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babnye1

Should I go for an SA?

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babnye1   

I have posted about my problems with school before. My son is on SA+ but getting no additional assistance. he is on the waiting list for an ASD assessment but is being considered by clinicians to have ASD needs.

 

SALT confirmed social communication difficulties, made suggestions and left it to the school to sort out. There were a few social skills groups but nothing now.

 

He also has Developmental Coordination Difficulties. I have told school before that he may need time and extra support with writing to no avail.

 

School have been dodging expert input. The first IEP meeting was drawn up before they had read the SALT report. Our OT said she would attend the next and I told school the dates. They then set the meeting on a day which was not one of the days she could attend. Fortunately, I rang her directly and she can make it. I have passed on her suggestions regarding handwriting and they say 'we do all that' and handed them back.

 

So, I have a son who is doing quite well but who a bibic report says has a very high IQ and clear sensory problems - OT has confirmed this too as he can't sit still in his seat and she's recommending weighted supports.

 

I have driven all this because I picked up on the difficulties - I got him referred to the ASD team and he has been referred on for OT and SALT. I have also had to nag school about support and meetings, getting him put first on SA and then on SA+. They haven't a clue what they are doing with him but worse they don't really seem interested.

 

I was told yesterday by the teacher that they haven't the funding for social skills groups.

 

He is due to be seen by the ASD team at school in March.

 

They have refused to call in Ed Psych despite the bibic report showing problems with concentration, auditory processing and working memory.

 

I know he won't get a statement - I don't think his needs are that severe but Parent Partnership told me that applying for a SA was a way of making the LA aware that this school is not doing what should be.

 

Do you think it is time for me to apply? He is 7 and moves into Yr 3 this September.

 

Is is best to wait until all reports are in?

 

Sorry if I am boring you all with the same story........it's my sad life at the moment

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bluefish   

Hi, it makes me sad and angry to hear of the problems you are having.

I had problems with my sons last school ignoring his sen eventhough he had a15 hour statment! as he was bright and did not really bother anyone! It is disgusting but sadly it happens far more than it should. In my experience, if a school does not care about sen they will not change just because a child gets a statement. I fought and fought to make them do there jobs but still they didnt, I gave up and removed my son. It is a huge risk, however it is the best thing I have ever done.

My son has been at his new school a year and not once have I had any worry, not once have I had to contact them, he needs are met and I have got my life back.

I trully understand how hard it is to try to get what your child needs and deserves.

can you look at other schools?

I think that if staying at this school is your only option you must have a multi agency meeting.

The school need to agree to an iep that will help your child.

I would complain/request action in writting so it is on file. I would speak to parent partnership.

The problem is I think schools think we will give up and they can get away with bad practice.

is your son one the sen register? ask to see schools sen policy, outline you childs needs and where they are not being met.

 

I am sorry I cant be off much help. In my opinion I would apply for assesment NOW so you can use the transition to year 3 as an extra thing to mention

 

Do you think your child is reaching their potential? If not they are not recieving an equal oppertunities education.

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babnye1   

Hi, thanks it was helpful to hear what you say. I think you are right about him not reaching his potential. I can see how the external professionals will start to back off though as well. My OT told me she had been to a meeting with LA who told her that they can't put 'requires 1:1' in reports because it is for teachers to identify the best strategies. The whole thing is a nightmare, particularly when he does not need a great deal of extra support.

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Sally44   

If you ask for an assessment towards a Statement the LEA can turn it down - which you can then appeal to SEND.

Or they can agree to the assessment which would mean all professionals would have to assess - and that would include the EP assessments you are looking for.

When that info is in the LEA will either agree to issue a Statement - which will mean you see the proposed statement and discuss and agree over the contents of it - you can go to appeal to SEND if the statement is not as you believe it shoudl be.

Or the LEA can refuse a statement on the grounds of the info they have.

You also have info from BIBIC.

 

The main issue ontop of the above is:-

"I was told yesterday by the teacher that they haven't the funding for social skills groups.".

 

That is the kind of thing that Statements are for. The school are saying their funding does not cover these types of support. Do you have in writing that he should have access to a Social Skills Group? If not can you get that in writing?

Can you ask the teacher to put in writing that they don't have funding for the SSG?

 

These letters, plus BIBIC report, plus any other documented reports or letters you have are what you submit to the LEA as evidence that he needs to be assessed towards a Statement.

 

I think there has to be 6 months inbetween requests for an assessment towards a Statement if you don't take the refusal to appeal. If i'm wrong I'm sure others will correct it.

