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Maya’s parents reached out to our Mediation service after a disagreement with their local authority.
Maya is a 5 year old girl with severe autism and she is non-verbal. The Local Authority (LA) agreed to issue an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) for Maya. However, there was considerable disagreement about the level of provision, particularly regarding speech and language and occupational therapy.
Maya’s parents felt that communication had been poor and that their views had not been taken into account in the final EHC Plan. As a result they had lost complete trust and confidence in the LA.
The family lodged an Appeal with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
The family contacted Kids SEND Mediation Service to request disagreement resolution.
Kids’ staff were responsive to the need of the family to feel listened to and heard. The mediator spent time with the parents listening to the emotional journey that the parents had travelled. The parents were angry, frustrated and exhausted.
The mediator also spent time with the LA representative listening to the experience that the LA had had with the family. The LA had found that communicating with the family was difficult because it felt as though the ‘goal posts’ were shifted by the parents every time something had been agreed. The mediator was responsive to the need of the LA to gain clarity from the parents about the changes to the EHC Plan the parents were seeking.
At the disagreement resolution meeting, the mediator used her skills to demonstrate impartiality, compassion and professionalism towards all the participants. The speech and language therapist and occupational therapist also attended. Kids’ values encourage a collaborative approach.
Although Maya was not present, the mediator sensitively reminded everyone that Maya was at the centre of the discussions. This encouraged a person centred approach and significantly shifted the dynamic of the dialogue.
The mediator used her skills to quickly build rapport with the participants and put people at their ease.
The LA representative apologised for the experience that the family had had in terms of poor communication and offered to be the new point of contact for the family going forward. This acknowledgement from the LA helped the parents to become more forward looking. As a result, a constructive dialogue took place.
The parents felt that for the first time their views had been taken into account and that they had been listened to.
The LA representative felt that she now had clarity on what the parents wanted and she was able to take advice from the professional therapists in attendance.
Agreements were reached on the level of provision and a way forward was agreed.
The parents expressed gratitude to the mediator for the care and patience she had shown them. They felt that Kids’ service had been very helpful and had made a positive difference to them. The LA officer expressed thanks for the mediator’s time and expertise which she appreciated and found very beneficial.