Monday, 22 October 2012

Ensuring provision of therapy

Question: Will parents still be able to ensure that SALT and OT provision is categorised as an educational provision under the new joint plans and avoid these services being part of the 'health' provision and therefore not enforceable? What in the new proposed legislation will ensure other parents get SALT and OT provision for their children when they need?

IPSEA answers: Only if we manage to change the definition of ‘health provision’ during the passage of the Bill through Parliament. Otherwise our reading of this definition means that therapies would cease to be the responsibility of the LA as they would cease to be educational provision. If it is changed and therapies continue to be educational provision when necessary,  parents will still have to know the difference in legal status between something being listed under the health, the care or the educational part of the EHC plan. For most parents this will not be an obvious distinction until suddenly health provision is not being made for whatever reason and they are looking to enforce the provision. The EHC plan is being promoted as being the result of a combined, ‘single’ assessment across education, health and social care. Most parents will presume that it is equally enforceable across all three services. It is not.

If the draft legislation retains the current law’s position on therapies, then case law in this area will continue to apply. As with the current system it will be necessary to show that therapy is required to meet the special educational needs of the individual child. For example, if a child has a speech and language delay or disorder identified as a special educational need, then it follows that they need SALT input as special educational provision. It must therefore be detailed in the educational section of an EHC plan.

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