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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

Don't worry about the meeting. Take notes (and someone with you if you can), and if being asked to agree or give your opinino on something don't do it then, but say that it sounds interesting/helpful but you will need to give it consideration and get back.

Parent partnership can be helpful at navigating but are often trained by the LA and share an office so use them but don't always take everything they say unquestioningly.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 15-Jan-13 16:58:41

Not just may need 'help' but help beyond that the school can provide internally at SA/SA+ and you know that because the school have been absolutely on the ball and provided all the help they can (even if they haven't) wink

Why don't you ask the bods at the meeting what 'evidence' of progress you (ie the school) need to collect to determine rate of progress during the run-up to tribunal. There are SMART IEP targets for social communication. Try and get them to agree that new evidence of inadequate progress would meet the criteria for SA.

As this tribunal would be refusal to assess there is little to gain time-wise between tribunal and second application to assess (5 months v 6 months). But the time-span can also be reduced if you can get the lea to pressure the school to measure progress within one term. Then you can present new evidence to the lea within 3 months of the original application for SA - the lea can then go back to panel and (hopefully) agree to assess. Meantime, if you appeal, tribunal ticks down ...

'Why don't you ask the bods at the meeting what 'evidence' of progress you (ie the school) need to collect to determine rate of progress during the run-up to tribunal'

The answer the OP will be given is that you cannot assess progress in tangiable terms of the difficulties that children with ASD face, as they are things like social skills which cannot be measured. Therefore the only appropriate measurement is professional opinion, which will be that he has made good progress.

OP, go to the meeting and gather information. Do not get into a debate or argument with these people and do not give away any of your arguments that you will need for tribunal. I'm sorry but I do not think you will make much progress at this meeting so don't give them any advance warning of your tribunal case.

That is my best advice and it is sent sincerely.

2006hildy Fri 18-Jan-13 09:58:44

They have cancelled our meeting due to snow - they say. We got there ok. They are sooooo PATHETIC! I'm furious.

I will use my anger today to build an even stronger case.

2006hildy Fri 18-Jan-13 10:46:42

Would you go through formal mediation or don't waste your time and go straight to tribunal?

I woukd go straight to tribunal, but agree to mediation in the interim. I believe mediation coukd be more productive with a tribunal looming.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 18-Jan-13 13:42:25

Keepon, If Hildy produces that she will be told that is Amercian rubbish in a stupid culture where they talk about cures and recovery, and isn't applicable in the UK where we accept our children's disabilities.

Her local NAS branch will support this position.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 18-Jan-13 15:53:53

star - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Might be dismissed as rubbish but on the other hand if targets are set that are unmeetable (as they assume cure or recovery) then this provides objective evidence of 'inadequate progress' and meets a citerion for assessment.

The legal process takes so long that there is always time to see what can be achieved in the meantime by playing the rules of the bureaucratic game.

Is there anything in SENCOP that supports the view that social skills and progress in such cannot be measured objectively? (I am asking seriously as I know some of you can quote it smile)

If so it is illogical that objective measures of progress are a necessary part of statementing. (I am aware that logical coherence is not the priority of the average LA).

Yes you're right Keep. I'm probably too close to the LA to be objective. I spent 3 years trying to argue with this lot before I understood that 'because we say so and we are professionals' is the extent of their argument and asking for objective data or evidence is sim

ply met with 'we don't feel it is in the interest of the child to spend time measuring when we coukd be using that time to work with the child'.

When I asked for a single outcome from each agency at a TAC meeting the response was that they don't have to answer the question because they are professionals and other parents are able to accept that.

I tell you. Try it if you want but don't waste time trying to reason or believe that they just aren't understanding. They understand alright.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 18-Jan-13 17:54:49

I find it useful to use policy against policy-makers - hoist on their own petard iynwim. The LEA bods are really not that clever (or motivated) and it is quite easy to tie them in logical knots. The case is passed up the nearer tribunal but it doesn't hurt to have constructed this backstory - especially if, when the going gets tough, you have IPSEA or similar onboard.

