"The hope you give parents is nothing short of a miracle"
"It would be true to say that without the help of Douglas Silas...
"It would be true to say that without the help of Douglas Silas we wouldn't be in the position we are now!
Our story started back in 2001, when the eldest of our two sons, who are both autistic, one severely, was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. This was the start of a six year fight with our local LA to get our son a Statement of special educational needs. We requested a statutory assessment which lead to a Tribunal which we lost. We sought some advice and tried again but lost at the first hurdle although we did get a "Note in Lieu" which put our son at School Action Plus (of the SEN Code of Practice).
In the six years from 2001, some 14 educational psychologist reports were done on our son, coupled with a considerable amount of correspondence between ourselves, the LA and other parties involved. The evidence in our son's favour was starting to build and in the end we felt was so overwhelming in his favour, that it couldn't be ignored anymore.
Our son was still in a mainstream primary school with 'audit funding', but at the end of Year 4, with just 2 years left before his next step up to senior school, the LA stopped the funding, saying that our son didn't meet the criteria for a Statement and that they could meet his needs within the resources available within the school.
At the beginning of Year 5, with a new teacher in the school (who was, quite frankly, awful) our son was to struggle severely both from an educational, social and emotional perspective. He couldn't cope and in the end we were fighting just to get him to go to school. We felt that we were hitting our heads against a brick wall. It was a horrendous time for our family.
At the end of Year 5 and with just days left of the school year, my wife had an argument with the school and we took our son out of school. We immediately contacted the Educational Welfare Officer (before the school had chance to report us) and also arranged home tuition with a retired ex-headmaster twice a week, we would do the rest.
We then got Douglas Silas back on board and commenced proceedings to take the LA to a 3rd tribunal, which took place in December 2006. In the meantime Douglas pulled a masterstroke and put us in contact with an independent educational psychologist who we arranged to meet and do an assessment on our son. Although this was to cost us almost £1000 it was to prove money well spent. Douglas helped put our case together but advised us to spend our money on having the psychologist at the hearing rather than having him there!
At the tribunal the LA and their representatives were taken apart and suffice to say we won our case. The LA were ordered to commence a statutory assessment (which allowed us some extra time to provide any further written submissions, which we naturally did). Finally, after six years of fighting, we finally managed to get our son a statement which resulted in a place in the special needs school where our other son goes. We got him back to school on 19th April 2007. To see them both go off to school together on the school bus is amazing. We never thought we'd see the day.
In summary, without the help of Douglas Silas we wouldn't be in the position we are now. He's been simply superb and we would recommend him to anyone that's been in our position. Although it cost us just over £4000 for this campaign since Sept 06, half of which we borrowed, it’s been worth every penny.
We would say to any parent, "never give up, keep fighting and keep all the evidence - you'll need it. And if you can afford the best, the best is a man called Douglas Silas".
Thank you Douglas - thanks for everything."
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