 

Do you know how much longer it will take for a diagnosis??

 

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Sally44   

Again you need the Code of Practice because it says that "any shortfall in funding by the school has to be met by the LEA." That means if the school does not have the money to meet all the needs your child has then that funding has to be met by the LEA and that provision needs to be specified and quantified in the Statement.

 

But even if you are turned down at this stage, it will mean the LEA will have to become involved with you and the school - even if it is to tell the school that they need to be doing more.

 

The Statement takes 26 weeks. If you are thinking of a new placement for September 2010, you are cutting it fine. I requested an assessment on 1st January 2008. The proposed Statement arrived in July time just before the summer holidays. I was told there were no SEN places left at the only LEA maintained school for mainstream/ASD children. I contested it, so it was finalised and we went to tribunal at the end of January 2009 - that's a whole year later. I cannot over emphasise how long these processes take.

 

This is a long process. As your son is mainstream you will probably find it difficult to find a place in another school. You may need to go to tribunal if you need a place. Remember that there are lots of other SEN children with ASD in the infants taking up those SEN places and they will almost certainly be allocated SEN places at junior schools - leaving virtually no places for any children diagnosed later on.

 

But it is always best to concentrate on the Statement being as accurate as possible, so that that is enforceable whatever placement your child has.

 

Is this the right time?? Only you can call that shot. A diagnosis is not necessary, but it helps.

But you also have other dx such as sensory issues and social communication issues, handwriting issues (co-ordination issues??) - that is beginning to build up a 'complex' case, which is what you need.

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babnye1   

Sally, thank you so much for your help. You give very clear and helpful advice.

 

I did say to the teacher yesterday that they should make it clear if this is a matter of funding and not disagreeing he has the needs. I expect the truth of it is that they have a lot of children in the class struggling with similar issues (such as handwriting) and they have very little understanding (despite what SENCO says) of these issues and so think I'm just another pushy parent making a fuss about 'achievement'.

 

They have been very cagey about his progress. We missed out on the last parents' eve because we had a special meeting about the IEP instead and i have asked them to explicitly set out how they feel he is coping with handwriting and communication in particular. No response. He's probably doing 'ok' but I have stressed time and time again that there is a need to switch on to these issues and adapt learning accordingly.

 

It looks like a diagnosis might help and we are nearly at that stage. I have been badgering the head of ASD for ages and call her to ask her questions about school so she knows what the problems are. The clinicians response is always that school have ample budgets and resources to provide help to someone with what effectively is a 'working diagnosis'.

 

They are going on the Early Bird Plus course which is supposed to be for those who have got or who are likely to get a diagnosis so it seems ridiculous that they do this and then nothing else.

 

Thanks again. I have got the SEN COP and have looked at SA+ and the role external professionals should play in setting targets is clearly set out at 5.55 - 5.57. I can't believe SENCO was trying to review the IEP and set a new one without input from OT or anyone else when there are lacking so much information.

 

Do you know where the comment about shortfall is?

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Sally44   

In that case ask your school how much funding your child is receiving from their budget.

It might be something around 15 hours a week funding they have. But are they using it?? If you ask them in writing they have to reply. Then you'll know.

They don't have to spend 15 hours 1:1. It can be working in smaller groups with a TA, time used for any additional programmes etc.

But don't just accept they are doing everything they can. If they aren't and you ask for a SA, the LEA will throw it out saying that the school are not doing all they could.

This budget is given to schools for these very reasons - to use on SEN children. So I would ask them to clarify how they are using that money in terms of hours of support and staffing provision. So expect a reply like XXX receives 10 hours a week in smaller group working with a TA. He has 40 mins a week with a TA working on the SALT programme etc.

 

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Sally44   

Sometimes, rather than endless discussions, you just need to know the right questions to ask. Then things start to become much clearer and school also become aware that you know what you are talking about.

Unfortunately there is no booklet of these 'useful questions to ask'.

If school receive delegated funding for 15 hours a week for SEN children and they are not using it on your son, then they cannot skirt around it using words. So ask them to clarify the situation.

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Sally44   

Regarding academic progress. Do you get yearly reports? If so that gives academic progress. Always keep them.

From that you will see if your child is making progress and whether he is keeping up with peers and expected levels of learning.

Also you will see from the CoP what they consider to be 'adequate progress'.

And from now on make sure you and the PP attend all IEP meetings.

Don't sign IEPs if you are not happy with them.

