"The hope you give parents is nothing short of a miracle"
"Our lovely daughter was diagnosed with autism..."
"Our lovely daughter was diagnosed with autism in October 2014, aged 3.5. After unsuccessfully trying our daughter in a familiar mainstream school to her – it only lasted a term when it became painfully apparent that neither party could cope – we had to find an alternative setting for our daughter in a special independent school.
By then, our local authority had already rejected our request for an EHCP assessment for our daughter (due to them submitting incorrect paperwork), so a state special school was also not an option.
We contacted Douglas Silas Solicitors in the summer of 2015. At that stage, we were privately funding our daughter’s special school, at which she was much more settled, calmer and happier, but which was an unsustainable provision without the financial assistance of the LA.
We did not want to run the risk of upsetting our daughter by moving her out of her school. By then, we had (belatedly) just been granted our second request for an EHCP assessment, which was at an early stage in what became a drawn-out process.
Eventually, we got to a successful conclusion – namely that our daughter remains at her current school where we feel that she has the best chance to maximise her potential (whatever that may be), and that the educational provision is fully funded.
But, this outcome only came after many emotional conversations and meetings with our LA, detailed submissions from our daughter’s school and us on her significant level of needs (sensory, speech, safety etc) etc. Nor was it quick, with many LA decisions only taken at the absolute last minute, which then pushed other timeframes back.
We have learnt that, much like a typical building project, there are substantial risks of over-run, and that patience is required. Courtesy is vital too – we were lucky that our case officer at the LA was co-operative and very knowledgeable, but at an emotional time, it’s important to try and remain polite.
It’s vital to have a clear game-plan, and seek external advice where needed to navigate through the SEN legal morass – we contacted Douglas because of his outstanding references, his superbly informative website etc – but our LA also had a very knowledgeable Parent Partnership team. Be flexible to at least considering other options, especially those that your LA may suggest.
Ultimately, each case is different, but some basic principles do remain. The process can be confusing, emotionally-draining and slow...parents naturally want clarity and help immediately, but this is unlikely and persistence will be needed. There are people out there who can help and advise, and many others who have been through your situation.
We wish you the best of luck, and, can thoroughly recommend Douglas and his team for their timely and always well-informed guidance."
Read More: "It would be true to say that without the help of Douglas Silas..."