I know what you mean star - I suspect that the only reason that the lea were willing to collect progress data irt DS1 - with inadequate progress being an 'automatic' trigger for SA - was because they actually believed that the rate of progress would be adequate. But they had agreed in writing to something they thought would not be case and had no way of backing out - hence SA. The statement is crap but we just face tribunal to amend rather than a prior tribunal to get SA (which may have resulted in NIL).

There is so much difference, at the same time as striking similarity, in all our experiences. Sometimes what works in one instance does not work in another and this has nothing to do with the actual needs of the child (or persuavive powers of parents).

Hildy - it is not an either/or. You can put in the appeal and then be open to mediation in the interim if you think it is possible to reach compromise. Sometimes it is meaningless as 'never the twain' and all.

2006hildy Fri 18-Jan-13 19:56:25

Star - I am ready to be pushed as far as you can push me as mentioned in another thread. I'm feeling militant, hell hath no fury and all that...

2006hildy Thu 28-Mar-13 20:33:56

I am miserable now because the "adequate progress" argument has been blown out of the water. At least the SENCO has shown she knows what she is talking about and now I feel like trusting her a bit more. All the staff are new to Autism and the Statementing Process so I didn't know if they knew what they were telling me. It took them sometime to get back to me though and by letter when I emailed them.

"para 5.42 SEN Cop are intended to be indicators of defining progress before school intervention has taking place. The CoP defines the procedure for the school to follow when determining the level of support a child needs in their learning. Monitoring children's progress is the first stage, which then moves onto School Action and then School Action Plus. DS is on School Action Plus."

But surely now that he has 1:1 help his progress is even more inadequate? I feel like I am loosing the ability to understand English!

Social Interaction and social communication skills can have quantifiable values, apparently, through using the P scale descriptors for PSHE. So why were they not monitoring them? Taking them to tribunal is really making them work! I feel so terrible about it but at least I am getting some answers.

There is no formal scale or measurement for flexibility of thinking.

I can't understand why they are being so nasty I just want to know how it all works but the seem to have taken offence. I am sure I am on the spectrum lol.

marchduck Thu 28-Mar-13 22:49:43

Hildy, I'm sorry I have no knowledge on tribunals but just wanted to wish you all the best.
And never feel terrible about trying to get your DS the support he deserves. I hope that you have some support too, it's not easy trying to find your way through the unknown.
Good luck with everything

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 28-Mar-13 22:56:34

What about if you can't afford these reports? It's why I've been unable to challenge refusal to assess for my DD - she needs too many separate reports and I'm stony broke.

lougle Fri 29-Mar-13 07:35:49

Hi Hildy, sorry this is so stressful, it's hard when you feel your child's needs aren't being met.

It does sounds as if you are a bit confused about the role and purpose of Statutory Assessment and what defines adequate progress at the moment.

Whoever wrote to you is right about para 5:42. The SEN CoP deals with SEN as a whole, so all stages of intervention are covered. On MNSN, we tends to focus on how it applies to statutory assessment because that's where the right to appeal begins, etc.

The graduated response is key to the SEN CoP. If you look at statistics, around 20% of children will be at some stage of the SEN register (SA, SA+, Statement), but only 2% will have a Statement. Expressing that another way, 90% of children with SEN will have their needs met by schools, from within their budget, on either SA or SA+.

'Adequate progress' is not defined exhaustively in the SEN CoP; it isn't as simple as saying that if a child doesn't fit the examples in the SEN CoP then their progress isn't adequate. Also, adequate progress will be different for each child.

Remember also, that there is no expectation within the SEN CoP that a child will makeexcellent or even good progress once measures are in place. The bench mark is 'adequate'. This can be easy to forget, because the quoted 'expected progress' for typical children is benchmarked on 'good' progress.

