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About emmasmum

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  1. The panel were really sympathetic and it wasn't too formal a process. Last time we did opening statement to say how we had got there and then a closing statement/summing up. This time we didn't really do the opening statement - they said our evidence was quite comprehensive. We did the summing up bit and they asked lots of questions of the LA and their witnesses and a few of us. Network 81 represented us. It was useful to have someone else there, as we had no witnesses. If I fail I think it will be on not having done independent reports! (and I know you advised me to!!). LA were saying that there was no evidence that Em needed the specific therapies (such as SALT and OT) which I'd said she'd get at the special school. She also said that my LA only award special school places to pupils at or below the 2nd centile in one or more areas. When's yours coming up? Carol
  2. It went quite well I think - I'm cautious about being too optimistic but the panel took the LA and school to task over a few points and I only cried once Now we just have to wait for the decision. One thing I'm a little worried about is it was the same judge as at the last tribunal, which we won - our advocate mentioned something about that giving the local authority the right of appeal - does anyone know about this? Carol
  3. Thanks - it was the local authority not anyone from SENDIST who wanted to know. To be honest, I was being unreasonable it's just that the man is such a bully - I don't want to co-operate with him at all. But I have, and have told him that she is a representative from a charity - that's if she comes along - I haven't been able to get hold of her for a few days. I put in my evidence on the final date which included a further statement from me - I don't know if this will be accepted or not? If it isn't I will take it and use some of the wording for my final statement. We went to visit an independent school with sixth form today and it was lovely and Emma was quite impressed, which was very unexpected. She said that the staff treat the pupils with respect and that they do things according to individual needs rather than one size fits all. I was very impressed that she went in with an open mind and told her so. However, I've told her to put it out of her mind now as I'd hate her to be really disappointed if we don't win the tribunal. I really didn't want to take her until we at least knew we had a statement, but the local authority said the Tribunal will adjourn if she hasn't seen it and/or doesn't want to go there. Carol
  4. Hi there, I've completed the attendance form with the name of my representative (from Network 81) - not sure if she can go yet, but wanted to make sure it was in, as it said it might be difficult to add later. LA emailed to ask if she is a solicitor. I ignored them and they've asked again. Do I have to tell them? I suppose there's no reason why I shouldn't but maybe I just want to see them sweat abit. If we were required, would it not be part of the form to say what their role is or in what capacity they are attending? When I don't respond to emails they keep saying that they are concerned it might result in an adjournment, obviously I don't want that as time is of the essence. Does anyone know? Thanks Carol
  5. Hi and welcome, I think you need to see your GP and ask for a referral for an assessment for autistic spectrum disorders. I'm not sure how much research you've done on Aspergers in girls but they do present quite differently from boys and can be better at masking their symptoms and making friends. Print off a description of Aspergers (preferably in girls) and a list of the behaviours you are concerned about. In some areas it is very difficult to get an assessment on NHS for sensory processing issues, but it is certainly worth asking if you can be referred to OT. I would also mention your daughter's comment about wanting to die. My daughter was diagnosed at age 14 and we were referred to CAMHS for the diagnosis. I'm not sure where you live? I'm in Hampshire and we have access to some excellent parent workshops on sensory issues. I hope this is helpful - good luck, Carol
  6. Thanks Sally - I've done the DPA thing - put the request in anyway. I've also asked for the transcript of the meeting with the counsellor which we authorised. Carol
  7. Thanks. The thing is the local authority asked our permission to seek Emma's views and we agreed and said the school counsellor would be the best person to do this. That interview took place last week but that evidence hasn't been submitted as yet. I've no idea about when the report I'm unhappy with was written but I suspect it wasn't at the time as it just has week one, week two, week three at the top of each section and normally when recording you would date as a matter of course wouldn't you? The person doing the social skills sessions is an LSA - they were meant to be social skills but she's noted that she tried to get Emma to do worksheets but she clammed up so they ended up just chatting about how things were going. I'm going to write to ask school what qualifications and experience the LSA has in ASD and language impairment - I'm also going to ask for the report of the counsellor's meeting with Emma. I showed Emma what was written last night and she was very upset. She said she had no idea that notes were being taken and thought it was just a chat and would be confidential like her sessions with the counsellor are. She said that she did say those things but not in that way - I think it's been noted out of context. I've put in a complaint to school about breach of confidentiality and data protection - they've not replied yet. I've written to tribunal to ask them not to admit the evidence until the DPA matter is resolved - I think we are within our rights to have everything not relevant to Emma's acquisition of social skills struck out of the record. She said that about her brother because she was upset about her grandad who had recently died but didn't want to talk about it so said the first thing that came into her head. Thanks again for your advice - I really hate this - it gets so personal, Carol
