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#1 cathcart3303

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:48 PM

Hi All,
I could really do with some advice. My son (age 13) who has asperger's has not attended school since last Dec. Apart from been threatened with court as 'bad parenting' the school referred my son for ASD SRB outreach. This amounted to 1 hour a week for 3 weeks including assessment. There advice was his home school should provide TA so he could build up rapport and return there. The school refused but said FSW could provide and pick up home work. However none was provided. My son has had no interaction with anyone in that time. Where as initially he was willing to follow a routine this has disintergrated. He is in his room most of time on laptop. Last year he presented with physical problems and began making excuses for not going to school. In the end I would describe him as having breakdown with refusing to get up for school with extreme anxiety and school phobia. He would hide under the bed clothes and cry. However after 6 weeks and with the threat of his parents been taken to court he returned to school. I had seen Paediatrician who diagnosed a particular personality 3 years prior but said if I needed to explain his behaviour I could say he was bordering on Asperger's. Any way after this episode had referal back to Paeds and diagnosis comfirmed last Oct/Nov.
He would not interact with anyone from outreach and it was a total disaster. I gave up work so would be at home for promised outreach.
Went to exit meeting on last day of term. LGO has taken up my complaint of county council not providing access to education for my son. I have requested an SEN Statement assessment and should hear by 11 Aug. At exit meeting I was told there was going to be a panel meeting then so would this be to decide whether to carry out an assessment? His home school said the EP was going to present their case. This annoyed me (although appeared altra calm) as EP refused to see son. He has never met him. Referal to CAMHS and another Paed referal were both refused as known fact children with Asperger's have school phobia and Paed wrote back he should be in a supportive educational environment and previously that he would need alot of support to access education. The ASD/SRB unit have said that he now needs a placement in an ASD unit attached to large secondary schools on 2 term placement. This could be one tof three. He does not need a statement for this.
Having attended a parent support group I heard another child who had been at same school as son is now at an independent school with specialism in moderate asperger's. I contacted the school who advised me to ring children services as after 5 weeks had not heard from them and had no key worker. To tell them I had spoken to school as with a statement the placement could be funded. They also do weekly boarding. Children services had not received my request for SEN Statement!
We have not visited Independent school (200 pupils) as holidays so have no idea if this would be suitable. I have told son about school and he has said he will visit.
At exit meeting I have made it clear I do not think ASD unit would be suitable as although they may be able to help social/ communication difficulties (this is questionable) I am sure they will have to feed him over to mainstream otherwise he will not be achieving his full academic potential. I know he will not cope in this type of environment as school too large and we will be back to square one eg not attending school. He does not say anything at school but saves it for home where he would be very angry and aggressive.
Have other people had school refusal due to extreme anxiety and any experience of weekly boarding. I feel this would get him in to a good routine??
I just want my son to be happy with school and to develop into an independent able adult.

#2 Sally44

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:15 AM

My son was out of school for about a year due to anxiety. He was vomitting in school, and developed nervous stress behaviour such as frequent coughing and sniffing and movements. He eventually went on to get a diagnosis of an Anxiety Disorder and now has OCD too.

You need a Statement for your son.
You need to write to the LA asking them to carry out a Statutory Assessment for a Statement. Once you have done that there is a timescale within which they must either tell you they are not going to assess as they think his needs are not significant enough [which you can appeal and almost all appeals on refusal to assess are successful with the SEND Tribunal Ordering the LA to assess]. Or if they agree to assess they have to produce the Proposed and Final Statement within a timescale.

So send in the letter, and you could try to include who told you that the LA would be asked to carry out a Statutory Assessment and that you have found out that has not happened and you could say that you want the 'timescale' to run from when you were initially told the LA would be rueqested to carry out this statutory assessment. I doubt they'll agree to that because you have nothing in writing.

The timescale from start to finish is 26 weeks. You can include your reasons as to why you think he needs to be assessed for a Statement. Have a look on www.ace-ed.org.uk website as they have alot of advice about applying for a Statement and getting the Statement right.

We did need to get independent reports. But if you come to that same conclusion yourself, the best time to get them is AFTER you have lodged your appeal AFTER the Statement has been finalised. DEFINATELY NOT BEFORE THEN. You want any reports you commission to be the most up to date ones just before the actual Tribunal hearing and submitted to SEND just inside of the deadline for submission of evidence.

Download a copy of the SEN Code of Practice from the top of the Education Form, under Educational Publications and read chapters 7 and 8.

You also need your child to get some education in the meantime.

You also need CAHMS involved due to mental health issues and anxiety [which is a medical disorder]. So ask for a referal on those grounds rather than due to AS. Many/most children with ASD do have anxiety issues, but you want CAHMS to see him due to anxiety. You can also ask for a referal to Clinical Psychology to a professional that has experience of working with children with an autistic spectrum disorder. Psychology is about working with the child using strategies and approaches. CAHMS are psychiatrists and tend mainly to deal with medication.

