integrated services visit

I am really starting to like this integrated services lady.

when I first imagined her turning up, I imagined a woman, late 40’s, brown hair tied up in a bun, glasses, brown tweed skirt suit with shoulder pads, name tag precisely placed, and a clipboard.

In reality I got a late 30’s, dyed blonde hair (with visible roots), trousers and flowery top, back pack, lanyard with name tag the wrong way round, no clipboard.

I imagined the worst, I imagined bad parenting, my past, our homelessness to come up and be used as a reason for the way dinky is.
Instead I got ‘you seem to be doing your best for dinky’.

I didn’t know what to expect today. I didn’t know how dinky would react. It could have gone many ways

  • She could have been the ideal compliant child (making me look crazy!)
  • She could have jumped all over the lady
  • She could have hid the entire time
  • She could have tried to be herself

What did she do?

She was ultimate PDA child!

The lady came in, she got some pictures out for dinky to colour in. Dinky didn’t want to colour. So she read the lady one of her reading books instead, when the book was finished she tried again, dinky decided to try the reading again. The lady asked if she had any colouring pencils. I got dinky’s colour box out. Which Dinky had filled with toys. She started showing the lady the toys. The lady coloured a little while dinky lined up her toys. The lady asked dinky to colour with her, dinky showed her all the colours and said she couldn’t because she didn’t have the right one. She showed the lady how her pen had a click top. I was reading the new CAF form we did on the last visit (chuckling at the demand avoidance behind the paper). The lady started asking dinky about school, dinky then picked up a yellow felt tip and said she was going to call it golden. She completely ignored the lady and started colouring, Again I was chuckling.

Unable to stop the questions she answered with wrong answers. Then she went off into fantasy, she told an awesome story about a dream about a wolf that snuck in her room to eat her. But she caught it by the tail and split his head in 2 (don’t ask me where she got that from). He wasn’t alone, he had an army! An army of 152 wolves and she did the same to them, then there were 55! Then they had babies, the babies were very small. She wanted to keep one of the babies.

I tried to make the lady a cuppa, but dinky wanted to come in with me to make it. I tried a number of things to get her to stay in the living room but she didn’t want to. So I got my ipad and dinky showed the lady pictures from London zoo.

Then Dinky coloured a little more, then decided she had, had enough and turned the TV on. The lady commented on the fact that dinky is a character! Oh yes!

Dinky then wanted a film on. I said she could when the lady left. She then hit punched me twice, I said she would get a warning if she carried on. she punched me again, I went to the warning chart (which doesn’t work but I use it anyway, it was good for her to see how useless it is), dinky took the warning off and threw it in the bin. I tried to stop her going back to it, she kept hitting me, screaming and reaching full meltdown, no-one needed that. So I backed off, let her trash the chart. She grabbed my keys and ran upstairs with them. I explained that me stopping her would have added fuel to the fire. I told her that if I leave her she will calm down and that is what happened. She was jumping on me and cuddling and slapping my leg at the same time, but apparently she wasn’t the one smacking, it was a ghost.

She made noises so that the adults couldn’t have a conversation and tried to control both of us.

I felt dinky had shown enough at this point to show the lady the PDA criteria.

She was wide eyed and nodding. She asked if I was going to show the paediatrician this on the 9th of July for our appointment, I said yes, although I was semi reluctant as I don’t want the paed to think I was consulting doctor google.

She agreed dinky fit the criteria and we went through just the bits she had shown.

The demand avoidance for the colouring- distraction, suggesting alternatives, making excuses, arguing, before withdrawing into fantasy.

Dinky appears sociable, but it is obvious she struggles socially.

She said it was amazing how quickly she switched from content to violent with no provocation.

I had given her the SaLT report and she nodded at the language delay.

After the London zoo Pictures dinky shoed her the ones from her 4th birthday, which everything was space. Obsessive behaviour.

Controlling, yes.

Behaviour modification not working- not only the warning system, but I showed her the incident reports from the 4 hours yesterday at the leisure centre.

She said she was going to amend the CAF form. I don’t know if she is going to add the PDA into it. If she does she does, if she doesn’t, it can get brought up at our first TAC.

She said she was going to phone the school next week, as she couldn’t get hold of the senco the week before half term. She is going to ask what support they have put into place. I laughed and said none. She smiled and said yes, she knows they haven’t, but they might after she speaks to them.  Also the will have to in consideration to the SaLT recommendations.

Have I mentioned that I quite like this lady!

Right now Dinky is in my room with the curtains shut, watching Netflix on her 7 inch tablet I got with her DLA. She desperately needs some down time. Especially as she has swimming later.

It looks as if this lady is really on our side!

Integrated services home visit

Yesterday was the visit from integrated services.
I spent most of the morning getting ready….You know, putting the books back on the bookcase in some sort of order, moving the boxes out of the dining area, taking the piles of washing to the relevant rooms, then tackling that pile of letters on the table and trying to think of a place to put them.

(Is it just me or does facebook make every job take twice as long? ‘oh I’ll take a break and look on the ipad for just a second’, an hour later and still only half done the jobs…)

In typical professional style, she was late.

