Question about college

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Disability Money Matters
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Disability Money Matters
My son has just started a special needs course at the local college. He is 19 and finished at his special school last term. So far he is enjoying college, which is three days a week.

However, he is shattered all the time. It's a long day. He's collected just after 8am, and doesn't get home until almost 5pm. Transport is a minibus collecting SEN students from a wide area of our town. He is second on in the morning, and second to last off in the afternoon. The route cannot be altered as it is planned according to where the students live, and also according to where the escort lives (as obviously she has to be on the minibus at all times that students are on - she lives near us, hence the early collection and late drop off).

My son has a number of medical conditions and isn't as strong as most lads of his age. His normal bedtime was about 9-9.30pm until recently. Now, he wants to be in bed just after 8pm. Today, he has slept for two hours this afternoon (it's not a college day).

I'm considering asking the college if he can reduce his hours two days a week (he has two days together, then a day off before his third day). Instead of finishing at 4pm, I'm thinking 2pm. I would pick him up on those days, but he would still have a chance to see his friends on the bus in the morning - it's important for him to have the minibus still, because he doesn't get much chance to socialise. Once he is over this tiredness, I would try him on full days again.

Is that reasonable? I know that he coped with five days at school, but his days were shorter and he wasn't on the bus for as long.

Comments welcome :)
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  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    My son has just started a special needs course at the local college. He is 19 and finished at his special school last term. So far he is enjoying college, which is three days a week.

    However, he is shattered all the time. It's a long day. He's collected just after 8am, and doesn't get home until almost 5pm. Transport is a minibus collecting SEN students from a wide area of our town. He is second on in the morning, and second to last off in the afternoon. The route cannot be altered as it is planned according to where the students live, and also according to where the escort lives (as obviously she has to be on the minibus at all times that students are on - she lives near us, hence the early collection and late drop off).

    My son has a number of medical conditions and isn't as strong as most lads of his age. His normal bedtime was about 9-9.30pm until recently. Now, he wants to be in bed just after 8pm. Today, he has slept for two hours this afternoon (it's not a college day).

    I'm considering asking the college if he can reduce his hours two days a week (he has two days together, then a day off before his third day). Instead of finishing at 4pm, I'm thinking 2pm. I would pick him up on those days, but he would still have a chance to see his friends on the bus in the morning - it's important for him to have the minibus still, because he doesn't get much chance to socialise. Once he is over this tiredness, I would try him on full days again.

    Is that reasonable? I know that he coped with five days at school, but his days were shorter and he wasn't on the bus for as long.

    Comments welcome :)
    His college days would still add up to less than his 5 days were at school. I think the only way to get your answer would be to speak to the college. This seems the most logical solution to me.
  • Does your son think that finishing earlier than the others is a good idea? My son goes to a special needs college and they are very accommodating so you could just talk to them as suggested above.
  • edited 21 September 2017 at 8:33PM
    kingfisherbluekingfisherblue Forumite
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    edited 21 September 2017 at 8:33PM
    That's what I'm thinking of doing. I just didn't want to come across as unreasonable as he is only in for three days, and I am suggesting shortening two of them.

    Toomuchinfo - my son has severe learning difficulties. He wouldn't understand if I tried to discuss it with him.

    Thanks for your replies.
  • edited 21 September 2017 at 8:35PM
    happyandcontentedhappyandcontented Forumite
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    edited 21 September 2017 at 8:35PM
    If it is a timetabled course it may not be possible to change his hours without him missing part of the course. Staffing issues will probably mean the lessons he misses cannot be changed to another day. If that is not an issue then I can't see why they would not agree, unless funding is tied to a set number of hours.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    My daughter also goes to college and has learning disabilities and a social anxiety disorder of childhood. She's also doing a special needs coarse. She's 16 and this is her 3rd week. She's funded to recieve one 2 one everytime she's there which is also 3 days a week. The same days as your son. If i had issues like this then i wouldn't be posting on a forum asking for advice, i'd be visiting the college or ringing them at least. I have regular contact with them because of her needs.
  • kingfisherbluekingfisherblue Forumite
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    They're only available by email, not phone - there is no one to answer during lessons and no voicemail facility. Obviously I am going to arrange to see the staff, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't being unreasonable. Unfortunately regular contact is discouraged, although I have told them that because of my son's needs, it is necessary.

    I looked at other options for my son, but there isn't much available. The other college that he could have attended opens out onto a very busy road, and nobody stops the students from leaving - which is appalling. We don't have anything else available in our borough. There is an option to go out of borough, but when I visited the place it was disgusting - very bland, spelling mistakes (by the teachers) on the few displays that were aroun, a dining area that was old fashioned chipped formica tables, no recreational facilities, dead plants in the horticultural area, and worst of all, the animal shed was filthy. I reported it as it was so bad.

    Other places are under social activities rather than education, so we have very little choice. I said that I would give this college a chance, as my son enjoys learning, even though he is working at P levels on some subjects.
  • kingfisherbluekingfisherblue Forumite
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    Happyandcontented, so sorry, I didn't see your post at first. The two days that I am thinking about cover his maths and English on one day, and theatre, drama, music activities on the other. Obviously the maths and English are more important, and there may be a problem if he finishes early - but the fact that there is so much to concentrate on in one day might be part of the problem. He is working towards entry level 1 in maths, which means that he can only do the most basic stuff (counting above 20 gets rather difficult, he can't tell the time, and can only make coins up to 10p if they are not mixed). His English is better, as he can read at a similar level to a six or seven year old, but he lacks comprehension. He really needs to concentrate and he finds this difficult, especially for long periods.

    Funding may well be associated with the number of hours. I can find that out when I arrange to meet with the staff.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    They're only available by email, not phone - there is no one to answer during lessons and no voicemail facility. Obviously I am going to arrange to see the staff, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't being unreasonable. Unfortunately regular contact is discouraged, although I have told them that because of my son's needs, it is necessary.

    I looked at other options for my son, but there isn't much available. The other college that he could have attended opens out onto a very busy road, and nobody stops the students from leaving - which is appalling. We don't have anything else available in our borough. There is an option to go out of borough, but when I visited the place it was disgusting - very bland, spelling mistakes (by the teachers) on the few displays that were aroun, a dining area that was old fashioned chipped formica tables, no recreational facilities, dead plants in the horticultural area, and worst of all, the animal shed was filthy. I reported it as it was so bad.

    Other places are under social activities rather than education, so we have very little choice. I said that I would give this college a chance, as my son enjoys learning, even though he is working at P levels on some subjects.
    He's doing a special needs course and they're not available by phone? :eek:
  • kingfisherbluekingfisherblue Forumite
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    poppy12345 wrote: »
    He's doing a special needs course and they're not available by phone? :eek:

    No. I was rather surprised too. He wouldn't be there if there was any other option. I can leave a message with the main reception, and in an emergency they will pop down the corridor to speak to the staff, but generally they are not available to speak on the phone unless you drop on lucky and ring when someone is around the office.
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    I did have a thought about this, would your son cope better if you took him in on at least some days, and is there any day you could do both journeys?

    I know it's both the concentration and the journeys, and that the journeys are important for socialising, just giving you some thoughts in case they won't countenance reducing his hours.
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