You want to get from CAHMS or Clinical Psychology how much physical force you should use to get him into school. I was told only gentle encouragement, because like you, I believe my son had a breakdown. And you can tell ClinPsych and CAHMS that you think he has had some kind of breakdown.

And you need to ask every professional to put in writing what your son's needs/difficulties are and how they should be supported in terms of hours of support and staffing arrangements and therapy input because you need that to be put into his Statement as a Statement is a legally binding document. So if it isn't in the Statement, it won't happen.

Phone and make arrangements to view this ASD specific school. You need your child to have a trial period there, and you need them to offer him a place and to keep that place open for at least 6 months.

It is harder getting residential rather than day placements. But you have a good case. He is out of school now for 8 months and is refusing to return. Your argument about the unit and feeding across to mainstream is the same argument we used and which our EP, SALT and OT agreed was unsuitable because he could not access learning in that environment due to ASD and Sensory Processing Disorder and Anxiety.

You need to check everything the LA tells you because they have fobbed you of for long enough, and you can check what you have been told by posting it here.

My son had suspected dyslexia, and the EP was supposed to see my son to find out if he had. But the EP never saw my son because the school said they had no concerns. Eventhough he was 10 and unable to read or write. I lodged a formal complaint, and the EP suddenly went in [just a month after his Annual Review where she categorically said he did not have dyslexia], and she diagnosed dyslexia. However it was outside the timescale for amending the Statement after the Annual Review [so they had deliberately planned to try to keep the diagnosis, and therefore any further funding needing to meet this Specific Learning Difficulty need for a further year].

However I lodged an appeal with SEND in the meantime and he now attends an ASD specific school for children wtih around average cognitive ability. He gets twice weekly SALT and OT from those professionals, as well as a specialist dyslexia and dyscalculia teacher. He has attended school since November on a graduated return starting with one day, and now up to 3 full days and 2 half days. So it can be achieved.

This is going to take you time. And it will cost.

At the same time I think you need to get a benefits check as you should apply for Disability Living Allowance. If you are not in work you can claim Carers Allowance, and that will help you pay for those independent reports.

You also would be advised to get in touch with Social Services and ask them to carry out a Core Assessment of your son and also a Carers Assessment for yourself.

All this information you will submit as evidence towards your appeal [because I am assuming that the Final Statement will be pants - as they usually are - and worded in such a way that it is not legally binding - so you will need to appeal anyway].

So you have about a years work infront of you. Just work through it methodically.

If you get CAHMS or ClinPsych to put in writing about how much physical force you should use, then that will cover you if the LA try to use the Educational Welfare Officer. that is what I had to do and it kept them off my back because he was off school due to an 'illness' ie. anxiety.

#3 cathcart3303

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:48 AM

I should hear by 14th August (6 week deadline) whether they are going to assess for statement. ?Panel meeting 11th August. I had previously requested EP assessment and school had said they were requesting this so this ??may happen after the panel. I had also asked for home tutoring. The ASD SRB said the meeting for placement there does not happen until Oct so where will that leave my son in Sept.? Should I chase up with keyworker? Can children services do emergency school placements without statement? Am I being niaive in thinking they will want to make sure my son can access school in Sept?

GP has not been helpful (part of the problem) as when I took my son to see him he told him to grow up and to get out of his surgery. My son started having a panic attack. When GP had written referal he did not mention anxiety initially. Although he recognises my son has been poorly served by NHS still no further forward. I do not feel we have any one supporting us. The Paediatrician who diagnosed son has now left that post. Should I complain to PALS or NHS regarding refusal to accept referal for son?

#4 cathcart3303

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:23 PM

Update. Just received letter from children's Services. They have decided not to carry out a statutory assessment and he does not meet the criteria.

"The panel recommends that the school should seek advice/intervention from EP and professionals who are experienced in working with children with ASD in eductional settings. The LA's view is xxx has mental health needs and needs to be reviewed by CAMHS and Paediatricians. The CAF process would be a good vehicle for professionals to meet together with parents and make the necessary plans for the future.

Panel do not feel it is important that your concerns for xxx are addressed"

Why am I optomistic all the time only to beaten down?

So do I wait again for the promised interventions (or not) again. Have previously asked for CAF but ignored.

Says I need further evidence to go to tribunal. Did they read what I sent in?

#5 Sally44

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 03:02 PM

You have the right to appeal their decision not to assess. Most LAs refuse automatically to screen out those parents that wont' take it further.

If your GP is not helpful is he the only one at the surgery? Ask for a referal to a multi disciplinary team that has experience of assessing and diagnosing children with an autistic spectrum disorder. You can phone your local childrens hospital to find out WHO or WHERE that would be.

Contact the National Autistic Society for advice too.

Does your son have a diagnosis of Aspergers?

You could get private independent reports if needed from an Educational Psychologist and/or Speech and Language Therapist and/or Occupational Therapist.

