Parents can be left facing something of a postcode lottery when trying to get support for a child with special needs, as advice varies around the country. Professor Richard Hastings tells us what they can do.
Richard Hastings is Professor of Psychology at Warwick University, Cerebra Chair of Family Research and part of the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research at Warwick University.
Research and data from many countries makes it clear that people with learning disabilities face a significant number of inequalities in health, social circumstances and education.
Parents and carers often need to seek specialist help but what is then offered seems to vary quite significantly around the country. Various professionals, schools and services may offer different solutions for the same problems.
One solution to this problem would be to only encourage support models based on strong evidence. Then we might not expect to see such a high level of variation – even allowing for the fact that supports should be person-centred.
Another solution might be to adjust how we ask for support; to know precisely the right questions to ask.With this in mind, I wrote an article for the academic journalism website The Conversation at the beginning of April, which I hope will empower parents and carers (http://tinyurl.com/oeq97dv).
I set out what I think are the key questions to ask when seeking support for a child or adult with a learning disability.
1) What are the needs of my child and my family at this time?
2) How will the intervention suggested address these needs?
3) How is the intervention meant to work?
4) Has the intervention been fully described and written down?
5) Is there evidence the intervention is effective?
6) Is there any evidence the intervention is effective in the real world?
7) Will the school be able to show you whether the intervention is working for your child?
Read Professor Hastings’s full article here: https://theconversation.com/autism-at-school-seven-questions-for-parents-24958