EHC assessment process
Guidance for parents, carers and children
Autism is a neurological developmental condition. Every child with autism is unique and has their own profile of strengths and needs. The majority of children whose families embark on an ABA programme are likely to need the type and level of provision that can only be provided by an Education, Health and Care plan in order to be successfully included in a mainstream school.
The bursary from The Playhouse Foundation is awarded to families who have very young children. In this way, the help is targeted at the time of optimum development and enables families to participate in way that includes them as full partners in the programme.
The aim of most families is to see their child included in mainstream as this enables them to access the mainstream role models of language and behaviour as well as the curriculum. Once the ABA programme has been established in the home environment, a link is made with a sympathetic nursery or pre-school. The ABA therapists will visit the pre-school and the SENCo is encouraged to visit the child in their home to see the ABA programme in action and to attend a team meeting.
In most cases, the pre-school or nursery recognises that the child will need a higher level of support than can be provided in a mainstream school and will submit a request for the child to have an EHC assessment, which is the first step towards obtaining an EHC plan for the child before they start school. The ABA team provides professional evidence as part of the statutory process.
The Playhouse Foundation recognises that the EHC assessment process is complex and can be daunting for parents. As part of the bursary, families are provided with a legally-trained and experienced Lay Advocate, Claire Franklin, who works closely with the family and the ABA team to assist the parents throughout the process of obtaining an EHC plan for their child.
Claire, who has a degree in Politics and Government, is the mother of a young man with autism. She also has a grandson with Asperger’s Syndrome. She was a National Councillor for the National Autistic Society and was asked to be a panel member when the original NAS Education Advocacy Service was established.
Claire has also been a volunteer for IPSEA for over 20 years and during this time has been on their Advice Line and Tribunal Helplines as well as acting as a Parent Representative at the hearings of appeals.
She also works with other charities and is regularly invited to provide training to Parent/Carer forums. The following website has been mainly written by Claire (sen-help.org.uk) aims to provide information for parents about the SEN process, including how to appeal. sen-help.org.uk
Claire concentrates on preparing a thorough case, working with parents, as well as the ABA team, to ensure their views and knowledge of their child is portrayed in the paperwork. As a result of this teamwork some successful outcomes have been achieved.