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Statement for poor pronunciation when starting school

(61 Posts)
saltstatement Wed 04-Dec-13 21:56:44

DD aged just 4 has very poor pronunciation due to some hearing loss when she learnt all her basic sounds incorrectly, including her vowels. She also speaks quickly, loudly and in lengthy sentences so she cannot be understood. I can understand a fair amount and other children seem to cope but many adults do not.

She is age appropriate or advanced in all other areas so there are no concerns regarding her vocabulary or understanding. She knows her number and letters. Her behaviour is fantastic, she is extremely capable and independent in her life skills and her social skills are very advanced. I felt I couldnt post on the SEN boards as her difficulties seem so mild.

Grommets have hopefully corrected her hearing now and she is in a specialist nursery where she receives daily speech therapy. They are recommending starting the statementing process now ready for her starting mainstream school next September as it is such a lengthy process. Legally she does not need to start until Jan 2015 and could stay at the specialist nursery but she is keen to start in Sept 2014 with all her friends and siblings.

I am looking for experiences from parents or teachers who have experience of similar situations. What we should aim for in the statement and what we can realistically expect? Also any experiences of parents perhaps paying for private speech therapists to come into school if necessary to enhance the support.

mrz Wed 04-Dec-13 21:59:42

IMHE it is unlikely you will get a statement for poor pronunciation as it is such a common problem.

RosesOnTheWane Wed 04-Dec-13 22:03:37

Statements are being phased out to be replaced by Education, Health and Care plans (supposedly from September 2014, but I'd be amazed if it is all ready by then...). I think it is very unlikely that you would get a statement for your daughter.
I would be looking for some very clear guidance from her current speech therapist about what she needs, and an IEP at the new school so that you can closely track progress.
All the very best.

RiversideMum Wed 04-Dec-13 22:05:36

Sorry, but I agree. The children who get statements have multiple and complex difficulties. And then they are rare as hen's teeth.

saltstatement Wed 04-Dec-13 22:25:21

The speech therapy team who work with DD daily only work with the children with the worst speech problems in our city and they prepare statements for any of them whom they feel still need the help once they leave the unit. They are all very experienced and am sure would not waste their time applying if they did not think it necessary.

I have no idea how common it is to not be able to be understood by age 4 but the fact that she received a highly sought after place in a specialist unit after 2 years of NHS speech therapy must mean they felt her problems were quite severe. The parents of a couple of children in the year above her at the unit received quite extensive statements and say their children don't have other difficulties but this is just what they have told me.

There was no discussion of their not applying for a statement for DD. The options given to us were staying on at nursery then doing statement later, going to a school with a specialist language unit for a couple of years or doing a statement now for mainstream school. Surely we should not be asking them not to apply as they are the experts?

lougle Wed 04-Dec-13 22:33:18

"I have no idea how common it is to not be able to be understood by age 4 but the fact that she received a highly sought after place in a specialist unit after 2 years of NHS speech therapy must mean they felt her problems were quite severe."

No, it means that your DD is seen as 'fixable'. Children who have more general issues with learning, who are also as unclear as your DD wouldn't be given a place in a SALT unit, because they can't be 'fixed' fast.

To go to a school with resourced provision (specialist language unit) she would need a statement. They can't accept her without. Them's the rules.

A statement is only necessary if your DD needs help above and beyond the resources usually found in schools. So, for example, a common ground for a statement is the need for 1:1 support for much or all of the day. For a cognitively able child with no issues other than articulation, that would be really quite stifling.

Does she use makaton?

saltstatement Thu 05-Dec-13 08:10:51

Yes I am well aware that children need to have a potentially fixable problem to be in the unit and no other issues. I meant her speech problem was severe compared to other children without problems not those with learning difficulties. I certainly expected it to be fixed before school. However the professionals obviously are not as hopeful.

I agree 1 to 1 might be stifiling if not handled correctly but it was explained to us that it might be necessary and that her learning would be affected by her speech.

No makaton - it has never been mentioned to us.

Am worrying that professionals may have other concerns about her to be proceeding with a statement as MN is so adamant that it is not the way to go. Surely we still follow their advice as they are not only the professionals but ones that I trust and have found excellent in the past?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 05-Dec-13 10:19:40

OP you should move this to the SN children board. Plenty of hens with full sets of nashers.

Ignore all advice from schools and LA that claims you will not get a statement.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 05-Dec-13 11:15:56

OP - I agree with you that your daughter's language therapists are the experts in your DD and her condition. If they think applying for a statement is the right thing for her then I think you should take your lead from them. If the statement is refused then you are in no worse a position than if you hadn't tried for it. I do think posters on the special needs board are more likely to have most experience of the type of situation you are in.

DeWe Thu 05-Dec-13 13:58:20

I doubt also you will get a statement. I suspect what they mean is an IEP: Individual Education plan.
Ds was similar to your daughter, although less extreme, and that is what he has. It states what provisions they will make for him. He has 1-2-1 sessions with a TA on pronunciation, and things like making sure he's near the front, checking he has heard instructions etc.
He's nowhere near even school Action (which is two below getting a statement.

