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EHCP or not?!

(27 Posts)
LAsboys Fri 19-Feb-16 14:21:30

Hi,

I'm new here and hoping for help and advice.

I have a 5 year old (year 1) son with complex needs both physical (hearing and visual impairments / epilepsy) and some Sensory processing problems - most likely DCD / Dyspraxia but currently (officially) undiagnosed. The result of which is basically that he is of good intelligence but struggling with both access to learning and output i.e. fine and gross motor skills.

He's in a really good state mainstream primary and currently has an IEP and 1-2-1 help 3 hours a day at school. However things are not going well for him mainly since the transition to year 1. Despite all the interventions he's not making progress and is increasingly switched off.

He's recently had an OT intervention block and during the meeting to discuss their findings they have advised it might be a good time to go for an EHCP. School are open to it. Its been discussed many times before but with an overriding opinion that we'd be unlikely to get one.

We're trying to decide what to do generally, change of school for example and now that this has come up I'm trying to decide whether its worth it (to go through the EHCP process). I've tried speaking to many people from various places to understand exactly what the benefits are in our situation but I'm still unclear.

I realise what it is (legal right to the support etc) and that it means all the input has to go into one document and be reviewed but we already have that. It's not recommended that he goes to a specialist school so we don't need it for that. I think if we were in a rubbish school then we'd need it to force them to do what they should be doing but they are already bending over backwards. Whats missing is the overall plan, there are so many interventions (OT, SLT, HI, VI, fine and gross motor skills) that there is too much and school don't really know what to prioritise but again I'm not sure an EHCP helps?

Anyone got a different point of view / experience. Feel free to ask away if I have missed vital info out....those are all the things I thought relevant in the messy tangle in my head :s

Thanks in advance

zzzzz Fri 19-Feb-16 16:09:46

Your child clearly fits the criteria and is struggling on the present level of support why WOULDN'T you secure his education with an ehcp confused

BackforGood Fri 19-Feb-16 16:18:11

I too, can't understand why you wouldn't want to get the legal bits in place.

You may be getting 3hrs a day 1:1 now, but what if that SENCo leaves, or a new HT arrives ? At present, you seem to be getting a lot of support, but you need the paperwork to back that up.

LAsboys Fri 19-Feb-16 16:35:03

It's not the case that I wouldn't want to, it's not about that. I'm very willing to do everything and anything we can (and the support we already have is the result of continuous battles over the last three years) but currently it's being presented as a next step because the situation isn't going well and from the information I'm getting I can't see how it tangibly helps my son right now.

I get from your comment backforgood that the benefit in your opinion is securing the support he already receives for the future which is totally valid but my question is, if the support he is receiving isn't currently working, how does or does an EHC help? Maybe we need that and something else........

BackforGood Fri 19-Feb-16 16:38:31

Well, the assessments for the EHC, should demonstrate that he actually needs more support than he is currently getting - be that advice or input or regular sessions from therapists, or be that additional support within school, or some combination of that. Demonstrating that he needs further support, will tangibly help him as that support must then be forthcoming.
It will also have to be reviewed annually, so will continue to be adjusted as his needs change (if they do).

zzzzz Fri 19-Feb-16 16:41:39

Unless you can fund everything privately I doubt you have any chance of securing the correct level of support for him without assessment and ehcp

Ineedmorepatience Fri 19-Feb-16 16:42:04

You need to keep looking at the future if he isnt coping in Yr 1 think about yr 7!!

The whole point of applying for an ehcp is tha the current provision isnt working and the school wont be able to afford to keep upping it without additional funding! They can access extra funding without an ehcp but it could be withdrawn at any time!

Apply for the plan asap!

Good luck flowers

OneInEight Fri 19-Feb-16 17:00:11

The first step of getting an EHCP is assessment and this alone is worth having as it should tell you why your ds is not making progress and if the help he is getting is the most appropriate or if there is something better school could be doing.

LAsboys Fri 19-Feb-16 17:29:24

Ok, I'm starting to build a clearer picture now. He does already have top up funding secured until 2018, I'm guessing an echp would make it more likely this is continued after that?
When you say the assessment should show why he isn't progressing, how does that work? I sort of had it in mind from the info we've had that all existing profs that work with him would feed in his needs / their opinion and then some board somewhere decides whether it's enough or warranted for these things to be enshrined or given any extra funding but your comments suggest there would be further professional involvement to identify what isn't working, is that right and if so what kind of people?
We already have a community paed, hearing impairment support worker, SLT, vision impairment support, OT and EP. Though no cohesive plan.

