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15. Early intervention from all the services on which families rely is essential, but the effectiveness of this support is undermined if it doesn’t reflect each family’s unique circumstances. Parents know their child best. As well as giving their own love and care, parents rely on health services, early years settings, schools and other people to help look after their child and help him or her have a happy childhood and fulfil his or her potential. Disabled children and children with SEN may require a different approach in these health and education settings to their peers, or extra support from social care or specialist services. It is crucial to families that these services work well together and that parents are empowered to make decisions about their child. Unfortunately, this is not what many families experience.
16. Children, young people and their parents have a variety of different circumstances, but many families share a concern that the system can feel impenetrable, bureaucratic and inefficient, and does not sufficiently reflect their family life. Parents may feel that their choices are limited and their options don’t always meet the basic needs of their child. This is particularly the case where a child relies on specialist services or equipment – such as incontinence pads, computer software and wheelchairs – to support their physical and communication needs to help improve the quality of their life. These problems may also be compounded by disadvantage, and some parents might have poor health, live in poverty, or have difficult family circumstances on top of juggling a range of support for their child.
17. Our aim is to give parents more control over support for their child and family. This will mean ending the frustration, complexity and confrontation inherent in today’s system, which in itself can undermine family life. The proposals in this chapter are intended to extend parents’ influence, build their confidence in the system and minimise its adversarial nature, and would mean that:
18. As first steps towards this aim:
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