SOS SEN - A day of advice on the EHC needs assessment

SOS SEN - helping with Special educational needs

Our thanks go out to the volunteers at SOS!SEN.

A week ago we travelled to Molesey and spent the day with another mum also in the process of requesting an EHC needs assessment and two SOS!SEN volunteers (mums with kids on the spectrum) on a workshop which focused on Requesting an EHC needs assessment and appealing refusal to assess. This was the personal view that we have been looking for!

Being able to talk to another parent in the same boat as us, and gain insights from parents who understand what is required, have been through the process of getting a statement and have helped many other parents at all stages of the process.  

A tiring but worthwhile day for any parent looking for information on the EHC.

During the day, we touched on:
  • Top tips for dealing with schools and the local authority
  • Understanding  points included in the SEND Code of Practice, and what this means in terms what needs to be considered by schools and local authorities (chapter 6 covers schools provisioning, and chapter 9 covers the EHC)
  • Insights on the EHC process and what to consider should you be turned down at any stage of the process
  • Personal insights into some of the challenges faced by parents of children on the spectrum

Some of the Top Tips

  • Ensure you have a PAPER TRAIL for everything discussed with school, professionals and the LA 
  • Don't just say to yourself that you don't agree with something, BE PREPARED TO CHALLENGE any points in emails/reports that you don't agree with 
  • SEPARATE SCHOOL FROM THE LA - sounds simple, but it can be easy to think about your challenge with the school and the LA as the same thing and to think that your engagement with the school can impact your request for an EHC from the LA 
  • Think about getting a INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST (EP) assessment and report, which specifically states what support your child needs - it may be costly, but it can save you a lot of time and cost at a later stage. Find an EP early, the good ones have a long waiting list 
  • Ensure you/ the school have a BASELINE OF YOUR CHILD'S CAPABILITIES, and can demonstrate the progress made in relation to this baseline and in relation to their peers which started from a similar baseline

What the day meant to us

By the end of the day I was exhausted, mentally and emotionally, and my brain hurt as I tried to process all that I had learnt and all that I needed to consider as I prepared to make our case to the LA. I have to admit that I felt somewhat raw, and slightly distressed about the potential battle ahead of us - our reality seemed a little too real.

A week later these emotions are less raw, and I am thankful of the knowledge gained as without it I don't think I would've been so focused on gathering all the evidence we have to submit to the LA as part of our needs assessment request. I now have a catalogue of evidence from various people involved in our Son's life - demonstrating where he has challenges and show how this differs when he has the right support.

In addition we have found a connection which we can call on for further help should we get a no from the LA. We are not in this alone.

Have you been given advice about applying for an EHCP? If so, were is the advice you have found most useful?

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