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Old 26.06.2020, 12:53
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What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

Hi,

Our famiy have researching and starting all the research to make an informed decision about moving back to the Vaud area, from Australia where we are at the moment (We are originally Swiss/Kiwi) sometime at the end of this year/early next year.

And I thought I was getting my head around it all and was feeling pretty prepared and then life threw us a bit of a new curveball to consider... (as usual!)

My son has just been diagnosed through the pediatrician/Psychologist with ADHD/ASD (Autism) and now I'm having to try and consider all the extra implications that the move would have for him and what kind of extra expenses will be involved/doctors visits/how it will impact his schooling and later job opportunities etc...and its all feeling a bit daunting and I'm freaking out a bit.

I have been trying to find out information on all the official websites but it is all a bit vague as to specifics and often seems to be judged on a case by case situation - which is great, but it makes it hard to get a rough idea as to what he would be entitled to/helped with, and what we should expect, hence why I am asking on here as well.

Anyone out there who has had any experience having children with behavioural /learning disabilities coming into Switzerland (or raised there already) and figuring out how to work with the support system and figure it all out - Any tips or info would be very appreciated.

So here are my questions:

If he has been diagnosed before age 9 will he be covered by disability insurance and if he is covered by disability insurance, what does that mean as far as what they will pay for and what we have to pay for as far as additional support for him goes?

If he has an official diagnosis is it more likely that he would be sent to a separate school or would he be kept in mainstream school? Does Switzerland tend to try and do one more than the other? I am kind of hoping he would be sent to a separate school as I think he would do better with a much calmer and quieter environment where there are less students/more help etc. Here in Australia he is categorised as level 2 which means he definitely needs additional learning support in the way of teacher aides etc..

He really struggles to do any kind of handwriting as his fine motor skills are very poor and the pediatrician said he needs special motor therapy to help with this - does anyone know if Switzerland does that kind of stuff for ASD/ADHD kids?

Does anyone know what I would need to organise as far as extra requirements for coming back with him being diagnosed already?

I'm also concerned for him in terms of whether living in Switzerland will make it harder for him to get any kind of work later on in life - does anyone have any experience trying to work and having ASD/Autism in Switzerland? Are apprenticeships possible or are there exclusions? He has always talked about wanting to be a policeman, but I'm assuming that is not really possible now if he has Autism.

Just trying to think through implications as it would be a big move and now I am very concerned whether we would be doing the right thing by him if we come back. We have 3 other kids who are functioning fine and really want to come back and would integrate fine I think, its just him that I am now really concerned about.

Thanks for any input

Any stories/input would be greatly appreciated...
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Old 26.06.2020, 13:44
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

Hello,
I am sure there will be many people along to help with your questions. I have had some experience but I am in Zurich and circumstances are quite different. I suggest you look at this website https://allspecialkids.org/ which might be interesting to read.
Good luck
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Old 26.06.2020, 15:06
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

I'm sorry I can't be of more help, but our son did have some issues with "motor skills" and was going to a special class for that once per week, at his school, where it was just him and the pedagogy teacher (she would work with him one-on-one). They would focus on things like hand-writing, etc. My son doesn't have autism, but for whatever reason, he did seem to have some issues with certain motor skills, which the pedagogy classes have helped.

With autism, I think it's one of those things that can manifest so differently in children (such a broad spectrum). There is one boy in my son's class who I think might have Asperger syndrome, but he is part of the class just like all the other kids.

If you would like me to ask my son's teacher or anyone else that I know who might have an idea of how children with autism and/or learning disabilities are educated here (e.g. if they go to the regular schools), please send me a private message.
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Old 26.06.2020, 20:58
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

Here is the thing thing, may of your questions cannot be answered because we have no idea how an 8 year will be like in 10 years time no matter what their current circumstances are.

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He really struggles to do any kind of handwriting as his fine motor skills are very poor and the pediatrician said he needs special motor therapy to help with this - does anyone know if Switzerland does that kind of stuff for ASD/ADHD kids?
My son has Asperger syndrome and he went through the normal school system in Canton Bern, that is the policy in this canton, but others may be different. He had all the standard stuff you hear from other countries: special teacher's assistant in classes where he was a problem, special classes, one on one coaching etc...

