Monthly Archives

January 2015

Special Education

All you should know about The Statutory Assessment Procedure


Why is my child being assessed?

Your child’s teacher will have observed your child in school and will have already have offered assistance. There will have been a period of school-based help provided to assist your child. If the teacher feels that your child is not progressing as they feel they should, they will ask the LEA to intervene. The LEA will make a statutory assessment of your child’s Special Educational Needs.

The Statutory Assessment

All of the people involved with your child will be asked to write a detailed report about his/her Special Educational Needs. This is a process that requires all of the information to be on hand so the right decision is reached for your child.

Writing the Report – Who will be involved?

  • One of the main contributors to the report will be you. You know your child better than anyone else. Any information that you can give will be very important
  • Your child’s class teacher
  • The LEA’s Educational Psychologist
  • The Social Services
  • A Doctor
  • Any Support workers that work with your child on a regular basis
  • Language or Speech Therapists if they are working with your child
  • Anyone else who comes into contact regularly with your child and who is able to help with the report

kids running

There will be a form sent to you from your LEA. There will be a number of questions on it asking about your child’s formative years and their behaviour. If your child is of Primary school age, they will

  • Ask about his/her general health and skills. 
  1. This may include whether or not s/he has any eating or sleep related problems.
  2. Can s/he dress and undress themselves in the correct order?
  3. Are they able to realise when they need to use toilet facilities?
  4. Do they feed themselves?
  5. Do they understand what is said to them by others?
  6. Do they always play alone?
  7. How long can they concentrate on stories or playing?
  8. Are they comfortable in the company of their peers, siblings or other adults?
  9. Is your child able to share his/her toys?
  10. Do they have temper tantrums?
  11. Is your child subject to mood swings?
  12. Compare your child to others of his/her own age. You can also use any experiences you have had with your other children as a pointer to acceptable development.
  13. Does your child worry about a particular thing?
  14. Is your child aware of the difficulties they face?
  15. Are there things that your child does well?
  16. What are your own thoughts about the difficulties your child has? How best do you think your child would be supported?
  17. Is there one single event that has had a profound effect on your child? This could be in the form of bereavement or it may be a change in the make up of the family such as remarriage or divorce.
  18. Although your child is the one facing the Educational difficulties, this will also affect the rest of the family. What does this entail for your family?
  • Are they able to communicate their needs to others, pointing or verbalising their wishes?
  • Do they function similarly to their peers? i.e. chat, use the phone etc.
  • What are their favourite games?
  • Does your child attend any out of school activities such as Brownies, Cubs, Beavers etc.?
  • How do they relate to others?
  • Think about behaviour in the home.
  • General Points

It is felt that it is important that your child should have as much input into this process as possible. They will be asked to contribute their views to the statement if they are able.


  • You have 29 days to respond to the letter that will be sent to you by your LEA. This letter is the one telling you that they have been asked by the school to provide the Statutory Assessment of your child
  • Your LEA have 6 weeks to tell you whether or not they feel that your child will benefit from the Statutory Assessment. Do not forget that it is not certain that your child will be assessed.
  • Your LEA may issue you with a Note in Lieu instead of issuing a Statement of Special Educational Needs. More information about this is contained in another article.
  • If the LEA has decided that it would be in your child’s best interests to be assessed, the procedure should be completed within 6 months.
  • There is the chance to appeal against the findings of the LEA. First you must approach your child’s Head teacher or your Named Officer. Information about this is contained in the article about the Special Needs Tribunal.

I want to choose the school that provides the education for my child. Can I do this?

You do have a limited choice of school but your LEA will have to consider the logistics of your choice. It is not a certainty that this will be possible, as they have to assess whether the costs involved are reasonable, if educating your child in the school will cause difficulties for the other pupils and also that the school is able to meet your child’s particular Special Educational Need. The school is not named on the Statement to facilitate this freedom of choice. Your LEA has a register of all schools and will be able to advise you as to the suitability for your child. You will also be able to visit the schools to make sure that they will be suitable.


Visual Impairment in the Young


Sight is an ability that allows us not only to perform many of our functions of daily living, but it is also a sense that allows us to enjoy the things we do. For children who are unable to see, or who have limited sight, performing daily living functions, and growing up as a healthy, happy child may seem like daunting tasks. However, a visually impaired child can lead a productive, joyful life with the help of parents, educators and health professionals who understand the special needs of such a child.

