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Taking DC to tribunal

(20 Posts)
ouryve Wed 19-Feb-14 10:22:32

I'm wondering whether I should do this? DS1 is 10, he's articulate when he's inspired to be. I think he's perfectly entitled to be asked his rather strong opinion directly.

The thing is, he is almost guaranteed to be intimidated by a room full of strangers and relative strangers (he knows one of the LA witnesses, from way back has never met the other). He's in danger of going off on a rant, when asked about school. He's equally likely to hide under a table.

So it would be hard on him, but no harder than being expected to continue in mainstream, to be honest. And surely having the panel meet him and possibly witnessing him doing pretty much what all the reports describe can't hurt his case?

Thoughts, anyone?

ouryve Wed 19-Feb-14 10:23:38

Apologies for the wandering grammar. Ambushed by DS2 mid-post!

TOWIE2014 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:29:43

Personally I wouldn't, for two reasons.

First of all, you don't know if it will undermine your case - he might be too compliant and do totally the opposite to what your reports say he does. If he's meek and mild with no meltdown, then this will undermine you.

Secondly, you will have to look after him during the hearing. So if he does have a meltdown, you will have to cope with the fallout AND a stressful Tribunal. You will have enough stress with coping with the actual Tribunal without worrying about DS. To be honest, I totally switched off about my son during Tribunal (which sounds weird). I knew he was being safely looked after by a friend so I didn't have to worry about him at all during the hearing.

If you want the Tribunal to witness behaviour, then video him and send in footage as part of your evidence.

TOWIE2014 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:32:55

I forgot to say. As an adult, I found the Tribunal very very intimidating so my behaviour change to meet the occasion. To a child, it might be so intimidating, that it totally over-awes your DS up and totally shuts him up.

ouryve Wed 19-Feb-14 10:44:54

DS1 is seriously not the compliant type. He has absolutely no sense of authority (ASD, ADHD with PDA tendencies). The calmest he's likely to be is completely withdrawn.

I'll have DH with me for moral support (whether he likes it or not) and can ask MIL to be around to take him home, when he's done.

ouryve Wed 19-Feb-14 10:49:17

When he withdraws, btw, he hides or won't go into a room. Pretty much what he does at school every other day.

twojumpingbeans Wed 19-Feb-14 10:51:10

Why not take a photo of him in a stand up frame and have it facing the judge on your table? I have known a few parents who have done this..

TOWIE2014 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:51:26

Tbh, the last thing you want is "withdrawn". The LA will twist it and use it against you to say there's nothing wrong. If you could guarantee that he'd be in full scale meltdown coupled with bouncing of walls and destroying the hearing room, then I'd take him. But not if there's a risk of being "withdrawn".

I honestly think your best bet is a series of recordings - doesn't have to be just one - but several recordings showing the true behaviour. The Tribunal's Panel is very scrupulous and they will go through ALL the evidence so they will watch it.

TOWIE2014 Wed 19-Feb-14 10:58:05

Just thought of something else - you might end up wasting precious tribunal time dealing with DS - whether that's him being withdrawn or full-scale meltdown. It will use up physical time to get him into the room, listen to what he does (or doesn't) say and then getting him back out of the room. I would say you need at least an hour for him to give his opinions.

LAs are notorious for trying to waste as much time as possible on other issues, so if they do that (they did in mine) AND you have to have your DS give evidence, then you might not get it all done on one day. However, if the panel have footage of your DS, then they will have watched this prior to the Tribunal in their own time. So you can discuss the footage, but don't have to waste time with actually getting DS in and out of the room.

TheBuskersDog Wed 19-Feb-14 11:11:45

If you want to give your son's view could you present it in writing or record him saying how he feels, a don't think the panel will take kindly to a distressed child being put in front of them.

PolterGoose Wed 19-Feb-14 11:19:27

I really like the idea in theory, the SENCOP is clear that children should be involved in planning where possible. But I can see that practically it could be tricky. If you think it would be beneficial, then perhaps you could arrange for ds to have 10 minutes to speak at a set time and then goes off with MIL maybe?

ouryve Wed 19-Feb-14 11:21:01

Thanks. I think recording him beforehand is a very good idea. If he's agreeable. He doesn't like video cameras, but is quite partial to goofing in front of my webcam, so that would be workable.

