RESOURCESUseful Resources For Parents
1. EHC Plan with needs and provision mapped
2. Social communication and Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans
This guide has been prepared by Friends of Bright Futures School to support parents in ensuring social communication needs and interventions for children and young people with autism are appropriately provided for in Education, Health and Care Plans.
The guide supports a series of training workshops and will look at:
- The use of one social communication intervention, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) in improving outcomes for children and young people with autism.
- Understanding the Legal Framework: Education, Health and Care Plans and the new assessment process.
- How do parents ensure that provision to meet social communication needs is included in the EHC Plan?
- Making use of personal budgets and direct payments.
- What to do if you need to challenge a decision.
It is aimed at parents of children and young people with autism and professionals who work with them.
3. Social communication and EHC Plans
Social communication interventions are a kind of psychosocial intervention that act to make specific alterations in a child’s dyadic (paired) communication environment in order to improve the child’s social communication, which includes: social reciprocity, sense of self, cognitive flexibility/executive functioning and ability to regulate their emotions. They are usually used to improve core autism features in pre-school children with diagnosed autism.
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) is a social communication intervention that has been developed to work with older children/young people and adults with autism, as well as with toddlers and young children.
NHS NICE guidelines recommend social communication approaches for autism
NICE clinical guidelines on ‘Autism spectrum disorder in under 19’s: support and management’ (GG 170) recommend as a key priority for implementation that providers of services consider a specific social communication intervention for the core features of autism in children and young people that includes play and activity based strategies with parents, carers and teachers to increase joint attention, joint engagement and reciprocal communication in the child or young person. NICE recommends that strategies should:
- Be adjusted to the child or young person’s developmental level
- Aim to increase the parents’, carers’, teachers or peers’ understanding of, and sensitivity and responsiveness to, the child or young person’s patterns of communication and interaction
- Include techniques of therapist modelling and video interaction feedback
- Include techniques to expand the child or young person’s communication, interactive play/engagement and social routines
RDI is one of a handful of approaches that meets the above criteria.
Social communication provision is acknowledged as ‘educational provision’ for the first time in England in a First Tier Tribunal judgement in January 2019
RDI was used with P both by his parents in the home and as practice that was embedded within his school’s curriculum. P’s ADOS score (which measures the severity of the autism) decreased from 19 out of 22 to 12 out of 22 following 10 years participating in RDI. He is still autistic and still faces challenges due to his condition, but many of his former challenges have decreased in a way that has significantly improved his quality of life.
In January 2019, P and his Mum took P’s case for a post-19 bespoke package of educational provision to meet P’s needs to an SEN Tribunal. Social communication provision was a key part of the package for P.
The Tribunal ruled that social communication provision – specifically, RDI – was educational provision and that it must be included as proposed by P and his Mum at part F of P’s EHC plan.
Below is a table that was submitted to the SEN Tribunal, which consolidates evidence from the previous EHC plan (which was informed by an RDI assessment report) and evidence from a private Educational Psychology report. The table maps each need to a provision* and is quantified and specified as required by the SEN Code of Practice.
*In some cases a number of related needs are met by the same provision
Special thanks go to P for allowing this information to be shared in order to help other families seeking similar provision.