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Private reports - is this the right time?

(19 Posts)
WorrierPrincess Sat 27-Oct-12 09:46:30

Are any of you lovely people able to give a bit of advice about getting a statement? Ds is 3.7, dx with HFA. He's in mainstream nursery in the morning and attends a specialist ASD preschool in the afternoon.

We've been given the go-ahead for stat assessment, and have been told we'll almost certainly get a statement because ds is "in the system" - the fact he's got a place at a specialist nursery means the LEA recognise he has extra needs.

So yes, we are really, really lucky compared to a lot of people.

We started the stat assessment process quite early because we really wanted support in place ready for when he starts mainstream school in September. Ds is high functioning in many ways and tbh I thought we might have a long fight and tribunals just to get a statement.

This week we had an appointment with his paediatrician who reckoned he wouldn't get a statement immediately because it's a while til he starts school. He doesn't need a statement now apparently cos he's in a specialist setting and also gets extra 1-2-1 four hours a week at his mainstream nursery.

It sounds like we're going to be put in some kind of statementing holding pen until... well, I'm not too sure!

So here's my question after all that rambling. Dh and I had been thinking about getting private OT report, and possibly SALT, to submit next month. But now I'm worried we'll be throwing huge amounts of money (which we don't have) to do reports, only be to told it's too early? But if we don't get the reports done now, will we be missing our chance to demonstrate the difficulties ds has and the support we think he needs?

Any thoughts and experience gratefully received.

kittycat68 Sat 27-Oct-12 12:26:44

its normally around 3 1/2 the LEA will look to start the statementing process if they are going to. Of course the more information and reports you have stating specialist schooling the bettter. Phycologist reports cost around £2000 which is the main one you would need.
in the current climate LEA dont want to statement a child as it will cost them so much more money. My advice would be to contact the LEA and see if they are going to be looking at a statment for your child firstly as this will give you an indication on were they are going. Each local authority is different. Just because he is in the special placemnet at thwe moment doesnt mean they will go for statmenting. The key thing here is when the LEA say lets put him in mainstream primary and see how he goes.NONO NO if you are going for a statement you MUST gert it before they start school or you will find it extreamly difficult to get one once they have started school!!

bjkmummy Sat 27-Oct-12 12:34:36

Have to agree with kittycat especially if they advise seeing how he goes in mainstream - same thing happened to me and of course school saw no issues. We then moved to a new school and it all came crashing down. He was finally statemented aged 8 and hours upped within months to 32.5 hours - he is now in school part time. I bitterly regret not fighting harder when he was younger and believing the professionals had his best interest at heart when clearly they didn't. All the professionals from aged 3 have long gone. We are now heading to tribunal so have gone down the private report path and it is shocking how much more detailed they are than the ones obtained for statementing. A lesson I'm now learning is that they write the statement according to identified needs so if there reports don't identify needs they don't go looking deeper. My sons statement never had reports from salt or OT and these are now areas we have found he has huge difficulties. It is no wonder that within 6 months of the statement being finalised it fell apart.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 27-Oct-12 12:45:35

No. Apply for a statutory assement before wchool where there can be wraths of brainwashed professionals writing reports stating your child has no needs.

If he 'will probably need a statement' in the future then by law he meets the criteria now.

Save your independent reports for if and when you need to battle. If your SA is refused then you'll have to appeal, and during that time is when you commission the independent reports iyswim.

WorrierPrincess Sat 27-Oct-12 13:15:31

Thanks very much for your replies.

Yes we are determined not to "watch and wait" - we think ds will be lost if we throw him into school without support.

We've got through the 1st stage and have been given the go-ahead for stat assessment, so that's one big hurdle cleared.

I'm pretty confident we WILL get a statement for ds before he starts school but I'm not too sure exactly when. I get the impression we've gone a bit early with sorting a statement for school and, based on what the paed told me, they're going to say "okay we agree he'll need a statement for school but it's too early to agree on the exact terms - let's sort that stuff out in a few months."

(can they do that??)

So if we get reports done now, ready for the assessment submission next month, and they decide it's too early to agree a statement for school, will our reports then be out of date when it comes to thrashing out the details?

