Our SN area is not a substitute for expert advice. While many Mumsnetters have a specialist knowledge of special needs, if they post here they are posting as members, not experts. There are, however, lots of organisations that can help - some suggestions are listed here. If you've come across an organisation that you've found helpful, please tell us. Go to Special needs chat, Parents with disabilities, SN teens, SN legal, SN education, SN recommendations.

our 1st CAF meeting.....

(27 Posts)
crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 21:34:27

Hi all...
We have our first CAF meeting next week,any advice for us?
on what to expect?to ask?etc??
as far as i know we have the teacher,the head teacher,the senco and the lady whos helping us will be there.

Well, what do you WANT from it?

You're not a passive participant. What do you NEED?

crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 21:49:05

well i think want we really want is a statement
he needs more 1-1......
he needs others to know and understand what hes 'got'
i just dont know!! a statement would cover it....i dont know what to say when i get in there!!
his anxiety is high,i need them to help him there,
his school hot dinners are a problem...they wont let me pay weekly...but ds insists on throwing his money away every day,so he can write his name down to say he forgot the money! (he likes writing his name) so we are paying double for lunch! and they wont except that theres an issue here..
he needs to be sat away from others,he needs to line up with guidance
he needs 1-1 in the play ground...
is this what the caf will be about?

MareeyaDolores Sat 09-Feb-13 22:03:52

I wouldn't mention wanting a statement quite yet, it might skew the meeting towards 'he's fine and you're imagining it'.

All your other points are worth raising, if they waft your concerns away, thank them fir their platitudes input. Then say that you'll agree to disagree for now, but you want your concerns minuted. School can get speech therapy, and occupational therapy assessments if you push (unless you're 100% sure he has no relevant needs); and definitely ask for an educational psychology referral ASAP.

Well you don't start with a statement. You start by saying what you think he, and your family need. You ask questions about how much they are aware of what he needs. Ask if they know what age equivelant in social skills, reading, numeracy, self-help skills, and how they might go about getting them. Ask them what strategies they can put in place regarding the dinner money situation.

Ask them if they know what causes his anxieties, and if they don't how they are going to find out.

TBH, CAFs are pretty variable. Often they are more about how agencies can support the parent, focusing a bit too much on the idea that school is fine but the parent needs intervention/support/help managing the child. Sometimes this focus can be helpful though so don't dismiss it completely, but be prepared to bat the questions back, and ask them about what THEY are planning do do in school, and what support THEY need from you/others to support him in school.

A statement doesn't do anything. It is just a written document of needs. So first, get the needs documented, then you can start fighting for a statement that lists them plus the provision iyswim.

MareeyaDolores Sat 09-Feb-13 22:10:50

CAF is sometimes concerned with linking a child's SEN to parenting / implied mental defects / social problems / poverty / poor housing / family background / culture or religion issues etc. or to offer help from social services eg respite care funding. For example, 'Losing' dinner money can be a hint of problems at home, bullying at school etc.

If any of those things are relevant, you can ask CAF to assist. If not, you can take the opportunity to point out these are educational needs and need addressing via school.

And everything MD said!

Handywoman Sat 09-Feb-13 22:15:55

Yes I don't have a lot of knowledge but I thought CAF was about multi agency planning... It sounds like all the needs the OP are within the remit of school, in which case I am not sure what function CAF will have here? Which agencies are going to be present?

crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 22:33:53

Ok...so i'll back off the statement!
ds has social skill group at school,and he wont tell me what's going on in there,so I could ask about that?
Ill get them to come up with a suggestion on the dinner money,
ds is very disruptive in class and most days is taken out of class in the afternoon so the teacher can 'get on' with class!
ds is not allowed to line up as he hits,i've asked school to let him sit by himself as he hits again....they haven't done any of this.can I bring these issues up?
I know he needs to learn to,as they keep telling me,but he struggles with it all...easembly is a huge problem!he's the whole school looking at him and he making squealing noises,gangnam styling around etc etc...the list goes on there...
Im a bit shocked that CAFs seem to be concerned around poverty/housing/culture etc??
Im not educated on CAFs at all,but I didn't think they would look at stuff like that.

Dinkysmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 22:35:20

The CAF form itself is a long questionaire which goes through strengths and needs. So for everything they will ask what the strengths are and what the needs are.
I wouldn't ask them for anything at the moment because it will go to a planning meeting where a multi disciplinary team will decide who are the best people/service to help your DS and family.
For example it could be that they think CAMHS might be an idea to deal with anxiety. It all depends on what the needs are.

The CAF will look at areas of need for the family usually, that impact on your ds, but it can include need in school.

Does your ds have a dx?

Dinkysmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 22:44:59

It seems most of the issues are school related... My situation is very different, but my friend for example she has no housing, poverty, ect problems, her son has ASD dx. She is finding his behaviour (hitting mainly) very challenging and the school did a CAF form hoping CAMHS will see him. The school said they hoped the CAF would push CAMHS for us as we have had a referral for a couple of months and the school are struggling to deal with her.
It's not so much focused on individual issues like lunchtimes, assembly ect, although I would bring up the fact that his sensory needs are not being met.

Google CAF and look on the .gov website, I looked on there before we had the CAF. The senco was pretty good in there and made sure it was completed as fully as possible.

