How do I get my child assessed for special educational needs?

If your child seems to be struggling at school, or you find yourself being called in to see the teacher several times a week, alarm bells might start ringing. It could be time to think about getting an assessment of your child's needs and development.

While the school should deal with the education side of things – like setting up an Individual Education Plan – you still may feel some further assessment is needed. If you have any doubts, the first thing to do is go to your GP to ask for a proper assessment. 

"My special educational needs coordinator agreed that my son was probably dyspraxic, but didn't seem to be pushing for any sort of proper assessment," one frustrated mum says. "Everyone seemed to think I should just 'wait and see' but I wanted my son properly assessed."

When it comes to a statutory assessment, which is the first step to getting a draft statement, many parents believe that only the school can request it, but this isn't the case - you can request that your local authority carries out an assessment, without having to go through the school. 

"You can ask your GP for a referral to your local Child Development Centre for assessment. The school kept fobbing me off, but I knew there was a problem. My son was eventually seen by an educational psychologist as a result of the assessment by the Child Development Centre and its subsequent acknowledgement of his problems." Mumsnetter Pinkchampagne

"It is worth trying both the school and your GP," advises one mum. "My daughter's route was via the community paediatrician and from there she went to the coordination clinic, where she was assessed and diagnosed."

You can also ask if your GP can refer you to a developmental paediatrician, who will then decide whether to refer on for an occupational therapist assessment.

Another route is to keep plaguing your health visitor until they refer you.

As with all types of special needs, the earlier your child gets help the better and there is likely to be a wait for assessment, so don't hesitate to seek help and advice if you have concerns.

And, as always, you can pick the brains of other Mumsnetters who've been down the road you're travelling on our Special needs: education Talk board.


Last updated: about 3 years ago