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Statutory Assessment - head spinning (sorry if long)(5 Posts)
Thanks to all who have given me advice previously.
DS (4 yrs 7 mths) has had problems ever since he started nursery at 2 yrs 10 mths. Always very bright and early to do everything (walk, talk, read fluently etc), but has always struggled with social situations with other children - aggressive, unable to play without hitting/snatching etc -which haven't improved with age. He is also very rigid in his thought processes and deals badly with change - even on the smallest scale (has regular, huge meltdowns when it's time to finish one activity and start another, or if something doesnt happen in exactly the way he anticipated / it was explained that it would).
So, in a nutshell, the SENCo has been involved for about a year (he was previously at the nursery attached to the school he now attends). He is on School Action Plus, has an IEP, sees a learning mentor twice a week. We are in pretty much daily contact with the school (his teacher, the SENCo) about his various issues.
Today we had a meeting with the SENCo and his teacher, as his start to reception has been pretty fraught with problems already. Almost daily occurences of aggressive and violent behaviour, including headbutting, pushing a child off a climbing frame, biting, hitting, snatching etc.
I said I wanted to rewquest a statutory assessment from the LEA. They were visibly relieved and said if I hadn't requested it, they were going to. They were supportive, but a lot of the information they gave me was wooly. Lots of 'you could approach it like this^...^or like this'. Left it with the SENCo saying we should have a think and do some research over half term and decide whether we want the school to request the assessment or if we want to do it ourselves. He said he would support us - including helping word the request and gather info - whatever we decide.
So what do we do? How do we go about this? I'm aware from much trawling of MN that this could be alogn and rocky road.
What should my first step be? I have seen the letter examples on the ipsea website. Do I need to include a letter or additional info at this stage? Or does that only need to happen once the LEA have agreed to an assessment?
He is currently seeing a Paediatrician (second appt in a fortnight - her initial report was vague and unsatisfactory, imo) and a psychotherapist through CAMHS - one horrific appt (so stressful and badly executed on their behalf) + an observation at school which they have yet to report back on. Initial comments from CAMHS to the school (SENCO showed me email - CAMHS didn't actually bother communicating this to me) is that they want to refer him to a SALT.
I am confused. SENCO said he thought we should go back to our GP and push for a referral to a specialist on ASD as all school staff who have encountered DS suspect Asperger's or some other sort of high functioning ASD.
He also said that in some instances private reports from Ed Psychs etc are better - as they are quicker and more in depth, with no allegiance to the Local Authority). However, I have read conflicting stuff ion the net saying that private assessments are often deemed inssufficient by LEAs.
God, this is confusing.
Ignore 'SENCO me' - dont know how that got in there!
In my initial letter requesting a statutory assessment I simply said "I am requesting a statutory assessment of my son for special educational needs under the 1996 Education Act."
I did then add a couple of lines about his problems, and I did indeed have a private diagnosis at that stage (but though it was private, it was done by a woman , Dr Daphne Keen , who is also a bigwig in the NHS, so it had weight). Could you see her?
Only once they have agreed to assess for a statement do you give a detailed parental submission, where you have to highlight all the problems your DS has had, and make it sound BAD. At that stage, lots of people come and see your DS in order to write reports.
Your case might be stronger if you had a paed diagnosis of some sort - via the GP is probably good advice, or a private one is quicker and simpler if you can afford it. Otherwise they are tending to reject requests for statements on the grounds that the kid is too mild.
The social stuff/rigidity/hatred of change does sound slightly aspergers-like; if it were just a SALT issue there would be no social problems. Does his speech have any over-formal quality to it, like he is older than his years? That is often an aspergers sign also, that though the speech is not delayed, there is something not quite socially appropriate about it.
Good luck - it is a minefield but if you keep your eyes firmly facing forward with the one goal in mind of getting your DC more help, you can succeed.
When I requested a statutory assessment for my son, I worded it exactly the same as sickofsocalledexperts, however we did have an ASD dx at this point.
I was advised at the time that it would be best if both myself and the school wrote to request the assessment, so you could also ask the school to do this. We arranged it so that our letters were sent on the same day.
I would definitely get back in touch with your GP & voice your concerns over the unsuccessful meeting with the Paediatrician and CAHMs. There may be someone else he/she could you refer you to.
Have the Paed or CAMHs given you any idea of a dx, or how long it will take to diagnose? We saw a Paed when DS1 was 2.6, then again at 3.2 and were given the dx at the second appointment. She said at the first that she would see us in 6 months or so & probably diagnose at that appointment, so we kind of knew what sort of time-scale we were looking at.
My son is diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD, Sensory integration disorder, anxiety but I have just been refused an assessment for the second time. He has not been in mainstream since July this year as I pulled him out because things got so bad for him, and I watched him go backwards, become withdrawn, angry and agressive. He at present is home educated as I still cant even get a day a week in a special school as the LEA who does not know my son has said no. My Son is now 11 and I wondered if anyone could give me some advice about being successful in a statement and/or ideas about how to home educate successfully. Please help
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