1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Separate exam room for Asperger's pupil with no history of need - Help!

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by lhsharlj, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. <font face="Verdana" size="2" color="#191970">Help!

    Parent has turned up with a letter from a
    paediatrian asking for separate exam room for her Asperger's daughter - first
    hard copy of any evidence, ever! The doctor's letter says that the girl 'may' be
    distracted by sensory stuff - like clicking pens or invigilator walking passed
    her desk but we have no evidence to support this. So far, she's been allowed the
    same desk in mock and public exams and been allowed to enter exam room 10 mins
    before others to familiarise and settle herself.

    How can we convince
    these fee paying parents that this is a reasonable adjustment too far - and a
    nightmare to resource, e.g. finding a separate room which won't be too noisy on
    a normal school working day; extra staffing etc.?</font>
     
  2. <font face="Verdana" size="2" color="#191970">Help!

    Parent has turned up with a letter from a
    paediatrian asking for separate exam room for her Asperger's daughter - first
    hard copy of any evidence, ever! The doctor's letter says that the girl 'may' be
    distracted by sensory stuff - like clicking pens or invigilator walking passed
    her desk but we have no evidence to support this. So far, she's been allowed the
    same desk in mock and public exams and been allowed to enter exam room 10 mins
    before others to familiarise and settle herself.

    How can we convince
    these fee paying parents that this is a reasonable adjustment too far - and a
    nightmare to resource, e.g. finding a separate room which won't be too noisy on
    a normal school working day; extra staffing etc.?</font>
     
  3. How would you like to take an exam in the midle of Euston Station?

    It's not really an unreasonable request. Surely the head teacher has an office - just put her in the corner of the head's office, switch the phones off andlet her do the exam.


     
  4. Noja

    Noja Senior commenter

    Asperger syndrome is a medical diagnosis and you don't have to have evidence other than a medical letter on file. Our Autstic Spectrum children often get rest breaks too.
     
  5. You're a fee paying school and you have problems finding a quiet space for one pupil for exams?
    My last year in mainstream we had 15 pupils who needed extra time/support/readers/etc and quite a lot of extra spaces were needed. Most middle management had to give up their offices for the day(s).
    If this is her entitlement, you make it happen
     
  6. It's a completely reasonable adjustment, I agree with the poster above - when I worked in Secondary we had kids in offices, (large) cupboards, any available space. Whilst the pupil may 'manage' in a busier setting, it's about giving them the best possible chance. They are likely to lose concentration due to their sensitivity to noise. It's fair to remove this obstacle where possible.
     
  7. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    From the 2011 JCQ regs:
    2.15 Other Arrangements*

    2.15 Other Arrangements*
    *For the access arrangements detailed below, there is not a requirement to process an application using Access arrangements online or to record the use of the arrangement. No evidence is needed to support the arrangement.
    Amplification equipment
    Bilingual translation dictionaries (without extra time)
    Braillers
    Closed circuit television (CCTV)
    Colour naming by the invigilator for candidates who are Colour Blind
    Coloured Overlays
    Low vision aid/magnifier
    Optical character reader (OCR) scanners

    *Separate invigilation within the centre*

    For further information please see Chapter 8 of the JCQ publication Instructions for conducting examinations -
    http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams_office/instructions_for_conducting_examinations/



    <font face="Tahoma,Tahoma" size="2"></font><font face="Tahoma,Tahoma" size="2"></font><font face="Tahoma,Tahoma" size="2"></font>
     
  8. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Re: the above - you need to find a separate room for this student.
     
  9. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Re: no history of need. It is possible to put a note in the student's file saying that there is no history of need AS YET, but then to collect evidence over the year.The doctor's note would be the first thing to put in there. It is my experience that students only ask for a separate room if they really need one as most would rather not be any different to the other students.
    Also as someone who finds it very difficult to concentrate on written work with any noise or distraction, I sympathise with the student. I often try to find a quiet room to work in when I have a pile of admin or reports which need doing.
    I hope I don't sound unsympathetic as the organistation of access arrangements at our place is a logistical nightmare.Luckily, I am not responsible for the actual organisation of the rooms/readers/scribes/invigilators, just some of the reports.
    I would tread carefully, especially under the DDA and reasonable adjustments......you don't want the school to find itself under the threat of legal action:(
     
  10. The stress of exams affects all students but for pupils with AS who already live in an extremely stressful world due to their sensory and neurological differences a quiet room can make the difference between being able to cope with an exam and having their cognition so profoundly impacted by anxiety that they stand no chance at all.
    In addition to a separate room and a familiar invigilator this pupil should also be able to take supervised breaks and have 25% extra time because even with the adjustment of a separate room their stress levels will still be much higher than that of other pupils which will impact on their ability to process information at normal speed or to record it in good time.
    I would not expect any less than this for any of my university students and would be down on their departments like a ton of bricks if they were to even imply it was inconvenient.
    I would also be looking at ensuring that the language of the exam is scrutinised and modified to eliminate vagueness - often in the form of assumptions or inferences that are not possible for a person with AS to process effectively.
    Anxiety is central to the life of any person on the autism spectrum and all adjustments that can be made to relieve that anxiety, in exams or otherwise, should be made; to complain about such a small inconvenience as finding an AS pupil a room for her exams is like refusing to put a ramp in for a wheelchair user - AS is not a mild condition, in 2 years time AS will not exist as anything but a classification of the presentation of autism and all autism is serious. It is only the outward presentation that we see, we cannot presume to know the impact on the person within.

