Frequently asked questions
Do you cover my area?
Clients are welcome to come to my home in the village of Crawley Down which is in between Crawley and East Grinstead in West Sussex. There is ample parking on the road. I have also had clients fly into London Gatwick Airport or come down by train from London to either of the nearest stations (Three Bridges and East Grinstead). The airport and train stations have taxi ranks.
If you live in Sussex, Surrey or Kent, I can come to your home, school or workplace for a small additional cost (see 'Services and fees')
Whilst I have also travelled extensively to other areas of the UK and abroad, I am unable to offer this at the moment.
At what times of the day are you available?
My contact hours for phone calls and email queries are Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm.
However, I'm available to assess from Tuesday to Saturday from 8am through to 10pm.
How quickly can I be seen?
Unfortunately, I'm always booked up for several months at a time (especially Saturday appointments) and the next appointments I can offer are in December to January, depending on the day of the assessment.
If you're looking for an assessment sooner than I can offer, I strongly advise you to choose either an educational psychologist or a specialist teacher assessor with a current Assessment Practising Certificate. Otherwise, you may need to pursue another assessment in the future if you/your chlld goes to university.
What happens if I need to cancel an assessment?
You may cancel the appointment at the last minute without incurring any charges. However, I ask that you give me as much notice as possible so that the appointment time can be used by other clients on my waiting list.
I am going to university and I need an assessment. When should I book my appointment?
If you need a report for the Disabled Student Allowance, I would recommend that you book your appointment with me as early as possible as I get booked up for several months at a time. This also makes it more likely that you will have your needs assessment and the support put in place in plenty of time before you begin your studies.
Should I tell my child's teacher that I am having my child assessed?
I would very strongly encourage you to speak to your child's teacher or the school's SENCo (Special Needs Coordinator) about whether they suspect that your child has a specific learning difficulty. Once an assessment has been booked, I can email you a questionnaire to pass onto the school so that the school can have some input into the process. SENCos have told me that they welcome the opportunity to be involved. However, this is entirely up to you as the parent and you can book an assessment without having the school involved. If the assessment is regarding exam access arrangements for GCSEs/A' levels and it is hoped that the school will use the report as evidence, the school must be approached in the first instance.
My child is due to sit GCSE/A' level exams and I think extra time is needed.
The 'services' page on this website provides more information about exam access arrangements.
The school or college plays a critical part in determining what might help your child in exams as any help put in place has to reflect his/her normal way of working with the school, such as your child finding it hard to complete exam papers within the set time or teachers observing that your child needing longer to complete tasks in class.
If you feel that help is needed, you must speak to the Special Needs Coordinator (SENCo) in the first instance to see whether the school can conduct a brief assessment for this or, if not, whether the school will accept an external report from someone like myself as I am very happy to also complete JCQ form 8.
Do I need to provide anything when you come to assess me?
We will need to sit at a kitchen/dining room table as some of the exercises involve writing but I will bring all the forms, stationery and tests. If you do have copies of previous assessments, then it would be helpful for me to have a look at these (either when I arrive or emailed/posted to me in advance). Lastly, information about any parking difficulties or restrictions near your house is really helpful for me so do let me know before I come to you.
Can I be with my child when s/he is being assessed?
I ask that you are not with your child during the actual assessment. From experience, children settle down really quickly (even the most shy child) and it avoids children looking to their parents for answers. However, once the assessment has finished, I will invite you to join us so that I can give you both immediate feedback.
My child is 6 years old. Do I need to wait until s/he turns 7?
In my view, it is important to identify difficulties as early as possible so that appropriate interventions can be put in place and the child's self-esteem is not adversely affected. However, a child might just need slightly longer to acquire those early skills, after which they flourish without any difficulties. Therefore, I assess children age 7 and above. In very rare and exceptional cases, I will see a 5 or 6 year old but only with the FULL involvement and support of the school. This must be discussed with me over the phone in the first instance.
Am I too old to be assessed?
No, not at all! I see many adults who need assessments for work, returning to study or just to get an answer to a lifelong question about having some type of learning difficulty. The oldest person I have assessed was 73.
I thought that dyspraxia could only be diagnosed by a medical professional. Is that correct?
Where someone has difficulties that are physical (such as walking, self-care and cooking), you would be advised to seek a medical assessment, such as with an occupational therapist. However, it is also classified as a specific learning difficulty and difficulties with planning, organisation, etc. severely impact on studies and/or work. Therefore, in 2013, the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC) released information about how specialist assessors can assess for dyspraxia following its guidance about suitable tests. This applies to students and people aged 16+.For childhood dyspraxia assessments, I would encourage you to speak to your family GP about a referral to a paediatrician but please contact me if you would like the details of a very experienced private consultant paediatrician in the Crowborough area.
Can you diagnose me with ADHD?
For those aged 16+, I can assess clients to explore 'ADHD-related difficulties' (which can occur with or without hyperactivcity) and provide a report that can be used for apply for the Disabled Student's Allowance to get help at university. However, people in this age group would be advised to also explore a diagnosis through the medical route via the GP in case they can access medical and/or therapeutic interventions. Please contact Sarah regarding details of doing this privately in West Sussex. For suspected childhood ADHD, I would strongly advise making an appointment with the family GP or discussing with the school nurse/SENCo. However, please contact me if you would like the details of a very experienced private consultant paediatrician in the Crowborough area.