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Statutory Assessment Refused for ASD + delayed expressive language child

(82 Posts)
2006hildy Thu 20-Dec-12 22:12:34

Their reasons:" The Panel acknowledge your parental concerns that ds is not making progress and that you understand that his progress is affected by his difficulties associated with Autism, however the Panel noted from the evidence submitted that ds is making progress both academically and socially with the support that has been put in place.

Based on the evidence considered by the Panel ds's difficulties do not appear to be impacting on his learning and academic attainment levels. The levels reported within the documentation provided as part of the request for Statutory Assessment show that he is making academic progress and is responding to the interventions put in place.

The Panel were pleased to see that the school have a good awareness of ds's needs and have implemented an appropriate level of support in order to address these needs. The school report that they are catering for ds's present needs and are able to seek support and advice from professionals, including Speech and Language Therapy Service, Communication Disorders Team and the Educational Psychology Service when needed and will continue to monitor ds's progress. The Educational Psychologist substantiates this and notes in her report that the school are demonstrating good, inclusive practice in the way they are supporting ds and this opinion is support by the progress he is making."

1. Reading this has made me feel as though they have extracted the positive points from all the reports and made them look even better.

2. He is making only very limited progress. He was averaging P4 when he should have been on level 1 so nowhere near the National Curriculum.

3. They did not mention his Speech even though I gave them all this information:Speech
Although George is described as having delayed expressive language, he has a speech delay of at least three years. As he is getting older he is finding it difficult to work at a more formal level as the language is becoming more complex. Specific aspects are describing it under five headings.

Attention
He has difficulty in all situations, especially when the teacher is addressing the whole class. He is easily distracted and requires constant refocusing. He often has single channelled attention, for example, on Thomas the Tank Engine. We suspect that the problems that he has in taking part in activities may be that he does not understand what is happening.

Receptive speech.
George responds slowly and sometimes only to part of an instruction. He may repeat an instruction instead of responding to it. He relies on visual information.

Expressive speech.
Is very limited, he does not speak in sentences, using only two or three word combinations, using only the most meaningful words e.g. toilet, I want Thomas.

Diction
Is very variable, some words are very clear, others are very difficult to understand, even for his parents.

Interaction
He is reluctant to interact with other children and shows isolated and poor imaginative play.

4.They are able to seek support and advice from professionals, including Speech and Language Therapy Service - seen 10 times a year
Communication Disorders Team - last seen in June
Educational Psychology Service - only seen in April

Unbelievable! I will appeal of course and will note all his needs and complexities from reports which they totally overlooked.

Can you help us put our appeal together with all your comments and advice please. Thank-you

bjkmummy Fri 21-Dec-12 07:52:25

Definitely appeal. Get a code of practice. In the code it breaks down the areas to look at and it also states that it's not just about academic progress but also social, emotional etc. if he has language delay then that will affect him socially. The IPSea website have a really good refusal to assess pack on their website which also explains how to appeal. Often they refuse, parents appeal and then they agree to assess. At this stage you have nothing to lose by appealing. My own son is academically capable or somi thought. We are appealing parts 2 3 and 4 and what my reports have shown is that in fact although on paper okay actually he is working way below his actual potential. This is through much more detailed professional reports than then ones the LA do.

AgnesDiPesto Fri 21-Dec-12 13:06:07

Yes do appeal. Second the IPSEA pack.
My DS is similar and we won a full ABA programme.
What sort of support are you looking for over and above whats on offer?
You may need to gear your appeal to that eg if specialist placement etc you can talk about smaller class sizes, more individual teacher time etc

wasuup3000 Fri 21-Dec-12 16:42:49

Sounds like my council - I had a bugger of a judge at a recent tribunal when I appealed and he believed all that the school and LA said despite them having provided no evidence of this progress, academically and socially. I had loads of evidence of no progress and complex and significant need. What you have quoted above is exactly the argument that the tribunal judge accepted.