The P levels are pre-national curriculum levels for children with SEN. These can be further broken down into pivats. By assessing with P scales, progress can be tracked. Some LAs use different systems from others. My LA uses 'CASPA' to track progress.

Adequate progress will be different for each cohort of children. It would be very unfair to expect the same amount of progress from children with profound and multiple learning difficulties as children with moderate learning difficulties. Similarly, it would be unfair to expect the same level of progress in social interaction from a child with ASD as you would for a child with general learning difficulties.

CASPA, for example, allows staff to set up a profile for each child, with their main need/diagnosis, then it plots their levels against typical levels of a child with that profile, to give a more meaningful analysis of progress.

The other thing to bear in mind, is that his SN only matter in as much as they create S*E*N -if an area of difficulty doesn't translate through to causing a problem at school, it's irrelevant to them. It's taken me a while to see that. DD2 is very literal and doesn't generalise well. She's learned her number bonds beautifully because it's concrete. I've realised that until school becomes more abstract, it's not an issue for them.

Anyway, I hope that helps a bit.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 29-Mar-13 09:15:28

hildy - have you got a copy of the LA SEN policy? Adequate progress is not exhaustive defined and so each LA will base its different practice on an interpretation of the SENCop and, for the benefit of the staff employed, there will be criteria for those staff to make consistent across the LA rather than idiosyncratic decisions on whether or not assessment should be granted. So for example what can be used to measure progress and what the rate of progress should be to be deemed adequate. Some children will attain less than others but all children are expected to progress.

The school should not have stopped measuring progress - how do pupils move up from SA+? The school need to measure progress to calculate his individual progress rate in order that they can measure the effectiveness of interventions or 1:1, especially at SA+ level. The LA will want to know that the school has done all it can at SA+ level and it is only when school resources have been exhausted and the child is still not making adequate progress that they move up.

The expectation of progress is the same for SEN as for NT but historically certain groups such as SLD make less than 'adequate' progress. The same data shows that the progress rate for ASD as the primary need is similar to that of NT. It is important that there is not an expectation of inadequate progress or that SEN are used as an excuse for inadequate progress. In DS1's year 6, 3 of the 4 pupils who did not make adequate progress were SEN. This is not an explanation but an indication that the school failed to meet their needs.

Have you seen www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/STR/d001092/index.shtml

2006hildy Fri 29-Mar-13 12:02:25

Thank-you for your kind words of encouragement.

Hopelessly confused. Have I been unfair to my LEA? I was wondering why things are getting nasty. lol.

I have definitely got a copy of the LA SEN policy, it's huge. As well as Guidance Criteria for Stat Ass.

I still think I can take them to tribunal on the Threshold criteria of Autistic Spectrum Disorders, so all is definitely not lost.

But anyway this is a copy of my latest draft (maybe just letter to myself to vent) letter just to show you what has been going on.

Again I agree DS has made progress but have not been successful in ascertaining what definitive progress was made. I agree we have discussed DS’s needs at our termly TAF meetings and that his learning needs have been met. Have his “triad of impairments” needs also been met as some of them weren’t being monitored, how do pupils move up from SA+? I thought all his needs had to be met. Statutory Assessment is rarely only about academics. The school need to measure progress of his triad of impairments to calculate his individual progress rate in order that they can measure the effectiveness of interventions or 1:1, especially at SA+ level.
What is going so badly wrong for DS that the professionals involved have to resort to using semantics to confuse/twist the situation?
What exactly happened then? There were four people left in the meeting at the time. What did you hope to achieve by passing on my email about XXX’s outburst?
Why is there an aggressive tone? Why aren’t my questions answered in the meetings so that I have to clarify them afterwards by email?
I am trying to navigate my way through a difficult area of Code of Practice of which (as a lay person) I admit to not understanding. I am trying to avoid taking the LEA to tribunal for which I believe I have had a case since DS was diagnosed. (Reading through the Hertfordshire Guidance Criteria for Statutory Assessment DS had a CARS rating score of 32 which states you only need 30 or above. Again the LEA did not feel the need to Statutory Assessment which was another missed opportunity for DS, to receive the correct targeted early intervention).
I agree the LEA may think they are supporting DS with ‘outside agencies’ but without a Statutory Assessment how do they know the correct targeted course of action? I believe he is not receiving the optimum support especially in the area of his triad of impairments. He is so far behind the National Curriculum now, (the correct targeted early intervention could have avoided this) how will he ever catch up? Does this mean he will be on benefits now for the rest of his life?
If I have made a mistake as a lay person I will change my appeal taking the LEA to tribunal.
At the first TAC meeting my family and I were told that if I was to take the LEA to Tribunal all support for DS would stop. The reverse has happened.
Resorting to these tactics makes me distrust the professionals involved which is difficult as a lay person relying on information from them.