I really don't understand why your GP is not referring. But maybe rather than complaining about him, go and see someone else at the practise. Tell them your son has Aspergers and due to Anxiety he has not attended school since December, and that you need him to be seen and assessed by Clinical Psychology who have experience of working with children on the spectrum, and also to be referred to CAHMS as he may need medication. Say that WITHOUT THE REFERAL AND THEIR INVOLVEMENT THE LOCAL AUTHORITY ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE YOUR SON WITH ANY SCHOOLING. That might push them to make the referal, and if you know exactly who it should be too and where that might help too.

If you appeal the decision not to assess for a Statement, and the LA are Ordered to assess, that is when their Educational Psychologist and the Speech and Language Therapist would typically go in and assess. But they are refusing before you even get to that stage. Which seems like they are refusing to assess for a Statement without anyone even seeing him and finding out what his difficulties and needs are - which he must have otherwise he would be in school!

Your son is 13 and time is going by. I would lodge the appeal, and consider just an independent EP report to go to the Appeal, which you would submit when you have received your appeal date. Submit all your evidence and any reports just inside the timescale for submitting evidence.

You should win and the LA would be ordered to assess for a Statement [which takes 26 weeks from start to finish].

That Statement, when you get it, is not going to be very good so you would have to appeal about the finalised Statement. At that stage, when you have lodged what will be your second appeal, that is the stage where you would consider also getting SALT and OT and an updated EP report and you would be asking for an independent ASD school placement as your parental choice of school.

By this time [which could realistically be a year away], you should have plenty of evidence of how his current placement has broken down, he will not be attending, the LA will not have anyone involved and will have nothing to offer. Your son will have deteriorated academically, socially and emotionally and that all helps your case.

This will be a long process and you have to decide to follow it through to the end.

Don't push the LA to do anything. The less they do the worse they look. Just start keeping a diary diary of your son and how he is.

Make sure that all contact with school or the LA or anyone is always via a letter. Type up any verbal or telephone discussions and send them a letter of what was discussed and agreed. You need everything on paper to submit as evidence.

Do ask the LA what is going to happen in September. From now on don't remind them of anything, and let them get on with what they intend to do.

In the meantime your appeal will be lodged and they will have to defend their decision as to why they think they did not need to assess a child with aspergers that has been out of school since December 2011. It won't look good.

But you need to get those referals to ClinPsych and CAHMS and specifically to services that are for children with an ASD.

You have in writing that the school is supposed to get the EP and other professionals involved. So lets see what they do.

Edited by Sally44, 01 August 2012 - 03:08 PM.


#6 cathcart3303

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 04:28 PM

Thanks for advice.
My GP is closed this pm otherwise would be down there. I will ring tomorrow. He is an only GP although based in H/C. I did consider moving my son to the other group of GP's but postponed it as GP knows case.

Asked for Paed rereferal in Jan (referal was lost and so got GP to FAX 4 weeks later) but Paed wrote back and said leaving post. Said to refer to CAMHS but limited access for children with Asperger's. GP did refer to CAMHS but they declined referal as Paed says son needs to be in supportive educational environment and that is what he needs. I then asked GP to refer back to Paeds (The Children's Centre). I rang them today and they received referal on 25th June and could be upto 18 weeks before seen.

My son has a diagnosis of Asperger's. He also has a hearing impairment and is monitored for a genetic heart condition.

What the panel has said is what I asked the LGO to investigate eg: to be seen by EP and to be assessed for statement. What they are saying if a big fat zero. The school EP refused to see son although school were getting senior EP to represent their case at panel. ADVICE/INTERVENTION is what is meant to have happened over last 8 months. I know the EP has been advising school re referal to ASD SRB who made requests school did not fulfil.

I feel really outraged.

I know he needs these things but thought that would be part of the statementing assessment process.

Will ask for CAMHS referal again tomorrow or Clinical Psychologist. As the referals are been refused perhaps it is what has been written in referal.

#7 Sally44

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 09:19 PM

Then I think you need to seek referal to Paediatrician on the grounds that although this is part of being on the spectrum it is also a separate medical condition, ie. an Anxiety Disorder, and that is under Health and not Education as he needs ClinPsych and/or CAHMS input on this and for them to give advice to school.

I think you need to send a letter to the Head of the EP service detailing what you have been told was going to happen ie. EP was asked by [?] to see son in school, and to ask them to reply in writing explaining why they have not seen him, especially since he has been out of school since December and therefore is obviously not coping in school.

Appeal the LA's decision not to assess for a Statement. You are 99.9% sure to win simply because your son is not in school so there is something wrong. Infact I would not be surprised if the LA did not decide to assess before the actual Appeal date.

If referals are being refused, ask the GP to request why that is happening as Anxiety is a medical condition, and that is what is preventing him accessing an education at the moment.

From now on you must having everything in writing. Because when you go to the Tribunal you have to be able to prove everything via correspondence and reports.

Edited by Sally44, 01 August 2012 - 09:24 PM.


#8 Sally44

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 09:44 PM

I just did a quick google of Anxiety and Aspergers and this organisation came up http://www.youngmind...pergers/support

I've not heard of them or used them before. But they sound clued up and you may get through to them quicker than somewhere like IPSEA which is always very busy. Try them and let us know what you think of their advice and what support they can offer you.