Each year before school started the parents of kinds that were going to be in his class got a letter explaining about him and the other kids had a special needs teacher come in and explain to them how they could help him etc...

It worked out well for him, because the Swiss emphasis on team rather that individual met the other kids looked out for him. He was able to got on all the class camps etc.. because they took it in turn to make sure he took his meds, did not wander off etc...

When it came graduation time, he decided to opt out because it involved all the things he had issues with - coordination for dancing, allowing people to touch him, having to touch people etc...

We were surprised at the reaction of his class, they started at him, saying hey he had been with them up to now and they wanted him there. So reluctantly he decide to go. We told him to call us for pick up when he had enough and we waited... and waited... eventually he turned up and announced that it was the best night of his life!...

He is now in his twenties, attending college and building a life for himself. He is involved in a few clubs in the village that interest him and as most of the people know him, his oddities etc... he is very happy with his life.
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Old 26.06.2020, 21:36
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

In Canton de Vaud the law changed a few years ago, and now require children with disabilities and/or behavioural difficulties to attend regular schools.

Here is the new law. Chapter IX, article 98 and downs explains what relates to "special needs" children:

https://www.vd.ch/fileadmin/user_upl...oire__LEO_.pdf

(Google translate or www.deepl.com might help)

My 10 y.o. son has a school buddy who has severe motor disabilities, and it is really moving to see how caring and helping the other kids are. The school tries to provide him the most "normal" schooling as possible. A "special needs" teacher come to school to help him.

Public schools are run by Cantons, so the situation obviously differs form canton to canton.

Schooling quality obviously depends on the teacher, but overall we have been happy with the quality of public schools in the Canton of Vaud. You may also get help & counselling from the school's psychologist, who can liaise with the teacher to help him/her understand your child's special needs.
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Old 26.06.2020, 22:55
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

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When it came graduation time, he decided to opt out because it involved all the things he had issues with - coordination for dancing, allowing people to touch him, having to touch people etc...

We were surprised at the reaction of his class, they started at him, saying hey he had been with them up to now and they wanted him there. So reluctantly he decide to go. We told him to call us for pick up when he had enough and we waited... and waited... eventually he turned up and announced that it was the best night of his life!...

He is now in his twenties, attending college and building a life for himself. He is involved in a few clubs in the village that interest him and as most of the people know him, his oddities etc... he is very happy with his life.
Thank you, Jim! Your loving and happy report moved me to tears.
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Old 26.06.2020, 23:00
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

OP, in case we send you links in a Swiss language, I'm presuming you'd prefer French. Is that correct? Can you read German, too?
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Old 27.06.2020, 06:46
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

Being in the same situation (Aussie Swiss) I wonder which country is best for these kids. On the one hand the support mechanisms in the schools are better funded but the pressure to match a narrow performance band is greater. Our son could not get the support he needed in the local school so he has been in private schools since he was 8 which has been paid for by the local school. Sending him to school alone on public transport was more a problem for us than him, he couldn't tie his shoelaces but never got lost!

It doesn't matter where you live with these kids what is critical is the local support mechanisms which tie in with your style of parenting. Finding the best doctor and psychologist to match his style and needs is not easy but critical. Bullying is a large, unspoken problem here so it's important that he has a few mates close by, difficult if he doesn't have local language skills. So it's best to start him in the local school and work with them. Which brings me to the next point, all schools operate under the same standards but implementation of those standards vary greatly from village to village so deciding where to reside in a region can have an impact on his integration and success.

