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Statutory Assessment Procedure - Ed Psych sees hardly anything wrong in DS

(51 Posts)
Soutty Wed 24-Oct-12 04:17:16

Hi all

Having a bit of a panic, hence posting at 4am...

I'm going through the statutory assessment procedure with my DS atm, he has just turned 5 and started school in September. He has been diagnosed with ASD by Daphne Keen, plus a severe language disorder by a well respected private SALT, plus sensory processing disorder by a well respected OT. It took about a year and cost thousands of pounds to get him assessed by these people, get their reports and apply for a statutory assessment on the back of them.

During the first few weeks of school DS had a lot of meltdowns and hit out a lot at other children and staff. This has now settled right down, however school think he needs 1-1 25 hours a week plus speech therapy. The Ed Psych went in to school on Monday, observed DS for less than an hour and spoke to the school and then phoned me this morning to discuss her findings.

The first thing she said was that from the reports she'd seen she was expecting a classically autistic child - none of the reports say that. She went on about how he didn't even stand out at first, how she can't believe he has a language disorder because she saw him process complex instructions and answer appropriately - I could go on but you ge the picture.

She asked what I wanted for him. I said 25 hours a week 1-1 and - here she drew a sharp breath and told me that just because he was having a statutory assessment doesn't mean he will get a statement.

The mainstream school he is at now is my closest school and it has an outstanding ofsted and has had the same head for yonks. The parents are very involved. DS's sister is in year 2 there, is very happy and as she and DS are close it makes him feel secure to know she is there. They play together at lunch time sometimes. Ed Psych wants me to move DS from this school where he is just starting to settle and send him to a shit school with an ASD unit attached. This school is consistently Grade 3, heads change every 6 months, it has a reputation for being rough - I do not want DS to go there. Ed Psych was going on about how wonderful it would be for him because the staff are all trained. I know where this is going - it would cost the LA nothing if he went there.

How influential is the Ed Psych when it comes to getting a statement? TBH, she didn't sound all that bright/experienced to me, eg she thought it was "amazing" that he carry on doing phonics at choosing time instead of play like the other children and said she's never known a child with ASD to do that? Letters and numbers are part of DS's obsessions and from what I've read this isn't exactly uncommon...

ArthurPewty Wed 24-Oct-12 08:38:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 24-Oct-12 08:45:47

Soutty, EP is just trying to lower your expectations for provision.

Have you got what the school think he needs in writing?

At some point you will probably have to find the money for an independent EP but it is a bit too soon ATM.

Dev9aug Wed 24-Oct-12 08:53:42

So from" oh he doesn't even stand out" " I can't believe he has a severe language disorder" she went to "but he will benefit from a different school with an ASD unit" in the same phone call. Yup we had one of them as well. Bloody cheek of it. I wonder if they also get trained in blatant hypocrisy as part of their induction.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 24-Oct-12 08:58:29

Where in the country are you?

ilikemysleep Wed 24-Oct-12 10:19:26

I am an EP. I come to these boards because I have a son with autism.

Now I don't know what your EP saw but I'm guessing she didn't see anything that would make it easy to make a case for 25 hours a week one to one. Maybe she thinks it would be more likely that she could make a case for the specialist provision on account of his multiple diagnoses and she is trying to make a case to the LA to get your son some sort of support. EPs don't meet needs, that is the local authority's or school's job. However we often find ourselves in the unfortunate position of being the interface between the school, the parent and the LA. We describe a child's needs as we find them and the school or LA makes provision for those described needs. We know where the local authority boundaries are for support, though we don't set them. So we often find ourselves in the unpleasant position of being the one who has to manage a parent's (or a school's) expectations. I'm always delighted when I work with a child and there is a clear case for funding, because it means everyone will be happy and I will be the good guy. I don't like it when a child falls outside LA boundaries, for example a child's IQ is at 75, bottom end of 'no support' rather than 68, higher end of 'support'. But I can't personally do anything about it, and it doesn't mean I am saying nothing is wrong because I want to deny funds, or that I am being hypocritical or unethical.

