glad to hear that your son is being assessed for a statement of educational needs, this will ensure he receives the support necessary for him to achieve academically at school. A diagnosis of ASD is made by the local CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), there is usually a screening questionnaire for parents/carers, and then an interview with a psychiatrist, sometimes an ADOS assessment is used to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Your GP can refer you to your local CAMHS team.

 

I am a PhD student specialising in the cognitive biases associated with childhood anxiety. I am keen to get as much applied experience alongside my research as possible. I wondered if you knew of any opportunities for me to gain some experience?

Take a look at the very informative booklets in the Mental Health section of the resources on the website if you have not done so already. You need to register to access these but it is simple. Overall the key things to be aware of is that it is a serious condition and not something a child can snap out of. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT )is often used as a way to modify behaviours so that children and young people can get on with life.
Key things a teacher can do are
• understand the condition by reading up about it
• take the condition seriously
• liaise with family and CAMHs team to draw up a management plan for the child
• Don’t be afraid to make adaptations to classroom, school day and or curriculum, inclusion is about working towards meeting the needs of all children not making all children fit one system!
Hope this helps and thanks for contacting us. If you found the website useful please pass on the details to your fellow students.

How do schools help children with cystic fibrosis and what support do they get?

 The suggestions below are all things that would enhance the school experience for a student with Cystic fibrosis. At the hospital school we would also see many of these actions/ suggestions as being good practice for students with other chronic medical conditions.

  • Very good communication between parents/carers and home school.

  • Termly (at least) review of IEP. Then depending on general attendance and age of student a second set of core (at least) text books at home so that when they cannot be at school they can access their work if appropriate.

  • All passwords and usernames for MLE known if used at school.

  • Being able to leave class 5mins earlier and joining the lunch queue earlier to avoid crowded corridors during class changeover.

  • Discussions between school family and LA for 'as and when' home tuition.

  • Access to quiet warm space e.g. library when under usual circumstances pupils may not have access, at lunchtime etc.

  • Considerations about PE, the communication is very important here as PE is good for CF but a real discussion needs to happen with PE staff to ensure there is an understanding of the condition and that PE may not be appropriate some of the time.

  • Arrangements put in place when PE is not appropriate. If a students level of well being deteriorates some start/end their school day later/earlier and there is also the possibility of dropping subjects after serious consideration and discussion.

  • Discussion with the examinations officer at the start of exam years. As with all students, some CF students may have specific learning needs, these will also need to be taken into account and addressed.

I need to sort home tuition for a year 10 pupil, it is a pivotal time for her and I am concerned it will affect her results - the LA's advice is email her some work - this does not feel good enough, how can I ensure she gets access to home tuition?

It may be helpful to refer to the following document: Access to Education for children and young people with Medical needs – Summary. This can be found in the resources section of this website. This documents outlines the duties placed upon the local authority to ensure that children and young people have their right to education protected.

Can home tuition happen if the pupil does not have the stated 3 consecutive weeks of absence, but who has frequent short absences due to a chronic illness?

Yes, this needs to be negotiated and different LAs have put in support for pupils depending on their needs.

There's a boy in my class who has had a very bad road traffic accident and is unable to come back to school for the rest of the term. Where do we stand in terms of ensuring that he continues with his education?

If a child or young person is unable to attend school for more that 3 weeks they will be entitled to tuition at home. The home school still has a responsibility to ensure continuity by liaising with the family and tuition service and by providing appropriate work or subject guidance. A referral for tuition can be made by the hospital school or tuition service or the home school; the referral will need to be made to the local education authority. A supporting letter from a hospital consultant is usually required. A good way to find the correct person to contact at the LEA is through the SEN department. Useful information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3