#9 cathcart3303

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:23 PM

Hooray. :notworthy: Finally my son saw a Paediatrician today. I managed to get him to the appointment although he covered his face with his hoody and did not speak. He did shake his head though to her question. She asked me how much was my son out of the room integrating with the rest of the family. I said about 5%. He comes out for food and eats that in his room. She thinks he is depressed and needs assessment by CAMHS. She has made a referal. She said if they do not see him she will start him on medication.
She cannot believe that the school did not take account of the letter written from the last Paediatrician regarding school phobia. She is writing to them next week. My son will hopefully get some home tutoring now.
In the mean time I am preparing my case to appeal the council refusal to assess for a SEN statement. My complaint to the LGO regarding the council failing to provide an education was not upheld. LGO said the provision of mainstream school discharged council's duty under Section 19. As the school turned academy in March the council were no longer involved in attendance and the LGO has no jurisdiction over the school.

#10 Suze

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 02:22 PM

Well done , glad it went well today for you, hope your son can get some help soon..........hope that camhs referral comes through quickly , suzex

#11 Sally44

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 04:21 PM

That is a problem with academies.
But I would phone IPSEA [www.ipsea.org.uk] for advice because they are still supposed to meet childrens' SEN.

BUT, if he has refused to attend this school, I think it is pointless thinking about him returning to that school.

I was told that the SEND Tribunal Panel will NEVER recommend a child is placed at a school they are refusing to attend, and that was what happened with my son. The LA recommended he returned to the same school, and we were asking for an independent ASD specific school. The Panel agreed with us.

Whereabouts are you in the UK?

#12 cathcart3303

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:41 PM

I no longer see my son returning to that school either. It beggars belief that all parties thought I should get my son to school (to show he is not well enough) and exacerbate his mental distress causing a 'breakdown'.
We are in Norfolk. There is an independent school which takes children with moderate Asperger's. The LA do fund places for children with a statement. That will be another year out of his school life as I realise the system moves very slowly.
IPSEA have said they will support me and may be able to provide support at Tribunal.
I have contacted ADVOCATES for Children and they are looking at my case. This is a charity.
I personally would prefer my son was in a school environment he could thrive without having to make him take medication. I plan to take him to look at this school to see what he thinks.

#13 cathcart3303

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:50 PM

I did complain to the LGO that the provision of a mainstream school was like providing a blind man with a pair of spectacles.

#14 Sally44

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:22 PM

When my son became ill and refused school we were referred to Clinical Psychology and then onto CAHMS.

I asked Clinical Psychology how much physical force I should use to make my son go into school, and they said just gentle encouragement. I asked them to put that in writing which they did - that stopped the educational welfare officer getting involved.

My GP was also supportive and contacted the CAHMS Psychiatrist and between them put together a letter to the LA stating that my son returning to school would be detrimental to his mental health.

I also had to push both CAHMS and ClinPsych to detail in writing what exactly my sons needs were so that they could be included in the Statement [as health professionals have little understanding of Statements and SEN Tribunals], which they both did.

I also pressed ClinPsych to state he had an Anxiety Disorder, which they thankfully did just days before the Tribunal, and which I submitted as evidence on the day. This was very important as it proved to the Panel that he had deteriorated to such a degree, when the LA were arguing that I was exaggerating his difficulties and they wanted him to return to his former school.

Try to get ClinPsych and CAHMS to detail needs, and what kind of level of support, approaches, strategies, expertise etc your child needs to access education. Because everything they put in writing will go into the Statement.

Check what the position is if your child is out of school for a medical reason [which anxiety is], in those circumstances I think the LA do have to provide home education. So again you need to press Clinical Psychology to state that he is refusing school due ot anxiety disorder associated with his ASD diagnosis. That would then mean the LA have to provide education at home, or some other suitable setting.

My La suggested the 'hospital school'. The co-ordinator from there came to visit me and my son and saw what out situation was like. She wrote a brilliant letter saying that my son was not suitable for the hosptial school as that was for mainstream children who were physically ill. She said they could not meet my son's needs and that her opinion was that he needed to been in a specialist school where professional input and therapy were provided on site. I could have kissed her!

The LA then wrote to her manager and said that she was not qualified to state that. So I submitted that letter to as evidence that the LA were not listening to their own professionals who were ALL saying that he could not access a mainstream setting any more.

I know it is hard when they are out of school, but the longer it goes on and the LA do nothing, the better it is for your case. Don't push the LA other than sending them a letter asking them to provide an education for him [but you need evidence he is off school due to a medical condition first], and then slowly get Clinical Psychology and CAHMS to put their findings and recommendations into writing.

Initially I did ask the CAHMS Psychiatrist to attend the Tribunal as an expert witness, and she agreed to attend. We also had two team meetings in school with us [parents], social services, educational psychologist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, SENCO, SEN Inclusion Officer etc. And I recorded each meeting on dictaphone and typed it up verbatim and submitted that too because those meetings were a farce.

