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Do parents/carers want this?

(26 Posts)
spannerw Thu 01-Sep-16 11:13:46

My first post-eek!
I have a background in Psychology, teaching and working as an Autism Outreach teacher. My passion lies in helping children overcome barriers to learning. My youngest has just started school, so I feel ready to start something new. My question is whether a service, offering parents assessment and advice/info to help their child overcome barriers to learning would be in demand? I wouldn't feel comfortable or adequately qualified to offer diagnosis. I see myself midway between teacher and Ed and Clinical Psy. Opinions and advice very much appreciated! Thanks!

PlanD Thu 01-Sep-16 11:27:08

Sounds similar to an OT really! Do you have qualifications in teaching and psychology?

MindSweeper Thu 01-Sep-16 11:38:54

I think it'd be an interesting role but are you qualified to see yourself as midway between those two points?

I'm wondering how realistically and logistically you would tie in really with current health services, I'm afraid you'd be advertising something you can't really deliver on.

plimsolls Thu 01-Sep-16 11:42:02

As an EP, I'd be very wary of a service like yours. No offence, but there's a reason we train for so long....

plimsolls Thu 01-Sep-16 11:42:49

Sorry to sound flippant- I'm typing on my phone while breastfeeding. I'll come back with more detailed thoughts later.....

insan1tyscartching Thu 01-Sep-16 11:45:20

Do you see yourself as working directly with the child or supporting the parents in accessing relevant and targeted support for their children's learning needs only I'm confused?
FWIW as a parent to two children with autism and statements I'd spend the money on independent ed psych assessments rather than fund someone like yourself, sorry.

MindSweeper Thu 01-Sep-16 11:52:29

I don't want to sound like a mean person but I think you'd be better concentrating your efforts into gaining qualifications (if you haven't already got them) to relevant roles that already exist and work within the dynamics of our NHS and services already available.

I just don't think you'd be taken seriously and may get a name for yourself as a 'quack' if you invent a job and role for yourself, one that can have a HUGE impact on a child and their treatment. You won't have the power to liaise with other HCP's, you wont be able to make referrals, and I'm not sure how you're going to go about assessing these children given it takes a lot of education and experience to assess them and even then it's difficult (from what I have heard anyway)

Could you give examples on exactly what child you expect to present to you, what barriers they have and how you would help them get over them? Just so we have an idea of what you wish to do

Didiusfalco Thu 01-Sep-16 11:57:57

Bluntly - you don't sound qualified to assess. I agree with the pp saying to enhance your experience to fit in with the current system.

VioletBam Thu 01-Sep-16 12:00:15

I think if you offered a more clear-cut service such as helping reluctant readers then you'd have more success.

sharkinthedark Thu 01-Sep-16 12:02:44

So you are a qualified teacher?
Are you qualified to assess for any specific difficulties?

Balletgirlmum Thu 01-Sep-16 12:06:44

I'll go against the grain a little here.

I've spent money on an independent EP assessment. He was brilliant but as we don't have a proper diagnoses dss school can't call on the Autusm Outreach services (waiting lists are horrendous a diagnoses can take years)

So yes I would pay for an AO type teacher to go into school to work with Ds & his teachers but my funds would be very limited.

insan1tyscartching Thu 01-Sep-16 12:28:36

Balletgirl my experience of autism outreach is that it is very much a cost cutting exercise for LA's rather than being of any real worth. AO is used when what is really needed is an Ed OT and a SALT because the service is cheaper. AO staff in our LA have teaching qualifications and then a one year post grad course in Autism (did an FOI request) but give OT advice that they are not qualified to give by having schools and home fill in questionnaires and I assume they give other advice that should have come after assessment by an ed psych or SALT.

plimsolls Thu 01-Sep-16 12:31:58

Also, in ballet's example, the assessment (and presumably recommendations) have already been done by a qualified professional, so the service required is for a practitioner to carry them out. I think that's more useful and possibly potentially less harmful than what is proposed by the OP. However, some schools may choose choose to fund that kind of support through their delegated budgets and may use a trained-up HLTA rather than an external person.

insan1tyscartching Thu 01-Sep-16 12:44:28

I can't imagine many schools would welcome an outsider going into school to advise and support tbh. I had to get HT permission to allow an independent ed psych into school to see dd for a one off assessment (for tribunal appeal) when she wasn't going to be giving advice or support in school but would be providing reports and a witness role at Tribunal. The school are in fact supportive of the appeal as well but think they have to toe the LA line.

