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.

The CAF confusion

The CAF (Common assessment framework) was set up by Dinky’s old school, when we were homeless. Needless to say it is a little outdated now.

I see the fall out of my rash decision making, regarding the TAC (team around the child). We were supposed to have a TAC the week Dinky left her old school. However due to the comments made by the head teacher, I felt the school just wanted Dinky out, and that there was no point holding the meeting as I would just get angry and that wouldn’t help anyone.

This has no been the case though. It may have helped the current situation.

We cant have a family link worker because Dinky’s new school is an academy, we have no lead professional as the senco of the previous school who created the CAF is no longer our LP. I don’t want the new school senco as our LP as she is useless and I don’t think she is really fighting our corner. I need someone who will stick up for dinky, make her the priority. I don’t see the senco doing that, it will be about the schools funding and all communication deficiencies will be blamed, perhaps on the weather or something just as laughable.

The new senco gave me the number of the person named on our CAF paperwork for me to contact (god forbid she do some work herself!). I found it very difficult to get hold of the woman. Then I got a call back from a helpful, if not a little bad tempered person from CAP (Children’s access point). She said it was a shame we couldn’t access the family link worker service. It was due to the school being an academy and not buying into the service.

It did make me think of the new play equipment in the school playground. 

Anyway, there is another service which will accessible until Dinky is 10, the family resource team. I just had to pop down to the children and families centre to find out more.

It was there I met a helpful person. These are far and few between when it comes to accessing things. I asked for the family resource team, when I was asked why I wanted to contact them I told the lovely lady that we needed something other than the family link worker service and explained the situation. she was really nice and told me to leave it with her.

That was yesterday.

Today I got a call from the woman at integrated services! I had been trying to reach her for a couple of days to discuss the CAF.

She was actually quite nice. It is hard to say what integrated services are. They are not social services, and they are not NHS like CAMHS. I guess they are one of these new departments from within the county council.

Anyway, we spoke on the phone and I told her that at the moment we are just being left hanging. We have an open CAF with outdated information, no lead professional, no family link worker service available and a referral to the child development centre. Basically moving to this new school has been a nightmare and everything we had been putting in place has been stopped or held back by the new school.
To be honest it kind of made me angry at just how useless this new school are. Apart from the head teacher I don’t think I will ever knock the old school again in terms of what they did or didn’t do for Dinky. At least the senco there was nice enough to put me at ease and make me feel lie I could approach her. This senco makes out that any work I create for her is above and beyond for her.

At the end of the call the woman said it might just be easier if she comes out to the house and meets me face to face. So we have arranged it for Thursday at 1pm. I’m hoping she uses the time to get some things set up so she can give me more information. I think she might take on lead professional until a more suitable lead is found. If it wasn’t for the fact it was called lead ‘professional’ I would have said I would hold the meeting myself.

Now we just have to wait until Thursday for more information.

I just want to add that from writing this it may not seem clear as to why I am trying to get outside services in.

My reasons are as follows (from inside the head of a crazy person I might add!)

  • It is always good to open up and let professionals see I have nothing to hide. I will let them see my mediocre but not poor parenting skills (I don’t know how that happened, I have 2 of the most incapable parents ever but seem to do ok with Dinky… most of the time)
  • it gives me more backing when it comes to Dinky’s behaviour. I’m not a neurotic mother (well not in that way 😉 )
  • I will have more professionals to back my claim that Dinky meets the criteria for PDA (hopefully)
  • it gives me a safety net, if I’m struggling it wont impact on her as much as she will have other input.
  • Being a single parent is hard. Being a single parent with mental health issues is harder. Being a single parent with mental health issues and a child with suspected PDA = bloody nightmare!
  • Lastly, it gives me some indication of what is normal and not. Like I said I had 2 awful parents, I don’t want to be an awful parent to Dinky. She didn’t ask to be born, so it is my duty to bring her up the best way I can. However apart from the big no no’s I don’t really have anything to go on for what is acceptable and not. Such as… I found out during the CAF form filling that it is wholly acceptable and normal to want to get away from your child at times and send them of to play on their own. I felt bad for not wanting to spend every minute of her time at home with her especially during the school holidays. Turns out it is not abnormal at all.

I do have a slight confession… while I am fighting for services to do with Dinky, I have blown off my services.

L is really nice, but she doesn’t know what to do about the CMHT,  she cant actually help, and the idea of having to socialise with a bunch of people who are also struggling doesn’t fill me with a deep sense of joy.

I need some space.

Dinky has been really off  the past 2 days after school. I know yesterday was the substitute teacher, but today she was just as off. We went into town to get her furby party rocker and she picked fights with me by over exaggerating everything. She needed to blow off steam so hit me. I had hoped the idea of getting her party rocker might have calmed her but it only made her worse. I said we could get it another day but that was even worse.

It is really hard to see her like that.

Tomorrow is swimming, hopefully that will be ok. If she kicks off at swimming I will have to seriously reconsider the zoo trip on Sunday….