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Meeting with LEA next week

(26 Posts)

Hi, I wondered whether any of you who have already been through this stage had any advice. We have had a proposed statetement from the LEA, and I have then submitted a detailed response to that, with the changes we want to see (essentially pinning them down re hours for the home VB programme, plus naming a particular, non-maintained ABA school for when he is ready to go to school).

We now have a meeting (requested by me) with the LEA next week. Any thoughts on how I should approach this? The caseworker who phoned me today said that the panel will me meeting this week to discuss the case and my proposed amendments to the statement, and then we will have the meeting next week to discuss what they said.

I've booked a call with IPSEA tomorrow, sure they will have something useful to add, but just wonderedvwhether anyone here had thoughts

Thanks so much!

zumbaleena Wed 20-Feb-13 00:02:48

Good luck dudes dummy....ESP after knowing how much stress you have been through and how absolutely helpful you have been to me despite all your stress.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 20-Feb-13 09:02:14

I think it is good that you will get to see the whites of their eyes, but difficult to know what they are up to - most likely to try and persuade you into cheaper provision, preempting mediation.

I found that what worked best fo me was to be very calm, polite , charming, yet also very determined about what I wanted. Also to stress that the ABA is a means to an end (mainstream, if possible). They hate home progs with no endpoint.

If you are not getting what you want, find a pleasant way to tell them you may (more in sorrow than in anger) need to take legal action.

And do try and compromise somewhere - it is just human nature that both sides need to feel they've won something.

I know that this approach doesn't work for all, but I find if you go in shouting the odds, it's also just human nature that they aren't then motivated to help you.

I always found that face to face meetings were good, as they enabled me to get two points across: I am not a mad person, this ABA really does work, and I really am not going to give up, and will give you a real headache-load of work if you don't give me what I want.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 20-Feb-13 09:19:58

By the way, I have a friend who has reaped huge benefits from getting one single line into her statement: "child needs 1-1 support"

Thanks for all that. Sounds like very good advice. I am used to working in legal settings (courts, tribunals, mediation etc) so hope I can manage the right presentation for this forum (although of course it is different when it is your own little one!). And I can certainly leave them in no doubt that I will be a major headache for them if I choose.

They have already put "intensive VB" into the proposed statement (and admitted that this is working), which would seem to be really good news (but no specification of what "intensive" actually means, so I am seeking clarification on that). We are calling it VB throughout not ABA, as that is what they seem to have agreed to, so they can't backtrack on that now!

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 20-Feb-13 11:11:30

I suppose it is possible, given that they are have put VB in the statement, that you may have a smooth ride. It does happen now and again, I've seen it!

That would be nice! I certainly have experience at work of thinking a court/ tribunal case is going to be very difficult/stressful etc, only for it to be a breeze with all parties agreeing (but also vice versa unfortunately!)

cjn27b Wed 20-Feb-13 12:42:01

Do you have any evidence that documents what 'intensive' means. For example, independent reports from Ed Psych, SALT or your VB team. If you can show that XX hours per day over XX days per week is what has enable XX progress to date that should help, and therefore you need to continue with this level of support. You may also need something (an assessment report) that gives hard evidence of where DS was at before you started VB, and then on that shows what he achieved over XX amount of time, to prove the progress.

Good luck.

I was planning to get all that together by the time of any possible tribunal (have indep EP report from some months ago, planning to get update to show improvement etc) but yes, amaybe I should put something together for this meeting to show improvement etc (although they don't dispute improvement). This is all very helpful, thanks.

I have booked one of those one hour helpline slots with IPSEA later today so will see what they say!

Hellenbach Wed 20-Feb-13 21:29:32

Unfortunately my experience of meeting with the LEA was one big fobbing off session.
We took the parent partnership rep with us, total waste of space.
I then had a further month of the LEA stringing us along about changes to the proposed statement and then they issued the final.
I immediately registered an appeal with the SENDIST tribunal.
Finally got the statement I wanted (1:1 full support) just recently.
Hoping you have a better experience!

That may well be what happens but we shall see.....

Oh dear, the meeting has left us rather stressed to say the least. We were told told that anything that happens at home (ie our home VB programme) woul not be included in the statement as it is not part of their remit. "We don't usually get involved in anything outside the school setting".

And they totally rejected our choice of (ABA-VB) school for when he is ready to go to school (Sept this year). Instead they offered 5 hours a week of one to one at nursery (he is on a 30 hour VB programme so you can imagine how we jumped for joy about that, not).

