Taking Control: Right to Choose

Right To Choose: 5 Things You Should Know About SEN Assessment Choice UK

5 Things You Should Know About SEN Assessment Choice in the UK

Navigating the Special Educational Needs (SEN) system in the UK can feel like trekking through a complex labyrinth. I for one am still learning every day. One thing I wish I had known from day one is your right to choose…

Probably the first crossroads you’ll encounter is choosing your child’s SEN assessment. This evaluation determines the support your child receives, so understanding your options is vital. Here are five key things you should know about choosing a SEN assessment in the UK:

1. Know Your Rights:

The good news is, YOU have the right to choose who conducts your child’s SEN assessment. You can opt for the local authority’s assessment or choose an independent provider. This empowers you to find professionals with expertise in your child’s specific needs or learning styles.

2. Understand the SEN Assessment Choice UK:

Different types of assessments cater to various aspects of your child’s development. Common types in the UK include:

  • ASD/ADHD assessments: Diagnostic tools used to determine whether someone meets the criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Educational assessments: Examining academic skills in reading, writing, and math.
  • Cognitive assessments: Evaluating overall intellectual abilities and reasoning skills.
  • Social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) assessments: Examining your child’s emotional well-being and social interactions.
  • Sensory assessments: Evaluating vision, hearing, and other sensory processing abilities.

3. Be an Informed Chooser:

Before jumping in, gather information about each assessment:

  • Process: Understand the steps involved and timeframe for results.
  • Qualifications: Research the credentials and experience of the assessors.
  • Cost: Determine if there are any associated fees and whether you’re eligible for funding.

4. Advocate for Your Child:

Throughout the process, be your child’s champion. Share their strengths, challenges, and learning styles with the assessors. Your insights are invaluable for a comprehensive and accurate evaluation.

5. Seek Support and Guidance:

Feeling lost in the SEN labyrinth? You’re not alone. Reach out for support from:

  • SEN specialists: Get expert advice and navigate the system with confidence.
  • Parent advocacy groups: Connect with others facing similar challenges and find practical tips.
  • Educational professionals: Seek guidance from teachers, SENCOs, or educational psychologists.

Remember, the power to choose your child’s SEN assessment is in your hands. By understanding your rights, exploring options, and actively advocating for your child, you can ensure they receive the right support and thrive in their educational journey.

Likewise, this is also just as important if you are about to enter the assessment pathway as an adult!

My Biggest Tip:

  • Check deadlines: Local authorities have set timeframes for requesting and undertaking assessments. Be mindful of these deadlines to avoid delays. Most LAs will work out with these deadlines, but this is against the law. However, note that while they might not stick to deadlines themselves, they will expect you to stick to them to the letter!

By working together with professionals and advocating for your child’s needs, you can help them find their way out of the labyrinth and blossom in their own unique way.

In conclusion, it isn’t an easy journey and you will go through every range of emotions (sometimes all in one day), but arming yourself with knowledge will help you feel in control and reaching out to others will ensure you never feel alone in this journey, because you really aren’t…

Fay x


  1. www.joschildminding.com/local-offer
  2. www.ecfs-primary.org/Special-Educational-Needs/

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