I didn’t write this yesterday as it would have been a hate filled post ranting about the useless services and their complete and utter stupidity.
I can’t promise it still won’t be, however I can promise it will be less so than it would have been yesterday!
First of all, I’m not sure it is considered multi agency when most of the agencies do not bother to turn up!
We had apologies from the three medical professionals (consultant paed, OT and special needs health visitor), but nothing from EWO, SEN team, or alternative provision.
So we were left with myself, the social worker and THE Muppet.
I was surprised The Muppet was allowed to come and play, but I guess the deputy whose new title is ‘head of school’ has The Muppet’s job covered, so I am at a loss as to what her job actually involves nowadays.
We started of talking about Dinky’s diagnosis’, which was brilliant as The Muppet remained throughly silent throughout the discussion I was having with the social worker, as I described how good it was to finally get the diagnosis that we knew was coming and how hard it has been without it, especially when I told the school when she started on the 15th of April 2013 that Dinky was being assessed as the medical professional believed this was the problem she had. At least now I don’t have to watch Dinky suffer because people refuse to use the right strategies because we didn’t have the diagnosis in place, just a provisional one.
I made sure it was not entirely derogatory, while still making the point that the school had made a huge mistake and were wrong!
We discussed medication for the possible ADHD and the referral to CAMHS. Again The muppet remained silent while we discussed this. I half wished the social worker did as well. She was almost as bad as the paed- the pair of them come across as drug pushers.
I have agreed to trial a low dose of the medication methylphenidate, I also agree to trailing different brands names as they have slightly different properties before I stopped them, if I believed them to have too many side affects or felt they didn’t work.
We discussed sleep, and considering I didn’t actually sleep the night before the meeting due to a combination of me going to bed late and Dinky walking up at 1 am, it was something that seemed to be taken seriously by the social worker, but The Muppet seemed bored and was flicking through things on her phone- possibly emails… One has to check their hate mail every once in a while!
We then discussed social care.
Now this is a major sticking point for me as Dinky seems to fall short of the child disability team criteria yet her needs are too great to be met at CAF level. I refuse for be a part of the ‘think family’ initiative especially when our council sent a newsletter out to EVERY household with ‘Another £3.3 million for our Think Family programme to support the counties most troubled families’
Quite how many times I have to say Dinky has ASD/PDA not ASBO I’m not sure!
I also wasn’t impressed as The Muppet suddenly peaked in interest when the social worker said I have to work on the fact that I disengage with professionals and that I have to realise Dinky’s difficulties are life long and there will be many professionals in her life now forever and I won’t agree with all of them.
I held my hands up and agreed that I do disengage and sometimes I do so before I have actually realised I have done it. Although they have to be fair and understand that I haven’t disengaged totally with anyone of value to Dinky, and it has NEVER impacted negatively on her by their removal.
She went on so I bit back!
I told her I have only disengaged with certain members of school, not all of them after trying very hard to keep going despite their unwillingness to meet Dinky’s needs even when she did get a provisional diagnosis. I only want what is best for her, and I have had enough of fighting everybody, it is easier to walk away sometimes especially when I may say something they will regret.
I disengaged with the integrated services manager after she turned up at one TAC having never met dinky and said ‘why should the school put things into place for a provisional diagnosis’ I tell you why, because it would have helped EVERYONE involved, dinky, me and THEMSELVES. However they refused. Later on having only met me the once and never having met dinky she told social care during the child and family assessment my parenting was a concern. Funny that, her subordinate didn’t agree with that and said in a TAC meeting that I do not need parenting courses and my parenting is NOT a concern.
So yes I disengaged. I was very angry and she didn’t have a clue!
The social worker said “you wanted to disengage with me”
I said “yes.. Yes I did! Why? Because you came out to my house and despite Dinky being very obviously anxious, and hiding behind my chair, you STILL felt the need to talk to her, even after I asked you politely not to. I made that call after the bruises appeared from the bites I received while trying to help you get out of my house. To me it seemed easier to get a social worker willing to listen”
As I said I held my hands up. She said I needed to find someone to talk to about the services which upset me. Muppet!
Still The Muppet remained quiet. I liked this new side of her!
She also said that I needed to work on my mental health. I asked her how she suggested I go about that as I do not drink, self harm, smoke, do drugs or attempt suicide, I try and keep myself on a even kiln for Dinky so I am not deemed in great enough need by underfunded services.
She had no suggestions but said she was going to put it in the plan anyway!
(Even writing that I rolled my eyes…just as I did in the meeting!)