Don't tell them what you want. Always bat the ball back into their court. Ask them what their professionals have advised. What their opinion is. Which school they think he could attend, what support they think he needs, ask them to specify each and every need and to quantify and specify. If they do keep asking you what you want [as they did with us], keep saying something like "all we want is for our son to be calm and happy to go into school and to learn and retain that learning." They are the professionals that should be advising you.

By law, the LA must go with the parental choice of school UNLESS they can prove it is not a good use of their resources or it would be to the detriment of the other pupils. At an independent ASD specific school for children of similar cognitive ability it will not be to their detriment to have your son there. The LA will have to say it is a suitable school. So they then have to prove that it is not a good use of their resources by offering another placement that can also meet your child's needs. You need to prove that they cannot do that.

I had lots of evidence that provided that.

If your son has a sensory processing disorder you need an independent OT to diagnose that and to state that he needs sensory integration therapy [which also helps with anxiety too]. No LA can provide that. The NHS does not provide it. It can only be provided at an independent school that provides that as standard therapy.

Has your son had SALT input and has he made progress? Our SALT recommended a reduction in hours. I wrote to her and asked her to detail how many hours she spent in 1:1 therapy with my son, and how much time she spent on the admin side of things. She wrote back saying that she spent "significantly more" than was detailed in his Statement. So I argued that the Statement is supposed to be a true reflection of need. And on the SALT's own words she should have recommended an increase in hours to accurately reflect the actual amount of time she needed to deliver his SALT programme. Instead she recommended a reduction, which I said was evidence that the SALT department were short staffed and could not meet his needs and were continually trying to whittle down his therapy. I said he needed a SALT programme delivered by a SALT that was employed on site at the school. SEND agreed.

The school we chose said in its OFSTED report that they dealt with children with low self confidence and low self esteem who had often been out of school for a considerable amount of time due to anxiety and that they had an Educational Psychologist on site. I said that that was how my son was and that was the kind of school he needed. The LA had nothing similar. Infact I had lots of correspondence from the school that kept saying they had "no concerns". And no LA maintained school has SALT, OT and EP employed on site with a suitable peer group to my son.

These are the things you are looking to prove.

And you can argue that he has not made progress in his former mainstream school. Progress has to be academic, social, communication, emotional, behavioural, etc. Your son is not in school. He has regressed, he has fallen further behind, he is not receiving any education at all and he has potential. He is a bright boy whose future will be severely affected if he does not engage with the education system and also learn the social and life skills that he will need as an adult. etc etc.

#15 Sally44

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:26 PM

The LGO can only do what is within their remit. And they cannot do anything that a SEND Tribunal would address.

So you have to lodge your appeal within the timescale.

Also write to his former school and ask them to put in writing that they cannot meet his needs due to his anxiety. Always put everything in writing. What was their response to the last paediatricians letter? Did you write to them and send them a copy and ask them what they were going to do? Have your asked this new paediatrician to send you a copy of her letter to the school?

#16 cathcart3303

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 01:55 PM

What is SALT? My son has had no contact with anyone since refusing school last December.

The Paediatrician is writing to the school next week. She is sending me a copy of the letter and I shall send a scan to Children services at the council. The EP emailed me to say that when he has a 'medical need' they will be able to provide home tutoring and help with his reintegration back into school. This is not going to happen with his present school where he is still on the roll. Do I need to tell school he will not be going back or wait for the proposed intervention to fail. We have had no contact with EWO either.

The previous letter from other Paediatrician was dismissed as meaningless as she only said school phobia was a common problem in children with Asperger Syndrome and did not state he was medically unfit. Even the part that said he needed to be in a supportive educational environment. The last letter from the school in July was if we did not get our child to school they would consider court action.

#17 cathcart3303

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 03:22 PM

Is SALT speech and launguage therapist? My son has glue ear and just after entering high school he was issued with bilateral hearing aids. When he returned to school in 2011 he no longer wore them. When we last saw audio they said he no longer needed hearing aids. He has been seen by sensory support in school but when he was last due to be seen he was school refusing.

#18 Sally44

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 04:01 PM

No don't withdraw him from school. He is currently refusing, and so tell your son that if he cannot face going into school then he just says so.

The EP is saying you need a medical reason [as I said in above post] BEFORE they are legally obliged to provide an education. At the moment they are taking it that your son 'does not feel like going to school'. When you have it in writing from Clinical Psychologist or CAHMS Psychiatrist, or Paediatrician that it is due to anxiety related to his diagnosis of AS, or is an Anxiety DIsorder, then they must provide home education, or something similar that he can access. He cannot access mainstream currently so they have to either provide it at home, or provide another suitable environment that your son is able to cope with. And if he gets too anxious about that, he can refuse that too.

If he has sensory issues I would advise you get an independent Occupational therapists report. Use one that is experienced in writing reports and attending SEND Tribunals.

SALT is Speech and Language Therapist. As part of being on the spectrum he has to have clinically significant difficulties with speech and language and social communication, emotional literacy, friendship skills etc. At my son's school they have 1:1 and group therapy, so he needs to be in a similar peer group for that group therapy to work.