     
  11. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    [​IMG]
    The awarding of rest breaks and extra time for someone with a medical or psychological need can be awarded by producing a letter from the centre on headed paper. I just did one for a student with a permanent hand injury which meant that she needed to rest her hand so I gave her extra time as rest breaks would have meant that she may have lost the flow of her answers (we discussed the options as she is a mature student and both came to the same conclusion that extra time would be best)
    The JCQ are very much in favour of common sense application of access arrangements so for example a student who suffers from bad migraines may not benefit from extra time as that would mean sitting in the room for a longer period but it could be a separate room without the fluorescent lighting or a rest break - which ever concession is most likely to allow the student to have a level pegging in the exam and not be disadvantaged by their disability or difficulty.
    Forcing a student with AS, who feels they need a separate room, to do it as part of the rest of the group just because of practical difficulties is denying them the chance to perform to the best of their ability.
    I have had some students who I have offered the option of a separate room and they have said that they would rather do the exam as part of the group.
    I really think that AAs need to be geared towards each individual and often they are not, especially when done in a large group. I prefer, where possible, to get a proper insight into my students difficulties before I do a report or send information to exams. Of course, time restraints mean this isn't always possible and I don't think it is as vital if a student is studying assessment based course, with perhaps just one short on line exam in functional skills and their previous AA was extra time.(although this is often essential for many entry or level one students,(along with a reader) For students who have lengthy written exams, I definitely feel that a detailed assessment is useful in terms of their own understanding of their difficulties as often the students are not aware themselves. Many of the younger students (16-18) aren't particular;ary interested in this aspect but many of our mature students find it very useful and not just for the actual exam but also in their coursework and carrying out research and revision.
     
  12. As I work with adults it is always the student's choice whether to take up such adjustments or not - they almost always take up the separate room and extra time but often don't want anything else.
    However, the adjustments are always offered and always discussed in terms of the individual student's needs - I have even specified that a yellow room must not be used when a student had a problem with that specific colour :)
    Most of the courses I am involved in are highly academic exam based courses but things like lab experiments have to be organised - ever thought how inconvenient and expensive it must be to provide a lab with full tech staff for just one student? The university I work at does this without even blinking [​IMG]
     
  13. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    It is really interesting to read posts from someone working in a similar area....and I agree totally with your sentiments
    I find it difficult to separate assessments from teaching as to me, the assessments inform teaching and the general approach to working with that student.i.e. a normal way of working which JCQ is so keen to promote.
    Unfortuanately, I am under constant pressure to get students through their courses and this can result in quantity of support rather quality of support which I try to resist but it is hard! With the recent cuts, this pressure has become even more intensive.
    On of my ex students popped in last week though and it reminded me of why I do the job.
     
  14. Likewise, Moonpenny :)
    I don't actually work on the teaching or assessment side of things - I'm originally a primary teacher and have had an interest in ASCs for years but hated the restrictions and regulations that get in the way of actually doing the job, plus the arguements over funding and access to specialists were a nightmare.
    I recently joined a private company and my job is soooo good - I am paid lots of money to ignore bureaucracy and rules and determine what each individual needs to help them access learning effectively; anything from figuring out why they aren't eating, to making living arrangements less stressful, to providing social access, to advising on the focus of staff training, to unpicking exam questions, to making sure coloured paper is available......
    Because our students succeed the university listens and acts. Every ASC student they get is automatically referred to us for an hour a week, we then feed back to the in-house ASC team who action our suggestions so I don't even have to deal with the system on that level - they know if we say something is needed then the student will respond
    with improved access, grades and independence which is exactly what they
    want. They also know that if ASC students have made it this far through
    a discriminatory system that doesn't understand their needs that these
    students are exceptional and worth every penny that's spent on them.
    Such a different world from working in schools.
     
  15. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Interesting to hear things from a student's point of view, Daydreamer. BTW: I can't believe you are 25.Where did the time go?: >)
     
  16. Don't remind me! It's scary how quickly I'm growing up! Sometimes I just want to freeze time for a bit so my mind catches up with my chronological age!
     
  17. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

  18. My autistic son did stop time. He has insisted on being 12 for the last 8 years which, to be honest, suits him perfectly and has been quite useful- when he started university this year the idea that he was still just 12 really helped people get to grips with his developmental delay and his support team have really enjoyed working with him partly because they can relate to him as a much younger person than they normally expect to be working with without the confusion that trying to cater for developmental delays in adults usually causes.
    His reasoning is that the teens are the most socially and emotionally exhausting time of anyone's life and he knew he couldn't deal with them; so sensible!!! - next year he is going to be 20!
    I just can't see how anyone can reasonably object to using separate exam rooms for people with a condition that is known to cause high levels of anxiety and hypersensitivity to environments - it just doesn't make sense to put someone through the extra stress in an already stressful situation; it's such a shame so many schools seem to have so little understanding of ASCs and so little willingness to make what should be automatic adjustments when that is often all it takes to enable a student to do their best.

     

Share This Page