Alex Lowery speaks about autism

New plans for additional needs learning in Wales

Written on 10th Jun 2014 by Sylvia Lowery
Alex had a statement of special educatinal needs as a child but when he moved into adulthood we were starting again in terms of assessment and support.

Alex had a statement of special educatinal needs as a child but when he moved into adulthood we were starting again in terms of assessment and support.

The Welsh Assembly Government want to replace the current statutory definition of Special Educational Needs (SEN) with a more flexible and inclusive legal concept of Additional Learning Needs.

Brief summary of changes

1. Statements of SEN will be replaced with Individual Development Plans (IDPs) .

2. Replace the existing statutory definition of Special Educational Needs (SEN) with a more flexible and inclusive legal concept of Additional Learning Needs (ALN).

3. Have more co-operative working between health, social services and education.

4.  A legal duty to support children and young people aged 0 to 25 with additional learning needs.

5.  An collaborative process of assessment with early interventions being given a priority.

6.  A fair and transparent system for resolving concerns and appeals.

Comment

I have read the proposals there are some good points. The WAG are proposing extending the support for young people with Additional Learning Needs up to 25.

They are also planning to give all children and young people with additional needs  a legal right to the support needs that are identified in the plan. This is a good thing because at the moment a young person who has an IEP but not a statement can have their needs ignored and their is no statutary duty for this to be enforced. I spoke to a family recently whose son had a number of provisions that were outlined in his IEP. he was meant to have a stair buddy for safety reasons, he was allowed to use a laptop instead of writing, he was able to hold up a card when he was find the classroom noise too much. Yet these aims were ignored by teaching staff on a daily basis. This young man didn’t have a statement and so had no way of enforcing his IEP. Under these new proposals he would be able to go to a triibunal.

There will be a greater duties on Local Authorities to plan for and support young people who have additional needs and are moving into post 16 further education. At the moment the LEA just pass the responsibilty to the colleges and leave families struggling to arrange transport. It will be good to see the provision and records  of a young persons additional needs passed onto further education colleges.

I feel that there are a number of good proposals in this white paper however there are aspects that could be improved.

The need for health,education and social services to co-operate could be strengthened I would like to see all three service providers held joinly responsible for the providsion that is needed by young people with additional needs. This would prevent one agency from blaming another agency for the lack of provision which often leaves the child in the middle without the support they need.

If you want to read the original document and respond to the consultaion please see here.

 

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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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