You need to look for the school that he could access. Where all the children are high functioning AS, and where there is SALT and OT on site [but you need the professional reports to state that he needs that therapy delivered flexibly across the week. That cannot be achieved in a mainstream school with a SALT or OT popping in. They must be staff employed on site [and that is what your independent reports must also say].

Do you have any school in mind?

#19 Sally44

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 04:22 PM

First you need the 'medical reason' for him not being in school.
Then write to the EP and ask them what they intend to do in terms of that reintegration programme and where they think he should be placed.

#20 cathcart3303

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 06:08 PM

I really appreciate all your advice. I will bear in mind what you said about asking them what they think my sons needs are. I will wait for the Paediatricians letter and go from there. My GP wrote to school and said my son has severe anxiety secondary to Asperger Syndrome but that does not count????

#21 puffin

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 08:17 PM

You need to personally appeal the decision not to assess - this will not be dealt with by th LGO or other agencies

#22 SharonS

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 08:50 PM

Hi cathcart3303

My 12 yr old son started a new school last Sept, then wouldn't go back after Oct half-term. Found a new school for Jan and stumbled through to Feb half-term - haven't managed to get him to go back since. We have seen CAMHS who diagnosed ASD (high functioning). We're also going down statementing route. Same as you, were turned down at the 6 week stage. We put our appeal in a few weeks ago. Also wrote to MP and Area Education Officer - this is worth doing. Have just heard back that they will now assess, so we won't have to go to tribunal at this stage.

SOS!SEN helpline and their walk-in clinics were very good giving advice http://www.sossen.org.uk/ - helpline not open again till 6th Sept. Also the book 'Special Educational Needs: Getting Started With Statements' by Tania Tirraoro http://specialneedsj...l-needs-jungle/ is good and there is an example that is very relevant for children with Aspergers/ASD.

Have you ordered a copy of the SEN Code of Practise: https://www.educatio.../DfES 0581 2001 - you may want to quote from here in your appeal.

Sorry my reply is quite brief, I think I am just so exhausted from the battle! If you want to know any more about my appeal then do ask.

#23 Sally44

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 09:15 AM

The SEN Code of Practice clearly states that each and every need should be identified [for inclusion in part 2], and that provision for each of those needs should be quantified and specified in terms of hours of support and staffing arrangements [to go into part 3].

www.ipsea.org.uk has some good case studies and examples of case law. The Statement must be specific to such an extent that everyone is clear as to what is supposed to be provided. It should not be general, vague or ambiguous.

So it should not contain any works like "access to" "opportunities for" "as required" "when necessary". It should be xx hours of SALT/OT therapy per term [which equates to 1 hour per week] delivered in school in a 1:1 setting with a TA[?] observing these sessions and delivering the programme every day for xx minutes [and that should be detailed on the daily timetable ie. 9.00-9.30 SALT or OT session with TA [or therapist], and the SALT/.OT should pre-book her sessions with school and should let you know those dates. And you should be able to meet with them in school each term to get updates and they should also phone you and give you updates on targets [in writing]. The Statement should also detail the amount of admin time each professional needs to deliver their therapy eg. xx hours per term to observe and assess, make notes, amend the programme, liaise and train school and parents, suggest IEP targets, attend IEPs, prepare an up to date report for the Annual Review and attend the AR.

#24 cathcart3303

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:33 PM

Paediatrician states in letter: problems are Asperger Syndrome and School Anxiety/possible Depression.

She says " I think it is important that a disctinction is drawn between children who are reluctant to go to school for social reasons who have parents who have failed to encourage them to attend school and those young people who very obviously have significant neurodevelopmental and emotional needs. XXXX undoubtedly falls within this second group of young people and his demeanour in clinic today was of great concern".

She has referred him to CAMHS as she is unable to rule out significant depression.

Have emailed school and council so hopefully should get some help with home tutoring now.

Will include letter in appeal for assessment which I intend to send off tomorrow.

#25 Sally44

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 08:50 PM

Well done. That is the way to go.

Get a copy of the SEN Code of Practice and read the relevent sections about assessment for a Statement and getting a Statement.

It will start to seem like a game of chess, with the LA doing one move, and you doing another move.

From now on make sure you get everything in writing from every professional. Ask them questions and then ask them to put that in a letter to you.

If they do not want to do it you can point out that the SEN Code of Practice states that a child's Statement should identify each and every need to be included in part 2, and that provision for those needs should be quantified and specified. So the NHS professionals need to put in writing their findings and recommendations so that you can include that as evidence of his needs and the type and level of support he needs and the kind of school environment he would cope in to be included in the Statement. If they don't put it in writing, you will not have evidence that he needs it.

[you can supena any professional to attend the appeal as your expert witness if needed. You would simply write to them and ask them to attend as your expert witness on the date of the appeal. If they refuse you write to SEND asking them to Supena them as they are the only professional that can give their advice on your child's needs and the provision he requires. If a Supena is sent to you, you forward it to the professional and then, by law, they are legally required to turn up - but that is info for the future - but just wanted you to know that you don't have to turn up on your own.]

