"Son missed special needs assessment due to long..."

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My son is 4 years old and has been waiting for speech therapy since March. My son has missed a special needs assessment statement (SENAR) and probably won't get a place in a resource based school due to that. Speech therapy is not only essential to promote my dons learning and speech as he is struggling with his communication needs but also a statement by a speech therapist is essential to get a statement for his school placement in a resource based school. My son is Being denied speech therapy when he needs it the most and the waiting list is horrendous but surely some preference should be given to those children in the list so urgently need the speech therapy. In Leicester my son was receiving speech therapy but in Birmingham this hospital has made no efforts towards continuity of care in our case. My son is missing out on a place and we have no grounds for appeal unless a speech therapist makes a report about his condition possibly autism. I have phones several times only to be told that there is a long waiting list, a letter will be in the post next week and phone in another three weeks if you don't hear from us. This is giving false hope to those who are desperately waiting for their children to receive speech therapy. I fear my Don missing the attention he is entitled to in a resource based school which was suggested by educational physiologist. I am hugely disappointed and appalled at this situation.

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Response from Sutton Cottage Hospital

I am very sorry to read about your experience of speech and language therapy (SLT) services in Birmingham. Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust accepts the waiting times for childrens SLT are unacceptably long and the service is not always in a position to provide advice regarding the appropriate educational provision that they will need to support the SEN process. The Trust has been in discussion with Commissioners of the service for some time about how to resolve this issue caused by a greater demand for the service than it has capacity to deliver. The Trust has recruited extra SLTs on a temporary basis to reduce the waiting time for initial assessments whilst the discussions with commissioners are ongoing. At present the service prioritises children who are medically at risk and it is our intention to prioritise other high risk groups of children for therapy as soon as possible. The service has a specialist team of SLTs who work with children with Specific Language Impairment. We are currently organising for our specialist SLT in this area to be available to provide timely SLT assessments for Statements of children who may be going to the Speech and Language Resource Bases. This would be agreed between SENAR, the Educational Psychologist and the SLT service. We are sorry that this system was not in place for your son, and we hope that this will mean that in future the SLT assessment will be available in a timely way so that children who require Speech and Language Resource Base provision will have the supporting assessment advice from the SLT to enable SENAR to agree placement. The service is happy to speak to you directly about your experience and / or about your son's specific case. Please contact the Customer Service Team on 0800 917 2855 to arrange this on your behalf.

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