Avoiding the E-Word (not thinking about our EHCP annual review)

ehcp annual review

It is19 months since our Son was awarded an EHCP, 16 months since our emergency EHCP review and 12 months since he started at his current school. This week we have our first EHCP annual review, and it is fair to say that this is something that I have avoided thinking about as our previous experiences were so stressful. In fact I have been focusing on anything but our annual review, as I seem to be plagued with a major case of writer's block.

The same thing happened when writing our parental views for the EHCP, and again when preparing for the emergency review. I was frozen by the enormity of the task. After all the questions that they ask are such BIG questions .... "What do you think is important for your child", "What do you want for your child in the future", and "What needs or outcomes do you think needs to included for your child". 

So many questions

HUGE questions - keep you up at night questions! What do we want? What does he need? What does he want? How can he be supported to be successful in later life? What does successful mean for him? These are things that I have agonised over, time and time again. In truth, I don't know if I have answers to any of these questions. 

Then there is the need for all outcomes to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. How can I state anything which is specific or attainable when I don't even know what he needs or what he could be capable of in the next year with the right support? Do I even need to be SMART when writing my parental views. As a parent, I am not even sure that any outcomes that I state will be considered without a professional's report detailing the evidence of his needs and the provisioning required to address them? Our 

Consulting professionals and school

Which brings me onto the professionals views? He is at a special school where SALT and OT, and other specialist support is made available to children if the school identify a need for it. Does this mean that I don't need to consider this? Should we have asked (months ago) for him to be reassessed by the professionals to determine his current needs, rather than rely on the school's assessment? Have I let him down but not asking for these assessments, and just accepting that the school will provide the necessary input into his EHCP? A lot has changed since in the 2 years since he was first assessed - can we be sure that all of his needs will have been identified and the appropriate provisioning specified without additional input from other professionals?

Lastly there is school. They have made such great progress with addressing many of our son's triggers, which means that we don't have the daily calls about behavioural incidents, however he does not seem to be progressing academically. We have had a major breakthrough with writing and he now enjoys reading to himself, however he is significantly below age expectations across all areas of the curriculum. Looking back at his records he was reported at above age expectations for Maths, and at age expectations for Reading when he started a year ago. Why is this - it is the school or the result of him struggling more  over the past year? How do I bring this up? How do I do this in a way that it does not seem like we are at odds with the school? After all we want to have a collaborative partnership with the school, and not one of blame. 

Achieving collaboration

How do I approach this in a collaborative way to understand the challenges, taking onboard the schools points of view whilst maintaining our stance on ensuring that our son receives the provisioning that he needs to address ALL his needs ... not just the behavioural ones? After so much fighting the system, I am not up for another fight. Am I able to ask for more help and support without seeming confrontational or pushy? 

There are so many things that I want to say, but can't settle on how to say it in a way that is right for my parental views. And so my mind turns, and the paper remains blank. Why is it so difficult to find the words when what I want has not changed?

What I want for my son

I want an environment where my Son is understood and supported, feels like he belongs and has the opportunity to live the life that is right for him and makes him happy. Now if only I could find a way to express that in my parental views, with the outcomes I think he needs to make that happen. 

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