We had our first home visit from the LEA last week, and I know there will be backlash from what I write because I have had people desperately trying to get me to avoid all contact with the LEA before and I know there will be people who totally disagree with everything I say. That is your choice and I respect that, so please respect my choice.
So I agreed to have the LEA come to my home and see what we do with Jamie. I didn’t want to fill out a form stating how we educate her as it’s not that simple. Anyone who home educates a child on the spectrum knows you can’t simply complete a form that fulfills everything that the child needs to be doing. Autistic children (along with lots of non autistic children) simply do not learn like that!! So I thought a face to face, see what we do and chat would be the best way forward.
I am not stupid, I know it is a paper exercise for them, but I wanted their views on what I was doing and I wanted to discuss the future. So it was a win win situation.
We were visited on Thursday by the General Adviser for Home Education and the Statementing Officer, who were both lovely gentlemen. Firstly they saw Jamie in her home environment, with her migraine and witnessed her being sick all over our new Sofa!!
They explained everything to us, asked informative questions, gave advise, gave us praise. They commented on how well Jamie was doing and how well the environment suited her. She is just so happy and anyone can see that. That is why NO ONE is going to send her back to school where she can’t cope. At home she is at the same level as any other child her age, if not above. There are areas to work on like with any child. She struggles with writing, so we need to make more effort getting her typing on the computer and she needs to get outside a little more often.
We talked about the future and secondary education and it seems we all have the same concerns: will she go backwards, will it be too big, will she get lost, will it be too noisy, will she get stressed and lash out and therefore be excluded, will she be UNHAPPY :(
We went through her statement (which will be amended) and we were told that previous info we were given is wrong (we were told if she left a resourced placement for mainstream she would loose her statement) it turned out to be quite the opposite, they said that if Jamie did go to mainstream she would have a substantial package in place to help her! I’m not stupid, this may not happened as I know people do talk a good talk. We can teach her ourselves like we are doing now, we could also get a tutor in for the core subjects. It is good to start having a plan, something I wouldn’t have thought about without this visit.
So all in all this visit was helpful to us as a family and Jamie enjoyed it, which is a bonus!!
People avoid home visits for all sorts of reasons and each county is different and I know others will not have the same experience as me, but one thing that echo’s in my mind when I asked why so many people are anti LEA was this – People Home Educate for 3 main reasons:
1. Life style choice
2. Special Needs better met in home environment
3. People that have something to hide
You do not by law have to be visited by the LEA, I think the people who avoid these visits quite probably have had a bad experience with the education authority in the past. This will not be the case for everyone and certainly wasn’t for us.
On another note they were shocked that the mainstream school Jamie attended first were so bad with her as the school is the most inclusive in our area and best equipped – apparently.