Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Statutory Assessment - the forms!

And so the quest for support continues - now it's learning support for our eldest.

After meeting with the school and then with the local education authority and, oddly enough, chatting with the virtual headteacher for our area, everyone seems to be in agreement that KC has additional needs that cannot be met by the school alone.

Everyone agrees, but I still have to get the paperwork in (as do the school) and even then there is no guarantee that an assessment will be even made - we are simply requesting the assessment at the moment. The Head teacher said to me in our meeting that they have other children with 'statements' in school - but none of them are as severely in need as KC - this is his third school in three years - why has no-one picked up on this? Which was also her argument.

But I can also see that KC has been battling his own demons, coming out of care and into an adoptive family is a tough journey. Then having to deal with his past and therapy for his behaviour, triggered by memories of his past abuse. Of course, as he settled so he found it easier to share his feelings, although often not in an appropriate way - and that was a learning curve for us as well.

Now, I think he has finally found a school where he is genuinely happy. Lots of sports, drama, creative activities and within half a term of his being there school has placed him into a specialist programme for dyslexic children - he attends there twice a week with another boy from his year group, so he even has friends...

But, it was incredibly emotional for me - to sit down and chat with a head teacher who 'gets it' - who understood what KC is about - her SEN teacher was also with us on the chat and she previously worked at our adoption agency, it really is a small world. After finally being listened to I thought I was going to cry - I just kept saying 'thank you'. The Head told me this was going to be a long hard fight but that KC needed the input - he is so far behind his year group - which can be due to so many factors. But, he was polite, cheerful, very worried about me (apparently) and a lovely little boy - was it really the same KC?

She is going to fight with me to get this little boy everything he needs so he can simply take part in class. The gaps in his education are huge - probably due to missed opportunties in his early years, although they can't rule out other factors such as undiagnosed Foetal Alcohol Syndrome - or something similar.

I told her I had fought for the boys from the minute they arrived. Getting their promised post adoption support to actually materialise had resulted in three stages of complaint with their placing authority and my working with the local Government Ombudsman. We eventually ended up in court.  Nothing about this adoption had ever been easy. She didn't seem surprised, I think the SEN teacher had filled her in on adoption practices.

I came out of the meeting with mixed emotions - pleased that KC was at a school that understands his needs and is willing to help him  achieve his potential but also angry at myself and the previous schools who had missed it - perhaps I should have pushed harder. And already exhausted from the next round of obstacles I know are going to be placed in our way to prevent me from getting the funding for the educational support this little boy, who has suffered so much and yet continues to come through it all, needs!


  1. When will you ever write a post that I can get through without crying??!

    Congratulations to you and Papa and KC for all the hard work that has resulted in you getting this far. You are doing such a wonderful job and the commitment that you all have to each other shines through constantly.

    Don't you think for a moment that KC and TJ don't see you fighting for them, and re-affirming their worth, at every stage. Getting *any* help for children with special needs can be so difficult as to appear impossible. I remember when my youngest needed an urgent assessment, the only way to do it was to go privately. I'm glad I did, but I shouldn't have *had* to. Then, when she got her report, the school withdrew all support because it didn't agree with their assessment of her! (That's when we started homeschooling.) So I know your frustration, I know how hard it can be to see your child suffer, and either not know what to do about it, or be aware of what needs to be done, but equally aware that someone else has the keys to that particular castle.

    Finally, please do not beat yourself up for not knowing what KC needed previously: You were busy with so many of his needs, with so much fire-fighting and not recognising another need was neither your job nor your fault. Also, it's difficult to recognise something when you don't know it exists, or that you should be looking for it.

    Sending you strength as you continue your quest to get your marvellous little boy what he needs to reach his potential. x