Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Advice needed for friend who I feel is being fobbed off!(18 Posts)
I really want to help my friend. Her son just started nursery and is non verbal,no eye contact and generally delayed. The school have told her to go to her doctors and tell them to refer her son for social communication assessment in order to apply for funding.they also told her if he doesn't get an ehc plan he is not allowed to stay in the school!! Are they allowed to say this??? They said that he is disruptive always going his own thing etc and they cannot deal with him for a whole day.
They have told her as a mum she should also apply for an ehc as if the parents don't push it they will not get help. He very clearly has special needs what should the school be doing rather than tell her if he doesn't have an ehc plan they can't keep him at school as they can't support him!
I forgot to add he is in nursery at a mainstream school. They also said he has to be two years delayed which he so obviously is
They sound horrid but of course they are twisting things or she is receiving things in a slightly skewed way.
Is there a reason she wants this school?
Firstly the nursery would be acting unlawfully if they said that he cannot stay in their setting without an EHCP.
It may be good advice for your friend to see GP to request further assessment, is he already known to a Paediatrician or other specialist?- however there are things that the nursery should be doing too.
If they feel his behaviour is difficult to manage in the nursery they could apply for additional funding ( High Needs funding) from the local authority, but they would need to document why they needed it, what it would be used for and keep records of the effectiveness of how it is being used. The setting are able to apply for EHCP, but would have to provide evidence that they have exhausted all resources open to them. For example, the nursery are likely to have an Early Years Adviser available to them to support them in putting in strategies/support, have they contacted them? The nursery will have a SENCo - what have they said? How have they offered to support?
Indeed your friend could apply for an EHCP herself, but she would need evidence to show that he may have special needs. Even if a parent makes the initial request there is still a requirement on the setting to provide information about the level the child is working at and the strategies and support that have been put in place. It is not correct to say he has to be two years behind in order to 'qualify' for an EHCP.
How old is the boy? The school/nursery can get emergency funding and they should be contacting the Local Authority directly their end. EHCP at best take 20 weeks to finalise, and in reality can take longer if there is any refusal to assess at any point. The nursery is correct in that that she should apply asap if he presents as severely as your OP sounds, as they will need input from professionals to ensure he gets the correct support, rather than just trying to manage him with non-specially trained 1:1 worker.
I would also direct your friend towards IPSEA www.ipsea.org.uk/ and SOS!SEN www.sossen.org.uk/ who have detailed website and helplines who can talk her through what she needs to do and what the nursery/school can/can't do.
Has your friend tried to get referrals for him already, Speech and Language Therapy, pediatrician, audiology? If not she needs to request them asap, and should be able to refer directly to SALT, either via a drop on centre or by phone/online depending on how her Health Authority works. The others are typically accessed via GP &/HV.
I should add the EHCP is all about the child's needs and merely about providing the school with funding. I would be strongly advising to look at a different nursery that has more experience with SN.
argh that should be "and NOT about providing the school with funding".
Why isn't your friend posting?
The kindest and most helpful thing you can do is help HER to be the expert.
Thank you for your replies. Her meeting was with the senco and class nursery teacher. The school is a local school which is 'outstanding' and which his older brother attends. I'm really fuming for her she is really lost and actually feels thankful they are letting him attend the nursery
He turned three in August and they also said if she would like him to repeat the year too.
He is seen by speech therapist etc for block sessions and was seen by a paediatrician when he was younger but was told he has development delay and too young to diagnose.
Could they be saying all this because he doesn't have a diagnosis?
To echo zzzzz your friend needs to get informed on SEN education and not be led by this school.
It's far from unusual for preschoolers to be without a diagnosis so I doubt that is the cause. Some schools are better than others with SEN, and your friend should really look into others.
Has the Speech Therapist been into the nursery or had any communication with them at all? Was he discharged from the paediatrician or is he due to be seen again? It's easy to get fobbed off (I was with my eldest), but your friend needs to get in control and push forward.
The speech therapist hasn't been to school
But she said she would write a report for her same with occupational therapist. I just want to understand is a mainstream school allowed to say we cannot accept him in to reception if he doesn't have an ehc plan?
My understanding is no, if the school is allocated under the normal admissions process, they can't stop him starting. But that doesn't mean they can't exclude him once he's started if his behaviour is disruptive/aggressive. There's a strict process to do so, but some schools can make life very miserable. By law, they would have to make reasonable adjustments for him regardless of an EHCP, but the reality is you have to trust the school to do so, and this one is sending a very loud and clear message.
In fact if your friend applied for and got an EHCP, the school are approached by the LA with it and the school are given the opportunity to say if they can/can't meet his needs. So technically they can refuse him with one, but not without.
Thanks lot frayed for your very insightful reply. I think I will speak to her on Monday and contact SOS Sen and the other organisations mentioned to help her as she is at breaking point, so sad as parents already have enough crap to deal with!
I would also say don't over-focus on school just yet. The nursery are saying they are struggling to support him now. I would be looking to get the SALT, OT & SENCo together for an urgent meeting. These used to be called Team Around the Child meetings, but it's been a few years from my personal experience so no idea if that's still the correct name. I'm 90% sure parents can act as the lead and set one up, but that's another thing to check.
If it were me and circumstances allowed, I would be considering reducing the nursey hours and building back up when some additional support was in place. He has the absolute right to use his funded hours but I fall on the side of "is this the right thing for my child right now." At 3, without attendance pressures I'd be thinking hard on that.
It's wonderful you are so supportive, but it is going to be more beneficial the boy's parents to present as polite but informed in the long-term.
I can't stress enough how much better it would be to empower her by supporting her to get the information she needs rather than putting yourself in the process.
Sorry zzzz but I'm not putting 'myself in the process'. I am merely asking for advice for her as she is at breaking point and doesn't know what to do and asked me to help her, I'm sure anyone would do the same for a friend.
In addition to this, my daughter is in the same school with HFA (no ehc plan) herself and is having her needs met fantastically and thriving so i don't want to 'put myself in the process' and don't want to out myself with anymore info hope this makes sense
I didn't say don't help, I said empowering her to be seen as independent of your support and to feel she is, is the kindest and most helpful thing you can do. That shouldn't come across as critical of you or your experience.
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