I went to see a child with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy affecting the legs only in a school nursery before the Summer holidays. The child was integrated well, he was moving unsupported around the room and moving from sitting on the carpet to getting up to running with no problems. He was playing well at the different bases, spending about 20 mins at each one and interacting well with the other children, and engaged in productive activity at each one. Thinking I must be mad I rang his physiotherapist who said that he was very functional and that if he has CP, it is very mild in her opinion. He isn't toilet trained. That mother wanted full time support. I don't actually mind at all if her son has full time support, I don't have a vested interest in whether she gets it or not. But what can I do? Lie and invent a whole host of problems I didn't see? Yes he needs private changing facilities and when the time comes he will need a toiletting programme. But that should be found from school budget. They can ask the local authority for the money if they like, I don't mind...but I know the local authority won't give them it.

I left that school with the mother angry with me and the teacher for September angry because she'll have to use some of the class TA time to change him if he wets or soils during school hours. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that mother is venting on a forum somewhere that I have blocked her child from getting the support he needs. I didn't though...I can only report what I saw and what I am told. I even did a cognitive assessment to see if he had any learning difficulties we could base a case on. He came out low average. If I wrote a report saying 'This child operates very well in his setting and is of low average intelligence, he needs full time support', how would that be right?

What I actually did is write a report with some suggestions for his teachers and saying that I would be happy to reassess in future if that would be helpful. What else can I do?

In terms of how influential we are about whether a child gets a statement - we are part of a jigsaw but that decision is usually made by a panel on the local authority that will include an EP, a head teacher or two, and some people from the local authority. In your son's case there are already a number of reports from other profs that will be taken into account, and , I assume your own views as well.

ilikemysleep Wed 24-Oct-12 10:23:10

BTW a bit confused about the ASD and severe language disorder diagnoses; these are often mutually exclusive. What is the language disorder?

ArthurPewty Wed 24-Oct-12 10:25:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sweetteamum Wed 24-Oct-12 10:39:01

Don't EP's work for the LEA?? hmm

I'd say they can't really sway one way or the other.

However, I know from personal experience that our EP 'said' he was going to support our statement request, to doing a completely 360.

When we go through the SA/Statement process, we are within our rights to provide private reports. Saying that, the LEA don't want to acknowledge the NHS ones either!!

ilikemysleep Wed 24-Oct-12 10:43:45

Leonie
Your experience sounds truly crap. I am glad you got things sorted. But the key thing is that it IS only 'some' of our profession. Just like there are some incompetent teachers, some rubbish lawyers etc . If you were an anxious parent and you read these boards you would truly believe that there is a conspiracy out there and that ALL EPs, peads, OTs, SALTs etc are combining together deliberately in order to deny needy children resources. That simply isn't the case. I would say 99% of us do whatever we can to help children. It's just that sometimes, there isn't any way to massage the figures to a point where they meet the criteria. It doens't mean there's no problem or that tere shouldn't be any support, just that it is at the level where the SCHOOL should provide it. They get so much funding. Depending on the LA, if your child needs under 10 hours a week, on average, it should be provided by the school.

ilikemysleep Wed 24-Oct-12 10:44:58

Sweet tea mum

Less and less nowadays. In my area we don't, except for after a statutory assessment has been agreed in order to write advice. Any work before that is bought directly by the school.

stillsmarting Wed 24-Oct-12 10:58:33

ilikemysleep thank you for your posts. We had two lovely Ed Psychs who were, like you, doing the best for the children they were working for, and I agree that most EPs do the very best they can within the limitations of the system.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 24-Oct-12 11:06:17

This can be a difficulty though - the EPs are working to a 'system' which is not lawful.

The law, in the Education Act talks about meeting a child's needs. It does not say follow LA policy etc. There is nothing in the Education Act, for example, that sets out sharp dividing lines for support on the basis of IQ. Nothing at all. If an LA has such a policy, that is unlawful.

