Mother whose son has SEN statement fears reforms will mean extra burdens and uncertainties
Woman whose son has autistic spectrum disorder says: 'The night I read about the green paper, I lay awake, worrying'.
Denise Jackson, 47, lives in the small North Yorkshire village of Thixendale. Her teenage son Harry is diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Their story reflects many common frustrations with the UK's system of dealing with children with special educational needs (SEN) – not least the fact that it took several years to get his condition formally recognised.
Harry was given a legally-binding statement of special educational needs – which the government plans to replace with single plans covering education, health and social care – when he was four, but a diagnosis of ASD did not arrive until he was seven, after his family had convinced NHS professionals of their case. Presented with Harry's diagnosis, his local authority, North Yorkshire, agreed to fund a place at a special school.
Harry is 18 – and, says Jackson, "now it gets really difficult". He has another year to run on a sixth-form course at his school – after which, in the absence of residential courses in North Yorkshire, his family are aiming at a college in Shropshire, which specialises in essential life skills. To get there, however, Jackson has been told that she has to go through the formality of applying for a course at a local college, which she says is eminently unsuitable. "Everybody we've dealt with admits that it's ridiculous," she says. "But you have to jump through that hoop in order to get a rejection, so you can proceed down the route to a residential college."
Read more ... (The Guardian - 4 June)