  8. We've just had some further evidence copied to us for the Tribunal. Emma was interviewed by the school counsellor last week about what she wants to do next year - she told them she didn't know. The report of that meeting wasn't lodged. However, they have lodged a report detailing what was discussed in Emma's social skills sessions (1:1 with an LSA) last year and in the early part of this year which include: - that Emma doesn't think there is anything wrong with her, just that she only has a few friends but she told them that I wanted her to be diagnosed with something. - that we are happy to let Emma go to rock concerts on school nights and let her have the day off the following day to recover - she has been to two concerts on school nights - one was My Chemical Romance which is her ONLY friend's favourite band of all time, the other was a band which Emma loves and which came to UK for the first time supporting another group. - that Emma is worried about her older brother leaving his residential college as that will mean she will have to look after him when he gets home until we get in from work. This isn't true - he would get home before Emma does, as he did from school - and we arranged a carer to come in and meet his transport and look after him until we got home. - That I have applied for college places without consulting Emma and refused to take her to look at other colleges - again untrue - she has shown very little interest in post 16 - preferring to pretend it isn't going to happen - we have taken her to see two colleges as these were the ones we thought could best meet her needs - she didn't want to go to anymore. I think I'll need to calmly ask Emma to look through what's written to check if she actually said those things. She may have done, I don't know. I'm sure she'll be very upset that the sessions weren't in confidence, but I think I do need to check the accuracy. Then I think I'll look through the reports from the psychologist who saw Emma for CBT sessions and and the diagnostic report to see if there's anything I can lodge to counterbalance what was said. Tribunal date has been brought forward to 10th June and final evidence needs to be in by 24th May, so no time to get private reports done. We're meant to be seeing a school on 17th May (independent) but I know Emma doesn't want to go there - was hoping if she saw it and spoke to them she might change her mind. Connexions are saying that if college doesn't work out we can apply for independent colleges via YPLA - they seem to think we'd have a good chance of getting a place but I don't know if that's just more dirty tricks. Ugh! Carol .
  9. Thanks for your replies. My daughter's current school (mainstream) does have a sixth form but it offers A level options only and she is not achieving sufficiently high results to do an A level course. In addition the school have failed her badly and she has had bad experience there in terms of bullying etc so it would not be an option, even if she had a statement for support. I forgot to mention that the LA asked me to review the Note in Lieu and see if I was happy with what was in there as this would be the basis for a statement if they issued one. I've made some amendments but am out of my depth. I can't get through to IPSEA - have tried and tried but as I work aswell I really can't spend hours on the phone. When I've got through in the past the advice has been very generalised and not specific - no-one is willing to review the documentation and tell me what's needed. Sally, we are in Hampshire - can't remember where you are but if it's a possibility I would be grateful for contact details for the EP - I had a bad experience with one in the past who really didn't seem to know what he was talking about and concluded that Emma just wasn't very bright - this disagreed with the reports that we had done by the LA EP when Em was six and the ones done at the beginning of this year. The LA also said we should consider independent colleges (funded by YPLA) - I think this lets them off the hook but they say that the tribunal isn't interested in compensating families they are only interested in what the child needs here and now. I've spoken to connexions who say that we can apply for YPLA funding but as a mainstream college place has been offered we are unlikely to get anywhere. I have to apply for college places otherwise Emma could potentially have nowhere to go in September if we don't win the Tribunal. They know I've applied as they've spoken to Connexions and seen the S139a and the response from the mainstream college that has offered her a place. Their witnesses for tribunal will be the EP, the SENCO at her current school and the SENCO at the mainstream college where she has been offered a place. Carol
  10. Well done for finishing the form Personally it sounds as though there isn't much point in taking it to CAB after the advice they gave your friend! You don't have to write anything in the further information part of the form but at the same time it doesn't hurt to re-iterate what you've said before. Have you done a daily diary? I've heard the new forms contain this now - sometimes that can help to illustrate just how much you do that's over and above what you would do for a "normal" child of this age. If he wakes at night have you put how long you're awake with him? I believe it needs to be at least 20 mins you spend with them to qualify for needing help at night. Make sure you get the forms back before the deadline date. Good luck! Carol