1.15pm I got a knock at my door.

We sat down and she said she had looked over the CAF paperwork from the old school, and because we are now housed and Dinky has changed school that she thinks the best thing to do would be to start a new CAF.

I asked her who our lead professional would be, as I don’t want the senco from new school. She said that it was fine and as she is the one starting the CAF she would be the lead! I can not tell you just how pleased I am, it means I can battle the senco and not have to worry about it affecting the TAC meetings.

She did it differently to the old school. The old school just asked me the questions on the boxes. Whereas, we had a conversation about Dinky and she put the information in all the different boxes. It was much nicer as the questions were not all “what are her strengths/weaknesses” for each box. The questions were “So, how do you see dinky?”, “how do you think dinky comes across to others?”

I will admit it, at one point I cried because she said that it seemed I was doing everything I could possibly do, with and for, Dinky. She said as soon as she walked in she could see how much she means to me. (There are 6 pictures in the living/dining area, Dinky’s drawings have pride of place, both doors are dedicated to dinky’s visual timetables- they area way of making indirect demands-, and her school achievement certificates for reading are in the dining area).

I will also admit I didn’t bring up PDA. The last thing I wanted was for her to think I am one of ‘those’ mums who consult Dr. Google for everything, also it is hard enough trying to get the professionals to take me seriously with my mental health issues, I didn’t want being one of ‘those’ mums to be added to the things I have to fight against. Once she has met Dinky, and spent some time with her (which she is going to do during half term), then I will point out PDA and how dinky fits the criteria. Hopefully she will take that on board and help me to get others to agree, or at the very least agree to use strategies that work for dinky.

When I told her about the referral to the paediatrician she asked if they had sent out the conners questionnaire, which I have heard is for ADHD. I told her they sent out the autism spectrum questionnaire. She seemed to accept that too.

I think most people, when I first describe dinky, tend to think ADHD. It is true she can come across as hyperactive, but that hyperness stems from, being 5 mostly, and some from anxiety. Maybe I need to slightly edit my description? The mental health nurse mentioned ADHD once, although the old mental health nurse also said I was slightly hyper. I almost fell off the chair! I love sleep, I just don’t get enough due to being stressed and Dinky getting up at between 5 and 6am every morning. I fiddled with my headphones because I found it difficult being there and explaining why I was, and what my life is like. Me, hyper… ok then!

Anyway, the integrated services lady said Dinky sounds like a character and cant wait to meet her.

We discussed my background and mental health. Always a pleasure… not!

As she was leaving, she very kindly offered for me to phone her if I ever needed to, even if it is just to let off some steam, and reassured me that she would do what she could to get us both the support we need.

All in all it was a very nice surprise. I was fully expecting for her to blame me, want to send me on some parenting courses, have the same leaflets that the health visitors brought out last year about listening to your child.

Instead I go the opposite…. “You are doing really well, keep it up, and I will find you and the little one some support”.

She left at 2.30pm. I went to get dinky at 3pm.

When we got home my head started to pound. I ended up in bed just after dinky and got up with dinky at 5.15 this morning.

CAF Form, integrated services, and dinky’s teacher

I’ve never actually spoken to the head but she is lovely. Formidable, but lovely.
We started the form which was done without the questions. Each section was done purely on strengths and needs. It was hard to hear the school’s view of dinky. The look on the deputy’s face when behaviour and independence was brought up, as a parent, was devastating. The deputy has seen dinky first hand. I don’t think I have heard the word challenging so much in my life!
Dinky is slightly behind in her reading, and is behind in PSE in particular managing feelings and behaviour , and listening and attention, which are below age related expectations.
We went through dinky’s strengths and weaknesses in every section. The deputy was diplomatic but needed to accurately describe what happened at school. When it comes to what happens when she is home, I let them know. I had to tell them everything. It was in Dinky’s best interests.
The head teacher was very kind when it came to my own insecurities as a parent, my mental health and the wider family question. It was very hard to discuss some of those things, but again, it is for dinky.
When it was all done I left feeling like I’d completed an exam, and failed.
The worst part was as I left all I could hear was “MUMMY!” It took some time, but eventually they managed to get dinky to a point where I could leave.
I did some shopping in the local shop and as soon as I got home I put some soup in the microwave when my phone rang, I didn’t get to it in time but it was a missed call from the school. I phoned back and it was the deputy. She said integrated services had phoned and wanted to know the circumstances of our homelessness. Apparently she was very optimistic that she could at least help with the housing situation a little faster! I couldn’t believe it! The CAF form had only been completed 20mins before hand! She also told me that integrated services have called a CAF planning meeting (professionals only), for the 12th of February! That is 2 weeks away! I couldn’t believe it! In 2 weeks I might have some support plan for dinky!

My head is spinning!