That is not the EP's fault but this is what can cause parental frustration.

EP's need to understand they are often working to LA policies which have very little to do with a child's legal rights to support. And it is the latter which the parent must concern him/herself with.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 24-Oct-12 11:11:52

I'm sorry to sound so annoyed when you are posting to help but I am annoyed!

You talk about the fact you can't 'massaging figures to meet criteria' and this is where parents can get really angry.

There are no 'figures' in the Education Act. The only 'criteria' for SA and statementing is set out in that Act and the COP.

If you tell parents they cannot get statements bevcause the LA does not give statements to children if they don't reach a 'cut off' point, this is entirely unlawful practice. It is called a blanket policy and the LA would be acting ultra vires.

That is why I get angry with EPs. This is a cultural attitude which you are not even recognising yourself as unlawful and so you are perpetuating it on behalf of your LA - unwittingly, I'm sure.

I also get annoyed at the complete unwillingness to work with a child. Interventions are based on observations or generic provision. I suspect this has much to do with Phelps v Hillingdon.

ilikemysleep Wed 24-Oct-12 11:38:35

Hi Inappropriately

No, I understand what you are saying, I have handled it clumsily.

There isn't a strict cut off point that is published by the local authority, but it's all about making cases.

Assuming that a child has been referred for simple learning difficulties, and is assessed as having an IQ of 68. This is classed as moderate learning difficulties, is two standard deviations from the mean, and occurs in less than 2% of children. As statements were originally intended for the approx 2% 'most needy' children, it is simple to make a case to a local authority that this child falls well within this range. That level of learning need occurs infrequently enough that it is recognised that it will be hard to manage in a mainstream school without a high level of individual support. Additional funding would probbaly be agreed by the local authority.

Another child has learning difficulties and has been assessed at an IQ of 75. This is classed as mild learning difficulties because it happens more frequently, approx 6% of the time. Let's assume there are no other complications. The local authority will be of the view that this level of learning needs, whilst real, occurs more frequently, so in a school of 300 there would be likely to be about 18 children at or below this score. Therefore it is at a level that should be supported by the school's delegated funding, maybe with outreach support from a specialist provision and advice from extrenal agaencies on how to adapt the curriculum.

I could (and often do, as nothing ventured, nothing gained) suggest that school apply for funding for the second child, but it's unlikely that it will be granted. It doesn't mean there aren't genuine and significant needs there.

Let's assume there are other needs for that second child. There are behaviour needs or a complex social situation, or attentional difficulties. that's what I meant about massaging figures. In those circumstances I would do my very best to make a case based on complexity of need rather than cognitive ability alone. I would be less certain of success, but I'd give it a go. That's all I meant; that I actually try to find ways to enable support, not to block it.

sweetteamum Wed 24-Oct-12 12:37:29

Sorry, I'm only posting briefly as I'm so annoyed after a discussion with my EP. Please don't take this against you personally. However from my experience, which is all I have to go off. As well as speaking with rl people and coming on these boards.

I've been told DD's levels are too high for SS

I've been told that DD could have a bloody brief conversation, which was completely led by someone else.

She had a lot of time to answer questions that was put to her. Rather than how they actually work in schools.

She gave ok eye contact. Oh and shock she had a little giggle.

She loves authority and saw this as a teacher being at the house, therefore was on best behaviour and did everything she was told.

They've ignored all the recordings I've sent in of her.

Her receptive language is more than 2 deviations from the mean and expressive is 1.5-2 deviations from the mean.

She 'can't really have asd' as she could do some of the above and I'm going to ignore all 3 or 4 health professionals, who say she has emotional, social and communication difficulties

Apologies for the obvious question but how is that helping my Dd, who hasn't really been in this term, due to her anxieties. We did not discuss any non educational things, which is what I thought we would be doing.

Oh and not to mention the previous referral form managed to 'go missing' and the new one only has today's date on it luckily, I made a note on it that it was the 2nd copy I'd signed

I'm blooming fuming not with you with the way things have been left.