Are we allowed to submit our own reports later in the process?

kittycat68 Sat 27-Oct-12 13:20:45

If you apply to the LEA for stat ASS without any reports then they are going to laugh you out of town.
If you can afford to have the reports done independantly done do it. if not then dont get into debt for it.
If you do need to do battle with the lea its not going to take months but could take years. Appeals and tribunals are a lot of stress for you and also your child will not get the help they need until a tribunal rules and a statment is put into place. If a child starts school without a statement they will want to see how it goes for a least six months BEFORE looking into getting and referals for reports. These proffessionals ( due to limited funding) have long waiting lists and a very high case load it is therefore likely that they will take a further six months to do a report. Even then they are employed by the LEA and will take on thier directive of no statment and will only report on high needs. When these reports are done they then have to go to panel for statmenting unless there is overwhelming evidence they wont statment then .
The law is the law but the LEA is the LEA. I know parents that have children with diagnosed ASD and they went along with the LEA and went along with mainstream placemnt with the promises of lets wait and see how they go and if they need a statemnet we will put one in. After six months of the child starting they clearly were not coping nor was the school meeting thier needs. It took six years to get a statemnt battling the LEA. HOW did they get it in the end PRIVATE ASSESSMENTS, it was little recourse for the parents that the tribunal judge slted the school and LEA it was the child that had suffered. I am please to say that this particular child is now very happy in special provision school with a full statment and is doing very well.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 27-Oct-12 18:07:00

Kittycat,

I disagree.

If we are assuming that the request for SA will be turned down as a matter of course, it will make NO DIFFERENCE if there are independent reports to support it.

Preschool, the COP requires much LESS evidence than once in school in order to trigger the criteria for SA, and can be given on the evidence of the parents alone. Lack of evidence is not a legal reason for refusing and 'should' therefore, trigger a SA (not necessarily a statement).

However, most LA's now are refusing SAs simply to try to push children into the next phase so we can assume here it will be refused.

Without an independent report the OP has a good chance of having a tribunal rule that the LA MUST carry out a SA, although it would be adviseable during the appeal to get at leat ONE professional report.

Getting the report at THIS point will mean that it is STILL valid and up to date if and when challenge to the contents of a statement is necessary, and the OP will therefore not have to find the money for two (sometimes it can be helpful to have the professional do a quick cheap up-date visit to be able to inform the tribunal their opinion is still relevant if some time has passed).

kittycat68 Sat 27-Oct-12 19:43:13

Yes a SA can be asked for by the parent of any child but it doesnt mean you will actual get one.
Yes alck of evidence is not a legal reason for refusing a SA, but if you dont have the hard evidence you wont get one.
if the LA refuse to carry out a SA yes you will need to go to tribunal, most LA will do a SA if Asked but wont give a statement without enough reported evidence.
The report must be dated within 12 months of you asking for a SA. Therefore if op now looks around for a good phycologist etc then they have to assess the child over several meetings before starting thier report. this usually takes 3-6 months. so by the time OP has done all this her DC will be over four and the LA would have all evidence needed to statment BEFORE the child starts in september.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 27-Oct-12 20:10:30

'Yes alck of evidence is not a legal reason for refusing a SA, but if you dont have the hard evidence you wont get one.'

The OP won't get one even WITH HARD evidence, but nevertheless will have the law on her side even without evidence, as evidence is not needed, especially before school age. THAT is the justification for a SA in her position. (most SAs are requested AFTER school age and things are different then)

Independent professionals do not usually do assessments and observations over a 6month span. They usually do their one visit. That visit needs to be utilised at the best moment resource-wise. The OP does not want to be potentially paying for another TWO EP assessments for example at £800 a pop, not to mention the SALT and OT etc.

justaboutchilledout Sat 27-Oct-12 20:28:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 27-Oct-12 20:54:14

The POA needs to be:

1) Apply for SA yourself as a parent. Include as much evidence as you can. Parental evidence plays a more significant part before school. Try to get as many free/LA professionals to support.

2) If SA is agreed great. If SA is not agreed. Appeal. Recruit ONE most relevant Independent professional for as late in the appeal process as possible.