2006hildy Fri 21-Dec-12 17:23:07

Hi, I need you to crit what I have written, essentially shoot me down because I want to make sure we are watertight. Thank-you.
Reasons for Appeal

1.A full assessment is the only way to identify my child’s difficulties and find out what my child needs. Although he receives a lot of help with Communication and interaction and Behaviour, emotional and social development, he has a significant language delay then that will affect him socially. I believe difficulty with understanding school work related to this may be a factor. My reports have shown is that in fact although on paper okay actually he is working way below his actual potential; refer to the Speech and Language and Autism Advisory Service reports. Our appeal is based on his language needs, his social communication and the fact that he does not work to his potential due to his ASD. Making progress academically should not be the only consideration. Our child should be making appropriate progress in each area there is no requirement to be behind in all areas.
2.329 Assessment of educational needs at request of child's parent
(1) Where—
(a) the parent of a child for whom a local education authority are responsible but for whom no statement is maintained under section 324 asks the authority to arrange for an assessment to be made in respect of the child under section 323,
(b) no such assessment has been made within the period of six months ending with the date on which the request is made, and
(c) it is necessary for the authority to make an assessment under that
section, the authority shall comply with the request.

The school are able to seek support and advice from professionals, including Speech and Language Therapy Service - seen 10 times a year
Communication Disorders Team - last seen in June
Educational Psychology Service - only seen in April
His diagnosis of ASD is often described as a hidden disability of which many don’t understand, hindering access to these services. Being “on call” is not enough.

3.The school could not normally give all the educational help my child needs unless it receives the right specific targeted help from the local authority in relation to Communication and interaction and Behaviour, emotional and social development.
323 Assessment of educational needs 1(d) of the parent's right to make representations, and submit written evidence, to the authority within such period (which must not be less than 29 days beginning with the date on which the notice is served) as may be specified in the notice.

4.The school has had to provide much more help for George than they would normally provide at School Action Plus for over three years and his progress is slow/limited in all areas especially Communication. The other children are leaving him further and further behind. I refer to the School report.
Section 312 of the Education Act 1996 (a) he has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of his age,
(b) he has a disability which either prevents or hinders him from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of his age in schools within the area of the local education authority.

We believe that George needs a different type of support within his current school than Action Plus and that he needs the level of provision that only Statutory Assessment can enable.
His triad of impairments should be looked after by the department of Education as well as academic provision. If his social progress, communication is inadequate, his grades don't matter. Unless you can prove adequate progress in EVERY AREA, then we have grounds for a statutory assessment.
He has needs which cannot be met from within the school's resources (if they cannot effectively identify this due to hidden nature of complex needs) and an assessment is needed to find out the nature of his difficulties within the area of communication especially. It is not just sufficient that the outreach services are “on call”. The school are very good at nurturing their pupils and adapting to their needs but is there an underlying problem that needs solving?
The SALT and Communication Disorder departments have not quantified his progress. He has significant delays in these areas. There are no plans of actions to meet his needs. We do not know the extent of his needs. Social and language targets haven’t changed. An IEP could not possibly contain details of all George's needs; they are effectively beyond the scope of IEPs.
For example, George has sensory, social communication, coordination, routine, social skills problems etc. How are SMART targets (3 maybe 4 very brief, time-limited, measurable steps) possibly going to tackle all these issues within the educational context?
The school might be giving him plenty, but is he 'receiving' plenty, and more to the point is it appropriate and is it making a difference.
Adequate progress is not being made as attainment gap is growing wider and does not ensure access to the full curriculum.
Refusal to Statutory Assessment reasons do not address the points we have made. By addressing his communication needs it will lead to him requiring less support in the future. An appropriate education means appropriate to every single one of his needs including communication which is a barrier to his learning.
His special educational needs cannot be determined without a statutory assessment.
Speech
Although George is described as having delayed expressive language, he has a speech delay of at least three years. As he is getting older he is finding it difficult to work at a more formal level as the language is becoming more complex. Specific aspects are describing it under five headings.

Attention
He has difficulty in all situations, especially when the teacher is addressing the whole class. He is easily distracted and requires constant refocusing. He often has single channelled attention, for example, on Thomas the Tank Engine. We suspect that the problems that he has in taking part in activities may be that he does not understand what is happening.

Receptive speech.
George responds slowly and sometimes only to part of an instruction. He may repeat an instruction instead of responding to it. He relies on visual information.

Expressive speech.
Is very limited, he does not speak in sentences, using only two or three word combinations, using only the most meaningful words e.g. toilet, I want Thomas.

Diction
Is very variable, some words are very clear, others are very difficult to understand, even for his parents.

