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Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Your advice re: Educational Psychologist would be greatly appreciated

(39 Posts)
someoneoutthere Sat 20-Apr-13 07:26:03

We live abroad. DS,7 and ASD, is in a mainstream school with an ABA trained 1:1 at present. We want to get a thorough assessment done by an educational psychologist on his needs. We will be visiting the UK over the summer holiday period and would like the assessment to take place around that time. So far, from the old post in MN I have found the following names in and around London:

-David Urani
-Allan Wills
-Carolyn Smith
-Helen Arkyll Centre, Farnham
-Frye Associates, North London and
-John Hall in Bristol (we will be based in London, but can go to Bristol if he is the best for what we need)

Please advice on who will be best for DS. The questions we have in mind are-what type of schools are best suited for DS's needs, SS or MS? DS is language delayed and his speech is a bit disordered ( no problem with speech sound, it's more sentence construction). He can answer most "wh" questions except "when and why". He will ask what and where questions consistently. He attended an ABA SS school until he was 6, but had very challenging behaviours there and so his learning was compromised. The ABA school he attended also did not have a curriculum for education, so he was not taught any reading, writing etc. He copied the behaviours of other kids there, so would do a runner, shriek, flaps (he did not have these behaviours previously).

Last september we moved him to a MS school with an ABA 1:1. He has since then learnt to read and write, spell, mastered the foundation level maths etc. His challenging behaviours have disappeared, his social skills have improved in that he is taking turns with other children, playing chasing and running game etc. He also copies other kids, so for example, if the teacher asked to draw something found under the grounds, although he did not understand what was being asked, he copied a diamond the boy next to him was drawing. These are all the positives of attending a MS school.

We are due to move again. And we don't have the option of a SS school in the new country and we feel that a MS school is best suited for DS's needs anyhow. We want to get the ED Psychologist to do a cognitive assessment, tell us what is required for progress, what type of help should be provided to DS to succeed in a MS school. We also want to get an assessment done on whether DS has any learning difficutlies.

Please advice on who will be best to advise on DS's needs. We are not bothered about costs of assessment.

nostoppingme Sat 20-Apr-13 11:44:24

Contact independent EP John Hutchings or Ruth Birnbaum, perhaps they can help. He is an associate of Ruth Birnbaum, google her details; she has a website. Based in London. Booked up months in advance so contact them asap. Amazing and worth every penny.

nennypops Sat 20-Apr-13 12:34:12

For ABA I'd go for David Urani as someone who is very knowledgeable about it.

PipinJo Sat 20-Apr-13 12:42:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

someoneoutthere Sat 20-Apr-13 15:41:49

Thank you everyone. I will be calling around on Monday to see who has availability. We are not really fighting for ABA, as it is funded by our insurance. We mainly want a thorough assessment on DS's needs.

zumbaleena Sat 20-Apr-13 16:56:07

then go for David Urani

someoneoutthere Sun 21-Apr-13 05:53:52

I have the contact number for David Urani and I have found the website for Ruth Birnbaum. PipinJo, do you have the contact details for Mike Davies?

mrslaughan Sun 21-Apr-13 08:27:10

Dr Bettina Hohnen and the child and family practice, in wimpole st. Very very very thorough.
Far more thorough than a standard Ed psych

nostoppingme Mon 22-Apr-13 10:26:58

Wow, thank you for providing the name of Dr Bettina Hohnen. She will be the one I will contact if I am facing yet another tribunal!

someoneoutthere Mon 29-Apr-13 14:07:33

I have had no luck with any of the above. Nobody has responded yet for the dates I wanted, and I am particularly disappointed with Ruth Birnbaum as after so many calls and promises to let me know about availability, still no news. Obviously these people are so busy that they don't want our business. Any more recommendations?

inappropriatelyemployed Mon 29-Apr-13 16:17:03

Have you tried Dr Sharon Lloyd in Bristol? She is at Learning Insights

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:52:09

Keep persevering with Ruth. If you are abroad and can bring DS to her for assessment during the UK school holidays you are likely to have more success. When I phoned she was booked for the next 6 months but I got an appointment within weeks as DS was not in school. Also pay the deposit. Ruth litererally wrote a/the book about choosing an SEN school.

nostoppingme Mon 29-Apr-13 21:40:47

Yes, for anyone reading about being disappointed with Ruth Birnbaum; please note this lady has written a book and is considered one of the best in her field. I am forever grateful to her as she did all she could to get me an appointment with her associate John Hutchings.

someoneoutthere Tue 30-Apr-13 05:40:41

No stopping and keep on, all I wanted was to tell me if they have an appointment available for me for the dates I wanted. I have explained that as I am coming from abroad, I have to book holidays, flights, place to stay in the UK etc. so if they don't have an appointment, to let me know so that I will try with others. All I wanted a simple yes or no as I don't have the flexibility. I explained I would wait to hear from them before I call around. I am sure Ruth Birnbaum is an amazing educational psychologist, but I am not talking about her personally ( sorry if my post is misleading), I am talking about her office and customer care policies.

someoneoutthere Tue 30-Apr-13 05:51:39

Keepon, I was not asked to pay any deposit, the calls were all about having an appointment. If I was asked to pay to confirm an appointment, I would do so without any delay. I need to get it booked, so that I can book other things around it.

alwayslateforwork Tue 30-Apr-13 05:56:23

You've been out of the UK SN loop for some time, I take it?

The 'my money will conquer all and I just need to get an answer this side of yesterday' approach is unlikely to bear fruit.

Yes, they are busy. All of them. It can months and months to get an appointment, and calling them at the end of April wanting an appt in three months is cutting it very fine.

