I Knew This Had All Been Going Too Well

A word of advice for anyone in our shoes. Never take anything for granted and, by and large, when it comes to the bureaucracy, never take anyone at their word.

The Statementing process (statement of special educational needs – the means by which the council / LEA apportions money to pay for additional care for children with special educational needs) is and was new to us. No matter how many times people have tried to explain it to me, I am none the wiser. Essentially, there are two parts to the process. Firstly you apply for an assessment and then the assessment decides what your child’s additional needs are and, to what extent they will be paid for.

Being approved for assessment, we were assured, was a formality. At the same meeting Alice would be approved for her assessment, she would gain ‘discretionary funding’ to pay for additional help while the assessment was formalising the longer term solution. “Don’t worry” we were told.

After reams of paperwork pulled together by Alice’s School, AV, The ToDs and us, the application for assessment went to a panel last week. Today we got the letter telling us of the decision.

Alice was refused the assessment.

The letter patronisingly referred to appreciating that Alice had ‘Hearing Difficulties” and that they understood we would be “upset by this decision”. She is profoundly deaf. CI or no CI, she is and always will be deaf. It’s not going to go away. Morons.

There is an appeals process.

Hell hath no fury.

The case for appeal is already being prepared.

Alice is still happy and oblivious and loved the snow.

Progress

You may remember that when we started this whole journey, the kind souls at AVUK assessed Alice just after her implant. This is obviously key so we all had a baseline against which to measure her. At the time, Alice came out with a combined hearing/speaking age of 1 year 3 months (we now know that getting 1 year 3 months is like getting an A in your GCSE maths – you just have to turn up). That said, at the time it gave us hope.

So 6 months on, how has Alice progressed? She was assessed again on Monday, 6 months to the day after her first test. Clever old Alice is now at 1 year 11 months. Crucially, this means she has progressed by 8 months in a 6 month period – The Gap Is Narrowing!!!. You could look at it another way – 6 months ago, Alice had no hearing and no language at all. She now speaks and understands on a par with a 1year 11 month old. That can’t be bad, can it?

The pressure is on though to keep this pace up. Not so easy now Alice is at school and I am running my own business from home. AV time is at a premium these days. That said, we all do our bit. As we long ago discovered, AV becomes a way of life rather than just therapy you go along to. Even Joseph has picked up some of the tricks. We took him along with us to AV the day before Christmas Eve – he was so excited to see what went on there. Unfortunately, snow and the exodus for Christmas meant the hour journey took 3.5 and, try as they did, AV couldn’t wait for us any longer. Joseph, in particular, was very sad. That said, he’ll get his chance again soon. Congratulations to Rosie (Alice’s AV Therapist) on your Cert AV – truth be known, I never knew you didn’t have it anyway.

Joseph tries his best though. A little snippet of him teaching Alice to say ‘Zoo’. Joseph says he’s sorry for picking his nose and ruining the video.

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