She moved onto the respite.
We get 9 hours a week while Dinky is not in school, which will be taken away in September. I did mention that dinky will not be going back to her special needs group in September due to the fact that she is unsettled there again because they keep changing the person who does the 1:1 and it has become a battle to get her there- not only that but it no longer serves it’s function as respite as by the time I get home I have 45 minutes before I collect her again. It is also only once a month, and due to them taking on ever more children they offer less and less support in the holidays now. (Whether that is just Dinky remains to be seen as one of the newest members to the group has been offered more sessions over the summer than Dinky who has attended for over a year).
So I said that reducing the hours but not taking it away would be better as that would be a lot of changes at once for Dinky as they are proposing she starts a new school at the same time as losing her 1:1.
The social worker said “change is inevitable and part of life, she has to learn to deal with it”. I was gobsmacked. In my head I was formulating several responses all at once, but by the time I worked out which one was actually appropriate to use, she had said that she was going to suggest another 4 weeks in two weeks time meaning we have 6 weeks and go from there, and she mentioned something about school holidays.
I asked what would happen regarding social care involvement and she said they would more than likely step down to a CAF. I knew this wasn’t the time to bring up the whole thing about a CAF not being enough while falling short of the CDT criteria.
Next up… Education.
Time to play ‘spot how many times they can blame the parent or try to get the parent to do something they shouldn’t have to!’
Ok. So we discussed the last time Dinky was actually in eduction which was the 20 something of February. I went over again why I took her out, much to the disgust of The Muppet, who I was surprised didn’t respond.
We talked about the statement and how it is wrong. I found out that the amended proposed statement won’t lay unread as most senior staff members actually work right over the holidays.
We discussed provision… This is where it got interesting.
I said that I was finding it hard to find an independent school that caters for a 6 year old, let alone a 6 year old girl was difficult. The social worker said there must be schools out there… I said not on the ‘approved school list’, out of 55 EBD and autistic schools only 2 were within an hour car journey. I went to see the Helen Allison NAS school in Meopham, Kent, but ultimately an hour is still too far away and it took me 3 hours to get there by train. If something happened it would take me too long to get there. If Dinky was a bit older 10-11 maybe I would consider it, but it would be a long old day for a 6 year old with an hour travelling each way.
The Muppet said “why not move to Meopham?” She also during this period of conversation said “have you thought about residential”. To both I replied no! I should have said something, but I was thinking that I had already moved to be closer to a school and look how that turned out! Pfft!
We spoke about the local special school, I said that I was put off a lot by the fact that a) they just expected her to go into a classroom and that she couldn’t cope with that and spent the visit in a tent on the playground, they had no idea how to get her inside. B) the head teacher said “PDA that’s like ODD”- erm no, no it isn’t. C) it is already full so she can’t go anyway.
They both said that they were concerned that Dinky wouldn’t be in school in September because I keep writing off schools that don’t meet all her needs. It may come to it that I just have to pick what is best fit and go from there.
I told them I want her to go to school in September but that I am not prepared to send her somewhere which may result in complete school refusal and school failure. Children with PDA are at a high risk of complete school failure according to research which I submitted among my evidence for the statutory assessment.
They said that what I want may not be available and it has already been my choice to remove her from education. To which I retorted “that is not true! I had no choice!”
They asked about her current education. So I explained what happened with the alternative provision, to which The Muppet said she would have to chase them as she has Dinky down as dual registered and would have to justify why they were not fining me because I turned down PRU.
To which I replied, “you are not fining me because PRU is a larger nurture and you know what happened there despite having a wonderful person almost custom made to run a nurture group, Dinky did not cope there, and we have established and it is well documented that Dinky’s needs CAN NOT be met in this school. And that is not even a slur on the school but testament to Dinky’s level of need”.
I said that I was educating at home and The Muppet will agree with me that Dinky is not easy to teach, yet we have done some great work, and Dinky has done quite a bit which I am very proud of her for doing. We have been learning more about animals. To which the muppet said ‘well, she does like animals’.
It was said that I need to be a little more accommodating to schools as most schools won’t understand PDA and I can not discount them on this basis.
There was more, but simmering anger meant I can not recall the whole discussion.
All of this, will be put into a temporary child in need plan until the step down.
They made me feel wrong for disengaging with some ‘professionals’ but then looking back, is it any surprise? I seem to find rubbish ones who do not know how to do their jobs!
So it was pretty pointless as hardly anyone turned up, but it was amusing to get my two pence in regarding the way the school refused to meet Dinky’s needs!