How To Attend A Meeting With Your Child’s SEN Professionals.
When you think about how to attend a meeting with your child’s SEN professionals, think preparation.
Preparation is key to you advocating for your child’s Special Needs successfully, each and every time you attend a meeting. Often, these meetings with medical, educational and support professionals can be really stressful. You may feel like you’re not being listened to, feel subordinate to the specialists and overwhelmed trying to work out what to ask.
First things first. I want you to know that you are the linchpin to making everything happen for your child and your family. This isn’t meant to make you feel pressure but more to reassure you how capable and amazing you are. Please don’t feel subordinate because as much as the Neurologist is a specialist in neurology and the SALT is a specialist in speech and language etc, you are your child’s expert.
You Are Your Child’s Expert!
You are the leader of your child’s team. Nothing happens without you and you can achieve the things your child needs.
When you think about preparing for a meeting of any kind, follow My 6 Top Tips for successful meetings.
Step 1. Plan out your well formed outcomes/goal in advance.
Step 2. Do any research needed prior to the meeting.
Step 3. You are your child’s expert. Lead the meetings and set the agenda.
Step 4. At the start of the meeting, it is absolutely acceptable to request minutes are taken and a copy is sent to you and anyone else you think relevant.
Step 5. Take an advocate with you. Preferably someone not so emotionally invested in your child. They can be your moral support and your ears for the information you miss.
Step 6. If you find it a challenge to listen, ask questions and take notes, take an audio recorder with you or use your phone to voice record the meeting with the attendees permission.
My final bit of advice is to really lead those meetings. Take your preparation to help you stay on track. You are human and sometimes you might break down in the meeting or feel flustered. That’s totally ok. Your Preparation sheet will ensure you make all your points and ask all your questions before the meeting ends.
Take someone with you for support or to take notes if it makes you feel more comfortable and gives you more confidence.
You Are The CEO of Your Family!
You can use my opening words if it helps. I always start a meeting, no matter which or how many professionals are present, in the same way.
“Thank you (all) for coming today. I just want to confirm that we have 10 minutes/half an hour/60 minutes to talk. I have 3 (or however many) points I want to cover today. If you’re happy, I’ll go ahead and then please do add in any points from your end.”
Or, if you are going to what I would term, a discovery meeting, where you are learning brand new information such as a diagnosis or proposal from a professional you may want to tweak it slightly.
Still take your preparation sheet with you but you may want to let the person(s) you’re meeting with go first with their information.
“Thank you (all) for coming today. I just want to confirm that we have 10 minutes/half an hour/60 minutes to talk. I have 3 (or however many) points I want to cover today. If you’re happy to start with your points, I’ll follow with mine. and any additional questions”
You can join my Facebook community of SEN Parents for regular mentoring and support. Search for CEO of My Special Needs Family and request to join. I also run live workshops, Mastermind Groups and other events which you can keep up to date with via my Facebook Page.