By Karlijn Jacobs-de Hoon and Fiona Yapp, Clinic Directors

During the past academic year, our Clinic has effectively implemented a new system for matching children with specialists. Each and every inquiry that reaches us gets reviewed by our entire Clinic team. A multidisciplinary evaluation ensues, making sure that all aspects of a child’s development are discussed. The outcome is that the child and family immediately meet with the combination of specialists most suited to address their needs.

Now we are taking this a big step further: following best-practice developments in the UK, based on client-centered approaches, ELG is implementing the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Among other things, the EHCP works as a communication platform to improve continuity, enabling the child and their family to share their perspectives and experiences with multiple professionals involved in supporting the child’s needs. Mainly, the child and family are empowered to take ownership of their interventions and goals and to develop a full understanding of the contributions of all professionals.

The EHCP also helps to encourage the family to build its support network, by allowing all professionals working with the child to collaborate: ELG specialists, teachers and support staff at the child’s school, and medical professionals are all represented in the EHCP and are able to work together towards helping the child and supporting the family. Obtaining everyone’s input at an early stage leads to a better understanding of the child’s needs, and strategies that have been proven ineffective and effective in the past. This leads in turn to a better plan for interventions. Another benefit is that therapeutic interventions are more effectively carried-over from sessions with a therapist to other moments in the child’s life: at home, in school, and in the community.