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assessments for EHCP

(26 Posts)
windowdrawing Fri 03-Feb-17 07:28:09

Hi, I am after some advice about when to get assessments done for an EHCP. (I am getting confused with conflicting advice IRL and from reading).

I have just applied for an EHCP for my daughter (ASC) who is 9 and mostly home educated though we have arranged for her to attend a few days a week in a local indi specialist school.

We have OT reports but these are over a year old. I'm pretty sure we will have to get an EP assessment and maybe up-to-date OT but wondered when the best time to book the assessments would be?

Also does anyone have any recommendations for EPs or sensory OTs (SE England) who take on tribunal work (LA is a difficult one).

many thanks

Userone1 Fri 03-Feb-17 09:22:16

I think you need to look at timescales for the process and take into account appeal time too.

Bearing in mind after assessment LA can refuse to issue...tribunal

Draft issued....needs amending, LA refuse, finalise....tribunal

Also experts are usually fully booked so need to book in advance.

I would fully recommend EP David Urani. OT we used was excellent, however she has moved and I'm not sure she covers SE. I will dig her name out from paperwork, if no one has any better suggestions for you.

windowdrawing Fri 03-Feb-17 10:11:13

Thanks userone I'd appreciate those details if you get a chance. So, given that we got the application in at the start of Jan should I be booking these appointments now? Sorry, I'm finding it all a bit confusing

scrabble1 Fri 03-Feb-17 10:13:12

Hi the IPSEA website is very good. Has helped me nagivate the maze. Hope that helps 😊

Userone1 Fri 03-Feb-17 10:39:42

It depends on what evidence you already have.

Generally getting them to agree to assess is the easier part. You just have to prove your child may has SEN's and may need provision. Personally I did not bother with expert reports at this stage.

Here www.ipsea.org.uk/file-manager/SENlaw/common-misconception-test-for-triggering-ehc-needs-assessment.pdf

I waited until draft stage to book assessment on the assumption amendments would be needed, LA would refuse and I may have to go tribunal.

I will pm you OT details later, I am just on my way out.

Userone1 Fri 03-Feb-17 10:42:26

You can always cancel assessment appointments, if not needed or rearrange at no cost.

When you contact to book tell experts what stage you are at and they can advise best time for assessment too.

windowdrawing Fri 03-Feb-17 10:50:01

Brilliant- thanks scrabble and userone!

tartanterror Sat 04-Feb-17 19:26:26

If you have submitted an EHC assessment request you have presumably put in some evidence with the request? What did you include? Lots of people recommend putting in a request with a simple letter but I don't think that works well. Its better to pile in lots of evidence to make it easy for them to say yes...

This first stage is an application for Assessment - the legal test is "may the child have SEN" and "may the child benefit from a plan". You just need to prove these 2 things at this first point. This is a very low threshold and if unsuccessful the appeals are done on review of papers (no hearing) since August 2016 in 12 weeks rather than the old 20. So you need to have your basic evidence ready to present in the first, say 14 weeks, of the initial request to assess application.

ASD is usually considered as an SEN in its own right so diagnosis paperwork would be enough evidence. It then maybe helps to highlight what specific areas of SEN exist under the "4 areas of need" listed out in the SEN Code of Practice. Also a list of all the professionals involved in your case and any referrals you are waiting to hear about.

"may benefit from a plan" is possibly more difficult to prove. The usual way used by LAs is that the school is spending more than £6k but we used a couple of letters from psychologists saying that they thought this would help. As you are home ed you will probably need some supportive medical professionals as there is no school to provide supporting evidence.

I imagine that as you are Home Ed you may have to say what you hope to achieve from an assessment or plan.

Why do you think you will need additional assessments?

The EHC assessment should cover an EP report - you would only need a report if you think your LA will refuse to assess and you want to appeal. You should know within 6 weeks of your application whether you will be assessed or not. Have you had an acknowledgement letter yet?

Ruth Birnbaum's office seemed to be on a 3 month lead-in....

windowdrawing Sun 05-Feb-17 20:36:46

Thanks for your informative response tartanterror - I realise I haven't explained very well in my first post - although I am home educating I have arranged for my daughter to attend some sessions every week at a local specialist independent school and she seems to be managing here, despite high levels of anxiety, as the school is understanding, flexible and meets her needs (2 mainstreams didn't, and she ended up unable to attend which is why we started home ed)

This type of education seems to suit her - she finds most HE groups too big/unpredictable but is very keen for some structured learning alongside peers.

So the EHCP would be to get attendance at this school funded. Also looking forward to secondary - there is a state specialist school in the next county where we think she could flourish.

I have been told that it will be a fight to get LA to agree to this and that she would need at least a very good EP assessment and report to get this. Which is why I think we will need an EP report even if they agree to assess?

When I applied I sent the diagnosis letter along with OT reports detailing her sensory processing issues, and letters from her old mainstream stating they felt there were developmental issues, she was isolated from peers etc. I also included a lot of info from us.

We have had email acknowledgement of receipt form the LA.

Hope this makes sense - I keep getting interrupted by children! Thanks for reading

amunt Sun 05-Feb-17 21:14:20

If it is a difficult LA like my awful Herts, you will be forced to go to Tribunal whatever evidence you give them. The problem with doing an EP assessment now is that, by the time you get to Tribunal the LA will argue in court it's outdated and trump it with one of their own done just at the last minute. If we had done one for the actual EHCP assessment we would have had to do another one for the Tribunal. I didn't quite get this until I realised how cynical our lot are. But that is just my experience - double check with IPSEA or SOSSEN. And, only heard good things about David Urani, but he is only in UK 6 months a year- I think he goes to Australia around December.

windowdrawing Sun 05-Feb-17 22:32:25

Thank you amunt, that's useful - it is a difficult LA which is why I don't want to A. do the wrong thing and mess up our chances and B. preferably not spend a lot of money unneccessarily! I am going to check with IPSEA or SOSSEN too - have done quite a bit of reading on their websites but need to do more.

