A phone call - we are sending home a form. Please complete as much as you can and bring it in to the meeting on Thursday. The KHT arrives home and denies all knowledge of the form. I leave it until her dinner is cooked.
"Here's the deal, you give me the envelope, you get the meal"
At the sight and scent of one her favourite meals her resolve dissolves and the envelope is produced, albeit slightly damp and dusty.
"I put it under the doormat", she advises me, triumphantly!
Later I read the form entitled Parental Conversation E H C Plan, which my husband has delegated me to complete. The more I read the further my heart sinks. I am expected to comment intelligently on matters I haven't considered since I last tackled the soul destroying Disability Living Allowance application form…. I can answer most of the questions, but I feel somewhat out of my depth.
"Help" I cry. A friend points me in the direction of a training video on the Autism Connect website. It fills me in on the background, but I still feel there is something missing…This feels like a very lonely conversation. In the run up to her statement there were professionals working together, with me. Now, there is me and the internet. The results of this form will help shape the level of care she will get until she is 25! What have I forgotten?
Thursday arrives and at the allotted time we arrive at the school for the meeting, and sign in
"How have you got on with filling in your form?" asks the Receptionist, urgently.
"Well I have done the best I can, but I feel somewhat out of my depth!"
She sighed. "Well most parents roll up half an hour earlier…"
At the sight of my confused expression she stops and glances at the letter that was sent home. Apparently we should have been invited in to chat with a couple of the professionals prior to the meeting, and during this discussion the conversation document should have been completed. Suddenly it all starts to make a lot more sense. Unfortunately, no-one told us. Mistakes happen. However, I felt wrong footed, and spend the first 5 minutes of the meeting trying not to be too defensive! On the positive side, they were really impressed with the amount I had been able to complete, and I will get the opportunity to have further input before the document is completed, so if anything significant has been omitted there is still the opportunity to have it included.
That the document was not labelled Parental Monologue E H C Plan, was the clue I missed! Hindsight, how wonderful you are!