One other child in dd's year was much worse pronunciation, hard to understand even by people that knew him well, I think he was on school action for a while, but he had other issues too.

It doesn't necessarily mean they think your dd has other issues, more perhap they haven't grasped the difference between a statement and an IEP-something a lot of people ime don't realise.
They may also previously had parents keen to apply for a statement, and assume you would (may not know whether it was successful) because some parents would like their child to have a statement because they want a particular school.
I know someone who was a SENCO in a good juniors that lead onto a failing secondary. She got frustrated with the number of parents that decided towards the end of year 5 that their dc needed a statement, with no previous history of SEN, they even had parents trying to get the children to play up in class to try and get one. hmm

saltstatement Thu 05-Dec-13 14:11:40

DeWe - This team of professionals really do know what they are talking about. They produce the statements for many children who come from a wide area around our county to this special unit. It is not the parents pushing for it.

We all fully understand the difference between IEPs and statements and it is nothing to do with places at mainstream schools as everyone I know in this situation has older siblings so would already be guaranteed a place in our area.

The team have recommended DDs first few years of schooling are in a specialist language unit out of area and she would need a statement if we chose that option. They are the ones who determine who is appropriate for these specialist units so they would not recommend it if she wasn't suitable. They are the ones asking us to visit and consider the special unit in school, we had certainly never mentioned it or considered it. I had hoped to have all my DC in the same school.

It can only thing that it must be very different in different parts of the country

mrz Thu 05-Dec-13 17:45:05

Sorry saltstatement but the law as it stands nationally states

In order for a child to receive a statement, they must first be assessed by the local authority where the family lives.

Both parents and the child’s school have a right to request an assessment of need.

The local authority has six weeks from receiving this request to decide whether to assess or not. If the local authority decides that an assessment is needed they should complete this within 10 weeks, and the following people should be asked for their opinion:

Educational psychologist
Social services (if involved)
Medical professionals.

You can also ask the local authority to contact other professionals who may be involved with the child, and the authority will decide whether it is necessary to do this.

Once the assessment has taken place your authority must decide whether to issue a statement. If they decide to issue a statement a copy should be sent out within two weeks.

lougle Thu 05-Dec-13 17:47:47

"The team have recommended DDs first few years of schooling are in a specialist language unit out of area and she would need a statement if we chose that option. "

Yes, in that situation, you would certainly need a statement.

hazeyjane Thu 05-Dec-13 19:38:32

Ds (3.6, starting school in Sept 2014) is severely delayed with speech and in other areas. We are applying for a statement at the moment. When we spoke to the advisory teacher about the best place for ds, she said we should look at schools with special language units or units for children with complex needs. Unfortunately the nearest special language unit was out of county and we were advised that it would be a battle to get him a place there, I was also concerned about the transport situation.

Having seen the struggle that a couple of friends have had recently trying to get statements for their children, I agree it may be difficult if your dd's problems aren't at the more severe end. However, it sounds as though she has got excellent SALT provision (ds's has been dire!) so if they think that a statement is the way forward then go for it!

saltstatement Thu 05-Dec-13 21:19:44

Thanks Mrz we are very well aware of the procedure and law even without the bold text. The unit our daughter attends collate all the reports from all the professionals you list and others and submit it all as a pack. They are very experienced at doing so which is perhaps why they are well respected in our county for getting the best results for children. This is also why they start the process now ready for September unlike elsewhere. This gives the new school time to plan for the child and to recruit and train the necessary support staff if required. Well this is how it worked in our school this September.

Sorry Hazey that you have not had great SALT experience, we are very aware that we have been extremely lucky. We have not been so lucky in our dealings with medical issues with the NHS in this part of the country.

Hazey dont rule out accepting transport in order to get the best help. DD has had transport provided to her specialist unit since age 3 and again the service has been fantastic, she loves her driver (a really bubbly female mum) and amazingly it is all free. We expected it to be means tested. I was really worried that she was too young and wouldnt be able to communicate with her driver and nearly didnt go ahead with it but they have a great time. Alternatively you could request to be paid the mileage to take your DC yourself if transport is not already running that route.

mrz Thu 05-Dec-13 21:26:33

As a SENCO with quite a few years experience I also collate all the reports from all the professionals (including those not on the list) and submit it for consideration but that doesn't mean that the LEA will agree to formal assessment or grant a statement. It is just one very small step in the process with no guarenteed outcome.

elliegoulding Thu 05-Dec-13 21:37:10

I would put money on you not getting a statement for your DD I'm afraid sad

saltstatement Thu 05-Dec-13 22:13:07

I didn't really come on MN to have bets!

I am struggling to understand why people are so negative. DD is receiving daily SALT in a specialist unit which includes both group work and daily individual work with speech therapists in addition to the support staff and she also receives free transport without our requesting any of it. I didn't ask for the place or for the transport - it was all offered!!! They must think she needs help.

