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Should I have waited to apply for statement? DS due to start preschool in Sept(28 Posts)
I sent off a request for a statement last week. DS is 3 and is due to start preschool in September. I self referred to the Educational Psychologist who rang me today to say I had prematurely applied for a statement and that they would turn me down (I know they will, they always do dont they?) and that it is pointless applying for a statement at this age unless DS needs to go into a special school.
Im doubting myself now.
I dont currently have a lot of evidence but thats becuase they are making us wait a year for assessment. Thats not an acceptable reason is it? Dont they have a duty to gather evidence?
I need to apply for a school place for DS by January which is why I applied now. Ed Psych said it was pointless getting a statement in time for that unless DS needed a place in a special school.
In my opinion, if you believe your son needs a statement you should pursue it. That is the first and foremost thing to keep in mind: You know your child best and are his best advocate.
Having said that, a lack of 'evidence' is often a reason (genuine and otherwise) used by LEAs for refusing a statement. You also have to leap the first hurdle, which is getting them to agree to statutory assessment in the first place (which I presume is what you have applied for?), and this is often turned down initially, too, although you can (and should) appeal if it is.
My honest opinion is that your advice plus a private Ed Psych's advice may well be deemed insufficient. LEA's are notoriously sniffy about private reports (although they really shouldn't be discounted, they often are) and most will be loathe to make any decisions on the advice of a parent.
I also wouldn't rely on the LEA to gather sufficient evidence during statutory assessment without prompting/pushing from you. If they think they can get away without the cost involved in a statement, they simply won't bother to gather the breadth and depth of evidence to make a good case. Sad but mostly true.
I know this sounds really cynical, but this has been my experience and the experience of most people I know.
The good news is that you don't have to accept things lying down. You can start pushing for referrals to the experts that might be able to offer evidence and advice now - you don't have to wait for the pre-school or LEA to do it.
Do you mind me asking what your child's needs are? I might be able to give you better advice then.
All the best.
p.s. the Ed Psych is talking rubbish re: the special school thing. Maybe what she means is that your local authority doesn't usually give statements to children that young unless they have very severe SN that obviously require a special school placement. This is NOT, imo, reason to tell you you are 'wasting your time'. In my experience, nothing (and I mean NOTHING) in this process comes without a tremendous fight and a dogged determination not to take 'NO' for an answer. You will be told they 'ca't possibly do this' and that you 'can't possibly expect that' a lot, I am certain of it. Don't accept it.
Apply now whilst THEY don't have any evidence. Then all your evidence is what counts. Refer to the under 5s NC and yourself as his primary educator. Refer to yourself as being unable to meet his educational needs with your own resources and needing outside specialist agency input. Once you are in the system there will be more hoops to jump through than if you do it now!
We think DS has Atypical autism and pathological demand avoidance syndrome. We saw an nhs paed who was close to diagnosing autism but thought we should go to the assessment unit. Cue 9 month waiting list (we still dont have a confirmed date and looks like being even longer than first promised.) We have seen a private psych who diagnosed childhood anxiety but now says unhelpfully that this was a working diagnosis. We have also had CAMHS mental health for over a year who also unhelpfully said DS is normal (or to quote her "a busy boy") so they do have some evidence and it isnt helpful. We can and will go back to private psych and ask for reassessment now he is three and also ask for referrals on to other specialists.
All too much to think about.
And im doing the DLA form
Also unhelpfully we have started settling in sessions at preschool so I am guessing they are entitled to give an opinion now. Not formally on school books yet, and the SEN teacher so far hasnt turned up to any of the session with DS.
The EP is spinning you a line. Loads of kids (on this board) have statements before they start school.
Don't fall for it. Now is a good time to apply for a statement.
Have you been in touch with parent partnership? They vary county to county but some of them are very helpful.
I applied for a statement before ds was 3, and got one shortly after. He has HFA
Mind you, the whole world and their programmers told me it was far too early and he wouldn't get one as apparently he was already getting everything. They also banged on about how much more severe children didn't have statements.
Press on. We got told the same, request premature - what they mean is you have to have evidence of failure at action+ for 6-12 months before they will consider assessing. Which is in effect a blanket policy. We got told the same thing - have to do the graduated approach - drip in support see how he responds etc etc let the nursery collect evidence. We got refused, appealed and they backed down as soon as SEND registered the appeal because to get an assessment you only have to show probably has SEN that need a statement - also they need evidence to show tribunal he def does not need a SA. Given the admin cost to them of going to tribunal they usually just do the assessment than risk turning up and arguing a child does not need SA on whom they have no evidence.
