It?s been a while since I?ve been on this forum and would like some advice.
My son?s Statement is due for annual review in a months time (originally given in Feb 2005). Currently his statement reads as follows:
?Part 3-To be provided by Other Agencies
Direct & weekly sessions of Speech and Language therapy intervention for a minimum of 45 minutes that will focus on xxxxx?s areas of weakness. The programme needs to be administered and delivered by a speech and language therapist.?
I had to fight very hard to get the above provision and in the end the only way I was able to do this was to commission an independent assessment by a private SALT firm who recommended the above in their report/advice. At the time it cost me ?250. The LEA took some persuading to look at the report and finally agreed to put this in the statement.
The weekly sessions with the SALT from the Primary Care Trust have been going on now since May last year. My son is now on his 3rd therapist, the previous two having left on maternity/change of case load. His most recent therapist has only seen him since just before Christmas.
This therapist has now advised me that in her clinical judgement my son does not need as much provision as he has progressed greatly over the last few months and said she will recommend that in each term he have a six week block (delivered by her), followed by a further 6 week block to be delivered by his LSA. She would draw up a programme & train the LSA to deliver this. She said if the LSA felt this was not working, they could go back to the ?old arrangement?. She says his receptive and expressive communication skills have come along greatly. She did not take my point when I said that his comprehension is low and although he is very expressive, half the time what he says is not relevant to the conversation. He cannot conduct a conversation unless it?s on a narrow range and usually it?s ?yes/no? answers.
She did not take my point when I said that as nice as the LSA is, she is not a qualified SALT. It?s rather like wanting to see a dentist and being passed to their assistant. Also how would the LSA determine whether the arrangement was working or not? No matter what I said, I could not persuade her otherwise and finally we left it that she recommends what she felt best and I would have to fight it.
I know that in our area the SALTs are heavily discouraged by their managers to recommend weekly sessions even if they feel a child may need this because of budgetary constraints within the Primary Care Trust and also because there is a real shortage of SALTs within the area. So I feel that in this case I cannot trust her ?clinical judgement? and her arm is being bent by her managers.
I have now made an appointment with the same independent SALT firm as before for a private assessment, (at a further cost of at least ?250) so that I can at least be sure exactly where my son?s weaknesses are.
My questions are a follows:
Does the LEA have a right not to look at the report from the private SALT?
If the LEA decide not to look at the report, do I have a right to appeal?
My sons? greatest deficit is social communication. Does this fall under the aegis of ?Speech & Language Therapy?? I have looked on the Primary Care?s website, but cannot find anywhere on there what falls under Speech & Language Therapy. ie use of social language, expressive/receptive language, comprehension of language.
Sorry it?s such a long post.