  11. Just to recap Emma is in her final year of school (Yr 11) - she was diagnosed at the beginning of Year 10 with Aspergers. She also has auditory neuropathy and auditory processing disorder. We applied for a statutory assessment (Emma was underachieving considering she'd been assessed in Yr 1 as being on 73rd centile cognitively) and were refused on the grounds that the local authority had a good knowledge of Emma's needs and were meeting them in school. We appealed the decision - we had noticed, once we got the education file, that problems had been noted with her memory and processing which hadn't been explored. We argued that she had complex needs and needed a full statutory assessment to work out exactly what those needs were and how they could be met. LA said that it was too late anyway, as by the time any statement was issued she would be leaving school. We won the tribunal - everything went in our favour. The panel agreed with us that the assessment might identify needs that could best be met in a specialist provision and therefore the local authority's argument that it is too late was "unattractive". Stat assessment was done quite quickly - it identified problems with language (understanding of spoken paragraphs on 9th centile) - they didn't retest much of what had been done at age 6 but quite a thorough EP assessment which highlighted problems with speed of processing and auditory memory. A dyslexia screen showed her to be at risk but as she reads well and her spelling is age appropriate EP said she didn't meet the criteria for a diagnosis of dyslexia. They issued a note in lieu and I appealed for refusal to statement. At this point the LA asked us in for a meeting almost immediately - which is very different from last time we appealed when they didn't ask to see us until a few weeks before the hearing date. We saw the principal education officer for our area. He was very patronising and condescending. He asked what we were hoping to achieve - I said I wanted Emma to have a choice for 6th form which included an independent specialist placement which would allow her to leave school with the grades she deserves and with more confidence (she thinks, because she had underachieved, that she is stupid). He asked why we'd applied for local mainstream colleges. I said we needed to have a fall back plan. Em has looked at an Art and Photography one year course and an Animal Management course. He asked what Emma thought about going to an independent school - I said that we hadn't fully explored this with her as the option wasn't on the table yet. He said the panel would most likely adjourn the appeal if we hadn't been to see the schools we were thinking might be suitable and Emma wasn't keen to go to them. I had thought that if we were applying for a statement that the looking at schools would come after we had one that battle. Indeed, during the interview the LA officer said that we would most likely have to go back to tribunal several times as they could issue the statement and immediately discontinue it then when they did issue it they could do so but not name the specialist independent provision we wanted. We discussed the school I had identified as being a possible option. A specialist school for young people with Aspergers and Dyslexia. He said this school wasn't all it's cracked up to be and that, as it is 45mins away, Emma would need to board there and how does she feel about that. He then said that he felt her needs were more speech and language and named a school on the Isle of Wight we should look at. This is an independent school too so not quite sure why he suggested it?? He did say that Emma would have to board there as the ferries don't operate if the weather is bad. I think he knows that Emma would not want to live away from home. So I have started sending reports to the two schools we have in mind - the one I found and the one he suggested. The one I found is on Easter break so couldn't respond. The other school said they thought they could meet Emma's needs and have invited us for an informal visit. The follow up to this will be a 4 day assessment which I think is residential and for which we will have to pay £300. I very much doubt I will get Emma to go for a 4 day residential stay when she doesn't know anyone and is so lacking in confidence. I haven't gone down the independent report route - partly due to the cost - partly because I think this appeal is quite a long shot - and partly because I have lots of other things going on at home (my son has significant disabilities) and I couldn't get myself organised in time. It is looking like we will have a July date for tribunal. I am concerned that by this time Emma won't be officially on roll at school, but the LA said this won't prejudice our case. I suspect the LA are pushing us to look at schools so that Emma says she doesn't want to go - they've already said that they have a statutory duty to interview her to gain her views. That's really annoying that they're so keen on doing what she wants now all of a sudden. When she was refusing school would they have thought we should completely follow what she wanted then too? As parents don't we have the duty to make decisions for our children when they are in their best interests? In reality I wouldnt send her somewhere where she doesn't want to go but I want her to have a choice - the courses she's chosen for college will hopefully capture her interest and keep her in education but they aren't going to help her regain what she has lost at school - I think an independent placement could, then she could go on to vocational courses afterwards. Sorry for rambling - any ideas about what the LA are up to would be gratefully received, Thanks Carol
