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ECHP for Academically Achieving but Socially (and Emotionally) Struggling DS

(22 Posts)
rosalux Wed 01-Mar-17 13:46:32

DS1 is 5.5 and currently in Y1 at a MS academy school. We are in the process of ASD assessment, mostly due to his explosive and challenging behaviour at school and at home, which led to 3 fixed term exclusions in the half term before Christmas. Over and since Christmas his behaviour has improved considerably, due in large part I am sure to the fact that school have implemented a number of strategies - calm space, advance warnings, daily PECS planner etc - and crucially employed a 1:1 TA with whom he works for large parts of the day. I feel that without this level of support DS1 will quickly regress to the point where due to his disruptive and unsafe behaviour (shouting, pushing tables, hitting staff, lying on the floor and kicking etc) is unable to be in school full time or at all.

The Paed who referred him for assessment made quite clear that he would not be suitable for a SS and the Ed Psych we saw privately felt that he was almost certainly gifted. At school he is exceeding NC targets in literacy and numeracy etc, despite being almost the youngest in the year (late August birthday). Socially, however, he remains incredibly sensitive to criticism, prone to emotional outbursts and screaming on a daily basis and struggles to make/maintain friendships, appreciate social norms/personal space etc.

SENCO has said point blank that he won't get an EHCP , which I think is because of the campaign of disinformation our LA has been feeding schools, and as an ex-litigation lawyer I am confident she is wrong, but I would like to hear of others' experiences in similar positions regarding the sort of information that went into successful EHCP requests/appeals for academically achieving children. What do you think forced the LA to grant the request/appeal and make the assessment despite themselves?

Megatherium Wed 01-Mar-17 14:01:56

What's an SS?

Have a good look at the SEN Code of Practice, especially the bits that emphasise that SEN really is not all about the academic stuff and is at least as much about social and emotional issues. The LA will talk about the fact that he is making progress, but you need to emphasise that he obviously isn't making progress in terms of his behaviour and the anxiety etc that probably underlies it; also his behaviour may well be affected by sensory difficulties and frustration at his communication problems.

The criteria for assessment are whether you child may have SEN and whether he may need the support of an EHC Plan. That in turn depends on things like whether his needs can be met within the resources normally available in mainstream schools. If his needs are only being met because he is spending so much time with a TA, I suspect the reality is that that is going beyond normal mainstream resources, which is a large part of what you need to prove. It may however be worth exploring the possibility of assessment by an OT and SALT to see whether he should be getting extra provision for sensory/motor needs and communication.

rosalux Wed 01-Mar-17 14:34:07

Hi Megatherium

SS = special school; apologies for not being clear. SALT are coming into school in 2 weeks to assess and I think they determine if an OT referral is made. TBH although he probably does have some sensory issues they're quite minor compared to others I've read about. He's fine at the cinema/soft play/swimming pools and parties etc (there are issues with some of those places, but not sensory ones) although I appreciated that the school environment may just be overload, especially when added to the work and absence of choosing (free play), a massive bone of contention in Y1 generally but particularly for DS1.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 01-Mar-17 16:12:49

Its not the senco's job to decide who gets an EHCP and who doesnt! It sounds like he needs a statutory assessment to find out if he needs one. Dont be afraid to do a parental request. If you need to appeal the whole process can take a long time so I would apply now. The support that is currently in place for your son is not guaranteed without an EHCP.

Good luck flowers

tartanterror Wed 01-Mar-17 19:55:47

I've just made a parental request and DS is being assessed - despite being told repeatedly by professionals of different types that we wouldn't qualify. I suggest doing the IPSEA foundation law course (in person or online) as it was a huge help to me. You may also want to consider paying for a sensory OT report. We got paperwork evidence to support our application from various NHS professionals but the OT one was really handy as it quantified his motor and social/emotional differences against average expected levels. So I had a somewhat objective measure of delay. I also had a massive list of problem behaviours that indicated unmet needs. Pm me your email adddress and I can send you a redacted version. A friendly mumsnetter helped me similarly so I'm happy to do the same if you pass yours on in due course to help someone else smile

rosalux Wed 01-Mar-17 20:54:25

That's really kind of you tartanterror. I'll PM you asap

user1476527701 Wed 01-Mar-17 21:58:59

He sound very like my ds who is in year two who is also exceeding levels and being assessed for asd. im going into school soon to discuss echp which school have instigated the meeting for. Not sure if he will get it, not getting my hopes up. Senco said he won't without a diagnosis

Ineedmorepatience Wed 01-Mar-17 22:04:43

Its supposed to be based on needs not on diagnosis user. Dont be fobbed off!

ouryve Wed 01-Mar-17 22:32:23

DS1 is incredibly intelligent but struggles socially and with emotional regulation. He's in year 8, now, but had a statement when he started in reception and is now in a specialist setting.

Absolute academic achievement is exactly the red herring you think it is. Imagine how well he'd be doing if he wasn't struggling with the whole issue of being at school - academic achievement is only a valid indicator of need for an EHCP when compared with similarly able peers.

