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does speech delay or SLI count as SEN? how will it affect school applicn?

(9 Posts)
wheeler Sun 11-Sep-11 22:37:19

hello everyone. eventually my questions are going to be 1. do speech difficulties/delay, such as 'specific language impairment' count as a special educational need (SEN), and if so 2. will they be taken into account in a primary school application, ie will they enable us to ask for the small school near us rather than the enormous one whose catchment area we're in? 3. is this diagnosis process common, shd i be pushing anyone for more thorough investigation? but here's the back story:

my DS is 3.9. early this year (feb) he was still talking very little and a GP referred us to a paed who immediately ran through the ASD checklist (april) and informally said it was unusual for such a child not to end up with ASD diagnosis. that was all quite a bit to come to terms with. then in july he finally saw a speech and lang therapist, who assessed him as not ASD - she said he was making too much eye contact and was def attempting imaginative play - and as such said she thought diagnosis shd be more like 'specific language impairment', which i've read a bit about and does describe him but is also from my very lay point of view a bit of a catch all term for speech/lang/comms problems they can't classify. and he's still only 3 and they change so fast right?

the multiple referrals the paed initially made have taken ages, eg there's an outstanding OT assessment, and ongoing ear monitoring for glue ear which was ruled out in jan but they now think is significant (but helpfully i'm being told, you'll have to fight for treatment/grommets if needed, even though my son is really struggling with talking...).

so, we now have to apply for a primary school place for reception in sept 2012, and i have no idea where this process is leading, i don't understand the implications for his education, i don't know how to ensure some diagnosis is actually reached. critically i need to know whether we are talking recognised SEN or not cos i think this will determine the school - where we live in north london there is a massive squeeze on places and there's no way he'd be offered a place outside catchment other than as SEN. but does that mean a statement? the people advising me at nursery and local authority are kind of 'speaking in tongues' about it. i can't believe how complicated it is...

any advice or similar experiences? like loads of others on here, i really feel like despite my efforts i'm failing my son for 1. not being on top of the diagnosis 2. living in a place where schools are frankly not great 3. letting it go on 8 mths already...

thanks

TheNinjaGooseIsOnAMission Mon 12-Sep-11 13:31:08

1. sli does count as a sen.
2. you can try but without a statement and in an area pushed for places, probably not.
3. yes, this process is common and you should most definitely push for more.

it's massively steep learning curve you've been thrown onto, I certainly think I had that rabbit caught in the headlights look on my face for some time! Polite but firm is the way to go and don't be afraid to question why the doctor wants to wait or defer dx/refuse grommets.

What sort of paed did you see, was it developmental one who specialises in asd, did they do any of the recognised tests for asd. I wouldn't be happy with someone saying no asd due to good eye contact as there's a lot more to it than that. Did the salt give you a writen dx, that's really what you need? What do you think, you know your ds better than anyone.

it really depends how severe your ds' sli is as to how much effect there will be at school and how much support he will need. A good read for info is the sen code of practice it'll help explain the process and hopefully you'll also understand what the nursery and lea are saying! It's also best to bear in mind that schools and leas are going to be thinking about their budgets and will not necessarily . . . tries to be diplomatic . . . do what's best for your ds. Have you been in touch with your parent partnership service, they should be able to offer you some support, although do bear in mind, again, not always as impartial as they should be. If you feel your ds needs a statement then you can apply yourself, model letter here.

farming4 Mon 12-Sep-11 13:44:20

just been through this with ds2 (verbal dyspraxia and epilepsy). Filled in his school aplication and put down as much info as poss re his epilepsy - disability under DDA and his SEN of being completely non verbal (not statemented though)

Didn't make a blindest bit of difference! Place allocations have just been released and for the school he got there were no places allocated under SEN or disability so I could have saved myself the bother of going into extra info.

Thankfully the school have been fantastic and he has 1-1 TA (experienced SEN TA) for 15hrs a week.

Our LEA are not interested unless your dc has a statement and trying to get a statement is nigh on impossible in this area.

I would suggest you start applying for a statement now as it will take 6mths ( if it all goes smoothly - could take a lot, lot longer ) and give your local Parent Partnership a shout - they've always been happy to talk things through with me about ds. Good luck!

