Providing your views during a request for an EHC needs assessment is an opportunity to describe your child.
Include copies of any information that you feel is relevant to your child and their needs, as well as any additional reports or documents you believe might support your case (for example; letters of diagnosis; professional reports or recommendations).
It's also really important to include your child's views, and we would encourage you to discuss some of the questions with your child or young person.
Watch this video explaining the importance of the 'person-centred' approach when it comes to EHC plans.
The SEND Code of Practice says:
"Local authorities must consult the child and the child’s parent or the young person throughout the process of assessment and production of an EHC plan. They should also involve the child as far as possible in this process. The needs of the individual child and young person should sit at the heart of the assessment and planning process. Planning should start with the individual and local authorities must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child, child’s parent or young person, their aspirations, the outcomes they wish to seek and the support they need to achieve them" (9.21)
Your child/young person might find this exercise difficult, there:
- is a useful app available from Mind of My Own (MOMO) which helps children and young people communicate their views with their social worker
- are some tips and guidance within the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) website
Click on a question below to find out more information about what to include in each section of the family advice form.
Things you may want to include in this section:
- A brief family history if you feel this has had an impact on your child’s needs.
- Their nature
- What is their self-confidence like?
- What is your child like at home? for example, do they enjoy interacting with siblings, yourself and other family members? Or do they prefer to spend their time alone?
- Relationships with family, peers, other adults and children.
- How does your child find building relationships?
- What issues do you feel your child is facing in their current educational setting?
- What are the views of the educational setting towards an Education and Health Care Plan application? Are they supportive? Was it suggested by them?
What the local authority are looking for here is how to get the best progress for your child and what it is that they can focus on to keep them interested and wanting to progress.
Things you may like to include in this section:
- What does your child like doing in their spare time?
- Do they have any hobbies or particular interests?
- What makes them smile? For example, spending time with family/friends or animals, jokes, particular activity, favourite toy etc.
- You may also want to detail if your child has a particular bond with anybody or anything.
- What qualities does your child express when they are happy? For example, are they very lively and excitable? Do the sing or giggle? Are they louder or quieter than usual?
- How often would you say they are like this? Are they like this just at home or do they have a favourite place?
- Are you able to be more productive with them when they are happy?
The aim here is not only to focus on what you child is struggling with but also what they are good at. This form aims to tease out how to get the best out of your child and what methods and strategies can be worked with in order to encourage their progression.
In this section you may wish to include:
- What is your child particularly good at? For example, a certain subject at school, spelling or forming friendships, sport, video games or making things.
- Maybe they are very caring around other people or animals?
- Other traits could be they are very loyal, creative, positive, hard-working.
In this section you have an opportunity to not only list any diagnoses your child has but more importantly what they are struggling with in particular at school and at home.
- For example, large groups, noisy classrooms, working with peers, being separated from particular people.
- Does they have any obsessions, such as, colours, food, routines, cleanliness, etc.
- What is it that helps them to function from day to day.
- What would they need support with on a daily basis? For example, dressing, washing, eating, timings, organisation.
- What are your child’s need in school? Do they need adult support? A differentiated timetable? Would they benefit from reminders either on their desk or set on their phone?
- Time-out cards or break areas to allow them to cool off and relax?
- Do they have any health or social care needs?
In this section the local authority want to find out what strategies are needed to be put in place, to engage and encourage your child to co-operate with activities recommended by the provision.
Some things to consider include:
- Do they require eye contact or a quiet room?
- Can they only retain or process small amounts of information at a time? Does it help to break instructions down?
- Is visual representation more effective?
- Will they only listen to one particular person?
- Are they easily distracted?
- Do they understand time and timings, or would they need help with this?
- Do they understand the consequences of their actions?
In this section the local authority are asking for your view on the support that your child might need. Include anything your child has said to you about what helps.
Consider what support strategies work well for your child at the moment and include any support strategies which have worked well in the past, for example:
- Flexible timetable, one to one support, small group work, visual prompts
- What particular routines do they have at school and at home?
- Has the school put in place anything which has made a positive difference?
- Do you do anything at home which you have found to work well?
And on the flip side, are there any methods or strategies that yourself or the school have tried which have found to be of no effect or caused distress.
This helps the local authority to consider if the recommended provision is going to be effective or if it would need ‘tweaking’ to fit the best interests of the child.
Here they are asking what will be gained from an EHC needs assessment.
- Do you feel the setting need help from the local authority to support your child?
- Are there gaps in knowledge about how your child can be supported?
- Are you concerned about the rate of progress despite support being in place?
- Does your child require the use of additional aids such as PECS or that you feel the school need more guidance and support with?
- Do you think that further assessment might help make your child’s learning difficulties clearer and will help in planning the right support/ identifying the right setting or post 16 course?
- Are you hoping that there will be a better understanding of how others can support your child?
- Are there any provisions in particular you would like to see in an EHC Plan?
If possible at this stage, you may wish to have a conversation with your child about their aspirations. It doesn’t matter if they are unrealistic, as it is looking at how to tailor provision to keep them interested and focused on progressing towards future goals.
- What would your child like to be/do in the future?
- Would they like to go to college or university?
- Would they like to live alone?
- What would you like your child to achieve within the next 6 months or so?
- What aspirations do you have for your child?
Any aspiration is an aspiration – please do not be afraid to express yourself throughout this form as this is a reflection of your child and your family and you want the local authority to get to know your child as much as possible, so they can reflect this in the Plan.
Here it is very important that you list the names and professions of anyone who is or has been involved with your child. If the local authority decides to carry out a needs assessment, they will be contacting those listed to request up to date reports during the assessment phase and it is very important that they get everybody’s input.
If you have any reports, letters, feedback or evidence that you feel would support the request, please feel free to include these along with the form.
Examples of people or services who may be involved with your child:
- Medical professionals
- Mental health (CAMHS)
- Social care
- Speech and language therapists
- Occupational therapists
If you are awaiting any appointments, please list them here as the local authority will then know there may be further information to come.
And finally, if there is anything else that you want to include but you are not sure where to put it in, you can put it here.