Not having evidence is a reason to do an assessment anyway to satisfy themselves his needs are being met without a statement. Look at IPSEA refusal to assess pack to prepare your arguments - download it on IPSEA website
You don't have to go the graduated approach (Action - action+ - statement route) for young children you can argue severe and complex needs and only a need for one overarching report. You need to find the bit in COP which says young children with severe and complex needs can get SA without having to exhaust the graduated approach. Of course you then get into an argument about what is severe and complex - which is not defined anywhere! The LA told us it meant you had to have a feeding tube (seriously!) which DS did not he 'only had autism so you should expect him to have no speech or social skills' - that did not constitute a significant disability apparently. They also told us he would not get a place at the special school nursery as 'he was not that severe' and basically scaremongered us telling us the kids in the MLD school were virtual vegetables ( nice people we were dealing with).
So it was very funny when we got LA EP assessment as part of SA and he said DS (typical ASD) was 'severe and complex' (Ha!) and that he needed 'daily specialist teaching' (ha ha). DS had not exhausted action plus by this stage, in fact his 1:1 in mainstream had not even started as he was not yet 3. The graduated approach is not designed to force children to fail when they can be placed in more appropriate provision. Of course the LA had drawn their line in the sand by this point and refused to follow the EP advice so it took another year to get to tribunal (during which DS had fulltime 1:1 TA in mainstream and learnt nothing) until we got the daily specialist teaching
So just ignore them. Assume it will be refused and appeal. Even if it goes to tribunal that will be months after you submit the appeal and you will have loads of evidence by then. When you submit the appeal ask for a direction that it be expedited because you need the SA to be completed by Jan / time is of the essence as young child etc etc
The truth is you just need one report to get a statement for a young child and that could be by the EP who just rang you. If that EP saw your child and did a report that would be all that was needed.
We applied for statement at 2.7, got refused at 2.9, appealed and they backed down at 2.10. SA completed and statement issued 3.2. Appealed that for an appropriate statement and got to tribunal at 3.11. So as you can see you can't afford to lose an extra 6 months.
Also if you get a statement you will not go through the usual school admission process so if you get a statement after Jan you can still name any school even if they are full as statemented children are not part of usual admissions.
You are keeping a diary of when the SEN teacher fails to turn up I hope? Write down everything. Who comes, when, how long they stay, what they do, whether effective etc
Many LAs will only do something when they have a tribunal deadline, they are highly unlikely to take you to a tribunal without an EP seeing your child - who would they take as a witness???
How does this EP know if your child needs a special school place or not when they have not seen your child? What a stupid argument. They would have a hard time arguing PDA is within the expertise of a typical pre school care assistant and can be met from the usual resources of a pre school
Right, im just starting my appeal for refusal to assess. Who do I put down as witnesses as evidence. Its taken me months to keep coming back to this thread and try to digest the information and I still feel like im drowning.
Can I list the EP who hasnt yet seen DS as my witness?
Who can be witnesses? Do I need one for myself?
Thank you so much to all those who replied to this ages ago. I got so frozen with the level of complexity of it that I didnt even manage to reply.
Official reports I do have:
1. Paed report which says DS has complex needs and is being referred to assessement centre.
2. Private report with working diagnosis of generalised anxiety of childhood (piffle piffle piffle pointless crap)
Seeing NHS SALT in a few weeks. No app for Ed Psych. Has childminder 1 day a week.
Just an update on this. I put in an appeal for refusal to assess. Filled in all the tribunal forms. I have just had a call to say they will now assess DS! All against the odds but I'm very pleased. Noone can say I haven't tried!
Well done Smug FWIW both ds and dd were assessed for statements before they had set foot in any educational establishment and both started nursery with full statements in place.
Ds would have pretty quickly got a statement because he was unmanageable to be fair but dd would never have got one as she is bright, sociable, well behaved etc etc. As it is the school can't believe their luck because it's unlikely she would have even made it onto the school action radar had she entered school without one.
Well done, smug! Don't let the bastards grind you down. Now to keep Hop, Skip and Jump from changing....
Smug Great news
That's Lesson Number 1 - never believe a thing the LA or anyone who works for them tells you.
Smug - I have just seen this (I'm normally Mouseface) and would like to thank you!
Nemo (DS) is waiting for his next assessment at the CDC near us (Child Development Centre) to see what we need to do before he starts Nursery next Sept.
Currently, I go with him for two hours a week as his carer as the school are unable to provide suitable care without a statement in place.
I have been advised to start the statement process as soon as possible which is what I plan to do at this meeting, hopefully some time soon, but I was a bit 'should I wait another six months until nearer the time' for a while.
Now I can see from what you have gone through that the sooner you start to fight the battle, the better!
So, thank you for your thread and good luck xx
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Thanks all. I had another longer thread about it where I think a lot of comments said I wouldn't get very far. I'm so pleased we did. I certainly didn't manage to put in a very good letter from a legal point of view. I went on the point made earlier in this thread that they wouldn't go to a tribunal without evidence so unless they made some sort of assessment they would have to back down. Either way DS would be assessed. It worked!
Wahay! We can help each other through the process! I'm sure they will play silly bugger. And we will need to work out how to put together our parent info. Congratulations Leonie!!
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