I tried to relax a little before going back to get dinky from school.
When I went to get her the teacher called me in. We sat down and she told me that they were going to take dinky off the normal reward system at school. At present the kids all start on the fluffy cloud. If they are good they move to the sunshine, if they are really good they move to the rainbow. The flip side is, if they do something naughty their name gets written on the grey cloud, and for persistent bad behaviour (like dinky’s) the name goes on the whiteboard. It is possible to have their picture on the rainbow but their name on the whiteboard. They don’t agree with taking the previous achievement away, however this works both ways as the child will not get their name removed from the board. Every day this week dinky has been on the whiteboard.
So new strategy! Dinky is to have 5 mins in one minute disks. If she is good she gets more minutes, if she is bad she gets minutes taken away. At the end of the day she can use her minutes to pick an activity to do.
I brought up the contact book, and the teacher said that’s fine, but it has to be manageable. So she will do a book and tell me he minutes dinky has. If she has done something bad that will go in the contact book. For instance… Today dinky had to write her name and the teacher had 5 other children to get started in the group. Dinky refused point blank to do it. It took a while but the teacher managed to get her to do her name but she crossed it out and began scribbling. So the teacher said she was going to tell the deputy and went off. In that time dinky wrote her name nicely.
So stuff like that will go in the book.
I asked about the chewing. Apparently dinky does it quite a bit. I told the teacher about the necklace and she said it was a good idea and would ask the deputy if dinky was allowed it in school.
We had a little chat and it seems dinky is getting on ‘better’ with the teacher, but still not doing as she is told. However I did say I had noticed dinky had been ‘more compliant’ when it came to group was in her reading diary and the teacher laughed. She said she loved reading dinky’s reading diary as it had the best comments! I don’t know if that is my version of what happens or some of the things I put down that dinky says about the books. To be honest I thought she was getting annoyed because I kept asking for more printed sheets for the diary. However this time she was prepared and put 3 sheets in!

I guess it has been a very dinky day, but I feel much better knowing things are getting sorted.

Dinky is on the SEN register for behavioural difficulties…

If thursday last week was a nightmare, today was hell!
Dinky got dressed ok, had breakfast ok, brushed her teeth ok.
She refused to listen to me when I asked her to hold my hand to cross the road. She was a little boisterous on the bus when a kid in the year above got on in town, and fell over on the way into school. So as soon as we got in we had to get her cleaned up and change her trousers. We waited for Mrs. B to hand over the antibiotics. Mrs. W the deputy head asked if she could have a quick word after I left dinky in the classroom. We handed over the medicine, and went round to the class. As soon as she had her coat and bag off she began to kick off.
“I can’t do my letters, I don’t know how!” She shouted, and ran out of the classroom. I had to chase her and stop her leaving the early years part of the building. She refused to go back into the classroom. Miss C came out and dinky did not want to listen so she went to get Mrs. N the class teacher. By the time Mrs. N came out dinky had run into the toilets. I coaxed her out and managed to get her into the classroom. We got her phonics book out and she found a seat. She refused to do the letters (which were ng) she did the n ok, but messed about doing the g. Then when mrs. N came over dinky decided to just do m’s all over the page. Then she went under the table.
Mrs. N: dinky, why are you under the table?
Dinky: I don’t want my my mummy to go home.
Mrs. N: but dinky, all the mummies and daddies have to go home.
Dinky: fine, I want to go home with Mummy then!
Mrs N: no, you can’t go home, you have to be in school.
Dinky: NO! I DON’T WANT TO STAY WITHOUT MUMMY!

And off she went. I went after her and found her hiding in the library. Mrs B the school nurse came out, she managed to get dinky to come with me to the deputy head’s office because she likes the deputy head’s bracelets. The deputy head tried to get dinky into her classroom but she held onto my leg and wouldn’t let go. Another 5 minutes went by with both mrs B and the deputy head trying to prise dinky off me. A brainwave got dinky off me, she was allowed to pick a teddy from the library area to take into class.

So at 9.15 dinky was in class. Finally.

I sat down in the deputy head’s office and we both breathed a sigh of relief.
Dinky has now been put on the SEN register for behavioural problems. So she is now classed as a special needs child. She said she wanted to talk to me because they think dinky needs to have a risk assessment done so that all the teachers are aware of what to do if dinky runs off, but also to make them aware of the fact that they could end up being hurt if dinky becomes aggressive and violent. The plan is especially important for 8.30-9am and 2.30-2.50pm when the gates are open.
I asked if we could put something into place when for when I leave after phonics, as it is very difficult for me to leave without someone to hand her off to so I know she is safe, especially after Monday when she ran after me after the doors were closed. I had to take her back and none of the teachers knew she had gone. So dinky’s favourite TA is going to be asked to meet me at 8.40am after we’ve finished the phonics to take dinky to do a special job (probably to go and get the milk cartons or to go get her sticker for going into school wearing her school shoes).
We discussed the CAF. It will be just the three of them and me. Which is fine. The outcome should be a CAF meeting with CAMHS, and other services. There will be the possibility of a TAC (team around the child) forming.
Also because of dinky’s new status as ‘special needs’ there are a few places I might be able to take dinky. She might not be eligible for it because all she has noted (at the moment) are behavioural issues.
I will have to go back in and sign the risk assessment at some point this week. Hopefully the TA will be there tomorrow to take dinky so she is safe. Although there shouldn’t be too much of an issue as she has play therapy tomorrow so will be much happier to go in.