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Ed Psych advice please(8 Posts)
My Dd (6) going into Y2, is on the school's list for an ed psych assessment this year - I don't know yet when it will be but possibly towards the end of the first term. She's previously had a (private) OT assessment which identified various issues: sensory seeking behaviour, poor working memory, anxieties, and an inability to learn in a classroom environment. Do you think we should arrange a private assessment prior to the NHS one? How thorough generally are the NHS assessments and do they take private reports into account before they see the child? Is there any benefit for us to spend all that money on a private one when we know we are getting an NHS one soon, but I'm worried that if they're just looking at how to avoid providing extra support (is that what they will do?) then they will overlook or downplay issues and/or not look beyond the glaringly obvious? thoughts please...
Ed psychs here are local authority employees rather than NHS; the NHS have clinical psychologists. Ed psychs are also in short supply so depending on how the school prioritises your dd she may be seen anytime from the start of term to sometime next summer or never. Our school also operates different levels of ed psych involvement; an 'assessment' would initially be observation in class and chatting to the teachers.
We haven't had a private ed psych assessment but I do keep thinking of getting one even though we have had an LA ed psych assessments as they focused on issues around his principal need (speech) and I wonder if there may be other issues too. They also didn't do any formal assessments. (We are happy with his current support though).
In your shoes, if cost were not too much of a barrier, then I would get a private assessment though I wouldn't be too optimistic about the school taking it all on board.
Our ed psych reports were worth their weight in gold. They proved the spiky profile, looked at literacy and numeracy in depth and actually gave our LEA nowhere to go as the testing used could not be repeated within six months.
Their recommendations have been invaluable - gave me direction and understanding of what to do, what to ask for, and when to fight for support.
Mixed results here. One fabulous lea ed psych who produced fantastic, very detailed assessments based on several observations at home and in school and attended review meetings. But then she retired! The next one said sorry I haven't the time and when the school asked for advice on best teaching approaches she basically said it was for them to find out. Currently waiting for a private assessment (really just to offer some support for our fab school) but he carried it out 3 months ago and it was nothing in comparison to the first ed psych and I'm still waiting to hear from him! If you do get a private ass do you homework and I hope you have more choice than we did.
Thanks for the replies.
Bilberry - yes, I meant an LA ed psych, rather than NHS. I'm expecting first half of the year at least, as she was on the list for an assessment all of last year, although the school said from the beginning that it wouldn't be until this year. So we're already close to a year of waiting.
If your not looking to appeal then I would wait and see how the LA EP is first. Private EP will cost you around £1000. LA and school may well ignore private reports ( but when appealing sendist do take them very seriously). Private would almost certainly be more detailed and possibly more geared up to testing in the weaker areas of need.
Some tests can not be repeated within a year so that might stop the LA ep doing any tests and just observing.
My LA ep report was crap. However his scores seemed to be correct ( however there's now debate that he inflated ds IQ)
So I'd say insist it's more than just a observation.
Don't pay out yet. Also EP reports can be redone after a year so if you was going down a appeal route you might have to pay twice ( ok if you have the money as it can show progress levels over time).
I personally think private is way better, but it depends in what you want to go next. If not to appeal than the let the LA pay. They are supposed to be bound to be honest. It's just the spin they put on things that's iffy, the results should be constant.
Does the school currently feel that it is able to meet DD's needs? If it doesn't, it might be worth going ahead and applying for an EHC Plan. If the LA agrees, it has the advantage that they will have to get the assessment done within the statutory time limits and you will know where you are.
Thanks All. I have since had a chat with a private ed psych to get a professional opinion. They felt that as the school is recommending the ed psych assessment, then they are expecting to put additional support in place already so to hold off for the time being, at least until we find out when in the year the assessment is likely to be. Although we feel there are additional needs outside of the learning difficulties that the school has identified, we should start with the LA ed psych assessment and we can then decide where to go from there.
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