I took Tink to a medical appointment this afternoon, as requested by the powers that be as part of her needs assessment, to see if they feel she does, indeed, need an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP).
There was no information in the appointment letter about what to expect, so it was hard to plan for and now, I feel totally flat and worried that I have let her down and she won’t get the plan.
I had around 20 minutes to tell the doctor, who we haven’t met before, all about Tink, her history and how her condition impacts on her life. My mind went blank. Where do you start with that?! I’m not practised enough at this yet!
What’s really worrying me though, is that she asked me several questions about Tink, and my answers don’t make her sound ‘autistic enough’ (for want of a better way to describe it)! What if they read the report this doctor will compile and don’t think her needs are great enough and are already being met appropriately?
Doc:”Can she climb up steps?” Me: “Er, yes.”
Doc: “Can she jump?” Me:”Hahaha hahaaaa.”
Doc: “How’s her behaviour?” Me: “Pretty good actually, most of the time. Typical four year old really.”
Doc: “How’s her speech?” Me: “Improving – now.”
Doc: “How does she sleep?” Me: “Up and down, but recently very well, except for last night…”
You get the idea. Pretty much everything she asked had a positive answer. Which would be great in most other circumstances. But we need her needs to be significant in order to get the plan. We did talk a little about how she struggles with attention and concentration and how this would impact on her at school, and how she struggles with undressing and dressing and isn’t yet toilet trained, but, otherwise, I came away feeling very deflated. I have no idea how much weight this medical report carries in the overall assessment, and I really hope they give more attention to the reports from the people who have actually spent time with her: us, her parents; her teachers at nursery; the speech therapist and the lovely man from the Communication and Autism Team, whose report was amazing! It really summed up Tink and her needs and his list of recommendations was huge!
Without the plan, and, hopefully, the recommendations and funding that come with it, I know Tink is really going to struggle in mainstream school. She really needs a lot of one-to-one support just to even sit at and attempt an activity now, let alone learn to read and write. I am pretty confident that school will do all they can for her – they’ve been brilliant so far – but their own SEN budget is limited and in now way will stretch to full-time support, if any!
All we can do now is wait and see, hopefully by the end of this month, if the local authority follow their own timescales (which is unlikely!) Please keep your fingers crossed for us!