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Information sharing with parents should be improved at all stages48

The views of children and young people with SLCN and their parents were the focus for a strand of the BCRP research.  A significant finding was that parents often did not have access to appropriate or timely information.

Three key areas were identified where improved information sharing was a priority.

  • Identification:
    • Parental views should not be dismissed in the early years of their children’s difficulties, which may have lead to later referral or assessment than necessary for some children.
    • Parents should have access to information re: speech language and communication development and indicators that are of most interest or concern to practitioners.
  • Intervention:
    • There should be information about and discussion of evidence behind interventions so parents are able to understand evidence-based decisions.
    • Parents need to be kept informed about provision, treatment and their child’s progress – one in 5 interviewed (19%) did not know about the additional provision being received by their child.
  • Outcomes:
    • There should be systematic collection of evidence of the impact of interventions on children’s outcomes.
    • Outcomes evidence should be shared with parents.

It should be noted that all of the areas highlighted would be expected as good practice within existing professional guidance.  The research indicates that there is a gap between policy and practice in this important area.  The research did not explore with providers whether they would have a different perspective on these issues or whether they would acknowledge these as areas for development. Commissioners need to understand the barriers to achieving better information for parents as well as being alert to ensuring that this area features in commissioning intentions.