I think that statement sums up life really. We learn daily and it makes our life either easier or more worth or some other positive outcome. In this post I wanted to talk about a subject that is relevant to us at this time of life, this time of our current daily life (not about age or where we are 🙂 ). I want to talk about education, schools, as we are now facing this for this coming year. Little Mr. will be going to school at the end of this year and we’re at the stage of all the work to get him into, hopefully, a special school or with someone to one.
This is something that many of you reading this may need to do at some time and this is about where we are, what we’re doing, in regards to the UK. Other countries may have different routes you need to take.
So, there is this thing called the Education Care and Health Plan, which is a plan (as in the name) of any special needs child and what they will need in education; well that’s probably the best way to describe my understanding. The idea of it is to work out if a child needs support when in education. Can they go to a mainstream school for example, and if so would they need a 1-2-1; so a person that is just dedicated to helping them. Or, on the other hand, would your child need to go to a special school as their needs are more complex than a mainstream school can provide for.
The Education Care and Health Plan is created from lots and lots of input from key members that you have been working with for your child. All of this information is put together and a plan is drawn up of their needs. There is also input from you as a parent including any special schools that you would like them to attend.
So, I can’t answer this in detail as I don’t know, to be honest. But what I can talk to is the process we have been through and what we know about. So, the first input may be from a pre-school (if they attend one). This document is quite large and gives details of what the preschool has been doing, what they feel the child's abilities are and other items such as that. We had Litle Mr. in a Pre-school with one to one funding so there was a lot of input. When this is completed, it goes off to the education board at the council. They use this to decide if they feel that your child needs an Education Care and Health plan. This part of the process is VERY important, as you can imagine. At any stage, there is a process to challenge any decision, so if they feel that an ECHP is not needed, then you can challenge that.
So, about 6 weeks it took after this first part of the process. If they feel that you need an ECHP, then comes the next part. This is where they contact (with permission from you of course) all the health care professionals, etc, that you have worked with since your child was diagnosed. On top of that, there is a document for you to also fill in and send back. With this, you can get help filling it in; to make sure it's correct, they were a big help to us.
So, this is where we are today. We’re at the part of us filling in documents, trying to get Little Mr. into a special school as we feel that is what he needs. I did find out one thing, we have often said our son is non-vocal, but we found out now that the stage he is at is pre-vocal. This is where they don’t necessary have vocabulary but they do make noises. They may also say one to one or something along those lines.It'ss all a learning process.
This is where we are and as we pass through the process I will add more posts. I will say that its a lot of work doing this, much more than when our older daughter had to goto school. I will add one thing. When we were talking about this, we were advised to apply for a couple of mainstream schools. This is kind of like a backup if they feel your child doesn’t need to goto a special school (although, again, you can challenge any decision).
I will say that in all our time since our son was diagnosed, that the county we live in have help and supported us fantastically. There are also many free resources out there that will help and support in many different ways. It might sound like I’m their PR person (hehe) but its true. There are resources we’ve just found out about which are exciting for us to find. Some to help with all this education stuff. Some with other stuff like respite days. Best thing to do is make use of anything on offer; especially when it comes to getting the support you need.
As we progress through this process, I will be updating our progress and what else we encounter. I hope that for anyone who is wandering how it all works, that our experience will give you an idea. Unfortunately we can’t detail it as each child is differing, each route you take will have some difference. But know that there is a lot of work involved, but for the education of of kids - its worth it I feel.
Signing out now..