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Nystagmite

Funding in further education?

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I need to do GCSE English and had a meeting last week with disability support. There are a few issues with what was said:

 

- Not being allowed to walk out if I have sensory overload, which can be painful. They won't allow me to use a traffic light system and I have to tell someone. I can't talk during sensory overload if the overload if noise. (my response is to put my hands over my ears and walk off) If I need the toilet, I can just walk out.

- They won't give me 1-1. I've had this issue before. They have told me that I've got to learn to read by myself. I am sight impaired. It's not that I am incapable of reading, (as in, I know what that word says) it's that my disabilities make reading physically tiring.

- They won't provide coloured paper and have told me I have to buy it myself. I was told to use my DLA. What DLA? That will be taken by social services, a few groups I attend and any equipment I need. I have just spent £160 on a pair of noise cancelling headphones. (that was a one off; but most of the equipment I need is very expensive) DLA doesn't cover everything.

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Update:

 

Had another meeting on Tuesday about this and they won't back down. I've been told they don't supply coloured paper - even though it's a reasonable adjustment, I don't need 1:1 (the lady who did my assessment for DSA and my previous assessor both said I need 1:1) and if I want (it's not a want, it's a need) help with my work, I'll have to come in some other time and sort it out.

 

It's now getting worse and worse:

- I am sight impaired and have various pieces of assisted technology to help with reading. I've been told I should use these and I can't get help with reading, because apparently, my equipment will solve this issue. It doesn't. No amount of aids will solve every issue I have with reading.

- She has decided that I am not Autistic. Her evidence? Her father who may have it. Because I'm not like him, I can't possibly have it and I'm just lonely and have problems with my self esteem and confidence. As a female, I'm affected differently to males. This doesn't explain the need for routines, issues with relationships and my sensory issues. (only 2 of my sensory issues have nothing to do with my Autism and can be explained by other things)

 

My parents weren't happy at all with this comment. They have evidence (as many parents do) of why they believe I'm on the spectrum, my sister is about to graduate with a degree in Psychology and also believes I have it. There's someone else who thinks I have it - he's got the condition himself and possibly has a son on the spectrum.

 

Unfortunately, my support worker agreed with her. They both also claimed that because my psychiatrist said I may have it, that means I don't have it. He actually said he's not sure - which last time I checked, doesn't mean the same thing as no? He said that from the start he's not 100% sure and my GP said the same - that was before they even asked me any questions at all. But neither of them said I don't have it.

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A pack of coloured paper isn't that expensive and why do you need too do a GCSE? Is it your own personal choice to do it or is someone telling you to do it ?


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Coloured paper is quite expensive. A lined pad is over £3.

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You could try and get a second opinion from another doctor or psychiatrist, opinions do vary especially in these type of conditions.

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I've had opinions from a GP, psychiatrist and a trainee psychologist. (who is about to graduate) The trainee psychologist is my sister. Both parents believe I'm on the spectrum, as does a friend of mine.

 

The GP saw me for about 10 minutes. That was the first time he'd met me and he said that I probably am on the spectrum. After 5 minutes with the psychiatrist, he said that I probably have it too. Both agreed that due to my other disabilities, I will be harder to test.

 

I don't need a second opinion. Unfortunately for me, my support worker backed her up and agreed that I just need counselling and there's really nothing wrong with me.

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TBH the only opinions that would really count is that of the GP and the Psychiatrist, many people can be classed as on the Spectrum of Autism but with your other disabilities you would be harder to test and if you are only minimally affect ted its probably not worth carrying out further investigations. You seem to be quite concerned about a diagnosis and I am not sure how that really helps if they have said they wont pay for coloured paper a diagnosis probably wont change their minds. Also 1-1 tuition is expensive and to do a GCSE it probably isnt the best way for them to use their resources in this case. I thought DLA was to help with the extra cost of a disability? therefore using part of it to purchase a special paper is helping with the additional cost of having a disability and I can see where they are coming from with this


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My DLA goes on other stuff. My diagnosis has nothing to do with coloured paper. I have a diagnosis for that, which they carried out. Well, I say they, they arranged the assessment which was done by a specialist teacher.

 

What I'm asking for is a reasonable adjustment under the Equalities Act. I've had 2 DSA needs assessments and both have said 1:1 and funding for coloured paper.

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Ok but why do you need to do a GCSE?


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Because I don't have a C in English. Not that it matters why I need to do it.

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No I was trying to find out if you had been told you had to do it or if it was a voluntary thing in which case I think the funding could be different.There was no offence meant in my question I was just trying to understand why you needed to do it.


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I don't have to do it as such. But I know that many jobs do require a grade C at least.

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Try contacting The Educational Grants Service their website is on the internet, they list a lot of smaller charities that help with the cost of education.


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Nystagmite, I just wanted to say that I understand where you are coming from. I have a 17 year old with aspergers and dyspraxia and have had to fight all his life for 'equal access' to education. The Equality Act should force schools to look at things differently but it doesn't seem to. My son needs full time TA help because he gets over stimulated (the school expected him to be able to sort out which quiet area of four was open at any one time while he was highly stressed), can't organise himself and can only follow one instruction at a time (although highly intelligent). He was given TA help (although not one to one, but it was better than he'd had previously) in pre 16 education but once he went into sixth form everything was gone. I even offered to go in as his TA and the school wouldn't allow that, but they wouldn't provide him with TA help either so I do understand your frustration. He ended up leaving Sixth Form so a year is lost.

 

The only thing I can suggest is that you make a complaint to the Chair of the Board of Governors, stating why you feel you are denied equal access to education and what provision would ensure you had equal access to education. I hope you find what you need.

 

The biggest mistake I made was listening to a number of people telling me that my son would never be statemented. How I wish I'd pursued that now, regardless.

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Thanks. :) I spoke to a friend who said that if I can find an exam centre where I can enter as a private candidate, she could tutor me instead. I think I'm going to do that - really don't want to be in a college where the "disability support" is clueless about common disabilities. (my rarer disability doesn't seem to cause any noticeable side effects - apart from causing a much more common disability)

 

The over stimulation sounds familiar. In my case, (depending on the cause) it's physically painful. I am also physically unable to tell someone that I'm too over stimulated by noise and have to go outside. Thankfully, only once has this happened. My response was to put my hands over my ears ad walk off. That was enough for someone to realise that something was wrong.

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I made a complaint as suggested by the council. What a surprise. They're still telling me I don't have Autism, I don't need 1:1 and that walking out of the room is a no if it gets too noisy.

 

They have no evidence of the first 2 points at all. I've got it in writing that 2 different assessors have decided I need a 1:1.

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