MrsHulk Thu 01-Sep-16 13:01:24

Sorry, I wouldn't use that service. If you're not properly qualified and a part of the system then you won't be able to make referrals, or work with teachers in schools etc.

You'd be better off getting the actual qualifications.

Balletgirlmum Thu 01-Sep-16 13:45:22

It probsbly mSkes a difference that Ds school is independent & they need someone to train their teachers as such.

Dds school is independent but have a very experienced non timetabled senco on staff & the difference is astounding.

Tiggeryoubastard Thu 01-Sep-16 13:51:53

Sorry no. You sound like, to use a term from up thread, a quack. I can't imagine anyone will pay you to do whatever it is you do (still quite unclear about that). I make a gorgeous shepherds pie. Shall I open a top end restaurant? Only a child is far, far more important.

spannerw Mon 05-Sep-16 11:44:50

Sorry I haven't replied earlier...still learning about this board.

I appreciate all your comments. I am a trained teacher and head teacher (SQH) with a short time as HT and I have a MSc in leadership. I also have a certificate in SEN. Ultimately, I wanted to take the SEN/ASN element from my teaching job and work on my own. When I started out, I wanted to be an Ed Psy, but the role changed and involved less direct contact with the children and more meetings to discuss X.

The thought of being perceived as a "quack" is rather horrifying, but better to find out now. I have looked at uni courses, both independently and through the NHS. Unfortunately, these are not in my area and given my family set-up, I can't be away from home. If I had my time again, no children etc, I would go for a doctorate in clinical Psy and work with children. But that won't happen 😔 Back to the drawing board...

Thanks again.

plimsolls Mon 05-Sep-16 12:07:12

No time to fully reply but just to say you're a little mistaken about the changing role of Ed psych. Depends where you work. I have tons of direct contact with children, therapeutically. It's true also have meetings/consultations to discuss issues but that's because they're very effective! Importabt for all adults around the child to be "on same page" for want of a better word, not just an expert psych who comes in once a week.

So maybe investigate that as an option more fully.

But it is a doctorate now same as clinical so not sure if that rules it out for you?

Your experience etc is great but doesn't immediately transfer to being able to do what you outlined in your OP, I do think you'd need a fair amount of extra training and qualifications.

insan1tyscartching Mon 05-Sep-16 12:36:28

plimsolls sorry to jump at your reply but could I have advice about dd seeing the ed psych next week please? It has been ordered as a full reassessment after I appealed to Tribunal because of LA's refusal to amend her statement following Annual Review.Dd's statement is out of date and she has been unable to attend full time school for the last year because of lack of support.
Dd hasn't been seen by an ed psych since I secured her statement when she was three, she is now thirteen. Dd has autism and is academically able, she has some processing difficulties but her biggest problem is anxiety. She finds it very difficult to identify the cause of her anxiety and instead identifies anxiety as ill health.
She finds it difficult to speak especially to anyone she doesn't have a relationship with and sometimes because she doesn't like the look of a person or feels they are a threat to her well being. I envisage dd being so anxious at this meeting she won't be able to speak.
I wonder if you could perhaps tell me what this reassessment might look like so that I can prepare her somewhat in the hope that she is able to speak at least?

