What is Pervasive Developmental Disorder and How Can My Child Get Help?
Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) often refers to a group of conditions displayed by children or adults who appear to be on the autistic spectrum but do not show all of the characteristics. For example, your child may have problems coping in social settings, but may not show restrictive or repetitive behaviours. If your child has PDD they will need to be assessed on an individual basis because no two people with PDD are the same.
Will My Child Need to Be Statemented?
Firstly, you should try to talk to the school about the problems your child is having. Although this may not work in all cases, it is worth looking into whether they can provide any additional support to help them learn. The majority of children who are described as being PDD do not in fact have statements and attend mainstream schools with some additional support from teachers and others at the school.
If your child's school or nursery cannot provide the support they need, you should consider whether your child needs a statement of special educational needs (SEN).
At What Stage Will I Need Legal Advice?
There are 3 stages at which you may need legal advice in the statementing process:
- If the local educational authority decides to not go ahead and assess your child to see whether they may need a statement of SEN – at this point you can appeal
- If the LEA decides that your child will not receive a statement of SEN – you can also appeal at this point
- The LEA has given you the final statement – you may have concerns that certain issues have not been addressed or completely missed out or may not have been set out in a way which is legally enforceable and you may need legal help to amend the drafting.
Receiving legal advice at any one or all three of these stages will strengthen any arguments you make.
How Long Will It Take?
The whole process usually takes about 6 months but that is in the event that there are no delays and the local authority agrees at the very beginning that they will assess your child and write a statement. Delays at any stage of the process can hinder your child and may slow down their progress at school because they are not getting the support they need.
Having good consistent legal advice from the beginning will give you the best chance of navigating the system with minimal delays and maximum input from your legal team.