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EHC Plan Support Testimonial

Sen Smallwood

EHC Plan Support from DSDT – our experience

“Having been aware of the DSDT for a while, we contacted Sen to ask for advice on the EHC plan process. Initially she sent us a very helpful email with some general guidance, along with the offer to look over the draft plan and support us at any meetings with the local authority and school to discuss the plan.

“When the draft plan arrived I sent it over to Sen and she read it through thoroughly, and when we spoke on the phone she had a lot of suggestions for amendments including how to make sure the wording was correct in order to be legally sound. This was one area in which we would have struggled, so Sen’s knowledge and experience was invaluable.

“Sen came with us to the meeting to discuss the draft plan, and gave us the confidence and support to stand up for what our daughter required. The EHC plan had originally been allocated minimal funding, but with Sen’s support we challenged every area in which we felt the provision was inadequate, both to ensure our daughter’s needs were met and that the school received the level of funding necessary in order to do so.

“The local authority agreed to some of our amendments, but the key issues were left unresolved after several months of communication. Throughout this time we were in regular contact with the DSDT, and Sen clearly explained our options at each stage. Rather than accept what we felt was inadequate provision for our daughter, we decided to continue questioning and pushing the LA to amend the EHC plan. This was much easier with the full support of the DSDT than if we had been doing so alone.

“After many more months, we ended up taking the LA to the SEND tribunal to challenge the content of our daughter’s EHCP. The process from start to finish took a little over a year (from first assessment) – it was time consuming and emotionally draining. I doubt that we would have seen it through without the support of the DSDT. Sen’s knowledge and experience was invaluable, and she worked incredibly hard in helping us put together what the tribunal described as a “very thorough and well-presented appeal”. She was always on hand to answer questions and give guidance, and we feel incredibly lucky to have benefited from her expertise.

“The process of taking the LA to the SEND tribunal was a huge learning curve and I think we all came away a little wiser. I hope that in seeing it through, not only have we benefited (we won the major issues we had challenged), but also the DSDT will be able to use our experience to help other families in similar situations.

“Sen and her team are passionate about helping children with Down Syndrome, and we are so grateful for the support we received from the DSDT.”

Find out more about DSDT help and EHCP support.

 

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