September brings a new start for many of us. The beginning of Autumn, children starting nursery / school or embarking on a new journey in the next year group, parents watching their children grow and develop, OT students starting the next academic year of their future career and paediatric OTs about to start back at school or preparing for the term in the community setting and all the changes about to take place.
One of the biggest changes that will affect all of us in September 2014 will be the statementing process. What we previously understood to be the ‘Statement’ will soon become an ‘Educational, Health and Care Plan’ created by the ‘Children and Families Bill 2013.’ This plan will last from 0-25 years and is in situ to support vulnerable children and those with special educational needs.
What difference will it make to me as a parent?
The new plans mean that families will be much more involved through the assessment and planning stages of the process, this will involve being more ‘hands on’ answering questions and being more active in creating the plans. The aim is for the plans to be more outcome focused.
The main change between statementing’ and EHC is that they last from 0-25, meaning they will bridge the gap between transition from child to adult services for families.
What difference will it make to me as a student OT?
As a student, its important to be aware of all legislation and guidelines effecting childrens services and specific policies for your work setting/placement. Legislation and guidelines such as NICE set minimum standards of service and practice. The children and families bill, thematic report of EHC plan can be located below and will be beneficial to look at. Being a student at the time of such a crucial change is great, as you can look at things with a different approach, its an opportunity to evaluate the change in service.
What difference will it make to me as a professional?
As OTs, we need to be aware of the changes; the reasons for them and ensure we work with colleagues and managers in understanding how to support families, have your work place considered training on the new plans? Do you have existing personnel who take the lead with statementing process?
Its important to be aware of the changes and how they will impact your specific role. With the new system, there will be more opportunity for the EHC plan coordinator to meet with the family and discuss things face to face as opposed to via written communication, extra time needs to be made to ensure this is possible.
Is there anything I should consider?
There is always an element of anxiety when a change occurs and with the implementation of such a piece of work, may come teething problems and errors. However, with continuous reflection, collaborative working and ongoing development, we hope the changes September brings will be positive.
Legislation is always updating and changing to create more holistic /successful care and support. Lets go with the flow of the autumn leaves and hope it brings positivity to the children and families we work with.
To play, to learn, to share.
Spivack, R., Craston, M., Thom, G., Carr, C. (2014) Special Educational Needs and Disability Pathfinder Programme Evaluation Thematic Report: The Education, Health and Care (EHC) Planning Pathway for families that are new to the SEN system, Research Report. Available at: <https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/275104/RR326B_EHC_planning_pathway_-_FINAL.pdf> Accessed: 29th August 2014.