I have videoed him, mid meltdown, but half an hour of him rolling on the floor, systematically pulling everything off shelves and destroying it isn't the most concise and compulsive viewing. More like Slow TV.

TOWIE2014 Wed 19-Feb-14 11:34:34

Polter, the trouble is, it won't be a quick 10 mins in and out. The LA will be up to tricks to delay things. My tribunal didn't get started until 11am because of my LA's antics. Then when it finally got under way, it kicked off with legal argument. So we got properly started at 11:30am and then broke an hour and a half later for lunch!

If a child is giving evidence, they won't allow 10 mins, it would become a whole "session". The LA will use the child in court as an excuse for it to become a long session, with the Tribunal needing to comfort breaks (because it will be emotionally draining for all involved to have a child in the room so they will insist on breaks before and afterwards).

Recording beforehand means that they HAVE to watch the evidence beforehand. If there's anything particular relevant that you want to use during the hearing, you can still say (I think), "can we watch this 5 mins of footage" (I think you can ask for part of a previously-provided footage to be re-shown during the hearing, but I'm really not sure - they'd obviously have to arrange for some technical facility to replay it during the hearing)

Tbh, I found the hearing emotionally draining. I had to give hours of evidence of my DS's anxiety (which I wasn't expecting at all) and I nearly broke down several times during this. If my DS was in the room, then I personally would have lost the plot totally and utterly.

PolterGoose Wed 19-Feb-14 11:37:22

I totally get what you say TOWIE but it doesn't make it right IYSWIM? Recording does seen like a good option though.

TOWIE2014 Wed 19-Feb-14 11:39:51

No, none of it is right. It's all a massive game which LAs play, with vulnerable disabled children at the middle of this appalling "game".

ouryve Wed 19-Feb-14 11:47:01

I'm certainly experiencing the heel dragging, at the moment. I'm finding it quite frustrating having to engage in such an adversarial process when a collaborative approach from the start would be so much less draining for everyone.

LA admitted in their opposition to my appeal that they refused to amend in order to buy time to explore their own options.

bjkmummy Wed 19-Feb-14 13:01:39

ive wondered about this as well about taking my daughter but after being through one tribunal have to agree with towie. at my last one we also didn't get going until 11am as there were discussions still over the working document. the room we were in was tiny and a child would get bored very very quickly and there is no where really for them to go so its not a case of you turn up, child gives evidence and leaves - theres a lot more faffing around involved. you cant predict what the panel will ask the child or what the LA will ask the child and you cannot predict what the child will say. I was advised to only take witnesses who's views I knew what they would be. I know a child giving evidence could be powerful but its a huge gamble and for me I don't think I could put my daughter threw it. like towie says it is very intimidating. I am used to sitting in criminal trials hearing evidence, even been in cells with the accused but the experience of a sendist tribunal is emotive and powerful and is one of the most initimidating and nerve racking experience I have ever done and was operating purely on adrenaline the whole time as I knew I was there for my child. to have had the child there as well would have been even more challenging.

ouryve Wed 19-Feb-14 13:12:14

I've had a quick discussion with the person I'm using as a witness and she agrees that the video would be a good move with him - she's worked with him and found him very difficult to engage when asked to do something he's reluctant to do for any reason. At least with a video, I'll be able to draw as much as possible out of him and hopefully get the things he finds tricky out there, but in as controlled a manner as possible. And once he's had enough, he can bugger off and inspect his coins, immediately.

TOWIE2014 Wed 19-Feb-14 13:24:12

I just checked my Tribunal's notes, and it states that the hearing rooms did have DVD facilities. If you've already got a date and a location, I'd give them a quick call to make sure they've got facilities to view anything you record and how they would like the footage sent to them eg DVD or memory stick etc.

ouryve Wed 19-Feb-14 14:55:34

So far, we just have a date and no location, but I'll bear that in mind, thanks, TOWIE.

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