spannerw Mon 05-Sep-16 12:45:08

Thanks Plimsolls. I shadowed a number of Ed Psys prior to and after applying for training (made number 13 on the list of 12 places!) and spoke with them about what the role entailed. It seemed, from my experience, to be a mad dash from school meetings and they spoke about the changing role. I am in Scotland now, but originally from England (hence the teaching qualification for Ed Psy). You're quite right about being "on the same page" though. Ultimately, I feel 'stuck' and in a region with very limited training for anything I wish to pursue. Thanks again though. I really do appreciate this online 'conversation' that netmums provides 😊

plimsolls Mon 05-Sep-16 12:52:40

If i were the ed psych, it would be like this:

-I'd have met with key school staff and you, to get full background picture and views of key adults. As part of this, I should have found out about her anxiety (etc) which would allow me to prepare for it, maybe developing some appropriate ice breaking activities

- at least one observation of her in typical school situations. This would take the form of a "class observation" so that she wouldn't feel observed and her peers wouldn't know she was the focus. I would be looking for info about how she behaves and relates to others, what events/actions of others (teacher and peers) have particular effects on her, if any useful strategies are already being used, so on and so on.

Individual work-
Start very gently with explanation of who I am and what I do. This is modified to take account of child's age and understanding and any likely anxieties they may have about assessment etc. Talk about consent and confidentiality (usually b reassuring, let child know they don't have to do anything or they can just try things and then stop if they want....this is good for anxious children).

Ice breaking activities.... Like making an "all
About me" sheet, or drawing a picture or listing likes and dislikes. This helps put child st ease, feel important, and sometimes gives me useful info. I may ask questions about feelings about school, friendships, lessons at this point if child is happy to talk.

There may be a cognitive assessment. This is usually presented as a series of activities and puzzles during which she will be encouraged to try her best but not to worry about the items that are difficult- the assessment is designed to have parts which are difficult as we need to know "how far they can go" with a particular type of activity.

She should be reassured and encouraged throughout and she should be allowed to ask as many questions as she wants. She should get some explanations as to what each activity is for and how he information will help (explanations modified to her level).

It's a bit difficult to say exactly what she can expect from the assessment that is planned. You should feel absolutely entitled to get in contact with the EP beforehand to ask them to tell you so you can help prepare her. I'm a little surprised that they haven't contacted you already but different boroughs do things differently. No one will mind you asking at all and if you haven't had the opportunity to let them know about her anxieties (as described in your post) then feel free to tell them. It's all helpful info.

Don't forget, if she's too anxious to speak to the psychologist, that is important info in itself as it says a lot about her current levels of difficulty.

As an aside, I'm so glad for you that she's finally being re-assessed. Ten years is a long time.

Sorry if above reads badly or is slightly rushed- typing one handed whilst breastfeeding!

plimsolls Mon 05-Sep-16 12:55:47

Spanner.... You could look into some distance learning in Sen. There are a few places which do BPS accredited stuff for SEN testing and the like. Certificates of Competence etc. I hear good things about them from specialist assessors etc. This might be the kind of thing that interests you.

Shame those EPs you shadowed put you off. It's a fantastic job and I couldn't be happier with it.

situatedknowledge Mon 05-Sep-16 13:05:36

I'm not sure how permanent your move to Scotland is OP, but I think the qualifications etc are quite different in Scotland (MSc v's Phd). Is this a consideration?

insan1tyscartching Mon 05-Sep-16 13:18:54

plimsolls flowers I am seeing the ed psych beforehand but obviously won't be able to prepare dd as she will be seen afterwards. Dd is brilliant at masking her difficulties but it comes at a high price to her well being.
One thing that worries me is that ed psych will be told she is fine as I have been previously even when I have pointed out that she has been sent home bleeding again (she gouges her face) so obviously not fine when she is self harming in class unnoticed by the TA who is supposed to be supporting her.
I'm hoping the reassessment will enlighten the school more to her needs, because she is bright and well behaved then I don't feel that they see her as in need of good support tbh and the support she has currently is more because of a safe guarding fail and a breech of confidentiality which allowed me to intervene via the HT (to avoid formal complaints) rather than any understanding or desire to support dd in the ways she needs.

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