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Thomas’ story

Thomas was finding it difficult to engage in the EHC Plan process. It didn’t make sense to him. Kids SENDIASS found a novel way to support him to get involved in the process and help others understand his needs.

Thomas is 9 and has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). He likes things to make sense. Things that make sense are planned and follow logical steps, they don’t change suddenly and without warning. He sometimes struggles at school because of the way things work and things that people do don’t make sense to him. He goes to school to learn things so it’s a good day when he learns something new and a bad day when he can’t learn.

Struggling with the EHC process

At first Thomas wasn’t interested in contributing to the EHC plan (Educational Health and Care Plan) process as he felt it asked lots of questions that people should already know the answer to. There were lots of questions in the Local Authority paperwork asking how he felt about things, which Thomas didn’t really understand, as feelings and emotions don’t make sense to him.

At his first visit Thomas made an origami bird and it stopped his fingers fidgeting, which helped him think better. With the support of his parents Thomas was able to complete some of the EHC plan Needs Assessment but he got bored quite quickly and the information was limited to one word answers. Thomas’ aspirations and views were at the centre of all assessment and planning as it was important that he be engaged in the EHCP process and able to contribute as much as possible.

Engaging Thomas in the EHC plan

During the second visit fortune teller origami was used to gather a profile on Thomas’ views. The activity worked well as Thomas was engaged and actually enjoyed answering the questions in order to finish the activity. In addition the activity gave him something else to do whilst we were talking, making him feel more comfortable. This meant that more information could be gathered and ensured that he could make as much of a contribution to the process as possible.

Thomas left the visit with his ‘one-page profile origami’ which he was able to share with other people giving him a way to share his views with people supporting him. Photos of it were included in the child’s contributions to the EHC Needs Assessment adding a creative input to the panel decision and allowing the panel to see the person centred approaches needed in order that Thomas can be supported to reach his academic and social potential.

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