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Tribunal date through, advice needed......

(19 Posts)
nickminiink Fri 17-Jun-11 13:39:44

Hi, my 10 year old son was refused SA on the grounds he is not behind further enough in all areas, even though in areas of Auditory Memory / working memory, recalling spoken sentences he is 2nd percentile age of 4-5 years old, in majority of areas he is 7-8 years old. Anyway I appealed and now I have my Tribunal date through 28/11/2011. It is not until now that the reality of what I am doing has hit me and now I have to prepare for the tribunal, even though it is 5 months away. The letter discusses witness's, I have no idea who to take other than just me and my partner. My son's SLT /SENCO feel he is making adequate progress and agree with the LEA, we have just again referred my son to our local paed for possible APD and the EP for possible Dyslexia, these appointments are prior to the tribunal. So I am hoping there will be new evidence I can refer to but I am nervous, becuase I am going on my gut instinct and the need to fight the system so my son gets the education and help he deserves. He clearly is struggling and homework is a night mare in our house, especially literacy where he struggles to write fluent sentences and even understand what he is being asked of in the work he brings home. How can the school say he is making progress, when I spend hours going over and over his homework to the point I have almost done it for him. I meet with SENCO regularly, well when she can see me and I discuss my concerns, but they think my stress and anxiety is not helping my son's learning capabilities as he probably picking up on it. I tell her I keep it way from him and yes on occassions my frustrations do come out but don't every parent do this, it's hard to spend 4 hours doing homework and not getting alittle frustrated, expalining the same thing over and over again as he just doesn't get it. Anyway any advice would be appreciated as I feel it will be just me going to the tribunal trying to get them to listen my son does have difficulites that require a full assessment and the correct provisions put in place.

sugarcandyminx Fri 17-Jun-11 17:04:54

It is very common for parental requests for SA to be turned down so don't feel you are alone. In fact, I think the majority of requests are refused but then most tribunal appeals for SA come out in favour of the parents, so it's clear that LAs use it as a delay tactic and to put off all but the most determined parents.

I made a parental request for SA and was turned down, but my LA agreed during the appeal process, before it reached the hearing date. This is also quite common - as the LA recognises that there is so much evidence that they are likely to lose at tribunal anyway.

As a first step, have you visited the IPSEA website? They have a refusal to assess pack which will help you prepare your evidence. They also have a tribunal helpline which can help you with your case (it is a different phone number from the general SEN helpline, which is often difficult to reach). SOS SEN are another charity which can help with advice and also run workshops which I highly recommend.

You will need evidence and most of that needs to be in written form. You may have to think about paying for independent evidence, from a private Ed Psych, but it depends on what reports you already have and how much other professionals are supporting you. SOS SEN will be able to give more detailed advice about that.

unpa1dcar3r Fri 17-Jun-11 18:41:23

The thing which jumped out at me was the bit about him not 'getting' his homework; he might learn differently to the 'norm' and what everyone expects them to do...
My older boy when he 1st went to school, the teachers complained all he did was lie on the floor pushing lorries around and wouldnt join in with sums/colours and so on.
I siggested they use the lorries to work with him, e/g how many lorries, what colours, can we build a bridge worked! Although they never admitted it of course but suddenly he went from being a complete lunatic not wanting to go to school crying and screaming to one who went quite happily on the bus!

mariamagdalena Sat 18-Jun-11 23:44:43

Have a look at [[ this book]

pinkorkid Sun 19-Jun-11 14:02:38

It's fine to tell sendist that you anticipate receiving relevant evidence from x sources before the tribunal date but that they will not necessarily be available by the normal cut-off date for submission. They are normally quite prepared to accept late evidence if there is a good reason for it being late and it is pertinent to the case. It is only if the evidence has been available before the standard submission deadline and either party hasn't submitted it due to oversight or an attempt to hold out on the other party that they are likely to reject it. You do need to make sure that any evidence you plan to submit is copied to the lea at the same time as you submit to sendist to give them a chance to consider it.

