Parents Win Extra Support for Their Daughters Needs

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The use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)  can divide opinions but Simpson Millar’s Education Law team have been instructed in many cases where there has been evidence of its success. Just one example of this is when we acted for the parents of a six-year-old girl who we will refer to as J.

Student Raising Hand

What was the issues which needed our Education Law team to help with?

J was six years old and had been attending a mainstream primary academy for two years. She had a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), with severe language and communication skills delay. Despite having an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), her mother was concerned she was not making expected progress and felt this was because of her EHCP failing to provide the necessary support J required.

Through the annual review process, J’s parents had sought amendments to J’s EHCP to include Applied Behavior Analysis provision, as well as a personal budget in which to fund ABA specialist support. J had already been receiving support, outside of school and her parents had seen a marked improvement and considered such support would be beneficial for J in school also.

The Special Needs Education Co-Ordinator from J’s school attended the annual review and confirmed that the school was in support of J receiving ABA in school and considered it would be beneficial for her. In addition, they felt it could be provided within their school.

Unfortunately, the Local Authority did not agree and so refused to fund such support.

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How our Education Lawyers were able to help

J’s mother was disappointed that the Local Authority had failed to make amendments to her daughter’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) following the annual review. Simpson Millar assisted her in bringing an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal, in relation to the contents of J’s EHCP.

During the course of the appeal we sought the advice of an independent ABA specialist, to assess the full extent of J’s needs, and the provisions necessary to meet those needs. The specialist’s conclusion was that J would require 35 hours of one-to-one ABA support, delivered across her school week. In addition, J’s current ABA tutor was asked to provide a breakdown of costs for her support, which could be used as a basis for the personal budget request. The tutor also set out what work was currently ongoing with J.

These reports, alongside an independent Education Psychology, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy report were used to amend the contents of J’s EHCP, so that it provided an up-to-date description of J’s special educational need, and the specified and quantified provision necessary to meet those needs. This included the much-needed ABA provision sought. The amended working document was then provided to the Local Authority for consideration.

What was the Outcome?

Through negotiation with the Local Authority, we were able to secure the 35 hours of one-to-one ABA support that had been recommended for J, along with several hours of Occupational Therapy and Speech & Language Therapy support each year. In addition, the Local Authority agreed that given J’s current ABA tutor had already build a rapport with J, that they would fund the costs of the ABA specialist through a personal budget which enabled the current tutor to continue working with J.

J’s mother was delighted that the necessary amendments to J’s EHCP were made. J is now in school receiving the ABA and specialist therapeutic support she requires. 

We find that there can still be a reluctance to agree ABA in some circumstances. The approach itself divides opinion. However, in J’s case, all of the evidence was clear that it worked for her and this is what was important. I am glad that we were able to reach resolution for the family without the need for a hearing and J received greatly increased provision and support across the board. The fact that J could continue to work with her existing tutor was also fantastic.

Our Education Lawyers have years of experience in dealing with cases such as this and achieving a positive outcome.  We want to help you get what’s best for your child.  Contact us to find out more.

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