We lucked in in our village with the support we have but the school itself has a bad reputation in the higher years. So I would start researching and emailing schools to see what they say they could offer, culturally the Swiss do not offer help as everyone is expected to be self sufficient but conversely if you ask for help then within reason they will go out of their way to help.
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Old 27.06.2020, 10:41
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

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My 10 y.o. son has a school buddy who has severe motor disabilities, and it is really moving to see how caring and helping the other kids are.
The emphasis on class and team rather than individualism in the Switzerland is a big advantage for kids with difficulties.
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Old 27.06.2020, 23:41
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

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The emphasis on class and team rather than individualism in the Switzerland is a big advantage for kids with difficulties.
I'm not sure that's true. I have quite a few autistic friends that went through the school system here in Switzerland and bullying was a universal issue among all of them. It generally stopped by the time university started, but it sounds like the school didn't care much when their parents tried to look for solutions.
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Old 28.06.2020, 10:52
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

Hi yes I can speak and read french and some german too but I can always translate the page or get my husband to help (he speaks german fluently) ;-)

Thanks for everyone's help and advice, it is very useful to hear personal experiences and the differences that everyone has encountered based on where they are in Switzerland, seems like it really depends on what the local schools are like etc.

I will try and call the local school where we will be moving to just ask them what their approach would be with a child in his situation to get a feeling for it all, and I have also checked out the allspecialkids website which was very helpful thanks heaps and will be getting in touch with them to ask them all my questions and see what they say - it looks like a wonderful support group and amazing with all that they do, so that is a great find thank you!

The community approach in Switzerland is definitely something that draws me back there, as here it is so individual and impersonal that it just feels empty to a degree...not sure how to articulate that, but there is something special about the swiss village system that I really love. It just takes a while to get into a group but once you are in, and a part of the village life and community then it can be great, so we will be working at it for sure ;-)




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OP, in case we send you links in a Swiss language, I'm presuming you'd prefer French. Is that correct? Can you read German, too?
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Old 28.06.2020, 10:54
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

Jim your son's experience really gives me hope that things could be great there, and I am so happy for your son! It makes me really proud of the kids in your village, they have such lovely hearts and your son is really lucky to have such lovely friends :-)
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Old 28.06.2020, 10:58
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

The fact that the school paid for him to go to a private school amazes me! That is something that makes me think it could be possible for us to come back because at least if things aren't working out with the local schools, it seems the school takes responsibility and finds an alternative for the child, rather than just throwing up their hands and saying its the parent's fault or the child's fault it isn't working and then not providing a different solution.

That has been one of my concerns if we come back because there is no way we could afford to send our son to one of the private schools (with 4 kids every cent is spent on just living!) so it makes me hopeful that there would be more than just one option and that is all that is possible for us. :-) Thanks for the info :-)
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Old 28.06.2020, 17:52
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

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I'm not sure that's true. I have quite a few autistic friends that went through the school system here in Switzerland and bullying was a universal issue among all of them. It generally stopped by the time university started, but it sounds like the school didn't care much when their parents tried to look for solutions.
Might this be a question of age? If your autistic friends are, say, aged 30 or older, then they will have been at school at a time when there was less awareness of their needs, and less openness in addressing the matters clearly, also to the other children in the class.

There has been a shift in awareness and approach since then. Jim's son is in his early 20s. Rach's son is of primary school age.

I'm not by any means denying that bullying is an issue, only saying that there is much more awareness about it now, than a few decades ago. If bullying starts, the adults concerned are much more likely to notice and correctly identify it, and it is more likely, to be spoken about openly, in the classroom, with all the children being taught more understanding about what's happening, and how to avoid it.
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Old 29.06.2020, 12:15
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Re: What to expect for child with ADHD/ASD returning to Vaud from overseas

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Might this be a question of age? If your autistic friends are, say, aged 30 or older, then they will have been at school at a time when there was less awareness of their needs, and less openness in addressing the matters clearly, also to the other children in the class.

There has been a shift in awareness and approach since then. Jim's son is in his early 20s. Rach's son is of primary school age.

I'm not by any means denying that bullying is an issue, only saying that there is much more awareness about it now, than a few decades ago. If bullying starts, the adults concerned are much more likely to notice and correctly identify it, and it is more likely, to be spoken about openly, in the classroom, with all the children being taught more understanding about what's happening, and how to avoid it.
Well, sure, timing has an effect, but one is having trouble with her daughter being bullied right now. It looks like they're moving to a private school in August. My view is different of course. In my field, I have many colleagues that are autistic themselves, so that's the lens I'm looking through. Just because a child is doing well academically, it doesn't mean they don't need support in other unpredictable ways.
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