Advice(s) needed: relocation to the UK with an autistic child

Hi there! I really need your help to gather as much information as possible.

Here is my case

I have an autistic son (7yo), a really heavy ASD case. Almost non-verbal (tens of words, couple of phrases). Can't serve himself. We live in eastern Europe.

We are attending ~15-20hrs of ABA therapy from the age of one and a half. This autumn we planned to try to put our son in a special school near our home, at least for a couple hours per day.

Now I have an offer to London. Really good one. And I have no idea about what I'll be able to provide for my son in the UK.

I've found some information from Google, but it's very fragmented and I can't build the whole picture.

1) As I understood, first of all, we'll need to have a local autism assessment in the UK. And government-based autism assessment could take up to several years.

Is this correct? Is it possible to pay for a private, paid, but fast autism assessment? Will it be equal to the government-based one?

2) After #1, we'll have to get an ECH plan somewhere. At local authority? Does this mean that different London districts or different cities could give very different ECH plans? How long could it take and how difficult is this process?

3) After getting an ECH plan, we can apply to some school or special school. Here is kind of some impenetrable fog for me :) I don't know anything about UK schooling.

- can we apply to any school? Or probably only to the nearest schools in a place where we will rent something?

- are any of the nearest schools obligated to accept our application?

- basically I even don't know what should we look for: special schools, schools with inclusive classes, or anything else

- I've found several really great-looking special schools for autistic children. How can I understand will I be able to put my kid in some of these schools, will they have classes, are they free or paid, etc, etc. No information about such kind of things on any school site :(

- where the situation with such special schools is better: in London itself, or maybe in small cities around London?

Basically, if I understand correctly, I should aim on some school first, and only then select a place to rent something near this school. But how to select something without all this information?

Any advices are very welcome! And thank you in advance :)

Another questions:

- are there enough ABA services in the UK? How much do they cost?

- how much do nanny services cost in London? Are there "special" nannies available? Like, familiar with special needs, with ABA, etc.

Top Replies

  • uk schools are pretty terrible unless they are private schools, but they are only for posh kids. its a class thing... 

    never heard of aba, the only thing that comes to mind is the swedish pop group ABBA lol
    schools usually have a catchment area, meaning if you dont live in their catchment area they wont accept you. if your enar then you get priority to them so yes you will have more chance being near the school.
    but london is generally the best for anything as london gets all the funding and attention while the rest of the country is sucked dry.
    uk id say is pretty bad with mental health, so many go old undiagnosed when they are very clearly got some issue, so our mental health services kinda suck. plus we have a stoic stiff upper lip culture which probably attributed to the mental health thing being suppressed. plus we have a work focused pro-employer culture that doesnt care for the workers and benefits the employers so again that goes to stamping down any mental health concerns as employers dont wanna hear it or want anyone to have any issues.

  • Thank you. Hope to get another opinion here, things you're talking about looks pretty bad :)

    ABA is 'applied behavioral therapy'.  Something like these:

  • Hiya

    If your child requires special school provision then contact the London districts “children disability teams” to register you son? They probably refuse until you’re living in their locality! 

    Can you afford NAS school 

    NAS Radlett Lodge School

    This school fees are: £38K per year (day student) 

    Contact NAS - National Autism Society for advice 

    Could you hire a nanny / au pair in your country willing to move to the UK? 

    A special school will sort out a ECHP, a mainstream primary school could be harder / longer to arrange? Maybe a private assessment? Your son would be eligible to attend a mainstream school as it’s standard fees - but schools are over subscribed so large classes which your son probably won’t cope?

    There is a long wait for ASD assessments so private is your only option although there is a wait for private too? Does your son have a diagnosis if yes then the local authority/ school would more likely accept it?

    Contact a special school you like and ask the procedure / application form - as long as you’re moving into their area - this school would sort out a ECHP - school will give you the catchment area for you to look for a house / apartment.

    someone else given you links for ABA

    Choose a school then look for accommodation - the school will have mini buses if you’re to far or unable to drive him due to work?