Sorry it wasn't as short as I thought.

ilikemysleep Wed 24-Oct-12 14:02:37

sweetteamum

is 'SS' statementing?

Write to your EP, (or phone) make this points

1. Lower receptive than expressive language is unusual and often points to social communication difficulties. Your daughter's receptive language is within the lowest 2% for her age.

2. Autism often presents differently in girls, and several health professionals have already identified social and communication difficulties. You weren't really expecting her to make a judgement on whether your DD has autism as you understand that is a medical diagnosis

3. The real issue that you are seeking help with is how to find a suitable education setting, given her very high levels of anxiety in the setting, as evidenced by (reports of exactly what she did in school, incident forms, having to de-stress at home etc etc), or a way to support her back into school.

Why isn't her school making a request for statutory assessment? You don't need EP say-so for this. You can also make one yourself if you can collect enough evidence, then you can appeal if nec.

In the EP's defence it is never ideal to see children with school-related anxieties in a non-school setting; you have to rely on 3rd hand info which is often of poor quality in terms of analysis (eg 'he kicked off', 'she wrecked the room' which doesn't tell me what the kid did or what triggered it).

Maybe I live in a little bubble of helpful EPing.....

Soutty Wed 24-Oct-12 14:58:59

I Like My Sleep, I hear what you're saying, but to have someone breeze in, make no demands whatsoever on my child because "I know what these children can be like", observe him for half an hour in a class of 14 (loads are off sick) with 3 adults helping (1 teacher, 1 TA and 1 student who was volunteering and giving my son 1-1 at the time) and then say, well from what I saw there's no basis on the diagnoses he's been given that is - how shall I put it - annoying to say the least. Is that really what you do? If they perform well for the time you assess them you say they don't need support? You don't take reports into account or what the school say or what the parents say? And you say you do good? I'll have to take your word for that.

She kept on saying children like this do this, children like this do that as though they all have to fit an absolutely rigid pattern or they don't have ASD - although as someone else pointed out she seemed keen enough for me to take him out of school and dump him in a shithole with an ASD unit attached.

So far as I am aware, Ed Psychs are not qualified to comment on speech and language issues so how she has the fucking nerve to trash a 27 page report from someone with 30 years of experience in dealing with children with complex language disorders and special needs I really don't know. In April of this year my DS was diagnosed by aforementioned SALT with a severe language disorder - the SALT was leaning towards a Specific Language Impairment but she did notice some ASD tendencies and I had concerns for some time so she recommended that I get him assessed for that hence why I saw Daphne Keen. At one time it was thought that a child cannot have SLI and autism but it is now recognised that they can coexist. His single word understanding is at the low end of average but on assessment he came out on the first percentile for most of the other tests. His receptive language is behind his expressive language.

He needs 1-1 support because in a class of 30 he will not have a ruby doo what's going on. He needs 1-1 support because he''s unpredictable and can lash out in certain situations. Which brings me on to another thing - he hits at children who cry - it's a sensory thing and it's been a nightmare at the beginning of term as loads have been crying. My SALT developed a crying story and staff with pictures and coping strategies and both I and school read it to him. A child cried while EP was there and he did not hit, he just tensed up. She said to me that he doesn't have any sensory issues so she will put in her report that crying is not a problem. We have had months and months of not being able to let him play at softplay of not letting him out of range in parks and at playdates, we spend our life on pins but this bitch thinks she knows it all. Oh and she was very derisory about the fact I'd gone private and was surprised the school were "letting these people in" never mind being great and open minded about taking advice - which they are. At least school are on his side.

To top it all I have seen a paed today who hasn't even had the reports passed to her who doesn't know what ABA is, who asked me the same old crap about when he sat up etc that I've been through a thousand times before. She was more interested in whether I suffered from PND and/depression, whether there were any family problems and whether he'd had any broken bones. She seemed disappointed that there was nothing to blame us for.