Also, once you have got the finalised Statement, if you need to appeal that, you may find organisations such as IPSEA can help you with that appeal, and some organisations can send someone to support you on the day. I used an organisation called network81.org.

Have a look on the ipsea.org website. It will help you see how 'typical' the excuses and arguments that different LA's use. It is like they've all been on the same training day on how to stop children getting the support they need!

But when you appeal the SEND Panel will be following LAW. That trumps any criteria or funding difficulties the LA has. They will Order the LA to follow the LAW. If you can prove your child needs to be assessed for a Statement the Panel will Order the LA to do it.

However, don't be disappointed when you receive the Proposed Statement. It will be pants. And you may have to appeal the finalised Statement because it will be worded so vaguely and ambiguously that it will not be clear what the Statement should provide. The LA will do that deliberately.

Again at the appeal, the SEND Panel will amend the wording so that it is legally binding. It is a long haul, and you need to have the mentality of the long distance runner. But if you just plod through it methodically you will get there eventually.

As he has not attended school for some time and is now 13, you may find yourselves looking for an independent ASD specific school. Is there any school like that in your area?

You could ask your LA for their list of secondary maintained, non-maintained, approved and independent schools. Say you want both mainstream and special school lists. Those lists should detail all the schools your LA currently has children at. You may find a suitable ASD specific school in that list. You are looking for one that is for children with Aspergers, and around average cognitive ability - so not behavoural, and not moderate learning disabilities.

Edited by Sally44, 12 September 2012 - 08:55 PM.


#26 lindy2017

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:15 PM

I have been through everything you have mentioned my son is 13 has aspergers .....our outcome is home ed ......happier boy now hardly any meltdowns etc.................sometimes its the best ........................

#27 cathcart3303

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:28 AM

Have received tribunal date next February 2013 appealing to assess. We are part of a pilot where the LA prepare the bundle for the hearing. Anyone been involved with this?

#28 SharonS

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 02:36 PM

Hi cathcart

Sorry, I don't know anything about the pilot.

Ideally you want the LA to now say that they've reconsidered and will do the assessment without going to tribunal. I would recommend writing to your MP and Area Education Officer (who is above the SEN Education people at the LA), and either your local County Councillor or the Leader of the Council. Send them your appeal and a 1 page letter highlighting that your son has been out of education since last Dec despite your best efforts as parents, that you have accessed the help available to you through the school and that your son's education is now being further delayed due to the LA's refusal to conduct the statutory assessment and that you now have to wait till Feb 2013 for the tribunal. Make it clear that he is obviously not making the adequate educational progress to which he is entitled by law. Also mention his deteriorating mental state and that the quicker action is taking the more hope there his for his future. Hopefully then these people might be able to give the SEN people a poke and make them see sense.

#29 Sally44

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:00 PM

No I don't know of any pilot like that. Who has told you this? I would check that that is the case.

Usually the LA puts their case together, and you put yours together.

And if the LA does not agree to admit or include any of your evidence, then that is illegal because that is the whole point of a Tribunal appeal, the Panel look at ALL the evidence submitted by both parties.

My LA, when they carried out a re-assessment of my son's Statement, would not include any of the reports or information I had gathered for my son in their documents they considered when putting together the Statement. This is not legal. So you would submit any such documents your LA refused to accept to SEND as part of your Bundle.

One thing I would say is that when you have the final bundle make sure that you annotate your copy of it, but don't give the LA a copy of your annotations. You need to know your bundle inside out and know where each item in part 2 and 3 has come from so that you can refer to it quickly. So next to each issue the LA is refusing to include you would annotate the report it came from, who wrote the report, the page and paragraph number.

The LA side will not have time to do that, so it gives you a good advantage.

Also on the day of the tribunal make sure you have a shorthand notebook and make notes of everything the LA side says that you have a counter argument for, or which is not true - because the Panel usually let one side go first and you cannot always get to say what you want immediately. So write it down so that when it is your turn you can refer back to anything they said. On the actual day you will get quite a lot of breaks, use those times to go through your notes and write your response to them.

My LA said alot of things that were totally untrue, so I just referred to what they had said, and then referred to the report that proved the LA were wrong.

Edited by Sally44, 26 September 2012 - 09:00 PM.


#30 cathcart3303

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 09:39 AM

Further documents for the tribunal are sent to the council and the tribunal anyway. However the bundle is held by the council in this pilot. I wonder how much information will get lost? After all, my request to assess (not lost but which went to the wrong department) did not happen until I contacted them a month later....obviously cannot redirect post internally. What if responsibility was handed to councils? The service is already corrupt and the councils only objective is to not spend money.

#31 Sally44

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:11 PM

So when do you get your copy of the Bundle?

I would phone SEND and ask them because you need the Bundle so that you can go through it all and annotate it [just your copy]. You need time to do that.

#32 cathcart3303

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 01:33 PM

Council have to send their response by 2/11/12.

IPSEA are helping me fill in form for expedited hearing.

#33 Sally44

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:31 AM

Good luck. Keep us updated.

