What to do next with school non-attendance?!
ADarknessOfDragons · 20/05/2022 17:27
I am so confused with what I could and should do next. DC is 11, diagnosed autistic, awaiting ADHD assessment. Hit a realls school crisis last Nivember, but has always hated school. Pro-masker level, so I've always been told she's 'fine' in school.
Attendance has fallen sharply since last November currently not going in at all. School say even if in, she's spending time in the 'calm corner' and doing very, very little. She is academically very able. They have written that as the year has progressed her inability to cope has become very evident. We were spending a lot of time coaxing and cajoling her into school- up to an hour on some days. Always late. She never wants to go back.
Just have a draft EHCP which isn't enough to help. No specialist schools near us for those academically able (she was working at an 'exceeding expectations' level for reading/writing and age expected for everything else). No CAMHS- 2 referrals rejected as not bad enough.
Is home ed going to have to be the next step? I don't see how I'll get her to engage with anything... but I don't even know what to fight for at this stage. And 2 months out of school and she is so much calmer, happier and more like herself. We're not battling her every day. She's not hitting her head and having huge and prolonged meltdowns. I don't want to go back to that. I don't want to home educate. I don't think she'll cope at secondary school...
AReallyUsefulEngine · 20/05/2022 18:32
If the provision in the EHCP isn’t enough you should appeal once it has been finalised. Have you looked at all schools within travelling distance (usually 1hr15 is considered reasonable for secondary, although many do travel further) including out of area and independent? Alternatively if it is something you would consider have you thought about residential? If there isn’t a suitable school you could look at EOTAS. Don’t EHE as by doing that you will relieve the LA of their duties.
No CAMHS- 2 referrals rejected as not bad enough.
Did you ask psychiatrist &/or clinical psychologist advice to be sought as part of EHCNA? MH provision can be included in EHCPs without the need to go via the normal referral process. If you appeal you could look at this too. If it is in section F it must be provided so if CAMHS can’t or won’t provide it the LA must commission independent provision.
Separately to the EHCP, the LA have a statutory duty under s.19 of the Education Act 1996 to provide alternative arrangements for education if DD cannot attend school full time. This should have begun when it became clear DD would miss 15 days, the days don’t have to be consecutive. Are they currently providing anything?
ADarknessOfDragons · 20/05/2022 20:20
Thanks for your reply.
No, she has no work from school and no other provision. The LA are aware she's not attending. I emailed the LA SENDO today to ask if it is him I should direct a request for alternative provision to.
I feel like the EHCP will never get us more than mainstream with support. I'm really worried about getting her there and what that would do to our relationship. She is so adamant she can't do it, says it'll be horrific- the noise, the busyness, the lessons. She won't do homework.
We have no professional reports recommending EOTAS which I feel is the only thing she'd do right now. I do have an OT recommendation of look at AP or specialist. And the Family Support Worker advice that she'd likely struggle to complete Y6 (accurate!) and unlikely to manage Y7, consider holistic approach. But not an EP. The EP sat so wedged on the fence she'd never fall off.
ADarknessOfDragons · 20/05/2022 20:21
Oh- and no, I didn't. To be honest an absolute majority of the anxiety has disappeared or is improving hugely just being out of school. I don't know of she needs MH support or just the correct environment and time to heal (and she really is miles better)
AReallyUsefulEngine · 20/05/2022 20:38
The duty to provide education for pupils unable to attend school lies with the LA rather than the school. Email the Director of Children’s Services. If they refuse or ignore you email again threatening Judicial Review.
Appealing is the way to go if the EHCP doesn’t accurately reflect DD’s needs and the provision she requires. When appealing section I you should also appeal B&F as they will be written to support the school named in I. You will probably need independent reports. If you can’t afford them and aren’t eligible for legal aid contact Parents in Need as they can sometimes help fund them.
From your posts I think DD does need MH support. Although you are right, DD’s unmet needs relating to her autism are likely to be exacerbating things.
You don’t mention SALT, has DD had a SALT assessment?
ADarknessOfDragons · 20/05/2022 22:43
She is on a 27 week NHS waiting list for SLT assessment. I did request that. I have had a private quote from an SLT able to do a report for EHCP support- £1500!
I did have a private EP assessment booked with someone recommended who has good experience with autistic girls and women. The LA knew the date and sent their EP 3 days before saying it couldn't feasibly be rearranged as they would then breech timeframes.
When she was in crisis she was hitting her head on the kitchen surfaces and table when in meltdown (and occasionally when out), so anxious she was sleeping with me 2-3 nights a week, having awful meltdowns at weekends, evenings and mornings before school. We have none of that now. She is still very anxious about being dropped off anywhere or doing things without me but now will walk the dog, go to guitar lessons (in a school- absolute panic the first 2 times but now she can walk on and go for the 20 minute lesson okay) and is going to a home ed forest group session with me (to do something with a group but I'm there). So, next step Guides. But she says she'll never go back to school as she knows it'll make her feel like that again (and a part of me thinks fair dos). The school environment is clearly tough for her.
AReallyUsefulEngine · 20/05/2022 23:30
Tribunal standard independent assessments can be costly. For a SALT assessment as part of the EHCNA you wouldn’t have needed to sit on the normal waiting lists, if the LA’s couldn’t assess within the timescales in house they should have commissioned an independent assessment. If you appeal an independent SALT would be helpful and/or rearranging the independent EP.
to do something with a group but I'm there
Has DD had a social care assessment? You could look at direct payments for a PA.
ADarknessOfDragons · 23/05/2022 23:04
I asked the LA if they would pay for an independent SLT as the waiting list was too long and they said no, but that the advice could be incorporated into the EHCP once it was given. I don't know whether it will help anyway, my DD speaks very well so it is the social communication and any barriers as to why she finds the school environment so awful which needs assessing.
I do think she'll build up to doing things more independently fairly quickly. She comes and checks in with me at this group but isn't glued to me and will engage happily with the adults there who run it. We've had a family support worker through Early Help which was counted as social care advice for the EHCP. She has talked about DD's distress around going to school and recommended following trauma based approaches to help her. I'm not sure what other assessment you mean?
It's so hard as she seems to be well on her way to recovery (which I then find harder in a way as this child doing so much again isn't going to school...) but we don't have sufficient evidence for a non mainstream placement.
AReallyUsefulEngine · 24/05/2022 09:15
SALT is about far more than the physical act of speaking. DC with ASD will benefit from SALT. Social communication is well within a SALT’s remit.
You should email the Director of Children’s Services reminding them of their duty under Reg 6(1)(h) of the SEND Regs to seek advice from anyone you reasonably request. And also Reg 8(1) of the SEND Regs and 9.52 of the SENCOP where anyone approached for advice must respond within 6 weeks. Here is IPSEA’s page with further information.
I meant a social care assessment by the disabled children’s team under Section 17(11) of the Children's Act 1989.
With a lack of evidence you are likely going to need to appeal and get independent assessments.
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