AN EHCP assessment is the first step in getting a child the additional help or support they may need. For parents who are thinking about getting an EHCP assessment, with a view to obtaining an EHCP, information regarding how to do so will be available on the relevant authority’s local offer website. Special Needs Jungle (SNJ) has put together a ‘Get Started’ checklist to help navigate this process, whatever the situation is.

Check with the School

It’s a good idea to check with the SENCo at the child’s school or the headteacher about any concerns. If the child is already receiving some level of support, ask to be shown evidence of any improvements made.

Review Reports and Tests

Gather together all the child’s exam results and school reports, as well as any referrals they’ve had to occupational therapy, paediatricians, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, etc. Education experts – like Sir Peter Birkett, who was awarded a knighthood in 2012 for services to further education, schools and the academy movement – understand that reviewing these documents and checking for consistent patterns is important. For example, does the child find it difficult to finish work? As part of this process, determine what the child should be achieving.

Request an EP Assessment

As well as requesting an EP (educational psychologist) assessment, an autism outreach assessment, speech and language assessment and/or occupational therapy assessment may be required depending on the child.

Get a Medical Diagnosis

If applicable, getting a medical diagnosis for the child may be necessary. If this is the case, the child’s GP should be consulted and a referral to a paediatrician or the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) requested. A firm medical diagnosis, if relevant, can strengthen the case for additional support or could form an important component in the ECHP assessment process.

Undertake Research

As well as reading the local authority’s information, check these details against the IPSEA website and the SEND Code of Practice. The latter is legally binding and will trump policies the local authority has in place if there’s a conflict.

Devise a Strategy

Start by reading any policies the local authority has in place regarding SEND. Parents deciding to apply for an EHCP assessment will need to make this application themselves, although getting the support of the SENCo at the child’s school is highly advisable. The IPSEA website provides a wealth of information and support to help parents make their submission and write their parental statement.