If we are advised to try for a statement why would you recommend not doing so it seems a madness not to try just because it is not guaranteed outcome! Nothing is guaranteed and there could be cut backs between one year to the next even if those in the year above did receive it.

It is quite obvious from my opening post that I dont expect her to receive as much individual therapy as she does currently from actual speech therapists and that we expect it to be more LSA help. Hence my initial question in my OP as to whether anyone has paid themselves for SALT to go into school. We were thinking of getting a couple of hours of private speech therapy on top of whatever help she may get given when she leaves this unit. Has anyone done this in school time or only outside of school?

elliegoulding Thu 05-Dec-13 22:25:55

Sorry I didn't mean to be flippant blush Absolutely push for a statement/support, you never know.
I'm aware of children with desperately impaired speech who don't even receive basic support in kS1, even children with statements get very little in the way of SALT input. It probably varies from county to county so it may be different in your neck of the woods, good luck and in hindsight my last post was rude - sorry again.

sittingbythefairylights Thu 05-Dec-13 22:32:23

I have no detailed knowledge or experience but I do know of two children in our area who were in a similar position.

My friend's son is due to start reception next year, and currently has no speech (was physical problem, now fixed, and considered fixable).

Current plan is a Specialist unit in local town for infants, with a statement, and statement then to state child is moved to local primary in year 3.

I know of one older child who did exactly the same thing - specialist school for infants, then statement for primary in juniors.

both children are younger siblings, so would have a place in the primary anyway, but it was considered that their speech was so delayed that they were not ready for mainstream until year 3.

hazeyjane Thu 05-Dec-13 22:33:03

Thankyou saltstatement. The journey to the slu would be pretty long (an hour there and an hour back), and ds travels very badly! I have only just managed to leave ds at preschool for a 2 hour session without him becoming so hysterical that he passes out, so the idea of transport seemed a bit overwhelming. Unfortunately I don't drive and have 2 older children so the logistics are pretty tricky to work out!

It may be something that we have to consider when he gets to junior age, as the learning unit for complex needs that he is hopefully going to is only infants. Hopefully in a couple of years time he would be better able to cope with the journey.

Ds has no speech at all, but a great desire to communicate, so it is just working out the best way to facilitate that. At the moment we are just keeping everything crossed that a statement is agreed (we have been warned that this can be difficult without a confirmed diagnosis), because there is no way that ds could go to mainstream.

I'm afraid I don't know the specifics of what can be asked for on the statement (sn boards may be better for this), as we are trying to work this out ourselves at the moment. I do know of people who have private therapists supporting in the school though.

Good luck with it

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 06-Dec-13 09:31:25

salt - the reason posters are being so negative is because you have posted on the primary thread.

m/s teachers and sencos and others who have never been through the process have no experience of how things actually work.

DS1 has a statement and attends OOC ss. Unfortunately until you get to tribunal, schools and LAs flout the law. If you ask those in structural positions (m/s teachers, sencos, LA, even parent partnership) they will tell you that you will never get a statement. It is either suggested that the child is not bad enough or alternatively too bad. Nonsense. The truth is your child has a legal right to access education but you will need to fight and persevere.

Par for the course, 99% of parental applications are initially refused. School applications less so. Even the most obvious cases of need get an initial refusal. However, if you appeal straight away, the chances are that the LA will cave and agree to assess (cheap) rather than spend time and money attempting to go to court when they know they will lose.

The vast majority of appeals for refusal to assess that do go to tribunal lead to an order to assess.

Once assessment is done, over 97% of assessments lead to a statement. The statement is likely to be inadequate and so requires another appeal to tribunal to get the statement right. The weaker the LA case, the less likely they are to go all the way to tribunal.

In DS1's case the LA passed the case on to lawyers who insisted that he had assessments with SALT, comm paed and EP. They had issued a final statement without collecting this evidence and were only interested in doing assessment to help their legal case. Despite the fact that their own experts confirmed severity and persistence of need, the LA still went to tribunal - only to concede on the day before the expert witnesses had a chance to demolish their argument.

devilinside Fri 06-Dec-13 09:49:50

My son is 7, autistic, speech delay and unable to write, we have been rejected for assessment (we are fighting it, but that demonstrates just how difficult it is)

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 06-Dec-13 10:24:01

Devil - the NHS care pathway states that DC with ASD should have a statement. It's a deal changer. The LA know that. They are delaying to save the cost of immediate provision. angry

Don't give up smile

saltstatement Fri 06-Dec-13 11:51:51

Devil - I can only think that it must be very different in different areas of the country.

In our mainstream school there are children diagnosed with "some autistic traits" with full time 1 to 1 including lunchtime. They are not disruptive, the 1 to 1 is for the childs benefit to help social interaction. The statements were obtained without tribunal. One of the cases was given 25 hours before starting school but school increased it to full time almost immediately. Is your school supporting it?

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