You may well ask yourself on a regular basis, why should I try to get along with my child’s professionals? Why should I make friends with my Childs Special Needs Professionals? You may have had negative experiences, professionals not listening to you and dismissing you. The relationship may seem unsalvageable. In some instances that might be true.
I want to tell you why it is one of the first steps to advocating successfully for your child and their needs. As parents, our focus is and should always be what is best for our children. We know that it’s not always the focus for our kiddos professionals. Why would it be? They have hundreds of children on their books and we are just a number. That is why it’s so key to building a positive relationship with those who can help you get what you need for your child. I want to stand out from all the noise of the other parents. Not as a parent they dread coming in to the office but the parent who sees them as a human being and is thankful for their expertise and their role in Team Freddie.
I have been there. I have been that angry parent refusing to leave the Paediatricians office until I get the answers I need. I have cried in the classroom with the teachers and I have felt helpless to get the services that Freddie so desperately needs.
The Paediatrician whose office I performed a sit in protest at was, in my opinion, as useful as an igloo in the desert. I thought every appointment was a waste of time, the doctor never seemed to be actually listening to me or to be taking me seriously. There was never any benefit in attending these meetings or taking Freddie out of school for them. I became more and more despondent about our relationship or lack of and desperately wanted an alternative. Someone in the same role who would listen and help. At that time, I found out very quickly that there wasn’t anyone else in that position locally who could give me access to the services Freddie needed. I had to accept I couldn’t change the professional so I decided to change the way I approached the situation. This is how I attend meetings with my child’s SEN Professionals. We were never going to be best buddies but I can tell you that in changing my view of this Doctor and changing my mindset about what I was getting out of the meetings, I changed how much support we received. In a positive way.
Carys, one of Freddie’s best and most treasured Professionals.
I made this doctor my ‘friend’ in loose terms. I reminded myself before each meeting, this Doctor is a human being also. This Doctor may have their own personal struggles going on and I don’t know what I’m walking into. I asked for their opinion, I asked for ideas and support. Sometimes I didn’t actually need their opinion or ideas but I played the game just enough to bring the relationship back to a positive level. Everyone likes being asked for their expertise and help. My focus is getting what Freddie needs, so I put my personal feelings aside and concentrated on that. I didn’t dwell on the meetings, I just got on with it and didn’t give it any thought afterwards. I planned each one in advance, using my Well Formed Outcomes sheet and followed the process to achieve those goals. After seven years, we are just about to move to a different paediatrician. One I know fairly well and someone I like and trust. If I had continued in my negative mindset, the past seven years would have been much harder, pretty depressing and I possibly might have found it more challenging to get some of the services Freddie needed.
This isn’t my only negative experience of a relationship with Freddie’s Professionals, there have been many rocky starts, I can tell you. The biggest difference for me is mindset and focussing on what my Well Formed Outcomes are. During the past seven years, I have been able to create good working relationships with the people in Team Freddie. A handful of them have believed in me and bought into the story of our lives to a degree which means they have been willing to go the extra mile. Willing to support us and help me advocate successfully, each and every time I have to. I am Freddie’s Expert and the CEO but it helps hugely to have good people who are invested in my child to back me up.
This topic is part of the Getting Yourself Heard, Become A Velvet Bulldozer Workshop. The next live event is going to be held in Leamington Spa on February 28th. Here is a link to booking your ticket.
If you can’t join me on a live workshop (click here to learn more about, What Is a Live Workshop) you will very soon be able to take part on-line. My on-line learning course – Getting Your Voice Heard, is almost ready for launch. To stay up to date, drop me a line, like my facebook page and sign up for my Mentoring Newsletter
You can also join my Facebook community of SEN Parents for regular mentoring and support. Search for CEO of My Special Needs Family and request to join.
SWAN UK Blogger