In the last 12 months since we have moved to the UK, we have had our ups and downs trying to understand the UK national health service and UK Educational system.
So, on 1st December we submitted an ‘Our Story’ document with a K3 statutory education special needs assessment request. Some brightspark at the LEA decided to not even read our document and reject our request by printing out a standard template with information on it that is not even relevant to Lucky. Apparently we did not prove to the LEA that Lucky has enough special needs to warrant an assessment.
As you know, Lucky is currently being home-schooled and since the Summer holidays, we have visited 18 schools to try and identify one that we feel can offer appropriate provision for Lucky. We are understandably very concerned that placing Lucky within a mainstream setting without support for a period of LEA monitoring will be detrimental to his current progress and emotional well-being.
We included independent Educational Psychologist reports that clearly stated that Lucky:
Presents with significantly delayed speech and language skills, which are following an unusual pattern of development. He has significant social communication and interaction difficulties.
Has demonstrated that he is able to learn in a highly structured and well supported environment.
His learning skills are currently delayed at approximately the 36 month level, and his strong preference for following his own agenda, his communication difficulties and his delayed language will undoubtedly impact on his ability to learn and generalise this learning.
His physical development is broadly age appropriate, although his fine motor skills associated with self-help are delayed. His self-help skills are delayed at approximately the 24 month level.
He presents with significant sensory processing difficulties and unusual sensory preferences and sensitivities.
The overall summary states that:
Lucky is a young man with autism, and associated difficulties with language, sensory processing, and learning. He has a strong preference for following his own agenda, and finds it difficult to tolerate peers.
He presents with delayed development in other areas such as self-help, which can be affected by a lack of social motivation as well as skill levels.
Lucky has been receiving a very high level of structure and intensive teaching at home which has clearly contributed to his progress in all areas of his development. Although he is demonstrating an ability to learn, his learning is inconsistent, often rote learned and undoubtedly affected by his preference for following his own agenda and his language and communication difficulties.
Now, I ask, would sane person accept a rejection from the LEA to assess Lucky. Especially if the evidence presented was compiled by very experienced, and well respected professionals within the LEA. And to top it off, they couldn’t even be bothered to personalise the rejection letter. The letter even refers to the fact that: ‘all Lucky’s needs are met by his school’.
It doesn’t make ANY sense to me!!!