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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on special needs.

Need advice on applying for EHCNA
10

Lowering · 12/05/2022 22:58

Hi,

Hoping for some advice for applying for EHCNA as I’m getting a lot of conflicting info! So from some previous advice I’ve had on here it seems we should apply for an EHCP sooner rather than later. DD has just turned 3, on autism pathway and has severe social & communication delay. I’d say she’s roughly at the level of a 18 month old. She will be starting school Sept 23. But I’ve also been told both by SENCO at local schools and other parents locally that will need to build ‘evidence’ to get our council to agree to do an EHCNA. Have been told need several cycles of IEPs with reviews at nursery as part of this but she’s at a childminders who haven’t been doing this, nor were her (useless) previous nursery who we had to move her from. So I’m not sure how I tackle this bit. I did contact a private educational psychologist but she felt DD was too young to assess and that we should wait for the EP assessment as part of the EHCNA. Both the private EP and our SEN keyworker (who is from the council) are telling me we can wait until toward the latter part of the year to apply for the EHCNA. But this seems to be cutting it really fine. I’d happily apply myself but it seems pointless if everyone is telling me we won’t meet the threshold with the current evidence (or lack thereof) we have.

She is having a private assessment for ASD soon as well as regular private SALT and we have some rather brief NHS SALT reports. I’ve visited a few mainstream primaries and they all seem horrified at the prospect of her coming with no EHCP in place and certainly I don’t want her starting school set up to fail. One primary head made a huge point of trying to put me off applying at all whether she had an EHCP or not.

Any advice about what our next steps should be would be appreciated! I’ve tried calling SOSSEN but they never answer and IPSEA doesn’t ever seem to have telephone slots :-(

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 13/05/2022 10:38

Yes, you should apply for an EHCNA sooner rather than later. Many people have to appeal, sometimes more than once, so even if you apply now you may not have a finalised EHCP by the normal admissions deadline. If you don’t have a finalised EHCP you should submit a normal admissions application because otherwise if the EHCP is refused you may end up needing to make a late application and ending up with a school you don’t want some distance away.

The threshold for an EHCNA is relatively low. You do not need 2+ assess/plan/do/review cycles, that is a myth. Although you do need evidence, but you should be able to do that now. You have the SALT reports and ASD referral information. The childminder should have paperwork supporting DD having SEN, you should have whoever assessed her as being developmentally 18months.

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Ellie56 · 15/05/2022 20:02

I agree - apply for the EHCNA now. Information here:

www.ipsea.org.uk/ehc-needs-assessments

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KnottyAuty · 16/05/2022 11:59

Do apply for an EHCP. The failed nursery placement can be considered as part of your "evidence" that she can't cope in mainstream. There is a template on IPSEA for application but you do need to bulk it out a bit. DM me if you want some sample paragraphs that I used. Ideally you will need an email or letter from a professional saying that they "would support the idea of an EHC Needs Assessment". If it were me I would go back to the head teacher who made a fuss and see if she will write you one!? Or the old nursery school? When I did this I literally dictated what I wanted them to say in the letter. You may have to make a fuss and stage a minor sit-in in one of their offices to get it!! (Get used to asserting yourself - it is uncomfortable but an essential part of being a successful advocate for your child). If you can trigger a full assessment then this comes with an EP report which will then hopefully describe a special school setting and you can get her in there from the start next Sept to avoid the difficulty of a placement failure - hard on you all. You do need to get on with this though... If you apply now the EHCP would probably be ready at earliest Nov/Dec time which is just after the SEN School application dates. It is possible to go outside these times, but obviously places can be harder to come by outside of the usual process. Good luck

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KnottyAuty · 16/05/2022 12:00

@Lowering

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 16/05/2022 13:27

Knotty If the OP applied now and doesn’t need to appeal the EHCP must be finalised the beginning of Oct, if the LA breach the timescales you can enforce the deadlines. As EHCPs for primary transition don’t have to be finalised until 15th February it shouldn’t be used as a reason not to name OP’s preference.

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KnottyAuty · 16/05/2022 19:17

@AReallyUsefulEngine I understood that the timings allowed for the summer break to be added to the 20 week statutory timeline. That was the case when we applied years ago anyway although I cannot remember where on earth I got that from. Maybe an IPSEA course? Or maybe not?! It would be wonderful for OP if that is not the case!

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 16/05/2022 19:50

Knotty the summer holidays aren’t automatically an exception to 20 week deadline. There are some exceptions to the 20 weeks deadline under Reg 10(4) SEND Regs 2014 but none that would apply here, unless OP is going on a long holiday or the childminder is one of the few that closes durning the summer holiday and it coincides with when the LA ask for the childminder’s input.

The exceptions are:
“a) the authority has requested advice from the head teacher or principal of a school or post-16 institution during a period beginning one week before any date on which that school or institution was closed for a continuous period of not less than 4 weeks from that date and ending one week before the date on which it re-opens;
(b) the authority has requested advice from the person identified as having responsibility for special educational needs (if any) in relation to, or other person responsible for, a child’s education at a provider of relevant early years education during a period beginning one week before any date on which that provider was closed for a continuous period of not less than 4 weeks from that date and ending one week before the date on which it re-opens;
(c) exceptional personal circumstances affect the child or the child’s parent, or the young person during that time period ; or
(d) the child or the child’s parent, or the young person, are absent from the area of the authority for a continuous period of not less than 4 weeks during that time period.”

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KnottyAuty · 16/05/2022 21:25

Ah yes that’s where I got the 6 week idea from. It probably does only apply to schools and even then would only apply to the school’s advice, rather than the EP or health portions. Thanks!

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Lowering · 16/05/2022 22:15

@AReallyUsefulEngine @Ellie56 @KnottyAuty
Thank you so much for the advice. We just had an assessment done privately (finally came to the top of a 6 month waitlist) and they said it’s a clear cut diagnosis of ASD. The consultant is writing a detailed report and is going to strongly recommend she needs an EHCP. SALT are going to do the same. So hopefully we can meet the threshold for an EHCNA. They said they would be very surprised if EHCNA/ EHCP is refused but we will need to be very careful that about the wording of the provision so she gets appropriate support. Although we were expecting this I still feel a bit sad nonetheless..

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KnottyAuty · 16/05/2022 22:18

@Lowering yes it is a difficult moment. I remember all the effort that went into getting the diagnosis and DH couldn't understand why I was sad after we got it. It's a big step but for the best to help you get the support your DD needs. Be kind to yourself. It will take a while to get used to everything

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