Today was my meeting with the head of admissions to the special school that the LEA have agreed to fund for Dinky.
First I had to tackle dual carriageways and busy roundabouts in the instructors car!
I got to the social workers office and waited, then the head of admissions came in.
I didn’t know what to expect, so I imagined a guy in his 50’s, stained jacket, slightly more ‘rotund’.
The man who introduced himself was slim, mid to late 30’s, dressed sharpish, so completely different to what I imagined!
We had a quick chat before the social worker met us, he asked if I was local and we talked about travelling around the local areas.
The social worker came out and took us into an interview room.
We sat down and the head of admissions said really he just needed to go through a booklet about Dinky.
So we talked about Dinky.. The social worker made a point saying she needed to be in school ASAP, however it seemed too overplayed, like she really really wanted it more than she wanted anything to help us. It did cross my mind that she just didn’t want to have to request 9 hours 1:1 for Dinky every 4 weeks because I annoyed her boss!
We talked about Dinky on a bad day, and I made a point of saying she does bite, much like the time the social worker came to our house and set dinky off.
we then talked about her PDA, her sensory issues, her speech and language profile… I explained her behaviours that he had seen reported, either unfairly, or that didn’t tell the whole truth. Like the time she head butted the head of nurture, and the time she head butted the girl who kept picking on her. I also explained that although I was telling him what she was like in mainstream, he had to remember that these were teachers with little, to no understanding of Dinky. A lot of her issues at school could have been avoided by using the right techniques and with properly trained staff.
I told him I had no issues with mainstream just those that didn’t listen. That dinky was portrayed at naughty, and refused to admit she was autistic.
He was very good about it, and explained that he understood.
The social worker was banging on again about the importance of a start date as that is all we really want. Again this got to me as she was very enthusiastic, which she hadn’t been to that point.
Of course I want a start date, it is really important, but so is them getting an idea of dinky.
He phoned the office and got us the dates for the assessment/familiarisation period. 18,19 and 20th November. I was happy and the social worker said she would get on to transport to get it in place for the 3 days. Again she pushed the start date. He said once the 3 days had been done, he would get our LEA the report with the formal offer of a place and costing by the Wednesday after, then as long as funding was arranged, the earliest she could start would be the 1st of December, but that it would be down to the LEA, so I said “January then!”. The social worker gave me a look.
She asked something about the process and he said he would put in a rough costing to the LEA, he can see Dinky will almost definitely need 1:1, so that would be the high needs package- £81,000. I winced and let out a gasp. That is A LOT of money! However, like I said to them..l if it is what she needs I don’t care how much it is!
He asked if we got any respite, the social worker opened with ‘well.. Erm’ she seemed like she was struggling to get it out… So I told him that Dinky is too complex for aiming higher/ short breaks, but we don’t qualify for CDT, so we get 9 hours funded by social care-ONLY because she is out of school! As soon as you can get her in, then it seems social care won’t have to foot the bill.
The social worker again tried to make it look better, but gave up.
Then there was the question then of the social workers involvement and the child in need plan. So we discussed the ‘over sexualised behaviour’ and again I said it was funny how social services weren’t helpful before but that this added weight to their claims of Dinky’s behaviour and to peg me as a bad parent, but it is funny how this is an isolated incident, the likes of which, had never been seen previously or after by any organisation or person who has contact with Dinky.
He asked why child in need, again trying to say the involvement was due to the schooling issue, I said that was rubbish, that dinky is technically a child in need under section 17 of the children’s act 1989 due to her disabilities!
I got the impression she was a little put out, and to be honest I didn’t care.
I did apologise to him, as it was a sore subject as Dinky has been out of school 9 months. He said it was ok.
We talked a bit more about Dinky and the therapies ect they have. Then he left, saying he would email the LEA on Monday and that the dates were booked for the assessment.
The social worker asked me if she could have 5 minutes to have a chat.
I can’t remember exactly how it went because I was annoyed and tired.
But the gist of it was explaining that I was tired, Dinky is exhausting, she has been out of school for 9 months, and that 9 hours hasn’t been enough considering that I don’t actually get a rest during the respite as I do this.. Go to meetings, do my driving lessons, write emails, make phone calls ect.
That this was another one of those times where I’m struggling and need more support with dinky but don’t have friends or family who can/will help.
I said I was annoyed that Dinky was too complex for some practical help, but not complex enough for others. There is very little in-between and that is where social services need to help. However it feels like they just want her back in school and to reduce the hours.
More delays on the parent carer assessment, finally it is noted that if a parent struggles the kids struggle, but still no more practical help. I understand you have to have a meeting, to discuss the meeting, before the pre-meeting to discuss who should attend the meeting, of the meeting.
I just want what would help us, I don’t want more than what we need. A couple of hours a week once she is in school will help, and some flexible support when things are tough.
I was pretty annoyed and said a few other things about how the system sucks and is full of holes that people fall through.
I’m tired so I’m going to leave the post there…
It was positive and I’m glad things are moving forward…but I can’t be really happy until Dinky has a uniform on an is IN school.