EHCPs are given on the basis of other criteria, too - social functioning, as you are aware, but also mental health. A child who is distressed and angry is not in a good place with their mental health and one of the aims of an EHCP is to preserve mental health. DS1's is full of goals towards better self regulation and how he needs to be supported with this.

ouryve Wed 01-Mar-17 22:36:38

And yes to Tartanerror's suggestions. Sensory OT report cost us £500 but took our case beyond "mum has read a book" when we wanted to move him out of mainstream in year 5. The IPSEA course is exactly what you'll need if you end up with a fight on your hands, because it covers the SEN code of practice and other legislation and advisory documents and wil help you to say to the LA " well, this is your duty because..."

rosalux Thu 02-Mar-17 08:12:14

Thanks for all your input. It's so helpful to have this when the entire process seems designed to make it as off-putting as possible. Even as an ex-barrister I'm finding the sheer volume of legislation/guidance etc daunting. I printed off the EHCP chapter of the statutory guidance and it alone was 60 pages!

ouryve the point you make about MH is really interesting. Would you be able to share the goals in your DS's EHCP? I appreciate that this is the next step but if I had an idea of what sort of support he could receive - over and above that which school are already providing - that would help me shape the request I think.

I would like an OT report and may investigate costs. We've already spent over £1000 on a private Ed Psych assessment and various music/play therapy sessions.

Melawati Thu 02-Mar-17 09:44:25

My DD has a very similar sounding profile to ouryve's DS.
She's in Y9 now and in a specialist setting working towards GCSEs. So it is absolutely possible to get an EHCP for health and social and emotional needs.
We didn't have to fight for it. I think we were lucky, but DD had deteriorated very rapidly and it was clear to almost everyone that saw her that mainstream wouldn't be an option. The LA EP said something along the lines of it was irrelevant how clever she was if she couldn't access education at all.
DD's is part funded by health and part by education.

Shineyshoes10 Thu 02-Mar-17 10:06:15

My DS has an EHCP, despite being academically very able. He is, however, emotionally and socially immature with a host of MH and physical dx. We got everything we wanted in the EHCP without a fight. His MS school were incredibly supportive and put in place masses of support before and during the process, including full time 1:1, unfortunately this wasn't enough, I believe this helped. What I think 'won' it for us was DS injuring himself, another child and school staff in front of a LA observer. He is still out of school, attending a CAMHS day unit, because there isn't a SS.

DS's is also part funded by health, and there was some debate over who paid for what to begin with.

DH is a solicitor, when we started applying he didn't have a clue about education law, we still needed advice from here, IPSEA on occasion and his friend who had more knowledge of education law. I can see exactly why some families are put off applying because they are daunted by the system.

Megatherium Thu 02-Mar-17 10:09:06

If you're in the south (or possibly even if you aren't) you'd probably find attending one of SOS SEN's workshops on EHCPs very helpful. They go through the process very thoroughly but, as they keep numbers small, can also deal with specific issues relating to the particular circumstances of the people attending.

Shineyshoes10 Thu 02-Mar-17 10:14:43

Sorry, DS's is also part funded by health and social care, so a 3 way funding disagreement.

Melawati Thu 02-Mar-17 12:15:50

so a 3 way funding disagreement.
grin
We have just found out that DD hadn't been getting any OT because it was on the health funded part and not the education. So school assumed someone else was doing it, because they're educationhmm

Shineyshoes10 Thu 02-Mar-17 13:26:03

hmm Melawati, did they not think to check?

Can I ask why your DD's OT is under health? DS's is under education. The SENCOP states if health or social care provision 'trains or educates' it belongs in F - and you can therefore appeal it.

The battle to get someone to 'own' physio was bigger than the rest put to together. Confused by the fact we live in one CCG and DS's main medical team and the CAMHS day unit are in another. They all threw it around like a hot potato with DS's medical team feeling very guilty stuck in the middle.

rosalux Thu 02-Mar-17 14:28:09

I'll definitely look into the SOS SEN workshops, but I suspect we're in the wrong part of the South (SW). DH is helpfully still a barrister and has some experience of education law as he was seconded to an LA a number of years ago and did a lot of it then. He also successfully represented one of our friends' sons at tribunal some years ago, but most people are not so fortunate and it really angers me that you basically have to call the LA out on their misinformation (or lies as DH prefers to call it) in order to get anywhere. I personally think school are doing what they can with limited resources and knowledge, and it's much better since DS1 changed classes - his first teacher simply radiated stress and hostility - but I know it's going to be a long-term struggle to get and keep the support he needs and is entitled to.

Melawati Thu 02-Mar-17 15:21:02

shiney you would think, wouldn't you? Particularly as they had requested the funding for the additional OT at consultation stage...
I honestly think the split was (almost) arbritrary, if it's not sorted now they know what they're supposed to be doing I shall be making noise with the LA.

OneInEight Fri 03-Mar-17 06:23:13

Mine also have statements (shortly to be transferred to EHCP) despite being academically able because of social, emotional, behavioural and academic needs.

The basic criteria for an award of an EHCP is that a child needs resources beyond that reasonably available for a school to supply. So at the moment if school has provided extra support that has improved the issues they may be reluctant to award one until they know to what extent this support helps.

Perhaps what you might need to do for the next couple of months is record behaviour so you have evidence to show to what extent the support school is currently offering is meeting his needs. When we applied for a statement for ours we used things like exclusions, other behavioural incidents at school, record of times when they were withdrawn from lessons. Basically anything that showed they were not fully accessing the curriculum or had social issues. Our school was good at documenting the issues - they used both an individual behaviour plan / record and a home school behaviour book so we had plenty of evidence in black and white never mind the exclusion letters.

rosalux Fri 03-Mar-17 07:43:26

That's a good point OneInEight. I'll ask the school what they have documented. It's parents' evening on Monday, so I will mention that we would like a meeting before Easter to discuss. I'd like to use the 10mins slot to talk about his school work; something we haven't actually looked at in any detail before as it seems this least important aspect of his time at school, ironically.

ouryve Fri 03-Mar-17 23:47:08

Sorry - this thread got bumped down for me - will look for relevant information tomorrow, if I get a minute's headspace!

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