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Diagnosing Special Educational Needs


Parents often ask us how long it will take to get a diagnosis of special educational needs and this a difficult question to answer as a diagnosis often involves a variety of different professionals. If parents or the school think a child may have autistic spectrum disorder, dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder, speech and language delay, hearing loss or visual problems, a referral to a paediatrician will be needed for investigation. The route for this is usually through the child’s GP, who will make a referral to the child development clinic at the hospital. The school will provide information on the child’s difficulties and the child may be seen by an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech and language therapist and paediatrician. Each professional will make recommendations to the school and these will be put into place. Even without a definite diagnosis the school will put interventions in place which aim to remove the barriers to the child’s learning. We are used to catering for a variety of needs and can put measures in place without a diagnosis so that parents can be confident that if a diagnosis takes time ( often up to six months) we will strive to meet the child’s needs.

Our bottom line when putting interventions in place is whether a child’s learning is being affected by a barrier which we can remove. We recognise that seeking a diagnosis can be emotional for parents and that waiting for one can add to the worries they have for their child and Mrs Ridall is always available to discuss any issues or concerns.