Re struggles with homework, would it me worth hiring an independent tutor or, if too expensive, asking a trusted fellow parent to record the difficulties they witness?

nickminiink Mon 20-Jun-11 12:57:00

Thanks everyone for your replies, very much appreciated.
Sugarcandyminx : Lets hope the LA agree to SA before the hearing date. Thanks for your advice I will check out those websites

unpa1dcar3r : One of his difficulties is poor working memory so forgets / can't recall everything he is taught, the teachers have been given different teaching methods to help my son such as a word book to help him recall instructions, words etc and colourful semantics. The problem I have when I ask my son about this he says he there is no book and the other methods are not being used. I of course challenge this which I am told this is happening, other than sit in the classroom myself who do I believe. We have no SLT covering our district due to current cutbacks which is under review, so there is no one else to query this with as SENCO say they are doing what has been recommended, but he is still way behind, hence the SA as the SLT is the only provision on SA+ but there is currently no SLT and the LEA state my son will progress under the SLT guidelines, yeah right when there isn't one.

pinkorkid : Thanks for your comments, currently my son attends a private SENCO every monday after school for 2 hours, we also hire a private SENCO teacher for an hour every other friday. This is all we can afford it seems nothing is working ( I say nothing of course there is progress in certain areas like numeracy but he struggles big time with literacy), hence why I want the SA I am sure the proffessionals are missing something. Like I said we do have the EP and local paed appointments in the next 2-3 weeks so I am hoping we get some of the answers / evidence for the hearing I can use. We did hire a private SLT in Feb who did a CELF 4 test and it was becuase of this report I took up the fight for SA due to his poor percentiles which I really wasn't made aware by his government paid SLT who had been seeing my soon since 3 years old, so I am angry with myself for not doing anything sooner. With regards witness's I think your advice is good regarding trusted fellow parents or friends.

Thanks again

KATTT Mon 20-Jun-11 18:03:21

Just on the homework thing.

If he's anything like my child, school is much harder and more tiring for him. Do 20 minutes only - you'll save both your sanities, I feel really guilty about the 'you'll sit there 'till you've done it' approach I took in the past.

nickminiink Tue 21-Jun-11 12:42:25

KATTT - School is definetely much harder and tiring for him and I feel bad sending him to further work with the monday class after school. I've done that approach as well and it just ends in a meltdown and alot of frustration from me. So I agree with the 20min rule and alot of praise :0)

KATTT Tue 21-Jun-11 20:10:29

I might have missed it - but is your EP appointment with a LA EP or a private one? The LA EP will just spend the time trying to convince you and then find evidence that child doesn't need Statement. They will be gathering evidence to use against you in tribunal.

nickminiink Wed 22-Jun-11 13:04:19

The EP appointment was today with a LA EP, she was there to test for Dyslexia which was highlighted on my private SLT's report. I have just come out of the meeting and there is no evidence he has Dyslexia based on the tests she carried out.

meagle Wed 22-Jun-11 16:04:10

Hi, this situation will only get worse when your son gets to secondary, where several pieces of homework are expected per night in some case. This was a nightmare for us and DS, as he was not statemented and coped at primary, where he had some support and no homework was required.
We too were turned down by LEA for assessment but now, 3 months before tribunal, they have suddenly agreed to assess. What helped us, I think, was an independent EP report which picked up so much. It cost £500 but was worth every penny (when everyone tells you your child isn't that bad, you start to doubt yourself - the EP report was a vindication).
I also went through the special needs COP, and quoted sections and parts of sections on evidence of attainment, behaviour, emotional and social development, that showed he needed assessment. I also had evidence he'd made no academic progress in one subject (Maths), from year 6 at primary to year 8 in secondary.
I also saw a fantastic woman in Parent Partnership, who gave me moral support and checked over my letter to the Tribunal. I know some people say PP is compromised by loyalty to the LEA, but this was not the case for me.
Good luck!

KATTT Wed 22-Jun-11 17:22:38


She would say that though wouldn't she. Her job (whether they admit it or not) is to say there's no problem, so no 'need', so no money needs to be spent.