I wish you the best of luck x

crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 23:11:55

DS has a dx of adhd and Apergers...
The school are struggling with him..he constanly swears at the teacher...at home he's hard work!He argues everything,shouts and loses his temper so easy... he dosen't sleep,and sometimes we don't know what to do with him,the school stresses us with there complaints of him,
The teacher says all the time,i'm tired,i'm exausted! he's worn me out...
The lady that has been to our house has just referred us to camhs for his high anxiety...
The school also ask me,when I'm going to the pead to ask him for help for the school,there very keen for help.

What does the school think the paed will do?

crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 23:20:49

not sure you know!!
they said can you tell the pead that we are struggling too,
I don't know what they were expecting him to do!

TBH, It really does sound like he needs a statement.

Use the meeting tomorrow in order to collect information about all the ways they are struggling with him. Write them down. They will form the basis of your application for a statutory assessment, though don't say that at the time.

I am concerned that the school appear to requesting help from a paed rather than a statement. It sounds a bit like they think medicating will solve THEIR problems.

crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 23:24:36

hmmm thats intersting!
I took ds off his meds for two weeks (peads instructions) and the school asked me on the 3rd day to put him back on them!!
i said no!
that i was under drs orders,we get trying to get his meds right,
they said sorry the next day if i felt pressure off them

Well maybe they are getting frustrated that the medication isn't doing what they want it to do and want your paed to hurry up and solve all their problems.

Because of the medication, and the CAF, it looks like they are trying to find someone to blame for his behaviours, rather than look to themselves to deal with them, and the support that they can pay for access.

You might want to do a lot of listening at the CAF and not so much talking/answering questions without a clear understanding of why they are being asked. You can say that you weren't expecting to be put on the spot like that and you'd like the questions in writing for you and your dh to fill in as you feel necessary in your own time. - perhaps?

Dinkysmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 23:28:55

That will be why they have done CAF, because of the CAMHS and pead, and because you are struggling too, which is ok.
Basically instead of having someone to talk to from each service, you will get a lead professional who you will go through and the services will go through. It also means you won't have to keep repeating stuff as they will all be able to share information with eachother making your life a little easier.
That's not to say it will actually work like that, but it is the general idea. I'm guessing those lead professional will be the woman who goes to your house.
(I'm starting to feel sorry for our lead professional, she is the deputy head, senco and lead professional for about 6 kids! My dd keeps her on her toes as she is also one of the only teachers who is trained in team teach!)

I hope it goes ok...

crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 23:35:33

oh god..its all so confusing!!
he school said they will ahve any help thats available!
my guess was that too that they dont have to pay for it then?!
ds meds are not right,they need upping!! he will be lot better then,but we want to go in gentle.
we are struggling,we just got the dx of aspergers..and it hit us hard,we are learning about it still and didnt realise he had sensory issues,its all new.and all abit much..time will get us there though,just like the adhd dx,when i first got that i didnt even hear of the word,
its a whole new different world.

crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 23:43:40

when i went to my pead last month and she gave us the dx of aspergers,she asked if we would like someone to come to our house to offer support and help with ds,we said yes...thats the lady whos been coming round,she asked if id like to set up a caf,si we could all sing from the same page.

I'm sorry if we're confusing you.

'Usually', a dx of both ASD and ADHD would be enough to get a statement. If you add the issues you have listed then I would say that you had a very good chance you will get one.

However, you have to get evidence of need, and the CAF might help with that, though it does depend on where the problems are recorded to stem from iyswim.

SO, you need to be sure to get a list of what the SCHOOL are struggling with. You can say that you need a written list to take to your paed if you want and be careful about how much you admit to them you are struggling with at home.

Sometimes behaviour at home can be a consequence of a child being misunderstood at school and letting off steam with the parents because he isn't so frightened and knows he has unconditional love iyswim.

crazygal Sat 09-Feb-13 23:58:01

Thank you star...
its just alot to take in!
but we will get there...a statement is what he needs,but ill hold back on saying that for now!
Good night all,
and thanks for all that info x
ill go through it again in the morn

I would apply for the statement myself and now www.ipsea.org.uk. Also such things can take six months to set up even if the LEA do agree so would not delay unduly.

CAF can be a lot of hot air all told.

HotheadPaisan Sun 10-Feb-13 09:05:37

Our CAF was useful in that it gave paeds info but it didn't really lead to a team approach. We got a statement with 25 hours support soon after though so the focus switched to working with his TAs.

I wish it had been the comprehensive approach it should have been but it wasn't. Why haven't school applied for a statement? Not that it matters, just interesting, there is plenty there suggesting he needs one.

I applied myself with school's support and eventually found my way to other services. It could have all been made much easier though.

crazygal Sun 10-Feb-13 10:09:54

yes our goal is a statement by the end of it all...
The reason he hasn't got one now,is because I don't have school support!
any time i've mentioned it,they then say,he's not that bad...he wont get one,we've children in the school alot worse
I think,they think he wont get full time,and they will end up funding it.
Im not sure,but is that right?

MareeyaDolores Sun 10-Feb-13 13:05:22

Sort of. It varies area to area at present.

In the mext year or two, the funding goes national:
£4k basic universal funding per child
additional 1p-£6k from school-controlled SEN money
and anything above that will be topped up by LEA.

So if a school gets lots of dc whose additional needs will cost £5,999 each to meet, they'll be totally mullered.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now