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(UK) Tameside: Mom battles for over a year for special ed plan for autistic son

April 21, 2022, Tameside Radio 103.6: Authority U-turn after Tameside mum's fight for support https://www.questmedianetwork.co.uk/news/tameside-reporter/authority-u-turn-after-tameside-mums-fight-for-support/

N. England Mum Ruth Williams has shared her relief after Tameside Council's children's services performed a u-turn about providing additional support for her autistic son. We reported recently that Ruth was taking the service to a tribunal to secure an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) for her 11-year-old son, who attends a mainstream secondary school. She said at the time she had been battling for more than a year to obtain such a plan, which would provide him with a wider network of support. Ruth’s constituency MP Jonathan Reynolds had also taken up the case in support of the family. The authority had told Ruth it considered her son’s needs to be met by the school’s own resources and the Special Educational Needs support it provides and so therefore there was no need for an EHC plan. However, following the publication of the story in the Tameside Reporter, which attracted widespread feedback from parents online in support of Ruth, with the added intervention of MP Jonathan Reynolds, the authority has changed its stance to now issue an EHCP. An EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) identifies a child’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) entitling them to the right provision to support them, in school, socially and in their health needs, providing a holistic approach and wide net of support in and out of the educational setting. Ruth hopes this plan will help support her son all the way through to adulthood. Ruth pointed to her own experience as being an example of why Tameside SEND services were heavily criticised in their most recent Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspection. Foremost amongst the criticism in that report were the ‘high levels of parental dissatisfaction’ which the watchdogs labelled ‘unacceptable’ adding that ‘parents feel worn down by the system and feel that they have to fight to get the support that their children need’. Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, who himself has an autistic son, says the problem with securing EHCPs for parents is in fact a national one rather than one purely specific to Tameside - but said that parents had to be listened to by local authorities…. Her son, whom we are not naming, has complex needs, having autism, Raynauds syndrome, Hypermobility syndrome (suspected EDS), Pectus Excavatum, Sensory Processing Disorder and suspected ADHD.

Ruth Williams is pleased with the eventual outcome on behalf of her son.

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