Below I have answered some of the common queries relating to special educational needs and disability. Please offer any further comments and if you have a pressing issue, why not contact me to see whether I can help?
Does my child need a diagnosis to qualify for additional support and/or access arrangements?
No. What is important is the profile of strengths and weaknesses. A detailed assessment needs to be carried out by a Specialist Teacher which will identify areas of need within the context of external examinations. Once needs have been identified through standardised assessments, recommendations for access arrangements can be made to the school.
What are the benefits of a diagnosis of dyslexia?
Although a diagnosis of dyslexia demystifies the difficulties which are being experienced by the individual, a diagnosis is not essential for accessing effective intervention and support. It is very important to identify the individual's profile of strengths and weaknesses and look for the reasons for any difficulties occurring. Dyslexia is a complex-specific learning difficulty with many facets and the underlying cause may vary from individual to individual. It is also essential that any associated and co-occurring difficulties are also identified during the assessment process.
How do I obtain a diagnosis?
A diagnosis of specific learning difficulty can be obtained in a number of ways. I, as a Specialist Teacher am able to assess for educational difficulties such as dyslexia and dyscalculia. You can contact me directly. A diagnosis of dyspraxia/DCD is a clinical diagnosis wna must be made through an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist. A referral can be made via your GP or paediatrician. ADHD is a clinical diagnosis which needs extensive and thorough analysis by a specialist trained doctor such as a consultant paediatrician or a child psychiatrist. A referral can be made via your GP. A diagnosis of a specific language disorder requires specialist assessment from a Speech and Language Therapist. Referral can be made through your school or through your GP.
Who can I apply for diagnosis and assessment?
Anyone. Parents, schools, colleges, the student themselves. You can contact me directly my contact email@example.com
Your school is able to contact me directly, if you wish them to do so.
Do I need to ask permission from my school?
Yes and No! In order to obtain an assessment which will identify the areas of need for your child, in order to apply appropriate support, you can apply to me directly for an assessment. However, your child's school is responsible for applying for access arrangements for external examinations and naming the Specialist Teacher on Form 8A, therefore if you wish to apply for access arrangements it is essential that you involve your child's school. I prefer to conduct my assessments within the educational setting and observe your child in school in order to provide a holistic picture of their areas of strengths and weaknesses.
What age do you cover?
I can assess children and young people from the age of 3 years to 19 years.
What region do you cover?
I travel across the whole South West region, from Plymouth in the South to Gloucestershire in the North. Why not contact me to see if I can be of help.
Do you assess adults?
No. Not at the moment.
Do you provide support and advice for employers?
Do you provide advice to schools?
Yes. I am happy to offer advice to schools. However, I am unable to ensure they carry out any of my recommendations.
My child has a diagnosis of dyslexia, can you provide advice regarding how best to help?
Of course. I can provide practical solutions following detailed analytical assessment of your child's strengths and weaknesses.
My child's first language is not English, can you assess his additional needs?
I am not a specialist in the field of English as an additional language, and would be reluctant to assess a child without an interpreter present.
Disabled Students Allowance:
How do I find out whether I qualify for DSA?
Disabled Students Allowance provides extra financial help if you want to study for a higher education course and have a disability, ongoing health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia. To apply for DSA you and the course must fulfill certain criteria. Follow the link to find out more about the criteria for eligibility.
How do I apply for DSA?
You have to apply using the appropriate application form which will vary according to your circumstances. The DSA website provides greater detail. You can apply to your Local Authority, the Open University or Student Finance, England using form DSA1. You will need proof of disability. You should not wait until you have been offered a position at university before applying.
Could I qualify for additional support and time during my diploma/degree?
Yes, if you qualify for DSA. DSA covers things like:
- specialist equipment you need for studying - for example, computer software
- non-medical helpers, such as a note-taker or reader
- extra travel costs you have to pay because of your disability
- other costs - for example, tapes or Braille paper
Do all examination boards have the same criteria for access arrangements?
Examination boards are unified under the JCQ regulations, there may be slight variations year-on-year, but the information is distributed through the JCQ.
My child's school has refused to allow my child an assessment for access arrangements, what do I do?
This is a tricky one as there is no clear right to access arrangements at this time and therefore no right of appeal. You are able to discuss your child's needs in the light of the Disability Discrimination Act. as a setting has a duty to identify and support through reasonable adjustments any disability. If you believe your child would clearly benefit from access arrangements and would be discriminated against if they were not awarded them, you can contact your school Head, the SEN governor or the Local Authority governor for the school. Details of the school governance can be obtained either through the school or the Local Authority. The LA may also have a parent partnership service which may be able to help.
Is there a right of appeal?
Yes. If access arrangements are requested by a school and rejected by the awarding body, the school has a right of appeal. This does not extend to parents.
My child has a full statement of SEN, do they qualify for access arrangements?
No. The criteria for access arrangements is very specific and in order to meet the criteria detailed assessment must be conducted first. The Statement of SEN can be used as evidence for application for access arrangements but does not automatically qualify a child/young person for them. Access arrangements will depend upon the individual profile of strengths and weaknesses, an impairment requiring a statement of SEN does not necessary lead automatically to a disability requiring reasonable adjustments in the form of access arrangements.
Beating Bureaucracy for Parents
My child has a named school on his statement but the LA have asked me to pay for his transport to get him there. Can they do this?
If your child has a full statement of SEN or is deemed disabled under the DDA description the Local Authority have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for your child to access appropriate education which will meet his individual needs. If withdrawing funding prevents your child from accessing the school which is able to provide appropriate education, the authority are in breach of the DDA. Your child has a right to access.
I would like my child to attend the local school, but it has recently become an Academy and they say they are not able to provide the required services to help her. She does not have a statement of SEN but is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.
You could appeal under the Disability Discrimination Act as the school has a duty not to discriminate against your child on grounds of disability. The school, whether mainstream or Academy status, must make reasonable adjustments for your child to be educated inclusively.
What are my rights regarding getting my child statemented?
If you believe your child to have severe special educational needs and/or disabilities and require a higher level of support, you can apply through the Local Authority for a statutory assessment under the Education Act. The LA may turn your request down. In which case, you can simply re-apply. The assessment is the starting point of the statementing process. it is important that you discuss any concerns with your school before you apply for an assessment.
My child is at pre-school and displays challenging behaviour, is he entitled to additional help?
Yes. Under the current system, an Early Years setting can apply for additional funding under the SEN Code of Practice, 2001 for Early Years Action Plus funding. if your child is considered to have severe and multiple needs, a statutory assessment can be carried out to provide a Statement of Special Educational Needs.