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spottydog

Ehc assessment

9 posts in this topic

My 13 yr daughter has refused to attend school since Oct 2014, she is under camhs for anxiety and suicidal threats and self harm and on anti depressants. She has just started at a PRU which is just for children with anxiety or medical needs and she is attending 3 mornings a week and so far says it's OK.

My question though is about assessment, we have applied but don't have much evidence of learning difficulties and she does not have IEP as has not been in school. She is very bright and was above average academically but obviously will be falling behind as has missed virtually a school year. It's early days at PRU but they only teach maths eng and science, it's a new unit and we were told her place will be reviewed in 6 weeks as the aim is to get her back to school - but she cannot cope in school. I have sent off SALT report and copies of years and years of CAHMS and counselling appts. And a OT report from when she was 6 saying developmental coordination disorder. What else can we include? There is no way I can put her in another mainstream school and see her 'fail' again, she is not mentally strong enough to cope.

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Oops! something went wrong with this post. I've reposted it below. :)

Edited by Mihaela

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DCD is very closely associated with autism, and although it involves our motor functions, executive dysfunction and sensory processing sensitivities are often present. It's very likely that many children diagnosed with DCD are actually on the autistic spectrum - 'high-functioning' girls especially for the 'female-type' Asperger's has traits not found in classic AS and has only quite recently been recognised as a distinct class of autism, and then only by those professional who have gone out of their way to study it.

 

Your daughter may be more than just 'very bright'. Most gifted children are on the autistic spectrum, but often not diagnosed as children, for their intellectual abilities disguise the autism and can be used as an excuse for explaining a child's atypical behaviour. I was one myself. Bullied daily at school and often suicidal. Not only did I hate school, but it also stunted my learning (I'm virtually self-taught). I'd have learnt far more if I'd have been taken out of school altogether - and would have been far happier, and my adult life would been far easier. The PRU caters for children with anxiety, but if your daughter's anxiety is due to her DCD (or autism) then the PRU can't be used as a 'quick-fix' solution. It just wouldn't work with children whose anxiety has a neurological origin. Any return to mainstream school is likely to make her anxiety increase, and I agree, she will 'fail again'.

When you say "she is not mentally strong enough to cope", I know exactly what you mean. Without knowing more of her traits it's hard for me say that I suspect that she's on the autistic spectrum, but from what you've already said, it might be worth seeking another diagnosis. An OT report at 6 wouldn't be enough to satisfy me, now that she's 13. If she does turn out to have a lot of 'female-type' AS traits then she would need to be referred to an autism specialist with knowledge in that area. Not all are up to speed yet
.

Edited by Mihaela

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Hi Mihaela

sorry I should have made it clear she already has asd diagnosis, was diagnosed about a year ago although I had been trying to get a diagnosis since she was about 5 (my son also has AS diagnosis so I recognised it early) but although she really hated going to school, I did manage to get her in and at junior school the teachers had no issues with her, I think she was very quiet and a bit under the radar. However it is only since starting secondary school thatshe has absolutely refused to go. Was threatening to kill herself,,and ran away from home several times etc. My concern is that if LEA ask schools for info for EHC assessment they will all say 'she's fine in school' because until the point of absolutely refusing to attend she was hiding her anxiety quite well at school, she has not seen an ed psych or had any nhs input apart from camhs - so how do I demonstrate that she needs an assessment for a statement?

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Oh, I see now. Sadly, this is only too common with children on the spectrum. The pressures and social life of secondary school are so different from primary school, and the sudden transition at 11 can be very traumatic. (I'm a great believer in middle schools- which made life so much easier for all sensitive children). The problems of that transition are well known to any child psychologist who works with autistic children. All the signs you mention should alert them to this. Your daughter does need to see a psychologist who understands autism, not just any LEA educational psychologist. Her health matters far more than her education. I went through hell at school from age 11 onwards, and although I've survived, sometimes I wish that I hadn't. I was never diagnosed until recently, but luckily for you, your daughter has been diagnosed early. You need to make sure that they use that diagnosis to help her; not make her life worse. I'll do anything to prevent a child going through what I did at school. Please keep us informed.

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You need to ask the local authority for an Education and Health Care Plan [they have replaced Statements].

 

A PRU is not suitable for a child with diagnoses your daughter has. She should be in an ASD specific school. The Local Authority will not have anything suitable, that is why they have put her in the PRU.

 

There are other schools out there, independent ASD specific schools. But children need a Statement or EHCP to get a place in them, AND the local authority must be unable to find any other suitable placement.

 

So ask for the LA for an EHCP.

 

As your LA for their list of secondary schools [mainstream, maintained, independent and special secondary schools]. You may see a school in that list that is suitable for your daughter.

 

If not you can look on the OFSTED website.

 

There are the SENAD and Priory Group of schools as well.

 

You are looking for an independent school that take pupils with an ASD, and which have SALT and OT employed on site and where they have expertise in working with children with anxiety and school refusal.

 

The LA may refuse to assess, or assess and refuse an EHCP. In both cases you need to appeal that decision.

 

You will probably have to go to an Education Tribunal if seeking an independent school.

 

BUT EHCP's go up to age 25 now and they are a legally binding document on the LA and NHS, so what they contain in terms of teaching, type of school, therapy etc has to be provided regardless of what the LA or NHS has. IE. the LA/NHS has to pay for it.

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In other words, Sally, they've dumped her in a PRU without mentioning that it's unsuitable, nor that she'd be a lot happier in an ASD-specific school - nor the option of being taught at home. So much for LEA's working in the child's best interests!

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It doesn't surprise me all decisions are now decided on by cost. It makes little difference about a need or support network its the cheapest option that is chosen.

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That is why the EHCP is very important because it does not have a 'cost' limit. It is about identifying needs [education and health], and what is needed to meet those needs. And what is identified and included in the EHCP MUST be provided and MUST be funded because it is a legally binding document.

 

My son's statement is converting to an EHCP, and we are looking for therapy, support and professional input to be quantified and specified for his OCD, which is on top of his ASD and all the other comorbid diagnoses he has to contend with.

 

AND EHCPs go up to age 25, which is VERY important for adults that continue in education, or for those that don't and need the support and input for them to become as independent as possible, and for them to access work.

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