3) Either tribunal win or LA settlement for a SA (most requests result in this).

4) LA decide to give statement - great, go to next. LA decide to NOT issue statement and give note in lieu (unlikely, but especially unlikely if SA was ordered by tribunal) then appeal, using recent independent report, but consider adding another professional late in the proceedings possibly.

5) LA send draft statement. If sensible and quantified and specified - great. If not, appeal. Consider adding another professional report (if relevant) as late as is possible during the appeal and consider getting original professional back for a cheap or free update report.

This is the most cost-effective way of managing it all. It would be great if you could just get an independent person in at the beginning and that sorts it all, but it just doesn't work like that.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 27-Oct-12 20:55:50

The advice in the last post is assuming that your child DOES in fact NEED a statement. Not every child does, and you may feel at any stage that your child's needs have been recognised and met adequately of course.

kittycat68 Sun 28-Oct-12 09:46:13

Op going back a bit the first thing you DO need to do is contact the LA and find out they way that they are intending to go.
Whilst starlight clearly knows her stuff so do i and hers is based on IF THE LA intend to statement.
They may not. Parental evidence is given very litlle weight within the LA and more so WHEN you get to tribunal.
My concerns here are weigh up your childs needs if you think they are going to struggle at Primary you need to get the SA before they start or you will wait over a year to get one if not longer once they start school and it will most likely be an up hill battle. IPSEA are very good for advice if you need it.LA reports are quite basic although free and private reports ar3e costly but very indepth, and they DONT just meet your child once but over 2-3 times befor doing thier reports which are usually 15 pages or so thick with information rather than the two pages and one visit from the LA. ask yourself this if someones meets your child once for half an hour do they know whats best for your child? thats what an LA report will be. If your child is not severe or profound special needs the LA reports will be enough.

kittycat68 Sun 28-Oct-12 09:48:17

sorry last sentance shopuld have read if your child is severe or profound the LA will be enough!!

Lougle Sun 28-Oct-12 09:56:05

Kitty, I disagree with you.

The OP will not be laughed out of town. My DD didn't even go to specialist preschool because her SN were identified by a MS preschool and 1:1 was put in place. She still got a stat. Assessment on the strength of the reports I had, followed by a statement naming a special school.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 28-Oct-12 10:50:07

'We've been given the go-ahead for stat assessment'

What does this mean OP? (I think this is what Kitty is asking!?)

Does it mean that you have received a letter stating that your child will be going through the Stat Assessment process?

If so, you won't know of their intent until you have the written document in your hand.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 28-Oct-12 10:51:07

Kitty, if you read my post with the POA, it shows plenty of consideration for an LA NOT intending to award a statement.

kittycat68 Sun 28-Oct-12 16:40:25

i think i have crossed over with othe rposts at time of writting. As Op now sayd LEA are looking to statment anyway so that being the case alot of whats been said in now not needed.
OP : statments usually are ready just before school is due to start. that way they should be up to date. Can i confirm that u are looking for sept 13 intake. If the LEA are intending to stament now then i would just wait and see what the reports say and that you have all specialist reports required at this stage rather than spending monies on private reports.The LEA saying that SA is going to go ahead is a GOOD indication that it is likely to statement. (although not definate) It wouldnt hurt in the mean time to a least find out about private specialist for reports (IF YOU NEED THEM) for a later date if the need arises.

WorrierPrincess Mon 05-Nov-12 23:44:16

Ladies, I am so sorry for not replying to your very, very helpful messages sooner - I've been in hospital but finally on mend now. It all happens at once...

To clarify where we are, we put in a request for stat assessment a couple of months ago and the LEA agreed to proceed on the basis of ed psych/nursery/paed reports. Now we are just approaching the deadline for submitting evidence for (hopefully) getting a statement.

Assuming it's granted (and we've been told unofficially that it will) the statement will just be confirming what's already in place: ds attends a specialist asd preschool. We will then have to thrash out what support the statement will provide when he makes the transition to mainstream school in Sept.

That, I think, will be the tricky part. Are we allowed to suddenly produce a bunch of private reports if the LEA don't want to provide the right transition support??

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