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Speech & Language, ASD, Tribunal, discussion/tips please

(9 Posts)
kafkesque Thu 02-Feb-17 19:20:32

DS is not progressing in his Speech & Language all the reports look very similar and his Speech & Language is very similar to the age of when he was three, at diagnosis. This will be my main basis for tribunal to attain DS a specialist ASD school that can cope with his Speech & Language needs.

Is it possible for a full assessment by an ASD specialist SALT of the difficulties his ASD gives him in terms of both expressive and receptive language skills and then suitable therapy depending on the results?

Each time we make contact there is an excuse and feel we are being fobbed off. There has been no report even though there is a EHCplan review booked for March.

In our last tribunal there was more senior SLT evidence whom awarded DS more therapy hours.

His Teacher said that the correct language is modelled to DS

The above is basically our Speech & Language, ASD, Tribunal story.

Any discussion/tips are gratefully received I don't expect we have a cat's chance in hell as we are in Hertfordshire.

zzzzz Thu 02-Feb-17 22:17:24

How old is he?

kafkesque Thu 02-Feb-17 23:01:24


zzzzz Thu 02-Feb-17 23:14:51

Modelling correct language is necessary but is certainly not enough.
I think a phone call to Blossom house or ICAN might help. Talking to people who understand language difficulties is really helpful.

kafkesque Fri 03-Feb-17 09:23:34

This will be my main basis for tribunal to attain DS2 a specialist ASD school that can cope with his Speech & Language needs:
DS2 isn't making progress within his area of need (speech and language) and he needs provision over and above what the school can provide using your delegated resources.
His autism is causing a huge barrier to his learning of speech and language which school needs to address by managing it better to enable him to progress in speech and language. This can only be done in a Specialist ASD school such as Another school.
-What progress has he made? How is it measured? What was the starting point? How does this compare with progress in other areas? Is the gap widening or narrowing? Is the progress steady or sporadic? What intervention has he had and what was the impact?

The provision that has been put in place already how effective is it? How do you know? What provision is left that could be tried within the school's resources?
What does DS2 need, in your opinion?
Remember, though, that progress isn't defined in the SEN CoP in numerical format:

5:42 Adequate progress can be defined in a number of ways. It might, for instance, be progress which:
- closes the attainment gap between the child and their peers
-prevents the attainment gap growing wider
-is similar to that of peers starting from the same attainment baseline, but less than that of the majority of peers
-matches or betters the child’s previous rate of progress
-ensures access to the full curriculum
-demonstrates an improvement in self-help, social or personal skills
-demonstrates improvements in the child’s behaviour.

So the SEN Code of Practice itself does not hold adequate progress to be 2 full levels between KS1 and KS2, and it is the SEN Code of Practice that the Tribunals must refer to.

If DS2 is making 'some' progress, then the core of our disagreement with HCC will be whether that 'some' progress constitutes 'adequate' progress.

What progress has been made either quantitative or qualitative?
But as far as I can see it's down to this:

1. I just have to prove that he may need help to further improve his communication at tribunal to get a different school

2. Every area of his needs to be making-

3. adequate progress will need to have been made,

4. Especially in Speech and language and social and emotional areas.

7:49 of the SEN Code of Practice says:

"In the light of evidence about the child’s learning difficulty, LEAs should consider the action taken and, in particular, should ask whether:
the school or setting has, in consultation with outside specialists, formulated, monitored and regularly evaluated IEPs and whether the child’s progress, measured by criterion referenced or standardised tests, continues to be significantly and consistently less than that which may be expected for the majority of children following such programmes. "

That means that when we are making our argument for another school, we have to argue not that DS2 is making less progress than same aged peers, but that he is making significantly and consistently less than other children who have the same provision as him.

"Although needs and requirements can usefully be organised into areas, individual pupils may well have needs which span two or more areas. For example, a pupil with general learning difficulties may also have behavioural difficulties or a sensory impairment. Where needs are complex in this sense it is important to carry out a detailed assessment of individual pupils and their situations. However, the accumulation of low-level difficulties may not in itself equate with a school being unable to meet the child’s needs through school-based provision. In some cases pupils will have needs that are not only complex but also severe.

It isn't necessarily that the school are doing everything they can for DS2. It's possible that the school have further measures they can use without EHCPlan but aren't. If that’s the case, that is what needs to change.