I hope my case study helps someone else out there.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 30-Mar-13 11:04:32

hildy - I'd keep it as a vent for now if I were you smile

If DS is now making progress because of the additional focus your appeal has brought then this is good for your DS. It demonstrates that interventions impact on progress.

You need to know whether your DS is making progress (ie what are his levels now) because you don't want to base your argument on inadequate progress when the school have bent over backwards to make sure that there has been progress and to measure it. Expected progress is only 3 national curriculum points an academic year. Check out pupil tracker http://www.stokehilljunior.devon.sch.uk/downloads/National_Curriculum_Point_Scales.pdf

Attainment and progress are two separate things. The LEA will always focus on the average/above average which they can now demonstrate progress to be rather than attainment which is well below average in some areas. You can still use progress to argue that attainment should be higher. If the same rate of progress had been achieved earlier then his attainment would be better iyswim.

2006hildy Sat 06-Apr-13 23:09:31

The thing is I am just not happy with the poor service ds is receiving from Speech and Language Therapy Service and Communication Disorders Team because they don’t have a full data set of values. Therefore can’t know his rate of progress. Therefore cannot compare both of these against his 'expected' progress if properly supported.

Showing that they have not been monitoring him in an objectionable way. But how do I get this across at Tribunal. The LEA are saying they are providing everything they need to but it is p**s poor- that’s why he is making poor progress.

Appealing ‘But sometimes the process genuinely focuses their attention,’ - ain’t that the truth, this is what is happening with us. Ds has never had so much attention.

lougle Sun 07-Apr-13 09:00:12

Hildy, you can't take what is seen to be a 'gold standard' approach and hold the LA to it. In an ideal world, all children would have an array of detailed baseline assessments, quantifiable intervention and regular consistent data measurement, etc. The SEN CoP doesn't give children the right to gold standard intervention, only that which is adequate.

The parents on this board who won such intensive, specific and measurable intervention, didn't do so because it was the 'best' thing for their child. It wasn't because their children could make better progress with their intervention than the LA's. It was because they could prove that the intervention they proposed would allow adequate progress and, crucially, the LA couldn't prove that their proposed intervention would do the same.

2006hildy Sun 07-Apr-13 09:55:38

Good point Lougle maybe I am onto a looser then. Here are my latest thoughts.

DS needs must be met with different /better support and strategies from the appropriate professionals mentioned. His rate of progress is neglible or very slow. Academically has a significant delay. Annex 7 does not report all his Triad of impairments which are educational needs as well , have not been monitored objectively although he has a significant delay. There is no data set available despite four years of therapy.

I asked for his Triad of impairments data set but was told that there was not one even though I knew the P scales have a Speaking and Listening section on 8th February eventually I was given the Speaking and Listening result of P5 and now there appears to be a column in Annex 7.

Therefore para 7.4 Cop SEN does apply as ds probably has special educational needs. The LEA probably should determine ds’s special educational provision.