If you think your child may have a visual impairment, or if your child has recently been diagnosed with a visual impairment, the following information will help you understand visual impairment in children and to link you with other sources of information and support.

The Eye

The visual system, including the eye, that provides for sight is a complex grouping of nerves, muscles, tissue and fluid. Because this system is so complex, any defect or injury to the eye itself, the muscles that support the eye, or the nerves surrounding the eye, including the optic nerve, can result in visual impairment A complete illustration of the eye can be found at NEI. The eye itself is made up of the:

  • cornea: transparent, outer layer of eye through which light passes and is the chief refractive medium for the eye, focusing light rays onto the retina
  • anterior chamber: space in front of pupil and lens, through which light also passes
  • pupil: hole in front of the lens which serves to control the amount of light that passes into the eye
  • lens: refracts light, and can vary its shape depending on the amount of light
  • iris: pigmented area surrounding pupil
  • vitreous humor: fluid that fills the eye ball, or globe, 99% water, functions to refract light
  • retina: located in the back lining of the eye ball, is made up of photoreceptor cells that transform images seen to nerve impulses carried by the optic nerve to the brain; the center of the retina holds the region of greatest visual acuity of form and color
  • optic nerve: located at the back of the eye ball, connects to the visual center of the brain.
  • sclera: white, rubber-like protective globe, what makes up the white eye ball


Common Causes of Visual Impairment

There are varying degrees of visual impairment, from low vision to blindness. As described, the eye and its system is so complex that any interference or dysfunction in the process could result in a visual impairment. Some common causes of a visual impairment include:

  • injuries to eye, optic nerve, or visual area of brain
  • illness or infection that affects the visual system
  • metabolic disorders (e.g. diabetes)
  • inherited genetic defects or syndromes
  • congenital abnormalities
  • exposure to infection prenatally

Types of Visual Impairments

There are many types of visual impairments that affect different parts of the eye or visual system. A comprehensive list of various conditions associated with visual impairment can be found at NYISE, or for comprehensive information on childhood visual impairments and links regarding specific diseases, go to Growing Strong.

  • Anophthalmia/Microphthalmia (A/M): A/M is the absence of, or remnant of the globe and ocular tissue from the orbit; A/M may affect one eye with the other eye being normal, or both eyes, resulting in blindness. A/M can be congenital or acquired after birth. The causes of A/Mmay include inherited genetic defects, chromosomal abnormalities, trauma or exposure to toxins prenatally.
  • Cataracts: condition affecting the lens of the eye where clouding occurs preventing light from passing through; may be present at birth or develop later.
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity(POM): condition of premature infants who require extensive oxygen therapy after birth, where the retina becomes damaged and cannot respond appropriately to light.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa: condition affecting retina where an abnormal accumulation of pigmentation occurs impairing vision, results in a progressive loss of peripheral vision.
  • Retinoblastoma: a tumor of the eye which often requires removal of the entire eye resulting in total blindness. It may also occur only in one eye, leaving the person with normal vision in the other eye.
  • Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis:LCA is a degenerative condition of the retina. Many children with LCA have some vision; others are totally blind.
  • Imbalance of eye muscles or nerves associated with the eye
  • Strabismus: condition of uncoordinated eye movements including esotropia, or “crossed-eyes”, exotropia, or “wall-eyes,” and amblyopia, or “lazy eye”
  • Nystagmus: condition of atypical eye movements or jerks
  • Myopia (Near-sightedness):difficulty seeing things in the distance
  • Hyperopia (far-sightedness):difficulty seeing things very close

Developmental Considerations for the Visually Impaired Child

Your visually impaired child may need direct teaching various skills and experiences to maximize his or her growth and development. The following is a list of developmental considerations for your visually impaired child. For a comprehensive listing of this information, along with resources and suggestions for each consideration go to SASKED.

  • Sensory-motor skills (sitting, crawling, walking, balancing, developing fine and gross motor skills)
  • Concept development (body image, environment, sexuality, gender awareness, space, time, position)
  • Communication (exposure to braille books, learn name and pronounce, listening skills, language skills)
  • Orientation and mobility (body awareness, spatial awareness, auditory awareness, sighted guide techniques)
  • Daily living skills (dressing, cleaning, personal hygiene, using the telephone)
  • Self-concept and socialization (displaying appropriate behavior, communicating one’s needs, playing)
  • Knowledge of the eye condition (basic functions of the eye, name, cause and implications of eye condition, eye care)