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Need to get a Statement for DD2 and really don't know where to start

(9 Posts)
Sparkletastic Tue 08-Sep-09 17:58:37

DD2 is 3 and due to start school Sept 2010. She has Congenital Hypothyroidism and severely delayed speech and language and locomotor skills and has moderate hearing loss in both ears. Nursery are fab but I am conscious that I really need to get informed and drive this process. I have applied for a Key Worker (have asked for her Early Years teacher that visits her at nursery). She already receives support for a Hearing Support Teacher and VERY infrequent SALT (very poor provision in this area) along with Early Years teaching support. She has a paediatrician, an encrinologist and audiology consultants seeing her regularly and receives some physio and OT.

Any good books or web-sites or MN threads that anyone can recommend please? I understand from nursery that I have to cultivate uberbitch highly assertive persona as it is likely to be a long hard fight sad. I have no idea what my chances are but am positive she will need a 1:1 for part of the time in Reception.

Apologies as I'm sure this sort of thread gets started all the time but I tried to search and struggled with which threads to look at. TIA

lou031205 Tue 08-Sep-09 19:41:29

The first thing you need to do is visit www.ipsea.org.uk. There are model letters for all stages of the process. You need to write to your council's Chief Education Officer, asking for a statuory assessment - just use the IPSEA letter.

They will send you back a pack, and you will have an opportunity to state why you feel that she needs an assessment. This is also an opportunity to give further evidence, such as doctors' letters, etc.

The LEA then has 6 weeks to decide whether they will assess your DD. You have right of appeal if they turn her down.

If they decide to assess, they will assess using Ed Psych, SALT, OT, etc. Then they will make a decision whether to statement or not. You have right of appeal if they decide not to.

If they issue a statement, they will send you a proposed statement, and you can ask to change bits. They may or may not agree. You have right of appeal if they won't agree to specific features of the statement.

Get the first stage letter sent, and get the clock ticking. It takes 6 months if all is smooth running, and longer if there is a need to appeal at any stage. We only have 11 months until it is too late (It all closes down for August).

Sparkletastic Tue 08-Sep-09 19:57:37

Thanks lou - incredibly useful. May I ask whether you are you a parent or a professional in the SN arena? Either way would you say that I have to be very pushy / assertive or does success or failure depend purely on the clinical evidence?

Sparkletastic Tue 08-Sep-09 20:01:45

And another question - I see that the model letters on ipsea.org assume your child is already at school. Does this mean I am doing this too early and should in fact wait until DD2 starts in reception in 2010?

Jen2009 Tue 08-Sep-09 20:57:17

I am starting the statementing process myself and our ABA provider -- who is very experienced-- recently advised that we should definitely start the statementing as soon as possible -- before reception. The reason she gave was that once your child is in school the LEA will argue that your child can what he/she needs in school; so, actually, you have a much better chance at statement which includes other kinds of help if you ask for it BEFORE your child starts reception.

lou031205 Wed 09-Sep-09 09:10:10

Sparkletastic - goodness no! I am just a parent with a child with SN. She has a brain malformation which is quite subtle, but affects her in almost every respect in some way, including behaviour.

I know what I know from many, many hours trawling the archives of the SN board, and reading all the experiences of the other parents on here.

WRT pushiness - You need to take control of the process. If the 'school' apply for the statement, they have no right of appeal. If you wait until your DD is in reception year, then she will spend most of that year with very little support whilst the application is processed, and the LEA may well say that she has to be shown to make no process on School Action, then School Action Plus, which are the 'in-house' special needs categories under management of the individual school.

You don't need to be agressive, but just very very aware of what is the right procedure, what you want, what your daughter needs. You need to be unwavering in your certainty that without substantial additional support, your daughter's education and welfare will be failed.

Clinical evidence is of course crucial, because that is the 'teeth' of your arguments. What parent wouldn't want their child to be prioritised given the chance? Having a hearing loss on its own is not reason for help. If your DD is an expert observer of body language and lip reads, she may not be at any disadvantage, for example. Having a brain malformation on its own, in my DD's case, would not be enough to give extra help. It is the effect that has on DD that will get her the help.

You may need to be even more assertive if your DD is quite passive and well behaved, because if she doesn't cause trouble to the teachers, there is a tendency to think the child is OK. You need to push for her to receive an education that will let her meet her abilities, not just 'exist' in a classroom.

I would highly recommend spending a few hours looking at past posts around statemtenting. And send that letter!

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 09-Sep-09 09:42:05

Would concur with the other counsel here; you need to get the letter requesting statutory assessment into the LEA asap. Do not wait until she is in Reception year.

Sparkletastic Wed 09-Sep-09 20:48:55

Thanks lou, Jen and Attila. Nursery have already got the ball rolling and made an appointment for Ed Psych to visit DD2. I spent my lunch hour at work scouring the internet today for useful advice to back up the essential MN input! I work for an LEA which means I can access a lot of internal documents that might not otherwise be available to me - sort of lucky but also a bit odd to find myself in the 'punter' role after 15 years working there shock.

DD's main issue is she is very hard to understand unless you have spent some considerable time with her and are 'tuned in'. She also cannot answer many direct questions or participate in activities where verbal responses are required. She cannot do anything other than scribble and falls frequently. I'm concerned about some posts from parents saying anything deemed to be in the SALT arena is resisted by the LEA as they try and lump it on NHS. DD gets only twice termly SALT visits as SALT has said she is too difficult for her to help (in more sophisticated words!). Is it best to emphasise other issues over need for speech therapy do you think?

lou031205 Wed 09-Sep-09 22:22:26

I wouldn't be emphasising Speech therapy per se, but using a 'whole child' approach, and emphasising communication. Right now, your DD's main need is not to speak clearly so that others have an easy life, but to be able to communicate her needs and wants, be able to participate. How that is achieved is through additional supportive measures which can only be applied on a consistent basis throughout the day with a statement in place.

That's what I'd be saying if she were my DD, at any rate. It is irrelevant what the SALT feels she can achieve, the LEA have an obligation to meet her educational needs, and that at a very base level, means supporting her communication, whether introducing PECS, Makaton, having a dedicated supporter who tunes in to your DD, etc.

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