Educational health care plan | What is it and why we need one


One of the things I'd advise is to get an Educational health care plan ( EHCP) early. We had been in the process of starting it all when we moved out of the area so it's ended up being more delayed than we would've liked, with the application only getting sent off at the end of July.

What is an EHCP?

It's a legal document that sets out the educational, health and care of a young person. It is a document for children with special educational needs who's needs cannot be met by support that is usually available in schools. An EHCP should include the views, wishes and feelings of both the child and parent/s. It's important that the child and parents participate fully with the decisions made. This is because the plan is intend to support the child's educational  health and care outcomes. 

Educational settings should be monitoring childrens progress and so SEN Support is available for children who need extra help. This could be with needing 1 to 1 support for example as children with additional needs do tend to find it harder to learn. The SENCO ( Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) should put a plan in place  which we currently have for Blake to a point. Unfortunately because of Blake's needs aren't as easy to provide an EHCP is essential.

Why do we need an EHCP for Blake?

Blake's currently in a mainstream school and they feel that they don't have the right provisions in place for him and that the environment isn't inclusive for him. With that said getting an EHCP is important for him to have as specialist schools wont take children on without them. 

How do I get an EHCP?

The first thing to do is to request an assessment this is usual done via a form to the local authority (LA) . We were lucky that Blake's previous setting passed on all the information required for school to apply for an EHCP.  The LA then decides if they are going to do an assessment. Evidence of special needs is required and it's usually a 6 week process to be considered. 

Our request has been accepted and the assessment process which is usual about 8 weeks begins and this is the current stage we are at. We are currently awaiting for professionals to observe Blake at school. Once that has been done a report will be written which includes advice on outcomes and support needed. Any current reports from professionals working with Blake will be used. We've been told that we should have the report by mid november. In the meantime its reccomend that we visit the local SEN school to look around as it's important that we offer our views on what feel is beneficial for Blake.


School Transition When you have an autistic child


Starting school is such a huge milestone in a child's life. It can be equally exciting and terrifying for both the child and parents. However if your child is autistic like Blake it can be particularly challenging.

One of my fears is that Blake isn't at all school ready. He isn't as independent as other children for example even though we have tried toilet training Blake a few times now he isn't ready or even have the understanding.  

Blake has been in school since 4th September and unfortunately the school doesn't have the provision for him to be in for more than 30 minutes a day. So this obviously isn't inclusive for him. We are currently in the process of getting an EHCP (educational health care plan) for him and have been having a few different meetings. 

It's sounding very likely that Blake maybe better off moving to a SEN school which obviously will mean going through the transition process all over again.  I thought I'd share some of my tips with you incase you have an autistic child who maybe moving schools soon or still has a year to wait before starting school or maybe you just will find this information useful.

It's important for your child to visit the school. Most schools have transition dates which are important for them to go to. We were lucky in Blake's case that the school let us visit twice a week in July before the school broke up for summer. During these visits Blake got to meet his teacher and the lady who is his temp 1 to 1.  I think this really helped him even though he is in only for a short time. 

Buying the uniform together along with his school shoes was a great way for us to explain about going to school. Once we had it all washed and labled it we got him to try it on a few times. Blake was very excited putting it on and still is daily.

Getting to school
Blake school isnt far from our house luckly and during the summer each time we went past I'd point out to him and say your schools down there. This helped with getting him to understand where he would be going. 

I found books a great visual aid for Blake to explain about starting school. I also have some learning picture books for him which we sit and look at together. 

I've been doing some activities over the summer with him to help with learning. I'm thinking of doing a separate post on this. One of the things we've been doing is sitting together and doing an odd card from the my busy bots I'm starting school flashcards. Another was sitting together and having fun learning with different books on the leapad 3d we've got for him. 

I hope these tips have been helpful have you done anything I've not mentioned? 


10 tips for Charity Shopping Like A Pro


I've heard people say that they never find anything good in charity shops and that its mainly old ladies clothing . This of course isn't at all true. Yes you are going to most likely see clothing that are for the older generation but you can find some great gems and often if lucky clothing that still has the tags on. Let's be honest alot of us have clothing in our wardrobe that we don't wear or regret buying and its these clothing items and accessories that end up in charity shops.  

So how do I make the most out of our local charity shops? Well read below some of my tips on how to charity shop like a pro.

Have a list 
Having an idea on what you are looking for whether it's a denim jacket or an occasion dress can help you save money,rather than just jumping in and buying whatever looks nice. In the past I've purchased items and regretted them as I didn't have other items in my wardrobe that they would go with. It's also handy if you are in a rush and can just scan the rails.

Pick your time
Weekdays tend to be the best time. 

Pick your location
If you are able to travel a bit outside of your local area it's a great way broaden your search.  More affluent areas mean you may find designer items and more higher end high street pieces, however the downside is prices tend to be higher. For example a primark dress could be priced up for more than it would be in store. I think it's worth visiting charity shops in a mixture of affluent and less affluent areas.

Visit regularly 
You most likely wont strike gold on every occasion. Popping in regularly for example once  a week means you are likely to find items from your list. This is due to charity shops getting new stock out everyday.

Be prepared to rummage
Most charity shops have clothing organised into sizing and/or colour. However not everyone puts items back in the right places. It's a good idea to take your time and have a good rummage.

Try on items and examine them carefully
The last thing you want is to buy a top for example to find out when you get home it doesn't fit or worse has a broken zip, is stained, wripped or smelly. 

Have an idea of repair and alteration costs
If a zip is broken I tend to leave the item as I dont have the time to sort it and also it could be an expensive job. If an item just needs a bit of sewing or can be upcycled into something better than if I love it and it fits than I'll most likely purchase the item.

Check labels
If you've not heard of a brand than Google them. I tend to do this to get an idea how much an item would cost new. Also check lables incase they are dry clean only or hand wash only. 

Try online charity shops
I only recently was aware that charity shops these days tend to also have an online shop. This is handy as you can shop from the comfort of your own home and it's great for those of you that cant get out.

Give Back
It's important to give back to charity as they rely on donations to survive. So when you next have a wardrobe clear out think of donating any unwanted items.