Userone1 Mon 06-Feb-17 06:30:03

2 failed ms placements is good evidence, do you have evidence that she couldn't attend due to anxiety? The fact she can attend the SS is good evidence, will they support your assessment request?

As far as I'm aware David should have been back in U.K. in October. I used him very recently. He will be able to say what kind of setting is needed. That's all you need an expert to back up what you are saying.

I was lucky, as LA EP agreed with his report and also said ds needed an EHCP and for the SS that ds had been attending to be named.

windowdrawing Mon 06-Feb-17 07:24:13

That's brilliant thanks user one, I've emailed David. The MS schools didn't seem to accept or want to acknowledge the extent of her difficulties, rarely answered emails or put targets in writing, despite their promises. We were living with such high levels of stress by then and I was trying -I thought -to build a good working relationship with the second school (who'd told us they would be supportive) that I dropped the ball on getting much of a paper trail. Another worry.

She was included in a lunchtime group when she struggled with play outside, had sensory circuits and a social skills group. They never agreed to things she rea!ly needed like a quiet space.

However I have some things in writing from her first school as they had to write a letter saying they felt she had developmental issues as they wanted us to get her assessed! Then pretty much pretended everything was fine after that, hinting it was all separation anxiety and my fault, despite telling us she was isolated, not focusing on activities, was taking herself out of the classroom, putting her hands over her ears.... I have our emails asking for meetings and detailing the school refusal, her distress and some of the things she was saying about school, but these were generally not answered. So we don't have much written stuff from the schools.

But the SS is being very supportive which is great.

Userone1 Mon 06-Feb-17 07:44:28

No evidence from Gp of anxiety?

Also your dd was not refusing school, she couldn't cope as school were unable to meet her needs! (Worth reworded)

The emails are good evidence, you don't need a reply for a paper trail, the fact they went unanswered is good evidence too. School could not work with to try and resolve.

And the fact she can successfully attend SS is good evidence too.

Oh and I got date wrong with David! He was leaving the UK in October, not coming back! Hopefully he might be back now.

windowdrawing Mon 06-Feb-17 08:00:29

Thanks user one good point about not coping with school rather than school refusing. Have been to GP a few times re anxiety. 2referrals to CAMHS - the first one we heard nothing - second time they offered incredible me and TAF type thing which I put on hold as we had some private therapy arranged but we're actually going back today to GP to ask to go ahead with CAMHS as anxiety and negative emotions are still having a huge impact on everyday activities and life.

Don't know if you or anyone else has experience of these things from CAMHS?

Userone1 Mon 06-Feb-17 08:19:33

Oh yes, my ds very similar position to you, numerous failed ms placements due to school related anxiety. He now attends SS and is thriving with lots of support.

We have been back and forth to CAMHS for years, several times, years of therapy etc

My ds has school related anxiety, so wasn't particularly very helpful. Maybe better if anxiety is more generalised to other settings.

CAMHS focus on the child's 'inner world'. They don't take environmental factors into account. So for example if school is the cause of anxiety, then changes need to be made there, as trying to just change the child, doesn't work in my experience. Square peg round hole situation.

They might prove helpful in identifying that school environment is main cause of anxiety, if that's what you think the cause is.

Megatherium Mon 06-Feb-17 09:46:15

It's probably not worth getting assessments now - they're expensive and LAs don't pay much attention to private assessments anyway. It's probably better to wait till it looks inevitable that you will have to go to tribunal, but bear in mind that good experts get very booked up. Try Valerie Hero for the EP assessment, and Melinda Silson for OT.

Userone1 Mon 06-Feb-17 09:53:20

We used Valerie years ago, have to say I much preferred David.

Never used Melinda, she was recommended, by our previous OT. Spoke to her though and she was lovely.

windowdrawing Mon 06-Feb-17 10:51:21

Thanks Megatherium and userone. I have heard that kind of thing about CAMHS and am not really keen to get involved as I know it can be counterproductive for a lot of people. But my daughter's anxiety is high a lot if the time and, although much much lower than when she was in MS (no more nightmares, able to sleep better etc) it still stops her doing many everyday things like leaving the house at times, participating in small educational or social groups. She can also get v anxious in her SS over things like social misunderstandings, friendships... the difference is they listen and sort things out as much as possible. So I'm not sure what would be a better option for help than CAMHS. More paying for private,?

Userone1 Mon 06-Feb-17 11:09:53

Your dd sounds extremely similar to my ds.

Does your SS not have emotional wellbeing therapist?

windowdrawing Mon 06-Feb-17 11:38:01

Not sure I will ask. It sounds good!

Userone1 Mon 06-Feb-17 11:45:56

A therapist in school, who can address anxiety across the curriculum has really helped ds, much more than isolated CAMHS therapy.

Plus the environment, ds's school specialise in anxiety and mental health.

Good luck

windowdrawing Mon 06-Feb-17 12:02:41

thank you that does sound ideal. The SS secondary we want for her has a lot of knowledge about mental health in ASD which is partly why we think she needs that particular school.. Glad you've been able to get such good help with your DS. smile

Megatherium Mon 06-Feb-17 18:47:47

A friend of mine used DU and found that he seemed to lose faith in his report when the tribunal was approaching. She was thanking her lucky stars that the speech therapist was there as she made a much stronger witness.

Userone1 Mon 06-Feb-17 19:31:19

I've never seen him as a witness. LA backed down prior to Tribunal both times I used him.

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