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When I knew I had to challenge my local authority (LA) about not meeting my son’s needs, I turned to a friend who had just gone through the tribunal process. She recommended Kids SENDIASS and gave me names and numbers.
Elaine became our advisor and from the outset she was kind, patient and knowledgeable. She knew how to approach the process and immediately set up a meeting between myself and the Education Officer who was handling the case at the council. She guided me through this and made me feel I wasn’t alone in this fight and that I was totally justified in calling for a tribunal.
Even when I established that my son was entitled to legal aid, I soon realised that support was minimal from them due to workload. I had to keep coming back to Kids SENDIASS to answer my queries and to put my mind at rest.
At times I felt completely cast adrift in the legal system but Elaine was always there at the end of the phone or replied quickly to emails with a friendly response. She even attended meetings for us on her days off.
The tribunal process took roughly eight months and SENDIASS was there throughout: checking SEND law, being an intermediary between us and the LA, setting up and holding meetings, nudging the LA when replies were overdue and also being a shoulder to cry on when I felt the fight was just too hard emotionally and psychologically.
Elaine was the person who called me excitedly to tell me to check my emails – she knew before me that the LA had conceded and I didn’t have to go to tribunal.
We had won! We were so excited and it was great to have someone on my side without the worry that I wouldn’t be able to afford their services or that there was a time limit for their help. I would have thought twice about starting the challenge, if I hadn’t had free, compassionate, expert help from SENDIASS.
I can’t thank SENDIASS, particularly Elaine enough for helping us succeed in getting my son the right placement for him. He is so looking forward to going off to his new college for three years and I feel the future is so much brighter for him.