No condition is a passport to meeting the 'complex' definition. What matters is how it impacts on the child's education. ASD is, by its nature, pervasive, however, so that's a start.

My argument is that each of DS2's difficulties on their own are not severe, but they layered together to create a profile that is extremely complex this is why he needs to go to Another school.

knittingwithnettles Fri 03-Feb-17 10:05:51

The LA assessed my child has having no particular speech and language needs because he is very articulate. However, a private SALT (Karen Lansdell in this instance - Surrey I think) gave a detailed feedback on his areas of impairment in receptive language, and his comprehension skills, which was further affecting his processing of spoken language in the classroom, and therefore his academic progress.

Might you be able to stretch to a private assessment to use as evidence at Tribunal; you might find it clinches it, if you get someone able to state your case for you and show exactly in which percentile he falls for his understanding of language, so there can be no ifs and buts about his level of need. The SALT in ds's case said he needed a small classroom to meet his needs. However, we never went to Tribunal as the EHCP named the school we wanted and the LA conceded. We however, did not want a specialist school... If we had, the SALT report would have been invaluable.

Our LA report was very woolly and said vague things like social communication needs. In fact we never even had a proper assessment, now that I think of it, they discharged him without seeing him angry I think there are enough children with severe language needs needing help from the LA SALTs that they tend to neglect the children with more invisible language disorders, even if that neglect majorly impacts that young's person ability to access education/anxiety/breakdown etc. They are firefighting.

All I can say is that ds was given a package of SALT in his EHCP, to be funded by the LA rather than the school, and he still hasn't got it, but in a funny way, his language has improved dramatically due to excellent teaching and drama classes, so I don't feel so strongly he needs it now, certainly compared to other pupils. We also intervened a lot when he was early teens at home, so I suppose we were giving him to some degree our own bespoke SALT programme, having been informed by the SALT report we had done in Year 8, where his areas of difficulty were.

kafkesque Sat 04-Feb-17 12:18:27

Yes, it looks as if we need to get our previous private SALT to do another report and ask them to compare and contrast between the two reports to get the answers we are looking for tribunal. This would be helpful if they will do it.

As well as applying for a Subject Access Request to get more information on our son.

knittingwithnettles Sat 04-Feb-17 14:21:23

ou need to ask your SALT whether she is prepared to write the report in such a way that is supports your need for a specialist school, and prepared to attend Tribunal. The first SALT we had, although she was clear about his percentiles and deficits, was not prepared to attend Tribunal as I think she had some dealings with the LA (package of therapy???) and did not wish to jeopardise this relationship. She never said this, just that she was not experienced or familiar with Tribunal set up...One of her colleagues had worked for some time with ds on social communication skills and wrote a report showing his difficulties, but she was still not experienced at Tribunal. So you need to check this, before you commission a report. Independent SALTs are very expensive. We were in the South East and it was about £1000, and more for Tribunal attendance although we didn't get to that stage. You could say it is worth it, if it allows your child to go to a specialist school which you could otherwise never afford. But it is pretty grim, the figures involved.

For example our SALT report mentioned that 1:1 SALT was not the answer for ds, but classroom strategy and small tailored classes, hence need for a specialist school.

kafkesque Sat 04-Feb-17 16:57:31

I also want to stress the importance of his speech and language (as it underpins literacy) by using the Case Law from Lancashire:

In this case, known as the ‘Lancashire judgement’, M had a statement which specified speech therapy provision under part 3 as ‘special educational provision’. When that provision was not made, the LA claimed that they had made a clerical error when writing the statement and that speech therapy must always be ‘non-educational provision’ on the grounds that speech therapists are employed by health authorities.

The judgement included this comment:
“To teach an adult who has lost his larynx because of cancer might be considered as treatment rather than education. But to teach a child who has never been able to communicate by language, whether because of some chromosomal disorder ... or because of social cause ... seems to us just as much educational provision as to teach a child to communicate in writing.”

Under the new law, the position as it was under case law (from this case and from the Bromley case which you will also find in this case law section) has now been included in the statutory definitions of the different types of provision which can be in an EHC plan. Section 21 (5) of the Children and Families Act 2014 now specifically provides:
“Health care provision or social care provision which educates or trains a child or young person is to be treated as special educational provision (instead of health care provision or social care provision).”

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