1st Edition

Developing Decision-making with Children and Young People with SEN A Practical Guide For Education and Associated Professionals

By Jane L. Sinson Copyright 2020
    248 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Speechmark

    We all make decisions every day, but are you aware of the process you use to make a decision? This essential practical guide for education and associated professionals, using education-focused case studies throughout to illustrate key points, explains the mechanics of decision-making, introducing the associated language and concepts. It presents both a practical decision-making framework based in the Mental Capacity Act decision-making process, and a decision-making syllabus, from which education professionals can create their own curriculum.

    Being able to make decisions is an important life skill, which can have a positive impact on well-being. However, many children and young people with SEN will need direct teaching and guidance to develop this ability, from the earliest age. The book explores the types of important decisions children and young people may need to make in relation to their education, with particular focus on choosing a new educational placement, providing practical guidance about how education professionals can support young people to make this decision. There is reference throughout the book as to the ways in which practitioners can work in partnership with parents to support and develop children and young people’s decision-making ability. Appendices provide completed decision-making frameworks and associated guidance.

    Acknowledgements  Prolegomenon Setting the Scene  Part 1 Decision-Making  Chapter 1 Making Decisions  Chapter 2 Mental Health Perspective  Chapter 3 Legislative Context  Chapter 4 Making Decisions About Educational Matters  Part 2 Decision-making Syllabus  Chapter 5 Decision-making Syllabus  Chapter 6 The Art of Writing SMART Outcomes  Part 3 The Role of Education and Associated Professionals  Chapter 7 Educational Psychologists (EPs) and Associated Professionals  Chapter 8 Supporting and Involving Parents  Epilogue Reflections and Steps Forward  Appendix 1 Completed Decision-making Framework for ‘Important’ Decisions for Education and Associated Professionals or Parents  Appendix 2 Child or Young Person Completed Decision-making Form  Appendix 3 Statutory ‘Best Interests’ Checklist and Completed ‘Best Interests’ Balance Sheet  Appendix 4 SEND Code of Practice Preparation for Adult Outcomes  Appendix 5 Guidelines for Undertaking Observations  Appendix 6 Sample ‘My Activity Passport’  Appendix 7 Mechanics of Talking Mats Style Approach  Glossary  References  Resources  Index


    Jane L. Sinson is an HCPC registered educational psychologist (EP) and Chartered Educational Psychologist. Having attained a degree in Psychology, she taught pupils with special needs in a range of mainstream, resourced and special schools before training as an educational psychologist. She worked as a local authority (LA) educational psychologist for over twenty years, supporting pupils and staff in a range of mainstream, resourced and special schools as well as delivering training to school staff and parent workshops. Additionally, Jane was the EP representative on the CAMHS school-aged autism protocol panel, and course tutor for the LA teaching assistant accredited training. Whilst an LA EP she lectured in the UK to psychology undergraduates and education undergraduates in Hong Kong. After leaving the local authority, initially Jane worked for an independent psychological service undertaking dyslexia assessments in further and higher education institutions as well as expert witness work, before becoming self-employed. She has been part of The Ear Foundation multidisciplinary assessment team undertaking assessments of deaf children and young people. Currently, she is mainly commissioned to deliver training to education professionals and parents related to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and developing children and young people’s decision-making ability, as well as writing on the subject. Jane also undertakes voluntary work as an EP in a school for children with severe learning difficulties in St Lucia, Caribbean.

    Ensuring that children and young people with complex needs are enabled by professionals to make their own decisions and lead independent lives is crucial and at the centre of the SEND reforms and good practice. This guide is indispensable for any professionals working with children, young people and families in navigating policy and practice in this complex area. It also supports developing practice around ensuring that parents are kept fully involved and support the process. There are few more knowledgeable experts on both the law and the practice in this area and this should be required reading for professional development for anyone working in this field. 

    Brian Lamb, Visiting Professor of SEND, Derby University, Chair of Achievement for All

    With the rise in mental health issues and subsequent awareness in children and young people – particularly those with special educational needs, this book couldn't have come soon enough! As health and education professionals we must be made more aware of the impact a lack of independent and well supported decision making can have on a child and young person's feeling of mental well-being and belonging. As an SLT promoting joint decision making with parents and children and young people through a health coaching approach, this book will be invaluable in complimenting your rationale, planning and execution of child centred intervention and get you thinking about the ways you can support the children and families you work with in a more holistic approach to gain the results that are collectively strived for

    Hana L Haziem (BA/PGCert), Service Manager, Children's Speech and Language Therapy, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust.

    As a QTVI, and Sensory Service Manager, I found this book extremely useful and thought provoking, and recommend it to all specialist professionals working with CYP with SEND, and their families. It provides a direct link between the legislative framework of the SEND CoP and EHCP's, and the importance of empowering CYP to make their own decisions, whilst supporting parents to encourage and allow them to become independent in their decision making, as far as possible. The book has a useful framework for how to teach decision making skills from the earliest years, and the approach will be easily embedded into a professional's armoury. 

    Anne Lomas, Head of Sensory and PD Services (retired)

    This book shines a light on an overlooked area and appeals to a wide range of professionals working within the education sector. The book explores how to support children and young people to develop their decision-making skills, providing the reader with examples of practical applications along the way.                    

    Dr Suzanne Devereux, Nicola Blackwell and Katherine Lucor, West Sussex Educational Psychology service

    Increasingly occupational therapists are contributing to Education Health Care Plans to support children and young adults maximise their learning and development. Therapists must juggle busy case work and their continuous professional development requirements related to keeping up to date with clinical evidence. This can result in limited capacity to research legislation and government guidance related to EHCPs. 

    This book brings together the key relevant legislation in an accessible format for health professionals working into education and provides the reader with essential information around the legal framework.The author discusses in detail the challenges of enabling children and young people develop decision making skills. The topic will stimulate occupational therapists to consider how hey can enable this skill development when working with children and setting treatment goals and planning programmes. The book contains varied and interesting case studies which give practical examples on how to support choice and provide opportunities to develop essential decision making skills. The book will be a valuable resource for therapists.

    Jane Oxnard Jay, Occupational Therapist