THE CARING community is being invited to get behind a crowdfunding scheme to raise £3,600 to secure legal advice and support for tribunals for children with autism.
Six parents of children with autism who attend Bright Futures School in Grasscroft need to raise the money by May 3 to help make their case to a Special Educational Needs tribunal.
Zoe Thompson, Head of Development at the school and also a parent, explained: “We want to get home-based social communication provision via their children’s Education Health and Care plans.
“Research has shown that if parents can be supported to work in a particular ‘social communication’ way in the family environment, the severity of their children’s autism can be reduced.
“We are each making the case to Special Educational Needs tribunal that this special type of ‘social communication’ provision in the home is essential to meet some of the needs outlined in our children’s Education Health and Care Plans.
“We are seeking crowdfunding to pay for legal guidance from a solicitor and legal representation from a barrister at these upcoming tribunals.
“The core difficulties at the heart of autism mean our children struggle to lead ‘ordinary lives’. They struggle to make and keep friends, they become easily emotionally overwhelmed and then struggle with low mood, and they are unable to take part in many activities and life opportunities that their peers take for granted.
“Social communication provision in the home will give us parents a chance to help our kids develop the abilities to do these things. We just want our kids to have the same opportunities and chances as others.”
She added: “The first case has already gone to tribunal and although the family weren’t successful in securing the social communication provision they did manage to win the legal argument that social communication provision qualifies as ‘educational provision’.
“This is a big first step towards our goals, so now we are working on making our argument for the provision smarter, collecting better supporting evidence and getting ‘expert’ reports to back up our cases.
“Having legal support to do that will make an enormous difference. We need to raise £3,600 towards the initial cost of legal advice and support for the second of our six cases.
“If we reach this target, we will be continuing to raise funds for the subsequent cases and any surplus will pay for special expert reports that will help families to secure this social communication input in their children’s EHC Plans.
“If we win these cases, we will share our legal arguments so that other families can use them to secure similar social communication provision in the home.”
To help raise the funding needed, Bright Futures are hosting a family photoshoot by Mark Gibbins, a professional photographer, whose son Harry attends Bright Futures School.
The photoshoot is open to all families but Mark has particular experience of photographing families of children with disabilities who often find it difficult to take part in group photos.
This kind of 45 min-1 hour photoshoot usually costs between £300 – £500 but is available for a bargain minimum donation of £35 cash.
Bright Futures School will host the photoshoot on April 29 and 30 and May 1. Bookings are required – ring Christina on 01457 878738 email Christina at email@example.com to book a slot.
Find out more and make a donation on their CrowdJustice page online: www.crowdjustice.org/…/social-communication-interventions-for-autism