Expert clinic: Statements and Special Educational Needs with Tania Tirraoro


We're pleased to announce an expert clinic on Statements and Special Educational Needs with Tania Tirraoro.

Tania is the author of Getting Started With Special Educational Needs – Statements.

HELPING YOU TO HELP YOUR CHILD - Realising your child has special educational needs is stressful for any parent. Getting them the help they require can be a long, drawn-out, frustrating and expensive process. All too often, parents are unprepared for the complicated, emotional and often adversarial journey ahead.
This unique book is aimed at helping parents understand what they need to do in a step-by-step approach that includes extracts from successful applications for SEN statutory assessments and school placements.

“I only wish that I when I was going through the statementing process, striving to get my son the right education, speech therapy and respite that I had read this book.” Maria Hutchings, SEN Campaigner

"This is an extremely important and helpful guide and one I will recommend to the parents I work with in my role as an independent speech and language therapist and expert witness." Janet O'Keefe, Wordswell.

About the author
Tania Tirraoro is an author and journalist who has two sons with Asperger Syndrome for whom she secured statements of SEN, despite being told she would not succeed. She founded her special educational needs website,  to help other parents in a similar position and hopes this book will do the same.


Tania writes, 'I can take questions on most things about the statementing process and also what to do if you suspect your child has a special need. I can't advise on legal matters as I'm not an SEN Lawyer but I can point you to people who specialise in SEN law.'

Tania will be checking into TheSchoolRun site throughout the week beginning 16th January - so if you have any questions for her then please leave them below.

We have a couple of copies of Tania's book available for reading/review - please let me know via Private Message if you'd like a copy.

How fantastic... looking forward to this :) Couldn't have come at a better time for me, personally!

Awesome - i am looking forward to this as well. i have quite a few questions for Tania!

Should be very useful for a lot of people!

I shall definitely be looking in

Is this the thread for asking questions in?  Or is there going to be one?  Also is this about SEN and law, or is it about how to help/get the school to help SEN kids?

Ask away in this thread and Tania will be along during the week (beginning 16th Jan)  to answer. It's less about the law (although Tania knows people who may be able to help) and more about schools and SEN kids.

Okay.... I'm currently living in Saudi and homeschooling my 5.5yr old.  (first bit's about me for background info, no need to advise on this, just read through to the bit about my daughter)

I have ADHD (inattentive), dyslexia and dyscalculia (quite a mild type that affects arithmetic and remembering numbers, but I'm good at the logic/problem solving type of maths).  I also am "twice exceptional" as in gifted plus SEN, but none of these were recognised when I was at school, I was just labelled as "bright but lazy" and constantly berated, had teachers refuse to help me because they refused to believe I had problems, had no support etc.  I left school with no confidence or self esteem whatsoever and needed counselling to get over the damage it did.  So as I'm sure you can imagine there's NO WAY I'd let my kids go through anything like this.  (In the end I got diagnosed and a statement at college and went to university and did very well at university (got a 2:1) and my university was extremely supportive of my educational needs, so I have seen what an immesurably huge difference a positive educational environment makes, and so I 100% support everyone who advocates for and provides the right educational environment for SEN kids.  :)  Unfortunately teachers generally lack knowledge, understanding and training when it comes to SEN and they and the education profession in general doesn't seem to realise just how much damage this does.  Please excuse the rant, this is obviously a very emotive topic for me!!)

Back to my daughter: there's nothing closely resembing a good school where I currently live and even with the SEN issues I probably would still be homeschooling.  However my daughter is showing a lot of signs of being like me, she's very bright in many ways, her drawing seems very advanced for her age, but she's quite uneven in her development and is showing a number of signs of dyslexia and inattentive ADHD and i know that these things run in the family so it's very likely she's inherited them from me.  There are no educational psychologists here, and at the moment it's not an issue because my daughters difficulties are the same as mine, so I understand what's going on with her and know how to help her.  I'm keeping a record of her difficulties and strengths at each age, so I can use it as evidence in the future if necessary.  She's doing very well with homeschooling.  The question is in relation to the future.  We're looking to be moving to another country in the near future, probably one of the richer Gulf states with more modern infrastructure than Saudi (depending on where my husband gets work).  Homeschooling is always going to be an option because I'm happy to homeschool her, but if there are good schools there, it would be nice for her to go to school.  I'm just concerned about her being properly supported, both in her areas of strength and areas of weakness.  I'm also concerned whether I'd need to get a diagnosis.  I realise that you know the UK system and not other countries, but a lot of the Gulf states hold the UK education system in high regard so going via the UK system to pursue a diagnosis etc may be a way to go about it.  However I really have no idea where to go from here, or whether I should just carry on homeschooling her wherever we end up living.  I have another daughter as well but it's too soon to tell if she has any SEN issues, although she seems to be very bright.  We may end up back in the UK in the distant future, but we may not.  I'm teaching my daughter the British curriculum so that she has the option of going to a British university if she wants.

Any advice or suggestions would be most welcome!

What is the first step?  I have a friend who suspects her daughter is slightly ASD, and teachers have also noticed this.  Who should she turn to first?  Or should school be referring?

Any more questions for Tania? Please leave them below.