Although the SEN system is complicated, it should work for most children if it is worked through methodically. And by that I mean by ensuring that everyone is doing what they should at each stage. If IEPs are done correctly and record lack of progress or regression, then that is evidence that your child needs further investigations or a higher level of input. If you don't have IEPs done correctly you are losing your main area of evidence gathering.

And you already know that IEPs do not have to have academic targets.

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Sally44   

I think the CoP 8:5 - 8:7 talks about funding.

It states that regardless of how funding is devolved to schools, the ultimate responsibility for the fulfilling of the Statement lies with the LEA. So provision specified in the statement has to be met either by school or by school and LEA. So they have to sort it out between them. Provision cannot be stopped or altered on the grounds of 'lack of funds'.

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babnye1   

Thanks that is, again, really helpful info!

 

That is a good question to ask - funding. At the moment, my son gets no additional help and when I queried this I was told 'funding' by his teacher. He doesn't get any TA time, any time in a group, any social skills training (recommended in the SALT report). Nothing as far as I can see. I will ask them about this.

 

If PP can't come to this meeting - do you think I should reschedule.

 

I actually think they will just lie there way out of it when the backs are against the wall. Say he is given help in the class by a TA or something.

 

I have also asked about progress. The SATs targets he was recently given for writing show no progress since last year. He does not have an IEP target to do with this as OT was not involved and they were saying that his writing was fine although I had pointed out problems with his grasp etc (he has hypotonia and hypermobility).

 

They have to be dragged to do anything.

 

I have been too trusting and too lacking in confidence about this. You are right. I need to start asking direct questions.

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Karen A   
I meant to ask as well ..... is there a set sum of money they get for each child on SA+?

 

Hi.

I don't think so.I think calcuations are made based on historical levels of SEN within a particular school.However I think funding levels vary from one LA to the next.

So the HT or SENCO just has to use the delegated money as they see fit.All children at SA plus may not need the same sorts of support anyway.

Unfortunately it is very difficult to ensure whether the HT is using delegated money in the way most helpful.

For example there is no requirement that the money is spent on TAs.The HT could spend all of the money on computers if he or she could demonstrate thyat these would fulfil the requirements of IEPS of children at SA and SAplus.

Karen.

 

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Karen A   
I think the CoP 8:5 - 8:7 talks about funding.

It states that regardless of how funding is devolved to schools, the ultimate responsibility for the fulfilling of the Statement lies with the LEA. So provision specified in the statement has to be met either by school or by school and LEA. So they have to sort it out between them. Provision cannot be stopped or altered on the grounds of 'lack of funds'.

 

Provision for children with Statements which is stipulated in the Statement is purely the responsibility of the LEA.If the school do not provide what is agreed then the LEA have responsibilty for ensuring that the situation is remedied.

Karen.

 

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babnye1   
Hi.

I don't think so.I think calcuations are made based on historical levels of SEN within a particular school.However I think funding levels vary from one LA to the next.

So the HT or SENCO just has to use the delegated money as they see fit.All children at SA plus may not need the same sorts of support anyway.

Unfortunately it is very difficult to ensure whether the HT is using delegated money in the way most helpful.

For example there is no requirement that the money is spent on TAs.The HT could spend all of the money on computers if he or she could demonstrate thyat these would fulfil the requirements of IEPS of children at SA and SAplus.

Karen.

 

Thanks Karen. I understand that the SEN budget is not ring-fenced which fits with this type of discretion at 'ground level'. Do schools have to account for the money in any way? If they have money left over, are they just free to spend it on anything they like?

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Karen A   
I have posted about my problems with school before. My son is on SA+ but getting no additional assistance. he is on the waiting list for an ASD assessment but is being considered by clinicians to have ASD needs.

 

SALT confirmed social communication difficulties, made suggestions and left it to the school to sort out. There were a few social skills groups but nothing now.

 

He also has Developmental Coordination Difficulties. I have told school before that he may need time and extra support with writing to no avail.

 

School have been dodging expert input. The first IEP meeting was drawn up before they had read the SALT report. Our OT said she would attend the next and I told school the dates. They then set the meeting on a day which was not one of the days she could attend. Fortunately, I rang her directly and she can make it. I have passed on her suggestions regarding handwriting and they say 'we do all that' and handed them back.

 

So, I have a son who is doing quite well but who a bibic report says has a very high IQ and clear sensory problems - OT has confirmed this too as he can't sit still in his seat and she's recommending weighted supports.

