Parents still let down by the new SEND
After a year on from the new SEND, parents are still facing difficulties in getting the right support for their autistic children. According to the National Autistic Society (NAS) parents have had enough of having to constantly battle to get the support they need.
Many of the parents who were surveyed by the National Autistic Society were led to believe the new process for applying for statutory support would be a lot quicker, however they were mistakenly wrong and in some cases it went over the 20 week legal limit.
The new SEND system introduced in September 2014 was designed to make it easier for parents to get the right support, for many families this has not been the case and it has caused parents a lot of stress.
Health care plans were introduced to replace statements of SEN
Information from the Survey carried out by National Autistic Society (NAS) states how well the new SEND system is meeting the individual needs of children on the autism spectrum.
However it is still causing many families difficulties to get the educational support they need for their children. Some families have seen a slight improvement in the time between parents making that initial contact with professionals and getting support. For parents who have received EHC plans they are alot happier and it has been highlighted that EHC plans issued is lower than statements.
It has also been revealed that what is provided in a way of services offered has got wider, however the support identified by parents include play opportunities, speech and language therapy occupational therapy and short breaks.
For many parents they feel the lack of timely support has had an impact on their child causing a negative feeling which has affected their social and communication skills, behaviour and educational progress
The levels of stress have risen resulting in a family taking legal action to secure a statement or plan.
A mother of two children with SEND has to take her local authority to a tribunal to get the necessary support for her eldest son; this was under the old scheme.
Jody Coxon did say it was much easier to get a SEN statement for her youngest son; they have however been waiting nine months for her son’s statement to be transferred to the new EHC plans.
She said, ‘We have had two vastly different experiences with the old SEN system. We managed to get a SEN statement for my youngest in just 12 weeks but we had to go to a tribunal to get support for my eldest. This was a highly stressful time, which had a huge impact on my whole family’s well-being, although both my children now have the support they need.
‘While there have been some delays transferring my youngest son onto the new system, I trust the school staff and am not too worried. The school and local authority must be under a lot of pressure transferring statements while also assessing new requests for support. My son is doing well at an autism-specific school so I don’t mind waiting if it means that those parents desperate for support get help sooner. I don’t want anyone to have to go through the long and stressful battles we faced getting support for my eldest son.’
The National Society is now asking Government to look at carrying out a systematic review of how local authorities are implementing the new SEND system.
Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society (NAS), said, ‘The new SEND system isn’t yet delivering the high-quality education that every child deserves. Far too many parents are still having to fight tooth and nail for the right support for their children, often facing long and incredibly stressful delays. Every day a child spends without the right education reduces their potential to succeed in life and become part of a strong and diverse UK workforce.