I recently shared a post about our autism journey so far; from when we started noticing signs of autism in Jacob to when we started to receive support for him at school. Since we started that first support process with the pastoral support plan, we have received no end of professional involvement. As much as we gained the support, it still constantly felt like banging our head against a wall. Because nothing seemed to be moving anywhere. No matter how many professionals we met with and how many meetings we attended, I felt like we were just going around in circles and meanwhile, Jacob’s behaviour was becoming worse & worse.
It was toward the end of J’s time in reception that we and the SENCO decided to make a referral to the local authority to see an educational psychologist. This is when I knew things were getting serious. My stress levels dramatically increased (as if they weren’t high enough already). The thoughts were still going around in my head – “What have we done wrong? Why is he like this?”. I do know now that we aren’t to blame, but these thoughts are always there, hiding, ready to appear again.
We received an appointment to speak to an EP during the last month of the school year in July of 2017. This was just me and the SENCO as they weren’t able to observe him in school. I didn’t think this was very helpful to be quite honest. She was a lovely lady though and gave us lots of tips and techniques to help. These would be put into proper practice in the new school year after the summer.
Community Paediatrician – referral
In my many meetings with school, autism and my parental instinct and research around this were mentioned. I had previously tried for a referral to see if he could be assessed, twice. But as there wasn’t enough evidence we were turned away. But now we had some evidence from the PSP that had been implemented, the SENCO suggested she put in a referral. So right at the beginning of Year 1, the wheels were put in motion. It felt like such a long wait but a month after the referral was made in October 2017, we received an appointment for an initial assessment with the community paediatrician. After Christmas, in January…
Behaviour Outreach Support Service
Now that the advice and strategies from the EP had been put into place, we still weren’t seeing a lot of improvement in Jacob’s communication and behaviour. So we decided on the next step, which would be another referral. This time to the local authority behaviour outreach support service (BOSS). The difference between this and the EP is that the BOSS worker was able to come into school to observe J, and build strategies around that. Of course, when he knew someone was observing him he was a little angel! So it did take 2 or 3 visits before the BOSS worker was able to provide substantial advice. This support service was able to continue with regular visits, so it was a bit more helpful. Saying that, there were still some regular situations in which Jacob continued to struggle.
Of course, all of the stress with school was also putting strain on our family dynamic. And the wait for his initial assessment with the community paediatrician felt like waiting a lifetime…