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….