 

I have driven all this because I picked up on the difficulties - I got him referred to the ASD team and he has been referred on for OT and SALT. I have also had to nag school about support and meetings, getting him put first on SA and then on SA+. They haven't a clue what they are doing with him but worse they don't really seem interested.

 

I was told yesterday by the teacher that they haven't the funding for social skills groups.

 

He is due to be seen by the ASD team at school in March.

 

They have refused to call in Ed Psych despite the bibic report showing problems with concentration, auditory processing and working memory.

 

I know he won't get a statement - I don't think his needs are that severe but Parent Partnership told me that applying for a SA was a way of making the LA aware that this school is not doing what should be.

 

Do you think it is time for me to apply? He is 7 and moves into Yr 3 this September.

 

Is is best to wait until all reports are in?

 

Sorry if I am boring you all with the same story........it's my sad life at the moment

 

 

Hi.

If you apply for a Statutary Assessment then the LEA will look at whether school have evidence of having put appropriate support in place at School Action Plus.

They will also look at your child's SEN.

If the LEA think that school have used all available delegated funding for your child in attempts to improve the situation with little effect then they may agree to Statuary Assessment.

If they think school do not have evidence they have done enough then they may turn down the request.

Even if the first request is declined the school will be aware that they need to put support in place to provide evidence.

It will also demonstrate to the school that you are assertive which is no bad thing.

In the worst situation you can make another request for Statutory Assessment in I think six months. :unsure:

It is common for a first request to be turned down.However at least you will have made a first request and so will be a bit further on.

I do not see how you have much to loose.Especially is pp think it is worthwhile and will support you.

Karen.

 

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babnye1   
Hi.

If you apply for a Statutary Assessment then the LEA will look at whether school have evidence of having put appropriate support in place at School Action Plus.

They will also look at your child's SEN.

If the LEA think that school have used all available delegated funding for your child in attempts to improve the situation with little effect then they may agree to Statuary Assessment.

If they think school do not have evidence they have done enough then they may turn down the request.

Even if the first request is declined the school will be aware that they need to put support in place to provide evidence.

It will also demonstrate to the school that you are assertive which is no bad thing.

In the worst situation you can make another request for Statutory Assessment in I think six months. :unsure:

It is common for a first request to be turned down.However at least you will have made a first request and so will be a bit further on.

I do not see how you have much to loose.Especially is pp think it is worthwhile and will support you.

Karen.

 

Thanks Karen. That's what PP said. They said they wouldn't usually suggest it at this stage but that they thought a chain of accountability needed to be created as the school were doing nothing to provide any support despite recognising needs by putting him on SA+.

 

I am going to try and get hold of the PP woman I spoke to and see if she can come to the meeting. It is always useful to have someone else's thoughts. Hubby will come but is useless at this stuff and will always say 'that went well' afterwards and you have to explain why it did not!

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Karen A   
Thanks Karen. That's what PP said. They said they wouldn't usually suggest it at this stage but that they thought a chain of accountability needed to be created as the school were doing nothing to provide any support despite recognising needs by putting him on SA+.

 

I am going to try and get hold of the PP woman I spoke to and see if she can come to the meeting. It is always useful to have someone else's thoughts. Hubby will come but is useless at this stuff and will always say 'that went well' afterwards and you have to explain why it did not!

7:90 The critical point is that parents must normally receive written notification of the outcome

of the assessment within 12 weeks of the start of the statutory assessment. Where the

LEA decides not to assess, parents must be informed of their right to appeal to the SEN

Tribunal, the time limits for lodging an appeal, the availability of parent partnership and

disagreement resolution services and that using disagreement resolution will not affect the

parent’s right of appeal.

 

I forgott to add also that even if your request to conduct a statutary assessment was declined you would also have a right to appeal.

 

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Sally44   

I agree with everything said.

Just wondered if you had any idea how much longer before you find out about dx?

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babnye1   
I agree with everything said.

Just wondered if you had any idea how much longer before you find out about dx?

I was told a couple of weeks ago that we are 11th on the waiting list - they do about 3 children a month.

 

I have kicked up alot of fuss here as the service was not adequately funded and the waiting list was massive (in November we were 25th on the list with an attrition rate of 2 a month!) and another trust has been contracted to help out starting in April.

 

In the meantime, the psychologist in charge of the ASD team has seen my son and will see him in school in March as part of the assessment. She will then talk to us in March after seeing him.

 

So, that was the long answer! The short answer is that I would hope we could have some answers by the end of summer term at the latest.