You will doubtless be lucky and find an eminent expert to assess your son, but in the meantime it might be worth sparing a thought for the families of other children who are also trying to get appointments. From all over the UK, having scrimped and saved, and organised rail travel, or childcare for siblings, etc etc. you are no more important than any one of them, wherever you are coming from (arguably less important, as an ex-pat).

And I speak as someone who travels the world with two sn children and one nt child, and has made my fair share of international calls.

Waving your money and demanding prompt service isn't terribly endearing.

Good luck with getting the assessment done. Doubtless it will happen. And I wish you continued success - you have certainly been extremely lucky in the support service you have arranged so far.

someoneoutthere Tue 30-Apr-13 07:22:55

Alwayslateforwork, I am not sure what point you you are trying to make here, I am not demanding an appointment. I am only asking if they have an appointment available for the dates I want, if not , I will just call around to find one to suit my timing. Are you telling me that a secretary can't just look at the diary and tell me if an appointment is available or not? What's wrong with just saying, 'sorry, nothing is available at this time'.

What gave you the idea that I think my child is more important than the kids in the UK? And why do you we are less important as an expat? We are not competing with anybody here.

someoneoutthere Tue 30-Apr-13 07:31:33

Why do you think we are less important as an expat?

someoneoutthere Tue 30-Apr-13 07:35:04

Inappropriatelyemployed, thank you. I will try Dr. Sharon Lloyd.

alwayslateforwork Tue 30-Apr-13 15:56:44

That was kind of my point - it seemed as though you were trying to imply you were more important as your schedule demanded immediate response and service.

Merely pointing out that it's you and a lot of other parents in the same boat, seeking assessment for the same things, from the same people, some of them in less fortunate positions as they trying to get the assessment done in order to go to tribunal to try and seek the service you are currently getting - because you are not involved in the UK SN scene, and so are used to a much higher standard of care, support, and service.

Your tone suggested you have been used to a far more efficient, prompt and reliable service than that available to most families in the UK, no matter how many telephone calls they make to try and get an appointment.

Merely reminding you that you are one of many in the same boat, and that your boat (whilst currently much comfortable than the leaky vessels of most of the UK SN parents) is no more important than theirs. And some are in need of a dock a bit faster, before they sink completely, because of the complete absence of support given by the NHS.

It's not a competition, there's no top trumps, and I'm glad that you have the availability and cash to fit in a visit to see a UK expert for advice. No reason why you shouldn't. And I understand your frustration. But the SN UK scene is so heavily over-subscribed and under-funded that parents are all fighting for the same experts, so it's going to take some patience.

And that seems to be in short supply.

You'll get your appointment and assessment.

You are not less important. But you aren't more important, and there are a hell of a lot of people trying to see these guys, some of them whose need is ostensibly greater than yours. And you will be making someone else wait longer. Which is fine - that's how waiting lists work. But to barge into the middle of a waiting list and then complain about the customer service might not make you more likely to get an appointment. You catch more flies with honey, etc.

someoneoutthere Tue 30-Apr-13 17:16:07

Alwayslateforwork, I got my appointment booked for the dates i wanted, thank you. I understand that I will catch more flies with honey, not by complaining about customer service. I understand that there are a lot of people whose needs are greater than mine. But what I don't understand is what UK SN service has got anything to do with customer care? I would have understood if I was told 'sorry, we have no appointments available for the dates you want. We could put you on the waiting list if you like or call us nearer the time to see if we have any cancellations'. How am I expected to know I am on the waiting list if I was not told about the waiting lists at the first place? If somebody tells me they will let me know by certain time, I expect to hear from them within that time specially when they are aware about my limitations. Do I feel I am more important than other people in similar situations? No, I think other people should also expect the same customer care.

I am aware that people on the NHS waits months and months for an appointments, every time I am on MN SN I see enough threads about it. I am aware that there is a huge waiting lists for SN services. I consider myself lucky to be in a position for not having to fight for services. But is it too much to expect to be told about waiting lists? You are right in that I have no idea customer care in the UK has changed so much.

alwayslateforwork Tue 30-Apr-13 17:25:50

Most of the time the 'customer care' suffers because the services are so overwhelmed - they were probably trying to work out of they could fit in any of the ten 'please can you fit me in at this time' short notice requests, and doing their best to accommodate everyone. It often isn't as simple as checking the calendar and saying yes or no - often these folks are working additional hours to try and see as many as possible, and receptionists are waiting to see if they can squeeze a few more in. People call in tears all the time. It's human nature to try to help, but sometimes there is only so much you can do.

I'm glad you got your appointment. Sometimes an extra hour or two is all it takes.

someoneoutthere Tue 30-Apr-13 18:17:21

Fair point, alwayslateforwork. Maybe you are right in that where I am I get more prompt and efficient service, so I expected the same. It is my fault that I have put all my money in one pot, as I have been waiting around rather than calling around. But I take your point about customer care suffering because of services being overwhelmed, I should have kept my feelings to myself rather than putting it on a public forum.

zumbaleena Tue 30-Apr-13 18:36:48

I seriously do not see where someoneoutthere was wrong here. she merely asked for one of the EP offices to call and tell her if certain dates were available which the EPs office did not and it is no doubt, shoddy customer service. I also saw NO WORDS in her post that suggested arrogance to me....looks like alwayslateforwork just presumed a lot of it by herself.there really is nothing to argue about over here.

someoneoutthere Wed 01-May-13 09:51:59

Thank you zumbaleena for your support. I was not sure what I have said to cause such offence.

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