    If the school is full then you will have to apply elsewhere..the school will guide you 

    Would he come for a holiday to go to see 2 or 3 schools? Then they would assess to see if he’s suitable (they can meet his needs) 

    does this help?

  • It sounds like there is already a clinical assessment from your country of origin - this should be sufficient for the Local Education Authority to start the process. In London, this will be the local London Borough Council's Education Department.  Contact the School Admissions Team at the Local Education Authority and explain that your child has special education needs. They should arrange for someone from the SEN Team to contact you.

    ABA is regarded as controversial in some parts of the autistic community - be aware that not all autism specialist schools offer it as a therapy. Obviously, whether or not you opt for ABA is a decision for you as parents and your clinical advisers.

  • ^
    this.... the uk is a bad place to live... thats why my origonal reply was negative. we have alot of issues. its not even a recent thing too as some like to make believe, its been terrible for as long as i have been alive, 32 years at least and longer before that too as entire generations of my family have been effectively pinned down before me and life has always been bad.

    honestly alot of people come to the uk due to a lie that the grass is greener on this side... that you get free life, free house and its a safe secure first world country.... they come here and they then complain they cant get anything free, they get forced into debt, they cannot leave as once you get here it costs a fortune to leave and they wont let you and no one else will take you anymore as all other countries dont want anyone to leave this rock when they are here. its a prison island when you come here basically... there is no free life, there is only hard work that doesnt even pay anything, you have to decide what to live without, usually your electric and some food cutbacks. you will likely be homeless as theres no houses here and rental places even get take up fast. we have refugees from war torn iraq that claimed the uk is actually worse than their bombed out town in iraq. i hope you like low quality food because microwave food is the norm here, its cold and damp here so you also have to expect every single building to be infested with mould and you will likely get asthma and all your clothes in the wardrobe will be full of mould in 2 weeks and require constant washing even when not using them. i could go on more, this doesnt even scratch the surface! lol

    id advise to instead look where people from the uk would want to leave and live in which are better... many people from the uk would leave to spain, australia, canada, or new zealand... we consider those better. 

  • Do I detect a political agenda?  Whilst what you describe is certainly valid, it is by no means universal. Our public services are underfunded, but they do exist and are free of the petty corruption that one hears about in many places.  Of course, there are structural inequalities and bureaucratic stupidity.

    I would challenge you on microwave meals ... some are very good, but not cheap. Fresh ingredients are available - what is wrong with basic stews and soups for example? One cheap meal I like involves a bit of meat (one or two sausages and or a rasher of bacon)  fried up with onions, potatoes, peppers, mushrooms - anything that is available or leftovers. Add barbecue sauce and a few herbs to taste, and maybe add an egg. Delicious! Or how about a jacket potato with baked beans and some cheese?

  • lol your putting her off more than i am with that food :D
    our public health is very much more funded than it ever has been and the tories promised and delivered more than corbyn promised in his election. the problem is likely beaurocracy, maybe it is due to the privatised parts pilfering money.... it needs some regulation and oversight so that they can spend the money on things they actually need for good service. you can do alot with a little money, they have alot of money and do little with it.

  • > many people from the uk would leave to spain, australia, canada, or new zealand

    I'm afraid Australia, NZ and Switzerland won't give permanent residence and won't provide any for disabled non-citizens :) I had an Zurich option also, but declined it due to this reason.

    Anyways, thank you for your point of view, it's useful!

  • Thank you James!

    > Could you hire a nanny / au pair in your country willing to move to the UK? 

    I don't think so unfortunately

    > your only option although there is a wait for private too

    I had a concern: is private assessment acceptable for building ECH plan?

    > Does your son have a diagnosis if yes then the local authority/ school would more likely accept it?

    IDK will they accept a diagnosis from my country