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Sally44   

If you asked for an assessment towards the statement, and the LEA agreed, that would mean that the diagnosis of an ASD may not be in the Statement, and that that dx would have to be included at the first AR. That may mean that difficulties associated with an ASD may not be included in the Statement at this stage. But other difficulties already identified should be included.

 

Is it possible for you to pass a message to the paediatrician saying that you going to ask for an assessment towards the Statement and want to know if a dx will be given after they next see your son in March as you are concerned that any dx of an ASD may not be included in the Statement if it takes longer than that.

 

I did manage to move my son to the school of my choice, but only as a mainstream pupil (as they had places), before he received his Statement. So that meant that he was effectively in the ASD specialist school but as a mainstream pupil. When he acquired the Statement they had to fulfill the Statement eventhough the LEA had refused him an SEN place there because there were no places. The LEA made me transport him to and from school. So I managed to get an SEN place, eventhough they said there were none. However it was not named by the LEA until we went to tribunal. And that was one of the reasons that I went to tribunal because otherwise the LEA could name another child on the Statement. The LEA did try to refuse me that mainstream placement on the argument that that place was granted when he was not recognised as having an SEN. I said I would use Disability Discrimination Law if they tried to remove that place. The school SENCO was supportive and said that by law they have to fulfill every statement regardless of how many SEN places the LEA say the school have. So you might find yourself in a similar situation - if that is possible!! So find out which schools the LEA uses for mainstream and ASD pupils. They usually have one mixed school in primary and secondary. And that maybe the best option at the current stage.

 

Have you looked at other schools in your area? Do you know which one the LEA uses as the mainstream option for ASD children? Ask your LEA for their list of maintained and independent schools. Go and visit the LEA maintained ones.

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Karen A   

Hi.

It is worth bearing in mind that the LEA have 6 weeks to decide whether to conduct a Statutary Assessment.

If they agree to conduct the Statutary Assessment they then have a further 12 weeks to conduct the Statutary Assessment.

This can be extended if there are specific reasons.For example if the ASD assessment was in progress but reports were not completed but due soon.

Even once the Statutary Assessment process is completed you are issued with a draft Statement with further time to negotiate before the final Statement is completed.

It is very unusual for an LEA to agree to assess first time round nowadays.

Even if they do happen to agree first time round it is unusual for the process to be completed in less than six months.

If by any chance the Statutary Assessment process were to be completed without an ASD diagnosis it is the provision for the SEN your child has that is most important rather than a diagnosis.

Ben has had a Statement with provision for Social Communication Difficulties for three years but only recieved an AS diagnoisis last year.

In our case the original Statutary Assessments and CAMHS assessments were completed alonside each other.

For the complete time line for Statutary Assessment see COP section 8:134.

The total time from original request to completed Statement is 26 weeks.

Edited by Karen A

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babnye1   

Thanks Karen. Was your son presenting problems to school? My problem seems to be that school aren't bothered about meeting his needs as they have no needs in relation to him i.e. he doesn't cause them a problem.

 

I spoke to Parent Partnership today who said they can't attend the meeting on Friday but the woman I spoke to said 'move schools'. She feels we wouldn't be successful in our application for an SA as the school could accomodate his needs if they wanted to. It may apply some pressure to the school but she feels it will be an uphill task all the way to get things sorted.

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Sally44   

Have you looked at the other schools in your area? Is there a mixed mainstream school that also has an autism unit and children in mainstream classes? Find that out before you make any decisions AND VISIT THEM. Ask your LEA for the list of maintained and independent schools.

LEAs often turn down Statutory Assessments - but even if they do you can appeal.

LEAs do not want children with Statements because it costs them money.

 

I think it might be better to aim for the Statement because you need a Statement wherever your child is places. For example my son has therapy from a SALT in school every week. That would happen whatever school he was in. Without that being set out in the Statement he would not receive that in any school.

 

If the LEA turn down the SA due to the school not doing what they should, then that will put pressure on the school to do those things they are not doing.

 

Unfortunately it sometimes takes a child failing at a school for a Statement and the right placement to be named on the Statement.

 

If you move your child it is going to take the new school a few months before they have a good feeling for your son's SEN. Once you are in the process of a Statutory Assessment and your child's current school have done their report, you can always move him then if you feel it necessary. But this would have to be a move to another mainstream school as you would not have a Statement that would give you access to SEN places - but have you read my other post about how I moved my son to his current school prior to him having a Statement??

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