MareeyaDolores Fri 01-Mar-13 00:12:57

Document 'to clarify'. Then ask them to finalise, and get your paperwork ready for SEND ready to bung your appeal in the post (weighed and everything beforehand wink) on the day the final rubbish unmodifiesstatement comes.

Well we have been thinking hard about this and think we might ask for an extension rather than having the statement issued now. It is clear we are going to get next to nothing without going to tribunal, and the LEA have said they will not name any school yet but only in the next statement (he is only eligable for school in Sept). So we will end up going to tribunal to fight for the home programme but by the time the tribunal actually sits we will already be wanting somthing different our choice of school and starting to fight for that). We think we will wait for the assessment by our chosen school, and for the time to be close enough to Sept that the LEA will have to name a school, and then appeal against the statement at that time. It would have been nice to get some funding for the home programme in the interim, but it is clear that is not on the cards!

MareeyaDolores Fri 01-Mar-13 15:51:38

You know it takes 4-6m to actually get to tribunal, not including summer holidays?

MareeyaDolores Fri 01-Mar-13 16:00:51

And you are allowed to appeal up to 2 months after final statement issued. So far he has no statement, which presumably means he has no school place nor plans (cos you've missed the ordinary deadline for Reception admission, and in most places that means all the nearby mainstreams are full already).

So delaying the appeal until they name the planned September school will possibly mean you don't get your final statement till well after Easter (maybe even later than that... lots of areas now try and stretch it illegally to the term after the 5th birthday)

I think your LA is hoping that if the options they offer are rubbish enough, you'll just continue to offer high quality home education for most of the Reception year instead.

MareeyaDolores Fri 01-Mar-13 16:03:40

If you appeal against parts 2,3 and 4 in general terms, you can update the appeal and tighten up the specifics with your late evidence
Which goes in a month or two before the hearing.

We are indeed planning to continue to home educate unless/until we get the school we want (however long that takes, even if it is years), as we are not prepared to consider anything that is not ABA/VB based.

Yes I realise that it takes a long time to get the appeal process completed, that is exactly why we are thinking that it is pointless to launch an appeal now to try and get the home programme funded, when by the time we get to tribunal, much later in the year, we will be asking for something completely different, which is the correct school! They have made it clear there is no way they are going to fund the home programme anyway, by saying that they are not involved in anything that happens in the home but only in an educational setting.

MareeyaDolores Sat 02-Mar-13 16:37:01

I've not explained v well.

What you appeal for now is:
ASD specific
full time
specialised education
VB type
location suitable for child's age and development

Of course the LA say "no they dont do home stuff" (an untruth, they will almost certainly have Portage for under 5s and home tuition for unwell children and 'difficult' or pregnant teenagers)

The 'intensive VB programme' line in your proposed statement will be taken out of the final draft at the last minute, and you'll get the usual mailmerged word document (the standard child-with-SEN 'access to the national curriculum, support available within the setting' drivel.

MareeyaDolores Sat 02-Mar-13 16:37:58

And they're totally happy for you to home educate forever

Oh yes we will be appealing for exactly that wrt schooling, quite so. It is just that they are saying that if they produce a statement now (deadline mid-March) it will not have any school in it at all as it is not time for that yet (he is not yet four). They say they will only consider/include school in the next, statement in 6 months time. (They have already however said that they will not be agreeing to our choice of (ABA-VB) school, so we know we will have a fight at that time!)

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 02-Mar-13 17:31:03

Did you throw any legal words or mention of an advocate into the meeting?

We told them straight that we would appeal to Tribunal if we did not agree with the statement!

beautifulgirls Sun 03-Mar-13 08:46:17

With our statement DD had to change from an Infant to a Junior school after 4 month from issue. Her statement said "x infant school and then from Setember 2012 y Junior School." Your LA should name a school now and put it on for September as places should be allocated. Either way, you can change your appeal as time goes on. Finalise and lodge the appeal. We changed from appealing only parts 2 & 3 to appealing the placement too. We made the request to change placement after final evidence submission date and it was accepted no problem.

I really do appreciate the replies, thanks everyone. Beautifulgirls, they are refusing to name a school now (at least that's what they said at the meeting, but obviously I have not seen the final statement!). So we don't even know what school they woul be naming )(just that it will not be the one we want).

Thinking about it now (and chewing it over with DH), I think maybe we will just let them go ahead and finalise, knowing that we will be moving forward to an appeal whatever.

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