The diagnosis is really  just the beginning of the process of understanding a child’s or young person’s needs. The diagnosis acts as a valuable signpost to those aspects of the youngster’s development that may need more detailed assessment–and it provides broad pointers to the types of help and provision a child may need. However, effective intervention can only be built on a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the youngster’s individual needs. This should provide the information needed to set appropriate targets across all the key areas of functioning. It should also provide a detailed profile of the child’s learning style, strengths and difficulties. Without this, it can be difficult or impossible, to develop and use appropriate teaching and support stragegies. In turn, all this information is needed before taking crucial decisions about the type of school and the level and nature of support necessary to meet the child’s needs.

For the last 17 years, my specialist role has meant that I have been responsible for carrying out assessments on some of the most complex and needy youngsters. I am able to draw from a wide range of assessment tools and frameworks, and am known for producing reports that are both comprehensive and (just as importantly) comprehensible. My overiding aim is always to help those who live and work with a child make sense of his or her needs, and to provide practical strategies and directions for promoting the youngster’s development.

These reports can be shared with school staff and other Local Authority or Health Service staff who are involved with your child. If your child is undergoing statutory assessment, they can also be submitted as part of the information that you’re asked for during the statementing process. Independent reports like these are often submitted as evidence when parents are unhappy with proposed statements and take their case to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.

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