#34 Sally44

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:35 AM

My GP wrote to school and said my son has severe anxiety secondary to Asperger Syndrome but that does not count????

The above is from your earlier post. I don't think LA are legally obliged to recognise a GP's letter as evidence of medical reasons for why he is not in school. But I am not 100% about that, so check it with IPSEA.

My LA said it had to be a consultants letter [ie. Paediatrician, Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist].

But you do also have that letter from the Paediatrician - whether the LA would say that was specific enough I don't know. But by asking the LA to provide home education as per the GP and Paediatricians letters is worth asking, because if they refuse you will know why - which you can check if that is right or not. Plus it is further evidence you will have in writing that the LA is quite happy for your child to be out of school and not to provide any education, when it clear his refusal is related to Aspergers and Anxiety.

Edited by Sally44, 15 October 2012 - 08:36 AM.


#35 cathcart3303

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 12:56 PM

Have had my post today and have heard nothing from LA regarding response/attendance form for tribunal....deadline 5pm so may still have special delivery.. What does this mean? Are they allowed to drag their feet or will they now assess?

#36 cathcart3303

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 12:30 PM

Have received letter by recorded delivery today from the councils solicitors.

#37 Special_talent123

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 01:53 PM

I am already concerned that they want to replce SEN Statements with education and health plan

#38 cathcart3303

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:36 PM

Yes, the council wrote in their response that they have now decided since September to delegate all SEN funding to schools. On this basis schools are expected to provide upto full-time support for a child with SEN and this includes the support and services from agencies such as the EP service and the NHS OT and SALT departments. These arrangements also apply to acadamies. They cannot communicate between themselves as it is.

How come the school don't have a clue about this? As my son is out of school the school says they can make no provision for him. The LA are saying he is on roll at the school and therefore it is up to my son to engage with the services they provide. Medical needs education included.

#39 Sally44

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:58 PM

It does not matter what any LA decides to do with funding. The Law is the Law. Please remember there is a difference between what an LA may decide is their local policy, as against what is Educational Law as passed by Government. The SEND Tribunal Panel go on Educational Law. That means that the funding of the Statement [regardless of how the LA has delegated funding to schools - or even how the NHS departments [SALT and OT] are funded] is 100% the responsibility of he LA. That is the law that SEND is working to.

Also a Statement has no "funding limit". In my case the LA also said they had delegated funding to the local schools. We still won, because we had reports that detailed what his needs were and what professional input was needed to meet each of those needs [as is required by educational law]. That meant that the LA mainstream and special schools could not meet his needs. So the Tribunal Panel awarded the parental choice of placement which costs around £50K a year. On top of that, because we had detailed in reports that he had severe dyslexia/dyscalculia, and even the independent ASD specific school did not have a specialist teacher for that, the Panel Ordered additional funding within the Independent school for a specialist Dyslexia teacher - and the LA had to fund that additional £10K as well.

So please forget what the LA is saying. It is irrelevant if you have the evidence in reports.

There is no way that an SEND Panel will recommend and Order that a child is placed [or continues to be placed] in a school they are refusing to attend. It is logical isn't it. The child is refusing for a reason. The Tribunal's decision in our case was that my son would never agree to return to that school due to his past experiences, and they agreed with me that the LA mainstream school could not meet his needs. They said he had "voted with his own feet".

What the LA is saying is rubbish. It is being said to make you worried that you don't have a case. Have a look on the IPSEA website, or phone them. You have every reason to be going to Tribunal to get the right placement and education that your child can access so that he can achieve his potential and be a useful member of society.

It is not about forcing your son having to engage with something he cannot. It is about the right school and professional input being available so that your son can engage. So please don't be put off.

I believe your Tribunal is about getting the LA to assess? After that you will probably need to appeal again about the placement. Do you have any ideas about where he could go to school?

#40 Sally44

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:04 AM

I just wanted to add that Statements cost money. And all LA's know how to run rings around parents by telling them they can't have this or that, or that the LA/NHS don't fund it etc.

My LA said that they did not assess children for Dyslexia. My son's first Statement said that he was likely to be dyslexic, and that more professional input and assessment was needed to determine this. The LA never did that. At the Annual Review the LA EP said she did not think my son had dyslexia. So I lodged a formal complaint with the head of the EP service. Within a month she was back in school to assess him for Dyslexia [which is contrary to what they had told me previously ie. that they don't assess]. And even more surprising was the fact that she found he had severe dyslexia - eventhough a month ago she stated she did not think he was dyslexic!. Often it is like pulling teeth. You have to get the LA or NHS into a position whereby they cannot get out of what they are legally obliged to do. But unfortunately there is no body that can fine an LA for non-compliance or illegal actions. So it is always in the LA's interests to keep telling parents this rubbish so that the LA are not forced to assess for Statements and to fund Statements/Placements UNTIL they are taken to Tribunal and the Tribunal Orders the LA to do it.

If you look on the IPSEA website there is a section that has a lot of common complaints parents have, and a solicitor has replied to those common complaints.

Edited by Sally44, 04 November 2012 - 12:06 AM.





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