“Poppy is almost 9 years old. From the age of 18 months I was concerned with her lack of speech progression. Local services kept turning us away, in total – six times!
We were eventually seen by an amazing multidisciplinary team at the Evelina London who diagnosed Poppy with severe developmental language disorder.
We then began the lengthy process of applying for an Education, Health and Care Planfor Poppy which was granted first time around. When the lady from the LA called to tell me, I remember thanking her and saying ‘this is going to change Poppy’s life’ I laugh at my naivety now.
The Local Authority named a school without even consulting us – this school was forced on us without any knowledge of our rights as parents. Poppy began in Sept 2017. She remained at this setting for almost 2 years, until I withdrew her in July 2019 after her mental health took a drastic decline.
In this setting she was bullied, left in soiled clothes, medication forgotten and missed Speech and Language Therapy appointments due to the staff having days off in term time. In Nov 2018 during an emergency annual review at her school – I was told that Poppy was progressing, and all of this was in my head – they had safeguarding concerns.
I left that meeting with the heaviest heart, my mental health began to deteriorate to the point of suicidal thoughts. I was desperate and I didn’t know where to turn. I made a call to SOS!SEN and Jill answered. And I cried, and cried as I explained what was happening.
And that’s when a miracle happened. Jill spoke with Parents In Need who agreed to fund an Educational Psychologist report although it turned out that we needed an Occupational Therapist’s report and a Speech and Language Therapist’s one too which Parents In Need also generously agreed to fund. Moor House school, which specialises in speech and language, offered Poppy a place. At last she was going to get the support she needed.
Roll on one year, after a lot of rejection from the Local Authority – we were forced to go to tribunal. The hearing was postponed, then adjourned and then finally held by a judge who ordered Poppy back to the same school against all the advice from the expert witnesses.
We’ve been advised that there are clear errors in the decision and we are appealing against it which could mean having to go back to tribunal. Our nightmare isn’t over yet, but I am prepared to go through it all again. I feel so much stronger now because I am so supported by Moorhouse School, by Parents In Need and by SOS!SEN.
I believe in guardian angels – and Catherine, Jill, Marion and all the other amazing ladies in our team. I know Poppy will get to where she deserves because these guardian angels will, if necessary, carry her there.
From the bottom of my heart – thank you.”
With all of our love Laura and Darren, Poppy and her big sisters Mollie and Emily xxx
“Thanks for considering my application, it would be great to get some help, I really am at breaking point now I’ve literally no reserve left in the pot. Will all be worth it if I can get Harry into the right school”.
“Harry is absolutely loving school, it’s already given him loads of confidence, he’s not the bottom of the class anymore he’s enjoying sports, something I never thought I’d hear him say, he’s finding new independence, he got the most house points in his class at the end of his first term and won a voucher, he’s absolutely thriving, it’s everything I hoped it would be. His first parents’ meeting was amazing too, the teachers couldn’t say enough good things about him and he always tries really hard even if he doesn’t like doing something. Life is good!”
“I cannot stress enough how reassuring it felt to have a charity like Parents In Need in my corner during the tribunal process. The advice and help was invaluable – but there is also a strong sense of camaraderie when you find yourself involved with PIN. I hope that many more families will be able to benefit from PIN the way that I did.”
“I am at breaking point. I am about to embark on my third tribunal to get my daughter Mollie, aged 10, into special school. Mollie has a long standing history of reflex anoxic seizures which meant prolonged episodes of hypoxia which they suspect has caused a significant brain injury. She is currently 4 years behind and is extremely vulnerable. I have already spent in excess of £2,000 on private reports and am about to do the same in January. However I cannot afford SALT, OT and EP. I am a part time oncology nurse with 4 children and my husband’s business has come across hard times.”
Several months later…
“WE HAVE WON! Surrey conceded this morning and Mollie will be going to Moor House in September. Without the help of the PIN I couldn’t have done it so THANK-YOU! We are just so incredibly happy and relieved! Parents in Need helped me to access and fund the best private therapists who would be able to assess Mollie from top to toe, left to right – I knew they were the ones to leave no stone unturned. Without their help we wouldn’t be where we are today!
Several months and lots of tears later, I am beyond elated to be a Moor House Mum. Moor House is a specialist speech and language provision with smaller classes and intensive therapy delivered by specialist teachers, which will give Mollie every chance for a positive future.”
“I can’t thank Parents In Need enough for the support they have offered me during this process. Already through your support of Thomas, it has been possible to identify needs that have previously been missed or ignored even though I have voiced concerns about them. We are now getting a much more detailed view of Thomas and how best to support him as he continues through education.”
Some months later
“I am so pleased to tell you that the hearing for Thomas went ahead at the beginning of March and we won about 95% of what we were asking for. I have to say that I don’t believe we would have been as successful as we were without the evidence provided by both of the expert reports that you funded for us. Throughout the hearing evidence given from our experts showed that Thomas has truly been misunderstood and looked over through the last 5 years at school. The recommendations from both the education psychologist report and the speech and language report have now been included in Thomas’ EHCP and include weekly speech and occupational therapy and specialist dyslexia teaching and it has been agreed to finally add Dyslexia to his list of needs.
I can’t thank you enough for all the support you have given throughout this whole process, it’s been so overwhelming and stressful but it’s been made better knowing there are organisations such as yourselves out there who are willing to help and support.”
“I am just emailing to say thank you so much for your help with getting the specialist reports that was needed for my son’s appeal.
If we didn’t have them we would of had a very different outcome. As it is we have now been awarded a placement at a specialist school and the changes on his EHCP that we wanted. This is going to make the world of difference to my son’s education, his mental wellbeing and it will have a very big impact on our family life for the better as well. Thank you so much, your help is so greatly appreciated. I don’t know what I would have done without the support from PIN and SOS!SEN.” Many thanks.”
“Just a little update, tribunal was Thursday and they have just adjourned it. I think they forget a small child actually behind all that paperwork. Sad isn’t it. Like to keep in touch as couldn’t do this without PIN”.
From our sister charity SOS!SEN
“I saw yesterday a lovely family from Kent. The daughter is nearly 12 and quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. She cannot speak and has to access the computer with a joy stick. Parents went to Tribunal last Summer but without evidence. They could not believe that their daughter was to be sent to mainstream school.”
And from another parent in need
“Each individual who has supported the charity won’t know the difference it will make to my daughter and our family. Thank you PIN so much for your kindness. At least we have a fighting chance to get my daughter what she needs and she won’t be another child suicide statistic. This help has given her a chance to learn to love her own strengths and to love herself again.”