Interaction
He is reluctant to interact with other children and shows isolated and poor imaginative play.

lougle Fri 21-Dec-12 18:05:49

hildy2006, can I ask if this piece is your planned appeal submission, or a summary of points which you intend to turn into a submission? I don't want to be overly critical, but at the moment that is very confused and hard to follow.

2006hildy Fri 21-Dec-12 19:36:48

Hi Lougle, I was hoping you would help. Definitely not overly critical.

It's my first draft of thoughts which I intend to whip into submission. As you know from helping me previously my written work is not up to scratch. Yes it needs a lot of work. I will be pressing my family into helping over Christmas. Poor them Lol

2006hildy Fri 21-Dec-12 22:43:34

I have just seen the statistics for communications & SALT appeals - not good. I will have to work on all aspects then.

Yes we are in Hertfordshire.

I have managed a meeting with HT and SEN officer together for 10th Jan so will take all my Christmas preparations with me then. It's to discuss the refusal to assess outcome. I feel the school are coming round to my way of thinking and have offered to help with my appeal thoughts but can't actively go against the criteria of the county.

Veritate Sat 22-Dec-12 09:12:50

You will need to get your own reports, preferably from at least an educational psychologist and speech and language therapist. The more weight you can throw at the appeal the better chance you have of the LA giving in.

mariammama Sat 22-Dec-12 22:19:23

Lack of progress, being way behind peers, and loads of unmet needs isn't grounds for a statement. They will just say "we agree his ASD is severe, and he's way behind his peers; we're doing as much as is reasonable, SEN dc are expected to make minimal progress (insert spurious statistic) so he's doing ok". Cue LEA representative looking sympathetically at you, then meaningfully to judge/panel while their witnesses suggest bonding issues, and/or a Welcome to Holland workshop.

Parent evidence of unmet potential is almost worthless. SEN or no SEN, all teachers are immune to hearing what mum says little Billie is really capable of. Professional evidence better, especially if they can demonstrate that interventions led to progress (eg 3 terms in group social skills-no progress but one half-term of 1-1 music therapy-now turn-taking)

2006hildy Sat 22-Dec-12 22:27:01

I really didn't want to go down the route of getting our own reports because we can't afford it but if we have to then we will.

I don't want Parent Partnership to help anymore because I feel they are on county's side.

I am going to go for language adjustments and ensuring learning environments are appropriate from a sensory point of view.

I am worried the LA will take us all the way to Tribunal with only one argument and that is that he is making progress even if it is limited and below the NC.

He isn't making progress within his areas of need and he needs provision over and above what a school can provide using their delegated resources. Find this really hard to identify and put in words.

mariammama Sat 22-Dec-12 22:27:41

I found visiting a special school very useful. Even though it would have been academically unsuitable, I could picture ds1 there benefitting from all the other input. It wasn't just the therapies, not even the small classes, flexibility of approach, life skills and communication practice.

It was simple stuff like always pre-warning the dc when an anticipated routine will be changed, which is often impossible to reliably achieve in your average mainstream unless it's spelled out to them and monitored (eg via a statement wink).

lougle Sat 22-Dec-12 22:37:16

"He isn't making progress within his areas of need and he needs provision over and above what a school can provide using their delegated resources."

You realise that this one sentence is the core of the Statutory Assessment process, don't you?

You can't just say a sentence like that - it's meaningless without defining and substantiating each and every part of it:

-What are his areas of need? Why are they areas of need? Who says?

-What progress has he made in them? How is it measured? What was the starting point? How does this compare with progress in other areas? Is the gap widening or narrowing? Is the progress steady or sporadic? What intervention has he had and what was the impact?

-What provision does he need? How do you know? Who says? Why does he need it? How do you know it is over and above the resources of the school? What provision has been put in place already? How effective is it? How do you know? What provision is left that could be tried within the school's resources? Why won't it work? Who says?

2006hildy Sun 23-Dec-12 01:05:29

I can see now this is why we need our own reports because the NHS ones do not offer this kind of detail. I'm annoyed now because I feel I shouldn't have to.

Or do I just write to the SALT, EP and Autism Advisory Service and ask them to answer these questions and if they won't, write to MP and tell them my problem?

lougle Sun 23-Dec-12 08:11:39

Well a lot of that info will be contained in his school file. Also, you need to think what you are aiming for? 1:1 isn't the sole aim of statements. What does your DS need, in your opinion?

justaboutchilledout Sun 23-Dec-12 08:23:23

(lougle, just started a thread, would be very grateful for your insight, sorry for hijack)

justaboutchilledout Sun 23-Dec-12 08:24:49

And yes, you need your own reports.