  12. Hi again! After the special needs teacher identifying that Emma works better on a word processor than by hand (on a PC) I asked them why she isn't using one in class and they said they'd "look into it". Today we receive a letter to say they think she will benefit from using an alphasmart and asking us to sign up to accept she is fully responsible for it and can only use it subject to teacher's permission etc etc. Emma has never used an alphasmart, though she has seen them in the classroom. Some have alphasmarts and others have laptops. I'd like to know how they think she will benefit if she's never tried using them - don't they have predictive text or something? I've looked at a picture online and it seems it might be quite difficult to organise your work if you can only see one line at a time? If anyone has experience in secondary school with these please could you let me know your thoughts. I suspect they've seen she needs a word processor and have an alphasmart spare to are going to give her that without considering whether it's the best solution. We got a note in lieu by the way - no mention of word processor on that as they've only very recently identified that she works better on the laptop (since the assessments done in December). I think I'm going to appeal. I have no faith in this school being able to meet her needs and have grave concerns about college. Thanks Carol
  13. emmasmum

    Note In Lieu

    Thanks Sally. I asked the people who assessed her communication and language about ongoing input. They said no-one gets SALT past age 11 unless they have a statement and Emma's problems aren't severe enough to get a statement. They said there will be other children in Emma's yeargroup who have similar difficulties and it's not that bad. The EP report is quite thorough and lists her SEN as social communication, anxiety and low self esteem, speed of processing, numeracy skills, memory, planning organisation and independence. The EP told us that she thought it would be quite traumatic for Emma to be assessed so she was just going to focus on certain areas. There's not an awful lot to choose from in Hampshire, bearing in mind it needs to be a school rather than a college for the LA to fund it under a statement of SEN as far as I can understand. The local college has indicated they can offer her a place and meet her needs, but it will be on a one year art and photography course (Emma's choice) and will not enable her to do further work on her numeracy and literacy. I'll look into the costs of independent reports to see what we can do. Thanks Sally, Carol
  14. emmasmum

    Note In Lieu

    Emma, 15, was diagnosed with aspergers last year. We applied for a statement, LA said no - school have a good understanding of her needs and can meet them - plus it's too late as she won't be continuing in school after year 11 (won't get high enough grades). We appealed to tribunal and won. A six page judgement entirely in our favour. The main reason for doing this was to have a full assessment of her needs. She'd been diagnosed with auditory neuropathy at age 10 and aspergers at age 15, both at my instigation - what if we'd missed something else? EP had refused to reassess (she was assessed age 6 and found to be on 73rd centile cognitively) as she said we had to choose between an assessment or her ongoing support and advice. Stat assessment now completed: EP assessment found her spatial skills to be good, but her verbal skills to be very poor - word definitions was on 4th centile, Recall of objects, immediate verbal - 7th centile, information processing - 5th centile. Teacher adviser for communication and language found her understanding of spoken sentences to be on 9th centile, and all other scores to be around 16th centile. A dyslexia screen showed her to be at risk of dyslexia but her reading and spelling ages are age appropriate, she struggles with planning and organisation. She most likely has auditory processing disorder - that test was only done last week so the report isnt' included althought he recomendations are unlikely to be dissimilar from those for auditory neuropathy. So now, surprise surprise, we have a note in lieu as they believe her needs can be met in her current school. My thinking is that her current school have had chance enough to meet her needs and have failed her. Perfect example in point - I asked them to reconsider her exam concessions in light of the recent assessments. They did so and have applied for 25% extra time, modified language papers, use of a prompt, and use of a word processor. The reason for the word processor is that she works better on that than on paper - she is in Year 11 and they are only just realising this?? I asked why she isn't using one in class in that case - they are going to "look into it". I would like the local authority to provide a specialist placement in an independent school to give her the best possible chance to "catch up" on the missed learning. I found the tribunal quite a cathartic experience last time and the LA got quite a telling off and a grilling - this time I think they will be better prepared. My daughter doesn't actually want to go to school next year either - though I'd like to give her that choice and encourage her to consider the benefits of learning in an environment that's tailored to her needs. She has very low self esteem and confidence and I'm worried about what the future holds and also angry that the LA will get away wiht failing her big time. Thoughts please??
  15. First off have a look at Cerebra www.cerebra.org.uk - autism is one of the disabilities they provide support for. They have a sleep helpline manned by a specialist nurse, a stress helpline for carers and they also produce a guide which they will send you or you can download for free which gives really detailed guidance, question by question on DLA forms. You could also contact Contact a Family www.cafamily.org.uk as they sometimes have parent support advisers who can help with forms etc. I found this online: Medway Disability Information Service at the Disablement Services Centre, Medway Maritime Hospital provides information help and advice on a wide range of issues relating to disability, including: equipment, housing, holidays, employment, leisure, benefits, allowances, education, mobility, local contacts. Phone 01634 838947. If your family is on a low income you could apply for a grant from the family fund www.familyfund.org.uk for household equipment (such as new beds), holidays, toys or clothing. Hope this is helpful, Carol
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