The whole system makes me sick. Sorry Ineedmysleep I know you are trying to help but you've actually wound me up even more as it seems you guys see your job in microsopic terms - what you see is all that matters. To us parents we've had to battle just to get to this stage - only for you to see our kids on a good day, file your little report and go home happy that you've done your job.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 24-Oct-12 15:20:52

I was very lucky with the EP I saw many years ago (along with the EP I came across in Juniors who also went above and beyond thus incurring the wrath of the LEA). The first thing she said to me when she talked to me after seeing DS was that he needed to be statemented!. And he was (eventually after two attempts at Panel stage).

As I understand it EPs can only make recommendations re educational needs; they are not qualified to do anything medical.

Getting back to the original thread, I think that you Soutty are being lined up to try and accept the barest of minimums in terms of support.

ilikemysleep Wed 24-Oct-12 16:13:17

Soutty - If they perform well for the time you assess them you say they don't need support? You don't take reports into account or what the school say or what the parents say? And you say you do good? I'll have to take your word for that.

Sigh..no...I think I deleted the bit that i wrote about collecting evidence. The key thing is that we need evidence to compile a report. I use parents, school, other professionals, any reports I can get my hands on, and my own observations and assessment.

I accept that you are all having a rubbish time.

The length of the report doesn't matter. A 30 page report isn't always 'better' than a 5 page one.

I don't know if I do good. My motivations are good. My colleagues' motivations are good. We don't ever deliberately play down needs. Possibly I am in a small minority but I am an EP who often recommends ABA so I don't think I can be called the LA's patsy (they don't even employ me...we are a private business now, employed direct by schools).

I hope you get what you need for your DS. I didn't say at any point that I didn't think he needed support.

sweetteamum Wed 24-Oct-12 16:23:10

It certainly sounds like you would be a great EP for many different areas.

SS is specialist school blush

DD's social communication issues have been picked up by the appropriate people (luckily for DD/US)

However, the educational experts are not too bothered about health. They are more concerned with her education (naturally). However, I don't appreciate being told that she will be the much higher end, if at all, when they've never seen her in school and they were with her less than an hour shock hmm confused.

They just aren't acknowledging her 'medical/Mental health' issues and I need to point out that I realise she is in the bottom 2% in my appeal.

We have asked for Stat. Assessment, which has been rejected and we are appealing. We do have a huge amount of 'experts' who see her issues and we have many (many) reports.

It's a case of wait and see. But I won't take any more of this thread up bore you with the lies the school have told shock

Soutty Wed 24-Oct-12 16:25:35

Yes Attlia you are probably right. The idea is to make me hugely grateful for anything he gets. Perhaps I should get a private EP and yet another report - it's all wrong though, how on earth do people who are uneducated and/or who have hardly any money navigate their way around this system? I guess I know the answer to that question and it stinks.

I would welcome advice from someone who knows more about these things though - can the LA turn me down for a statement on the basis that I will not try DS at a mainstream school with has an ASD unit attached? My gut feeling is that they can't, particularly as the main reason I want a statement for him is for his language problems which are not necessarily linked to his ASD.

This is not related to my original post but why do the LA need to know about whether I have depression or had PND? I don't and I didn't but if I had I would not consider them to be relevant. All that should matter is what are DS's needs and can the school meet them and if not what extra help is needed.

DS hugged me halfway during assessment with Paed today and she was delighted and was much more friendly to me after that. The last time he was assessed by an NHS Paed about 18 months ago (who told us there was nothing wrong with him but a bit of speech delay) I got the same reaction when DS was affectionate. In fact, he told us he couldn't possibly have ASD because of it. At the time we were so naive that we not only believed that but left the office walking on air because a consultant paed had seen our son and said he didn't have ASD. I get annoyed when strangers display ignorance about autism but when the people supposedly qualified to diagnose it on the NHS are so ignorant they don't even know what ABA is and spout nonsense like children with ASD don't show love and affection to their parents it's hardly a surprise.

