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Sen If Parent Refuses Assessment


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Hi, we have a child who has some kind of behavioural difficulty (I suspect ADHD or similar). The symptoms are all there and we had asked the local area SENCO to come in and assess, but unfortunately the child was away the day she attended. Our SENCO has talked the area SENCO through the behaviours that have been observed by staff, and she is in agreement that there is probably a behavioural special need going on.

 

However ... our SENCO has asked the parent to agree for her to send in an assessment form to the LEA to request support and input, but the parent refuses to agree to this.

 

What is our position in this situation? Presumably the parent has a right to refuse the extra support? I'm happy that we have done all the right things and that this has been documented. Are we still okay to use our own IEP for the child, i.e. to set out targets and strategies? Should we consult with the parent over this? And what happens when the child gets to school age - is the parent still entitled to refuse help at that stage?

 

What concerns me is that input and support at this age could make a huge difference, if it's delayed until Reception age I think the child will struggle to settle into school and this will delay learning.

 

Also I worry that our staff could really do with the extra support to deal with this child and they will not now be getting it.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can give.

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We were in a very similar situation a few years back. We documented everything and did our own IEPs and set targets etc by ourselves. We videoed the child (in our case we suspected ASD) and, like I say, wrote EVERYTHING down that we thought was relevant in any way. We suggested that the parent had a hearing test done on the child (after we'd let everything cool down for a term after asking her for permission) as we were concerned that 'Suzie' wasn't responding to things unless we attracted her attention first. Mum said she'd need to ask Dad and they took her down. Luckily, the HV did some good tests and suggested that they had 'Suzie' assessed and that opened the door for SENCO - and by the time she came, we'd LOADS to show her and things got moving quickly as she was on her third IEP.

 

About 7 years ago we had another parent pull her child out after we suggested (and she agreed to) a SENCO visit. When the SENCO came to chat to Mum she listened and then said "My husband doesn't want all this stuff" and got up and walked out, taking her child with her! We have since heard on the grapevine that the child has significant learning needs but the parents still don't want help

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Hi it is so hard when you have a child in your setting that you feel requires additional help to reach their potential, but unfortunately there is nothing you can do without parental consent. Just continue to evidence all your findings through observations, but it is my understanding that you are unable to write up an IEP without parents agreement.

If anybody out there knows different please advise.

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As far as we were aware, we could write a plan for these children, in the same way as we are able to individually plan for any child. Although not a 'formal' IEP, it cannot put children on 'Early Years Action' or 'Action Plus' without parental agreement

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I am a relatively new SENCO, but I know that in this day and age you can't really do anything like a referral or assessment without parental permission. My Ed Psych. will not discuss a child on the phone without parents knowledge and you definately can't put a child on the register or do an IEP without informing parents first. However, children don't need to be on the register to be identified on class planning as requiring special attention, and then it is up to the teacher to put good Wave 1 practice into place.

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Where does authority end and parental neglect begin? Maybe it's just denial but why wouldn't a parent want extra help for their child? Alarm bells?

 

Fe

 

It perhaps seems obvious to practitioners that a child needing extra help should of course receive it and maybe there is an 'expectation' on our part that parents will agree with our concerns and be only too keen to give permission to enable their child to recieve whatever support necessary.

 

In my experience denial has a lot to answer for! Some parents 'know' but don't want or are not yet ready to accept their child may have difficultites and others truly believe there is not a problem. I haven't yet come across an 'unwilling' parent as a result of not caring about their child.

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It perhaps seems obvious to practitioners that a child needing extra help should of course receive it and maybe there is an 'expectation' on our part that parents will agree with our concerns and be only too keen to give permission to enable their child to recieve whatever support necessary.

 

In my experience denial has a lot to answer for! Some parents 'know' but don't want or are not yet ready to accept their child may have difficultites and others truly believe there is not a problem. I haven't yet come across an 'unwilling' parent as a result of not caring about their child.

 

 

Thanks for that, Bit Glib on my part (and not very well put together).

 

Fe

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I think you need to keep chipping away when parents find it difficult to come to terms with their child having problems. I think you need to be honest with them about what you see as the difficulties their child is having, spell it out in your most concerned and caring way, and talk about the support to help them and their child. They do need to be told honestly and if they can't accept it and move on, as some do, they will hear it again somewhere else. At least you have done what you can. It will be on their minds and eventually they will have to face it. Perhaps that is part of the process of coming to terms with the fact that the child is someone else than the one they hoped for or thought they had. It is such a difficult thing for parents to come to terms with the fact that their child is having difficulties. Making the relationship with the parents and easing them into accepting help, is one of those things we need to do for our children. If, in the end, parents are still in denial then I would contact the INCO or area INCO and take advice, and perhaps call the parents in to talk with them together.

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Could you get mom in private and tell her the things you've been witnessing and explain that by letting the area SENco get involved it will just mean that the child and your staff will get some extra support while the behaviour problems are addressed.

She might know but not want to acknowledge, how many of us would want to hear there was a problem with our children?

You'll need to be very firm but very gentle. She will in the end have the final say, but I'd try really hard to show her the benefits for all concerned.

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Again, such a familiar story, but advice you have been given so far is right...you can't do anything without parental permission. I can remeber talking to an ED Psyc about a case like this years ago, and she said that EVENTUALLY the needs of the child will out, and the parents WILL finally see that their child needs extra support, but until then we are completely powerless. Rather makes a mockery of the concept of early intervention, when we are NOT able to intervene!! Frustrating, disappointing and unfair on the child, but our hands are tied.

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I agree with everyone else. We have had a child with obvious needs but parents refuse help completely. In dad's words "we don't want him labelled", no amount of cajoling, counselling, suggesting or anything would change their mind. Sad but true :o

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do you really need a diagnosis to help this child? parents may not see the need but you can so i would put in the strateegies now and use them for everyone. We teach all our children Makaton, use visual timetables, etc.etc and you can do play plans . i can guarantee that if you came to my setting you would not know which intervention was for which child!! so just do your best for the child with whatever resources you have available :oxD

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do you really need a diagnosis to help this child? parents may not see the need but you can so i would put in the strateegies now and use them for everyone. We teach all our children Makaton, use visual timetables, etc.etc and you can do play plans . i can guarantee that if you came to my setting you would not know which intervention was for which child!! so just do your best for the child with whatever resources you have available :oxD

 

Thanks to everyone who has replied, and of course we don't need a diagnosis to help the child, the staff are doing that already. It's just a case of wanting to do everything we can I guess. My worry is for later on at school, the child can cope okay because we can give one to one - thank goodness for our high ratio - it is definitely worth the money going on that. Shame reception classes can't have the same kind of ratio.

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