Tota1Xaos Mon 12-Sep-11 13:51:39

we ended up in the same position, no diagnosis other than language delay, no support in applying for schools. Please don't blame yourself. A lot of areas only play lipservice to early intervention. One thing you could try if GP/paed/salt are supportive is a letter saying that a smaller school would be better for him in their professional opinion. It can be swings and roundabouts tho - as sometimes bigger schools can have better experience in helping kids with SN, have better resources etc.

wheeler Tue 13-Sep-11 20:48:42

thanks ever so much for all this advice everyone. yes, i have been questioning whether both the quick paed and SLT informal diagnoses were right, given that both were also based on basically 50min conversations with me while DS messed about in the consulting room - both the paed and the SLT said openly that they hadn't done actual assessments of my son as there wasn't time. but then i wondered, when is the time then cos they're not making further appointments...??

i see now i need to be clearer, go back to both, maybe start statement process myself, and the idea about a letter from paed-gp-slt is a good one too.

for info, i take the point about how bigger school sometimes better as may have more experience (have read similar on MN), but i have visited this small school and they were just very impressive, very pro SEN, kind of opening their arms out to ASD children, proud of the kids they already have and the work they're doing with them. i visited the big school too and found the senco a bit shocking - she appeared to be mixing up her SEN categories and was shaky on what the school would or wouldn't do. put me right off. they were also doing the thing i think most reception classes do now of letting the kids move freely about to different themed corners etc, except they are doing it with adjoining classes, ie 60 kids roaming about. i just thought this will scare the life out of DS, he can barely cope when a few people come round our house...!

really good advice, thanks, i'll post again and let you know how we get on (or with more Qs no doubt!)

chocjunkie Tue 13-Sep-11 22:16:52

...then in july he finally saw a speech and lang therapist, who assessed him as not ASD - she said he was making too much eye contact and was def attempting imaginative play...

I don't think a SALT is qualified to to diagnose/rule out ASD. also, good eye contact does not rule out ASD....

will you see the paed again or have they discharged you? this seems all very rushed and anything but thorough.... hmm could you talk to your GP for a referral for a 2nd opinion?

Annawiththebag Thu 22-Sep-11 00:38:30

You might find I CAN Children's Communication Charity a useful source of support and information www.ican.org.uk

madwomanintheattic Thu 22-Sep-11 01:58:34

dd2 was in a 2 class yr r where all 60 kids roamed freely grin they were fantastic with sn. so much so that the following year, there were 10 statemented kids out of the 60 in yr r. brilliant TAs. brilliant support. dd2 had v limited speech when she started (she has cerebral palsy) and her 1-1 was essentially for speech/ communication rather than mobility, although that obv played a part.

if he hasn't actually been assessed for anything, it's unlikely that an lea will allocate based on sn/ sen. i would be pushing for proper assessment initially.

does he attend nursery? what support does he get in setting currently? has he been assessed by ed psych or area inco in that setting? is he on school action or school action+? does he have an iep for nursery?

(as an aside - you say he's waiting for ot referral - this isn't routine for sli, and suggests he may also have difficulties with fine motor? this may also impacy upon his ability to access the curriculum as far as pencil work etc is concerned)

it's about gathering evidence, really. start a file now if you haven't got one laready, and keep a copy of everything in it. and keep chasing the referrals. find out where he is on the waiting lists and roughly how long it will take to get an appoinment.

wheeler Sun 25-Sep-11 21:09:05

thanks madwomaninattic. it's very interesting to hear of a good experience in a big class of 60. i was just so upset after that initial visit and seeing that that i wrote the school off really. what i realised recently, a lightbulb moment, is that i've got a bit fixated on what school my son will end up in - big catchment one vs smaller neighbouring one - when in fact what i'm feeling is a general anxiety about him going to school at all. i feel he's nowhere near ready. i know he's only 3.10 and not due to go til sept 12, but couple of the kids we know are summer bdays and actually are in school now and are ready and up for it... i need to work through a lot of options. i asked parent partnership about keeping him back a year, eg he can stay in our nursery another year, they're allowed to have kids til 7yo, but seh immediately said don't do it, you'll never get a place.....

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