And it's unfair and annoying but that is the way the system is, and it is part of the unfairness of having to fight for your child.

lougle Sun 23-Dec-12 08:26:43

seen it, Justa, and replied.

mariammama Sun 23-Dec-12 09:10:22

Paying for private reports feels better if you use them to hone your own judgement. For example, i simply didn't know about ds's core body strength or poor proprioception (OT), his auditory processing funnies (EP) or his underlying but untapped good receptive language (SLT). My ideas of the interventions he needed were ok, but the EP knew a lot more about the range of possibilities.

With all the stress, time and expense of tribunal, wasting that effort on fighting for even slightly wrong interventions would be disastrous. We aren't (fingers crossed) far off getting a decent statement now, but if it all goes wrong, and ds ends up out of school at some point, at least I now have some idea of where the most important gaps lie, and how to approach them.

2006hildy Sun 23-Dec-12 12:41:18

- he needs 1:1 adult support to ensure anxiety levels remained low
- he needs 1:1 lunchtime support to enable her to eat in a quiet environment.
- he needs SULP group
- he needs direct SALT input

StarOfLightMcKings3 Sun 23-Dec-12 17:03:06

'Lack of progress, being way behind peers, and loads of unmet needs isn't grounds for a statement. They will just say "we agree his ASD is severe, and he's way behind his peers; we're doing as much as is reasonable, SEN dc are expected to make minimal progress (insert spurious statistic) so he's doing ok". Cue LEA representative looking sympathetically at you, then meaningfully to judge/panel while their witnesses suggest bonding issues, and/or a Welcome to Holland workshop.'

maria honestly, the way you word things..............not sure whether to cry or rofl.

hilady I'm sorry but this is spot on. Herts; general view is that children with ASD can't make progress, so any at all is amazing. The Herts SS are variable but there are some okay ones, but you are pretty stuck if your child is not severe enough.

You need an EP to assess your child and do some tests that can show ability potential. I would recommend too, an independent SALT assessment. If you are not going down the ABA route then you might want to focus on SALT interventions more than anything else.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Sun 23-Dec-12 17:06:47

'Or do I just write to the SALT, EP and Autism Advisory Service and ask them to answer these questions and if they won't, write to MP and tell them my problem?'

No. The fact they haven't goes in your favour when an independent does.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Sun 23-Dec-12 17:18:19

1. A full assessment is the only way to identify my child’s difficulties and find out what my child needs. Although he receives a lot of some help with Communication and interaction and Behaviour, emotional and social development, he continues to have has a significant language delay then that will affects him socially. ^His lack of progress in this area is alarming and we are concerned that the intervention isn't individualised or appropriate and is allowing him to fall unnecessarily further behind his peers'.

I believe His difficulty with understanding school work is also a concern and his understanding has not been fully assessed related to this may be a factor. My reports have shown is that in fact although on paper okay actually he is working way below his actual potential; as evidenced in the refer to the Speech and Language and Autism Advisory Service reports. Our appeal is based on his language needs, his social communication and the fact that he does not work to his potential due to his ASD even when his dx of ASD is taken into account--. Making progress academically should not be the only consideration. ^His academic levels are low, but without proper assessment of need and provision to match that, they will fall lower as his ASD and social communication difficulties, unaddressed confuse him further

mariammama Sun 23-Dec-12 21:46:03

Although the various services will have done minimal assessments, you can bet you don't have the full results of what they did. Not necessarily on purpose, but still problematic. Vague cr*p like 'delayed receptive skills', 'achieving at an age-appropriate level', 'within normal range', 'well below average', are fairly meaningless unless the overall assessment has been unusually comprehensive and the conclusions top-notch. In which case your main danger is being hit by a flying pig which you didn't see because of the blue moon wink.

Make sure you get copies of all their files with all the raw data and including any handwritten notes; if funds are limited it might help you to prioritise private assessments, and anyway it'll be useful to the independents to have some baselines to compare to.

mariammama Sun 23-Dec-12 21:48:49

Star, if the day job goes, I've always fancied trying my hand at stand-up comedy wink

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