Soutty Wed 24-Oct-12 16:38:43

Please don't patronise me Idontneedmysleep. The 30 page report followed a 2 hour detailed assessment containing all DS's scores and explaining them and referring to various articles regarding SLI and ASD and whether they can co-exist. It isn't 30 pages of waffle. The point I was trying to make is that it is an depth report following a very thorough assessment, with the findings fully explained. It couldn't actually be condensed into 5 pages although I accept that some reports easily can.

The point I was making is that a complete stranger whose area of expertise in not speech and language should not dismiss a report from someone who is clearly very knowledgeable in their field on the basis of a brief assessment in school, particularly when they have never seen the child before and when they are seeing them in a much smaller class than is usual with a higher ratio of staff than usual.

I merely wanted to know whether you are able to override SALTS, I didn't need a lecture on size being more important than content.

Jerbil Wed 24-Oct-12 17:11:43

Soutty so much empathy. Know exactly how you feel. My DS1 is a performer! But he performs all day at school. Even the OT told me last week he copes really well, completes work etc. he will do things he really hates at school just because the teacher has told him to do it. He's dx with Aspergers with significant sensory processing difficulties. He can communicate really well when he wants to about things he likes. For this reason school tell me he's fine there, and I constantly battle with them as he'll sometimes sit with his dinner, not have a drink cos that would involve asking for help! Among other things.

Someone mentioned earlier that a parent can request an SA. Well, this may be true in theory but I was told not to bother by parent partnership! They told me unless school are onside and willing to ge an EP then I'd be wasting my time! I then went to the NHS psychiatrist and am now waiting to see if their EP can help us though the one I spoke to is on extended leave at the mo. she told me how our school do most things wrong with regard to IEPs for e.g. Won't mention the fact we haven't even got his IEP for this year. Or that his support has halved from the almighty hour of 1 to 1 last year to just 1/2 hour per week!

Can anyone confirm what I was told by Pp or am I too being fed crap?

hoxtonbabe Wed 24-Oct-12 17:14:57

Oh dear, this kind of thing goes on far too often and it is the poor child that suffers for it.

Ilike: having a child that has been statemented for 10 years, I am yet to see a 5 page report by any LA professional, have a patch on a 10 page one (independent usually). With that said I had an independent one who was total rubbish, after seeing my DS came to my house and said xxxx, all things that were actually very important to my sons learning and agreed with most of what I was saying about the school, etc.. but then didnt put it in the report, everyone who looked at the report said it was utter rubbish and looked like the SEN caseworker could have written it himself, when I told them it was independent, they were very shocked, so in fairness even the independent ones can be off. My concerns wasnt that it didnt favour me as it was quite neutral, it was that he did not highlight the important things like teaching style, which for my DS is a big issue due to his needs.

I agree it is all about the content rather then how many pages, but usually the 10 page jobbys are usually far more detailed than the skimpy one that the LA EP dishes out (I am not having a go at you by the way, just my personal experiences along with friends and aquaintainces) #

I do agree with IE, for the most part the "professonals" from the LA do work around the LA. I have not had much hassle with the EP from my LA (as i have not seen them for about 7 years) , but the SLT as that is the main area of need, she will be receiving a nice letter from the HPC regarding her fitness to practise very soon as i want answers as to why she thought it was appropiate to ask the LEA what she should write in her report, or accept when my DS school flat out refused to implement his provison she thought it wa ok, to say "ok, dont do it then, lets see how we can get around it seeming as you do not want to do it" and some of this was to hand in for the appeal evidence which also clearly sets out in the witness guidelines that their reports should not be influenced by the party asking them to carry out the assessment.

I feel no guilt about putting in a FTP complaint about an SLT, OT, or EP, in fact I see it as a duty! No point going via the LA complaints as I have seen how that operates and pointless , so I just go straight to where I know it will make that person think twice before trying to do something so unethical. They have a duty to the client (which in our case is the child) before anything else and this is cleary set out in their ethics code

Subject acess request is a wonderful thing, although now when they see my requests they are super careful to pull out any incriminating evidence, lol.

Sorry for long reply.

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