Thanks for all your opinions etc it's really useful!

LAsboys Fri 19-Feb-16 18:34:27

That's another one of my questions - ponderings....would he be better off in a private school, thoughts?

zzzzz Fri 19-Feb-16 18:48:37

Depends how recent your last assessments were. For the eHCP they have to be current (last 12 months), so everything will be brought in line with that and then considered. The EHCP is the cohesive plan. What level of top up funding do you have? 3 hours a day in school is what school are supposed to provide before they ask for extra funding.

(as an example ds gets full time including breaks 1:1 in school without ehcp, but gets significant top up funding so the school can provide that)

EHCP also means support to 25 rather than just till leaving school.

If he did need to go to a specialist school he would need an ehcp to achieve that.

In my experience unless you are talking about a private ss (of which I have little knowledge) then we have been better supported in the state system.

LAsboys Fri 19-Feb-16 19:19:43

He has Band 1 funding equating to roughly 2.5k per year currently. School have already gone through the process to prove they are already spending the 6k required. Good to know that top up can be enough to afford funding for 1-2-1 full time as that is what the OT report is suggesting, though if that can be achieved via top up it brings me back again to why they are suggesting an EHCP at this point. Not because it matters necessarily ( as long as it benefits him that's fine by me) just because I'm curious.

Out of interest, what are the opinions / experiences here about how difficult it is to get them and why? (I realise that's a mammoth question on a board like this, but I'm interested if anyone wants to share). I'm led to believe the proverbial rocking horse poo is easier to come by.

zzzzz Fri 19-Feb-16 21:06:07

Easier to obtain if your need is clear and you have significant top up, if you have dx, if school is behind you, if he is not making good progress.

You apply to be assessed. It involves sending an email. They send you a form to fill out, you do and attach any reports/letters detailing difficulty, they agree or don't that he should be assessed.

knittingwithnettles Fri 19-Feb-16 21:32:35

I went to ParentPartnership; they explained the whole process to me, practically dictated the letter for me, helped me apply for statutory assessment (first step) where you give reasons why you think your child needs to be assessed by the LA for an EHCP. I really recommend using them. Although it is well to keep checking with IPSEA too (for a more impartial take on some aspects] Every LA has one, you can make an appointment with a trained supporter who is used to applying for EHCPs. They are meant to be impartial so they won't be able to comment on whether you will or will not get one based on your child level of need, but they WILL be able to take you through the nuts and bolts of how to apply for an EHCP, and if necessary, as I say, take dictation or dictate..

My child did not have such complex needs as yours, although he had HFA, and I was not supported by the SENCO (as by this point I had taken him out of school and was home educating [secondary] to apply for an EHCP. So it took me a bit longer to win the right to have him assessed, and it went to Appeal, but in the end they did look at all the evidence submitted and agree to an EHCP. I did not have to go to Tribunal as they conceded the appeal to have him assessed.

This will all seem like gobbleydegook to you, but I think the most important thing is that you have lots of evidence that he is finding it difficult to cope in school, and the school supports your application, so why not just go for it?

I did a Parental Request for Statuory Assessment so had to do all the form filling, but it may be that the school will handle all the paperwork for you; I certainly know parents whose statements were organised by the school.

zzzzz Fri 19-Feb-16 21:38:54

I think it's better to apply yourself and see all the paperwork.

ouryve Fri 19-Feb-16 21:44:10

EHCP.

It would be a rare school that would meet his needs without one.

ouryve Fri 19-Feb-16 22:34:38

Private/independent SS absolutely needs EHCP, unless you're completely self funding and the school accepts that.

Mainstream independent is completely random. The rare one is absolutely great for some kids with SN (limiting factor is often behaviour) but usually, unless you have buckets of money, will not be the most accommodating and understanding environment for anything but the most "manageable" SEN.