Therefore 7.34 Cop SEN does apply as ds’s difficulties have not been remedied sufficiently ahead of his learning and may require the LEA to determine ds’s special educational provision. Being Autistic does not mean his attainment is expected to be low, his special educational provisions are stifling his learning and incidental learning.

Educational Psychologists achievement report contradicts the SEN Individual Record of Attainment and Provision. Annex 7.

lougle Sun 07-Apr-13 11:13:46

I don't actually think 'triad of impairments' is a helpful term to use unless you are specifically talking about the diagnostic criteria for ASD. Yes, there is a triad of impairments, but those won't necessarily be evenly matched and will present differently in every child.

P levels and Pivats are not objective. They are the subjective judgement of a teacher who compares the child's current performance against a set of descriptors. If the child meets the descriptors for the P level, they then are deemed to be 'achieving P6', for example.

Depending on the child, their areas of difficulty, etc., you may expect to see quite good progress in some areas and less progress in others. That doesn't mean that the SEN provision is failing the child in those areas with less progress, necessarily, it may mean that they are simply less able in those areas. After all, we don't expect children who are NT to get the same grade in every subject at GCSE level.

DD1, for example, is 7.4. She is 'doing well' in maths. For her, that means that she has managed to count 60 coats at school. She knows the names of 2d shapes and some 3d shapes. She can use words such as heavier and lighter.

She is doing less 'well' in literacy. She is finding phonics hard to grasp, and is learning words using whole word recognition. She tries, but literacy is not going to be her 'thing' as much as maths.

7:49 of the SEN Code of Practice says:

"In the light of evidence about the child’s learning difficulty, LEAs should consider the action taken and, in particular, should ask whether:
the school or setting has, in consultation with outside specialists, formulated, monitored and regularly evaluated IEPs and whether the child’s progress, measured by criterion referenced or standardised tests, continues to be significantly and consistently less than that which may be expected for the majority of children following such programmes. "

That means that when you are making your argument for SA, you have to argue not that your DS is making less progress than same aged peers, but that he is making significantly and consistently less than other children who have the same provision as him.

"Although needs and requirements can usefully be organised into areas, individual pupils may well have needs which span two or more areas. For example, a pupil with general learning difficulties may also have behavioural difficulties or a sensory impairment. Where needs are complex in this sense it is important to carry out a detailed assessment of
individual pupils and their situations. However, the accumulation of low-level difficulties may not in itself equate with a school being unable to meet the child’s needs through school-based provision. In some cases pupils will have needs that are not only complex but also severe.

7:54 In considering evidence as to whether or not it is necessary to carry out a statutory assessment LEAs should bear in mind the particular requirements of the individual child, and whether these requirements can be met from the resources already available to mainstream maintained schools and settings in their area in the context of school-based intervention, monitoring and review arrangements"

These paragraphs clearly make the distinction between accepting that a child has SEN, even multiple SEN, and concluding that a school can't meet those needs from within its own resources.

It isn't necessarily so that the school are doing everything they can for your child. It's possible that they have further measures they can use without SA/Statementing, but aren't. If that's the case, that is what needs to change.

Statements are for children whose needs cannot be met by the school from within its own resources. So that's where the focus needs to lie. It isn't enough to show that progress isn't adequate. There is another step which is to show that the school cannot meet those SEN without the provision from the LA.

2006hildy Mon 08-Apr-13 23:15:56

Thanks for your help so far.

I am stumped it has taken a while to think about my reply. I need someone to tell me what to do.

“It was because they could prove that the intervention they proposed”

I have no idea what intervention he needs. I am worried that that is it and just to live with him the way he is. They have actually asked me what it is that I am looking for.

“ crucially, the LA couldn't prove that their proposed intervention would do the same.”

That’s easy - They wouldn't be able to because they just have not done the work. They don’t know enough about ds.

I think I am trying to request that they need to do an objective assessment to target the correct problem he has to help him make better progress.

Am I losing my appeal, should I give up?

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