The EHCP process is broken. I know this because I have been through it.
I have so much respect for the hardworking caring professionals and for the senior managers making and managing the difficult and complex system. As a parent, I cannot fault the level of care given by each person.
But if you fall between the cracks or the gaps, you can only fight your way out. The systems are unyielding and there is no communication between education and health.
I have turned up expecting an appointment and no one was there. I have asked questions and no-one could help. My daughter, who should be at the centre of everything, is so often absent in the thoughts, processes, decisions that are being made.
I don’t have any tears left to waste. You go beyond despair and anger because there is nothing that can be done.
We are lost in a lack of clarity; lost because the monthly meetings between carer and parents have gone due to budget cuts; lost because workload and resources are stretched.
Parents feel abandoned. We are going to read the papers, we are going to listen to the horror stories and we are going to be frightened.
The services to help you are gone or under so much pressure they are crumbling. I fear speech therapy, resources and even teaching assistants will become paid for by parents, or at the very least, have parental contributions. We are having to pay the cost of a solicitor and a speech therapist assessment and it’s going to hurt us financially.
The only way I have found to survive this process is to turn it into a clear point of law and keep clear-headed. As soon as the word "solicitor" is mentioned, some of the gaps magically disappear. I have meetings with people; interviews and assessments take place. Before you can say, "Abracadabra", the support worker has reappeared.
Parents of children with additional needs or any child will go through anything to help their child, and they know far more than anyone thinks. They should be key to all decisions and they can and will do the research.
Scrap the paperwork, reduce it to a one-page document and use a clear tracking system so parents can be in the loop.
This can work, but it needs support. At the moment, the only support I have is my own.
The writer wishes to remain anonymous