Another disadvantage of mainstream indie is ending up outside the system and having to fight harder to be heard and assessed if everything goes pear shaped.

ouryve Fri 19-Feb-16 22:38:18

Easier to obtain if your need is clear and you have significant top up, if you have dx, if school is behind you, if he is not making good progress.

Absolutely agree with this. Having DS1 in a school known for being inclusive, yet completely floundering, all the same, was probably key in being one of the few people to ever get a child into his Indie SS without going as far as tribunal.

LAsboys Fri 19-Feb-16 22:48:46

Yep that was one of my guesses really, that the problem with being 'out' of MS could be getting back in if needed. Bloody hell, feels perfectly designed to make you frustrated beyond all normal levels.
Don't know what to aim for as the best solution for him really, on a basic level it's so hard for him to just even hear in a class of 25 kids (he has Hearing aids) but I don't want him to go to a SS where the ratios are smaller but he's in the minority in terms of less severe needs than everyone else.

zzzzz Sat 20-Feb-16 09:14:01

But you wouldn't choose a SS where he was in the minority. Not all SS are the same they are focused at a particular level of need or disability. For example there are schools for children with physical difficulties, in our city there is a specialist school for the blind and another for the deaf, plus a more generic ss for children who need a secure environment and smaller classes, and another for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties all of which aim for the children to leave and go on to further education (ie get gcse's). I know that here we are not renowned for our provision so would assume there is more choice elsewhere.

You also don't know that with more robust support he wouldn't thrive in ms school.

Sit down and write a list of what would be ideal. Then build it in ms or find it in ss.

Some of it is also down to parental preference in that I prefer mine to be a big fish in a small pond than shark bait in a larger school. I think his life is quite a struggle and I want as many "I'm the best" feelings for him growing up as I can.

I should also add that getting in to a SS is similar to trying for Grammar School (and I have been through both processes with different children in the last few years). That is, its hard and every place is massively over subscribed. It's a common misconception that the children in SS are the ones who's parents have "settled" NOTHING could be further from the truth. We are waiting to hear if we've got a place, the alternative is the top academy in my county and I will appeal if that is where he is allocated.

LAsboys Sat 20-Feb-16 10:27:18

I don't think there is more choice of provision here and I'm told our LA is renowned for being extremely difficult (more so than usual) to get an EHC from.
I've been speaking with a charity (Supportive Parents) who tell me there are just three SS schools in our area and all are for severe learning and physical disability. I can't help but wonder about the impact that may have on him but I can definitely look and see for myself when the time is right. There is a local deaf school but for various reasons and not least that he doesn't use BSL I don't think thats the right thing and you say zzzzz I know places are hard to come by.

Anyway the discussion here has been enough to convince me that whatever the plan we need to go for it and see what it brings so I'll get on with it. I can't say I'm massively hopeful, as supportive as the school are they are on their 3rd SENCo in 3 years and DS currently has an NQT so we aren't going into this with the most experienced team and I know the importance of knowing how to jump the hoops, use the right language etc.

On a different note zzzzz, you've said you have an other child - do they currently attend the same or a different school? I know its a small consideration in the scheme of things but I do wonder on the impact of different schools for mine, it isn't sustainable long term but actually its one of the small things that make me feel sad. My eldest two are 18 months apart so two consecutive school years, it'll be a shame when they aren't together.

zzzzz Sat 20-Feb-16 11:05:58

My boy I am trying to get into SS is a twin so I do understand that sadness. I have a large family and send my children to the schools that suit them and then make that work but I know people who do it the other way around. I'm very pro selective education though so any other approach would be weird in our family.

Tricky10 Sat 20-Feb-16 15:49:24

My DD is recently ADHD diagnosed, mild dyspraxia and sensory issues. She is at a private school with Sen support but I feel that school are just letting her drift and there is no realisation of her potential (she is year 4). All assistance thus far has been paid by us privately. I am really struggling to understand the EHCP rationale / process. Would someone mind summarising how this works and what would be next steps - discussing with school if they are in agreement ?

zzzzz Sat 20-Feb-16 17:10:43

are you intending to keep her in prep Tricky?

Tricky10 Sat 20-Feb-16 17:56:17

Do you mean keep her at a private school ? Seriously considering a move to the state sector as I would love to give up work and am unconvinced of the merits of a fee paying education on the basis of my experiences with my DD.

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