A private EP's report is the only way to counter it.

nickminiink Thu 23-Jun-11 13:05:23

Thanks Meagle and KATTT for your comments. My head is all over the place at the moment as my son is making progress in his reading and spelling he went from 6yrs 4mths to now 8 yrs 4mths within a year, I am being told my son's progress is slow but now he making some good gains, his Maths is average well non written math questions, but he is suffering with poor working memory which is affecting his literacy big time as he struggles with writing sentences, let alone getting them to make sense and he struggles with instructions, hampered by his Speech difficultuies. I am told yesterday he does not have Dyslexia, 2 years ago our local paed ruled out any thing medically wrong with him which is causing his difficulties, but is now being tested again. With all of this why he is still so far behind with his working memory, recalling sentences etc. All I want is an assessment so they can help me in the areas he is behind in. You are right the only way forward is a private EP's report, just like I paid for the private SLT, the problem is we already pay for additional tutoring by independent SENCO and he attends a SENCO based class after school on mondays privately paid for, our finances are so stretched I don't know how we can afford £500 plus, when the findings could be as I am being told today, just don't have the money to "waste", I have teachers, SENCO, EP'S telling me my son has made progress, I feel I am going to look like an over protecting parent when it comes to the tribunal. He's 10 and I worry when he starts secondary school especially with the level of homework. This is so stressful, thanks again.

KATTT Thu 23-Jun-11 14:36:44

You know best; schools, Sencos and LA will try to minimise the problem, but you know your child and know really where they're really at.

For what it's worth my child scored average in school tests at 7, that gave me a false sense of hope. When I finally got to an independent EP at age 10 - she told me what I knew already. My child had a reading age of a five year old. I had been fobbed off and wasted 3 years.

nickminiink Thu 23-Jun-11 23:44:18

Thanks KATTT, thing is I do know best, I know there is a problem but its diagnosing that problem and getting the right help I am struggling with. I have an appointment with an independent EP tomorrow to discuss my son so see where we go from there.
I hope you don't mind me asking but what reading age were the school telling you before you went to the ind EP, do you have statement in place now.
Thanks again for your comments I do appreciate what you have to say.

KATTT Fri 24-Jun-11 13:33:25

The school didn't really do reading age, that comes with standardised tests - they just kept telling me she was 'within normal range'. And she scored 2B on her SATS at the end of year 2 - this is obviously a lie and it makes me really angry that teachers will up the grades of children and hide problems like this.

We do have a statement for her now.

talbotpearson Fri 24-Jun-11 16:04:49

Oh I understand the frustration as my daughter was not diagnosed with asd until she turned 10 and she is now 11 and I had to fight the too!

Someone I found useful was my local councillor as he was aware of my plight and looked after those in the area with special needs, basically what it comes down to is that the parents have to fight for all the needs of their child.

Oh4godsake1 Sat 25-Jun-11 16:06:55

Hello sorry to butt in, I've been reading your thread. and I notice KATTT that you have a statement now. I am due to go to tribunal over refusal to assess for my daughter who is 10 but already have a statement for my son who is profoundly Dyslexic at age 7. please could you tell me how you are getting on, were you able to inisist that the 1-1 was provided by a qualified SpLD teacher or TA with experience or better still a qualification for dyslexia. I know we are lucky to get this statement but are yet to find a school, his current one say hes too bad for them and they do not have qualified TA to assisit him. Are you in a special school or a maintained or even independant one?

tiredoffightingwithjelly Sat 25-Jun-11 17:36:43

nickminiink, I don't know enough about your situation but just wanted to let you know that the dyslexia institute do clinical psychology reports and I don't remember them being as expensive as £500, so may be worth a try.

My ds's school told me he didn't have dyslexia and it was only on accessing his file that I found they (school) had assessed him, found him to be at risk of dyslexia and then done nothing further. I took him to the dyslexia institute and found he was severely dyslexic and was significantly underacheiving as his needs weren't being met.

It is all extremely stressful but I can only say that in my case I wish I hadn't listened to them and hadn't waited so long to get him assessed (he was 13 so it was too late to make up for all that he had missed).

Good luck

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