What should I do if I'm not satisfied with my child's draft statement?
"This statement is vague, does not reflect my child's needs and in some places is just plain wrong," one mum says.
Your local authority cannot provide every child with fantastic one-to-one care and so the first draft statement may err on the conservative side in terms of recommending specialist help. However, it's obviously crucial to make sure the draft statement is accurate, as it's the starting-point for ensuring that your child is will have their needs met.
The first thing is to notify them in writing within 15 days that you disagree with the proposed statement and wish to meet them.
Then it's a matter of you submitting your amendments to the local authority - probably a total rewrite. The local authority will only include 'facts' ie whatever you want to be added has to be stated by the professionals in one of the appendices.
Concentrate on part 2 - the description of the difficulties and ensure the diagnosis is included in this part. Then write your own part 3 stating what he/she will need to overcome the difficulties in part 2.
Be specific and quantify the support you require. No harm in starting optimistically, as they will be bound to try to knock that back. Then tell them what you want to see as his named school in part 4.
The next step is to seek out advice from people who are experienced in dealing with draft statements and are familiar with the process.
One mum recommends: "You really need advice from Independent Panel for Special Education Advice, SOS:SEN or even a legal firm."
Be sure to read through the draft statement and, for each area that you are dissatisfied with, seek professional opinions which demonstrate why the suggested provision is inadequate, section by section.
"If you disagree with the quantity of speech and language therapy (SaLT), for example, one way to get it increased is to have an independent SaLT report and have this written in," one mum says.
Prepare yourself for the long haul and for a lot of work. Make sure you keep copies of everything – now is the time to finely hone your filing skills because you could end up with a lot of drafts flying around.
As one mum says: "You might not 'win', but going through the process of revisions will result in significantly better provision for your child than is currently being offered."
So don't lose heart – keep battling for your child and be assured that you are doing the right thing. And avail yourself of the collective wisdom on the Special needs: education Talk board.
- Who do I go to next if my GP says nothing is wrong with my child?
- How can I get my family to accept my child's diagnosis?
- What's my next step if the nursery thinks my child may have ASD?
- How do I get a proper assessment if I'm worried my child is struggling at school?
- What should I expect at the first appointment with an educational psychologist?
- Back to Special needs homepage